RV levelling and your fridge - how critical? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:46 PM   #1
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RV levelling and your fridge - how critical?

I have a Dometic DM2662 "absorbtion type" propane/115V fridge made in 2008 in our trailer. There seem to be "religious war" type post battles on many RV sites about the importance of levelling and fridge operation so I decided to ask the manufacturer.

This is what Dometic said:

Thank you for contacting Dometic. We recommend the unit be 3 degrees front to rear and 6 degrees left to right. If you are using a level with the bubble, as long as the unit is within 1/2 a bubble, the unit is level enough. The unit is level enough as long as you are not walking up hill or leaning toward one side.

We appreciate this opportunity to address your situation and hope all of your future travels are trouble free. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time to order parts or for further assistance.

Sincerely,
Holly
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(800) 544-4881
www.edometic.com
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:00 PM   #2
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Yeah, it seems like some of the argument is based on the fact that older units were much more sensitive to leveling. So people grew up knowing that they had to be very, very level.

But a lot of people know will say that "if you're comfortable in the camper, it's level enough". Just like with what Dometic told you, that's pretty subjective. What's "walking up a hill" or "leaning toward one side"?

The 1/2 a bubble advice is actually a good, objective guide. 6 degrees is pretty darn off level. The 3 degrees front to back is a little more subtle and I think it would be easier to push those limits.

I think we've seen this info posted before, buried somewhere deep in a thread, but thanks for posting somewhere easier to find.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:11 AM   #3
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I wondered this myself a couple days ago when I had to camp in a very sloped site.... It might be obvious but since I'm not sure I'll ask at risk of appearing dumb. Are the front/ rear and left/ right referring to the fridge itself or the trailer? If fridge is oriented differently inside the trailer the numbers would apply differently. Thanks.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:54 AM   #4
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Fridge orientation

Dometic's advice applies to orientation where the "front" of the fridge (the doors) face into the centre of the trailer. In other words the unit is installed at 90 degrees to the direction of travel.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:00 AM   #5
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When Dometic references, "3 degrees front to rear and 6 degrees left to right", is that relative to the fridge or the trailer?

Given the angle of the tubes on the cooling unit, I would think they are referencing the trailer, as 6 degree difference could make a great deal of difference in flow through the tubes, given that the vast majority of fridges are mounted on one side or the other of the trailer.

I guess what I'm saying is that front to rear leveling of the trailer is most critical.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:16 AM   #6
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I have camped many times with a full bubble off center, front to back, which is by far the more critical, as mentioned.

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Old 07-06-2017, 10:57 AM   #7
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This subject always bug us also. Like many trailers, ours is heavy on the left (fridge, stove, hot water tank, shower, grey water tank, all on the left). There is also a slight tilt to the left, about 2 degrees.

From this post, can we safely assume that this slight tilt will not cause any issues?

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2017, 11:20 AM   #8
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Absolutely. Side to side leveling is far less critical. As long as it's not uncomfortable for you.

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Old 07-06-2017, 11:21 AM   #9
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It's fairly safe to assume that the fridge is installed almost absolutely level within the trailer, so the levelness of the trailer is exactly the levelness of the fridge. But...I'm guessing Dometic means the fridge, not the trailer. Many people have a bubble installed in the actual fridge and that's not a terrible idea.

So...I'd say Dometic means fridge, because they're talking about the fridge. But we can assume that leveling the trailer serves the same purpose, so long as the install was done with any level of skill.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:02 PM   #10
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Although it is not as critical as it used to be, it is still a good idea to get the camper as level as possible. After you smell ammonia it is too late to get it level and very expensive to repair.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmartin748 View Post
Although it is not as critical as it used to be, it is still a good idea to get the camper as level as possible. After you smell ammonia it is too late to get it level and very expensive to repair.
Why would you suddenly smell ammonia just because the fridge was not quite as level as possible?
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Old 07-06-2017, 01:04 PM   #12
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If I understand rightly, there are two failure modes of the cooling circuit.

One is a build-up of deposits in the cooling loop from out-of-level operation. No ammonia smell; it just won't cool. Sometimes "burping" will get it going again. Older units are more finicky about out-of-level operation.

The other is a leak in the cooling circuit caused by corrosion, fatigue crack,... This produces the characteristic ammonia smell, and it's time to shop for a new fridge.

Am I close?
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Old 07-06-2017, 01:29 PM   #13
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RV Fridge Troubleshooting

If you have the smell it is due to a leak from corrosion of very high pressure do to clogging from being out of level. Pressures can reach 400 to 600 psi
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Old 07-06-2017, 01:38 PM   #14
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FYI, If the cooling unit fails but the fridge is still in good shape, you can also opt to just have the cooling unit replaced. My fridge still works fine, but it's the original, so I priced out the cooling units and new fridges. A new cooling unit runs $350-450 with warranties included that span 3 to 5 years, versus a new fridge at $800-1,200.

Obviously, you'd want to be sure that it really is just the cooling unit that is bad, otherwise, you may as well buy a whole new unit. The corrosion is partly just from the materials used - ammonia and hydrogen gas are what have been and are still used in most (but not all) models and these are highly corrosive in and of themselves.
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Old 07-06-2017, 02:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V'sGlassSleeper View Post
A new cooling unit runs $350-450 with warranties included that span 3 to 5 years, versus a new fridge at $800-1,200..
I'd prefer a new fridge this case...
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:00 PM   #16
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I can understand that.

For me, it would make more sense to pull mine, replace the cooling unit, and re-install it with some extra insulation. My fridge had no control board and so uses no DC power when run on propane. For my kind of camping, that's important. Plus half the cost of a new fridge is pretty significant.

For people in the market or mindset of buying new trailers, that's probably not a huge cost and they'd obviously prefer a brand new unit. For people in the used market, a $1,000 fridge may be a large percentage of what their trailer is actually worth.
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