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Old 09-25-2020, 11:11 PM   #1
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Default Fridge/Freezer issues

Iíve got a 2011 x 210wbs that Iíve been traveling in full time for a little over 2 years now for work. I recently pulled it back to the house and was getting ready to list it after a renovation, and upgrade to a larger 5th wheel before going back to work in a week or so.

When I pulled in from the drive home, I didnít want to unhook and level the trailer because it was pouring rain and pitiful weather, and it stayed that way for 2 days before getting around to level it. It was plugged into shore power the entire time.

After leveling the camper on day two of being home, and cleaning some things out, my wife and I immediately started on renovations with the new 5th wheel, and didnít even bother to do much with the old unit. On day 4, I went into the 210wbs, to get a pocket knife, when I noticed the smell of bad food in the fridge. Opened it up, and behold the stench of spoiled milk, and moldy, corned beef. After immediately emptying the fridge, I shut the unit off for a day, and went back to turn it on. 24 hours of run time, no change in temperature. Switched it over to propane and let it run for 24 hours again, still no change in temperature. I disconnected the thermistor, yet still ambient temperature in both the fridge and freezer.

Went to the breaker, verified voltage, went to the back of the fridge at the control panel, verified voltage from the outlet, and verified again at the heating element. The boiler is definitely getting hot, and the coils feel warm to the touch. I cannot smell ammonia, I cannot see any visual signs of leaks, or hear anything in the system to indicate such, but I also cannot get my fridge and freezer to work.

One of the issues Iím running into, is I donít know what model fridge is in my camper, just that itís a dometic, so I wouldnít know where to begin for proper readings on the heating element or thermistor, the other is that Iím running out of ideas as to what could be wrong. I know itís bad to have the camper out of level end run the fridge, but I didnít think it could break it in two days like that.

Can I just replace the cooking unit in the back of the fridge and likely fix the issue at hand here?

Does anyone have a model number for the fridge in those year and model of campers.

Are there any other ideas that Iím missing here as far as troubleshooting goes?
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:39 AM   #2
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It's probably a Dometic 2562. At least that's what I have in my 2009 210WBS.

How far out of level was the trailer?

Yes you can just replace the cooling unit. A company called JC Refrigeration sells them.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:42 AM   #3
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My Dometic fridge (2551) has an ID label up near the freezer door on the left side of the main body of the unit. I'm not sure if operating the fridge while significantly unlevel causes irreparable damage (other than the spoiled food ;-(). I have the User Manual which describes why it fails to cool properly but doesn't discuss potential damage. Before throwing too much money and time at it, I would thoroughly clean the inside of the fridge, level the trailer, turn on the power and make sure it's in the "AUTO" mode. Since it's likely been turned off for some time, it could take several hours for it to get "cool" in the main compartment. If after 4-5 hours, if it's not working, then you can start thinking about the time and money involved in repair.
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Old 10-01-2020, 12:21 PM   #4
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Rip, I am no expert, but I have read that operating the fridge while it is not level for a long time can cause crystals to form, which is not reversible. Here is an article:

https://www.truckcamperadventure.com...l-should-they/

Having said that, Rip is of course right -- don't give up on the fridge unless you have no other choice!!
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Old 10-01-2020, 02:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profdant139 View Post
Rip, I am no expert, but I have read that operating the fridge while it is not level for a long time can cause crystals to form, which is not reversible. Here is an article:

https://www.truckcamperadventure.com...l-should-they/

Having said that, Rip is of course right -- don't give up on the fridge unless you have no other choice!!
I'm clearly not an expert either (which,obviously, never stops me from posting something)! The Dometic User Manual mentioned the liquid ammonia blocking the gravity dependent flow to lower levels in the mechanism where more of the "cooling magic" happens but there was no mention of crystal formation. I'm certainly not going to say it couldn't/wouldn't happen. I guess the question would be "just how long does it take to for crystals to form?" 4 days seems like a pretty short amount of time and we'd be seeing a lot more fridge failures being reported if it were the case. Perhaps LinehandBoone will be letting us know the final outcome of the issue.
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Old 10-07-2020, 08:36 AM   #6
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Not being a refrigeration engineer nor staying in a Holiday Inn Express recently, I'm wondering if the formation of ammonia crystals can or does occur if the refrigerator is not turned on? I.E. does the camper have to be relatively level while in storage?
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RipVan View Post
Not being a refrigeration engineer nor staying in a Holiday Inn Express recently, I'm wondering if the formation of ammonia crystals can or does occur if the refrigerator is not turned on? I.E. does the camper have to be relatively level while in storage?
The formation of crystals (which would actually be sodium chromate) happens when the fridge is operated off level. That prevents the liquid ammonia solution from flowing back evenly in the boiler which in turn creates hot spots leading the crystal formation. But that only happens when it's running. If the fridge is turned off it doesn't matter if it's level.
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Old 10-07-2020, 04:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJAZ View Post
The formation of crystals (which would actually be sodium chromate) happens when the fridge is operated off level. That prevents the liquid ammonia solution from flowing back evenly in the boiler which in turn creates hot spots leading the crystal formation. But that only happens when it's running. If the fridge is turned off it doesn't matter if it's level.
Thanks! That's exactly what I needed to know
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