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Fridge and water heater newbie problems

Mr & Mrs B

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We are brand new to rv ing.

We have a vintage ez ryder totoro from 1986.


Our current most urgent issues are:

Fridge: dometic 2400

Works on electricity.

Gas: pilot stays on but won't get cold.

- we have cleaned with canned air and pipe cleaners, nothing.



Water heater:  Suburban

We cannot light the pilot.

- cleaned with canned air and pipe cleaners.


We are hesitant to dismantle it, we are afraid not to get it back together.


Overcabin detroit: any quick fix ideas are very appreciated.


We tried to bring him in a shop but everything is booked until next spring.


Currently we are in Tracy, CA 

Any help or ideas are highly appreciated!



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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

Do you happen to know if the Dometic 2400 is the original refrigerator? If it is that would make it now 34 years old and you may have difficulty in finding any parts for it.  Either way, that is a very old refrigerator and while I did locate a copy of the user's guide, I am unable to locate a service manual for it. There is a general service manual for older Dometic refrigerators from Bryant RV Service.

The gas flame that you are seeing is not a pilot light but the propane heat source as it is very small and only operates when you attempt to use propane to cool. How long did you operate on propane to see if it will cool? It takes several hours for an RV refrigerator to precool. I really need more information to help you much but will ask a few questions. Have you measured the temperature in the freezer and the chill box when operating on electricity? Are you able to adjust the temperature warmer or colder when doing so? Have you smelled any hint of ammonia odor either inside of the refrigerator or in the back where the cooling unit is located? Look very closely in the cooling unit area for any sign of a yellow looking powder or residue. Does the control panel seem to be operating normally in both modes?

On the Suburban water heater, it would help a great deal to know what model of Suburban you have. Do you have a pilot control that looks something like this picture?


To light the pilot light you turn the knob to the pilot position, press the knob down and hold it, light the pilot and continue holding the knob down for 1 or 2 minutes for the heat to be sensed, then release the knob and turn it to the on position. 


Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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Check out the service manual library of bryantrv.com.

Perhaps you can locate the service manual for your water heater or one very similar. If has not been used in a long time I suspect the low voltage contacts are corroded. Unplug one connection at a time, clean the metal with a pencil eraser, then reattach. You may need to repeat this several times. I found the 5-pin connector on the control board was very corroded, and had to be cleaned 3x before good contact was made.


2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961


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Start with basics.  Are you getting enough propane to the appliances?  You have an older rig (as we do.) The average life of a regulator is 10 years.  Gas lines gum up.  Before you start buying parts and appliances have your local RV tech do a drop test to determine whether your gas flow is adequate.

Jinx and Wayne

2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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