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slackercruster

Fridge stopped working (about 85%) on propane

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On 12V or house electric the fridge works fine. When I switch to propane the freezer is kinda cold, maybe 50 degrees, but the main fridge is hardly cold. (Maybe 10 degrees below room temp) . Even when temp is set to max.

Any ideas what is wrong? I hear it sparking to light and I think it does lights, but I don't think it is firing up on high.The pilot light may only be on, but am not sure, it is hard to see what is happening.

It is a 2010 vintage fridge in a truck camper. I plan to put on insect screens, as there was some bug debris in the box when I looked at it.

Thanks

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I suspect the chimney, LP burner, and orifice needs cleaning. Jot down the make and model of your frig, then go to BryantRV.com , where you may download a free copy of the service manual for your frig. It will tell you how to disassemble and clean/service the heat sources.

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If AFTER you go to Bryant RV or elsewhere to get a manual and work through tis troubleshooting tips if it still cools fine on electric but NOT LP Gas FWIW here are my thoughts:

1) When you state "The pilot light may only be on" my LP fridges DONT USE A PILOT LIGHT system like some older style furnaces or hot water heaters. There's ONLY the main burner that's either lit or its not.

2) Often there's an inspection hole/port or sheet metal you can remove or open to actually see if its lit or not YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE IF THE BURNER IS LIGHTING. If it cools to at least some degree but not real cold see below. If it fails to light at all I will cover that later.

3) IF IT LIGHTS but not real cold, I have seen cases where soot or carbon build up over and around the burner reduces heat so she doesn't cool well INSURE THE BURNER IS CLEAN. I have used small brushes and compressed air to clean the burner area and the burner and its top to get a good blue flame. 

4) IF IT LIGHTS but not real cold I have removed the tubing from the inlet to and through the orfice and burner to clean and blow out any restrictions. That's a SMALL opening and tubing and orfice but it needs to be clean and free YOU NEED A GOOD BLUE FLAME

5) I have seen the flu area and venting out to roof top sooted or clogged up which reduces cooling. She needs to breathe and vent out all the way out to the top.

6) Insure theres no insulation or dirt or "stuff" clogging the flu and venting, the rear of the fridge has to be clean and free.

7) If it doesn't light at all the gas valve may be bad (insure it gets voltage and opens) or theres an electronics or t stat or controls problem

 TYPICAL CAUSES  I FOUND for poor cooling on gas (if okay on electric and assuming it lights) is a weak flame caused by a clogged/sooted burner or burner top or the small tube and orfice to the burner is clogged or the flu and vent is clogged or sooty  

It may just need a good cleaning if you already found debris, the burner and flu and tube and orfice all have to be clean so there's a good blue flame.

Let us know what you find, if its a controls or t stat problem it gets deeper

John T

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, slackercruster said:

It is a 2010 vintage fridge in a truck camper.

While I have repaired quite a number of RV refrigerators over the years, the first thing that must be known to give solid advice is the make and model of your refrigerator so that one can look at the proper service manual. 

Is this a 3 way (12v, 120v, or propane) or a typical 2 way (120v & propane) refrigerator? Both types require 12V-dc power in order to operate at all. If you are certain that cooling is proper when you are connected to 120v, that will tell us that everything but the propane heat source is working since that is the only part of the refrigerator that isn't shared by all modes. If the freezer gets up to 50° that doesn't sound to me like the unit is cooling at all. For that reason, I would suspect the burner area as the most probable area of suspicion. 

With a 7-year-old RV, there could well be rust inside of the flue that has fallen down into the burner area. That is a fairly common problem and frequently impacts the burner well before it is bad enough to cause problems with the electric heating element. If that is the problem, you can likely improve things quickly by just applying a shop vacuum to the burner area but even if that gets it working properly, it would still be wise to clean the flue as that would probably happen again if you do not. 

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OK thanks for all the help, I will check it all out. 

I looked at it in the daytime so hard to tell if the flame was one. After hearing it click to fire up, it looked like the flame was just on just a little and the chimney was warm, but not hot.

I will have to study it up at night when I can see the flame better. Or should the flame be very visible in the daytime?

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53 minutes ago, slackercruster said:

I will have to study it up at night when I can see the flame better. Or should the flame be very visible in the daytime?

That just depends on how bright the ambient light is. There is only one level of flame in any RV refrigerators that I am familiar with. They don't have a pilot but use electronic ignition so if there is a flame, it is lighting. The flame should be blue with just a little bit of yellow at the top if burning properly. What should be hot is the boiler so if the flue shouldn't be extremely hot. The cooling works by boiling the liquid coolant to convert it to a vapor in the first step of the cooling process. On electric it all that is different is the heat comes from an electric heating element. 

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You're welcome. Looks like there's at least some agreement above you might have dirt or rust or soot or crud in the burner area  (or perhaps a clogged orfice or a partly plugged flu) which can cause insufficient cooling. I owned a ton of RV's over the years as a user and dealer and had to repair the darn things grrrrrrrrrrrr but as I noted above none used a "pilot" type arrangement, they were lit or not lit which isn't hard to determine. FWIW My outer flu assembly can run "warm" but not so "hot" you cant touch it. HOWEVER describing how big or how blue or how tall or how bright the flame should be over the internet is problematic, but if they are lit or not isn't. After troubleshooting your particular make and model using the correct manual it wouldn't hurt to do what I do at least twice a year anyway as part of regular preventive maintenance WHICH IS TO CLEAN THE BURNER AND FLUE AND VENTING and heck that may well be all you need ???? and has often cured similar problems in my experience, but if Murphy is present you problems may be more complex grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 

PS over many years and many RV's its RARE but I have seen LP Gas Pressure Regulation problems in which there was insufficient gas pressure and low flame levels in water heaters or furnaces etc. but that's NOT my first "guess" as the cause of your problem.........

John T

Edited by oldjohnt

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Latest report...

Went on roof to see if I could clean out chimney vent. Took big plastic cap off. The whole thing has a screen on it and I can't access.

Took off side cover and  I used a skinny plumbing drain brush to go up part way on the chimney.

I took off the little burning pot that has the thermocouple and gas going into and tried to blow it out, but could not disassemble it. The nut holding the gas pipe in looks like it is lockttited and I didn't want to bend it up forcing it.

I can't find any label as to model in the fridge or in the side access area. It is a little Dometic 3-way fridge 12v, 110 and propane.

It is working now on propane in any case. Something I did must have fixed it. I will keep looking for  model tag to download the instructions. I checked the flame in the dark and it is nice, big and blue.

Thanks again for all the help!

Edited by slackercruster

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3 hours ago, slackercruster said:

I will keep looking for  model tag to download the instructions.

Look inside of the chill box as most refrigerators have a data plate there. 

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CONGRATULATIONS It doesn't take much soot, carbon or rust in the orfice or burner assembly or flu to lower the flame level so just your messing with it may have cured it ??? Only time will tell. As I previously noted every 6 months I clean the burner and flu and orfice as part of routine maintenance so if it keeps working Id still service and check it on a regular basis. Surely inside the door or the freezer or on the base of the unit you will find a data plate ?? If not look in the outside compartment but I've normally found a data plate or sticker somewhere inside the box.

 

 John T

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