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RV fridge problems

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  #1  
Old 07-27-2010, 11:21 AM
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Camper Type: Travel Trailer
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Texas
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Default RV fridge problems

Hello all. I'm new to this forum, and new to RVing itself. Been a tent camper for several years, but our 28 ft. 1996 Chateau is new to us. The fridge started out working just fine, but after a week or so of normal use, the fridge part isn't cooling anywhere close to correct. The freezer freezes fine, but the fridge isn't working. A repair guy told us (I didn't trust him on some other repairs he made, so I'm not sure to trust him on this) that the problem was the thermistor. When I do research on a thermistor, it says that you'd check it when the fridge gets TOO cold, not when it's not cold enough. With just this small bit of information, does anyone have any insight as to what the problem should be? Any help would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2010, 12:18 PM
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Have you put a thermometer in the freezer to be sure it is working properly? A freezer at 31 degrees can freeze ice, but really isn't working properly. Should be around 0.

Is this happening only on 110, only on propane, or both? Basically what happens is heat is applied to the coil, which then somehow removes heat from your unit (don't ask me exactly how - it's the flow of the stuff inside the coil that makes the magic happen). It it's happening only on propane, then your flame is not producing like it should. If it's happening on both, then either the coil is damaged, the thermostat isn't working correctly, or you don't have the camper level enough. While in motion, the stuff inside the coil will move around enough due to the movement of the camper, but when sitting still, it really needs to be level to flow properly.

I'm no expert, just thinking off the top of my head. Find someone to check it that is both:

1. Competent
2. Someone you trust

Welcome to the site

Last edited by happiestcamper; 07-29-2010 at 03:16 PM. Reason: I always misspell :-)
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  #3  
Old 07-29-2010, 11:18 AM
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Location: Texas
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Well, the same problems are happening whether it's on gas or elec. The freezer isn't at 0 and the fridge cooling plates are only cool, no where close to cold. But the freezer is frosting up on the back wall, but doesn't freeze towards the front. We're calling around to see if anyone local can work on it. If anyone has any ideas, please share.
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2010, 10:47 AM
dogbone's Avatar
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Try defrosting the unit. Turn it off and let the ice melt out. If the fins are all iced up and the vents inside too the fridge won't cool right. I know you only had it on for a week, but it shouldn't have a lot of ice.
It is an older unit, check the seal on the doors. If it doesn't seal tight air and moisture starts the ice build up.
Just a thought.
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:55 PM
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Just a few thoughts here since we have minimal information.

rv friges live and die on air currulation so how are you "testing" this out? At home, empty, etc or on a camping trip packed to the gills?

Does your door seal/shut tight?

Got any idea what model the unit is? I wonder if that one has a single cooling unit in it.

Does this unit have a climate control switch (probably on the bottom)?

If it was working ok and is not now, but the freezer is, I wonder if the insulation has shifted.
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2010, 08:10 AM
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Hi folks. Thanks for the suggestions, but the culprit was a long-gone critter that had taken up residence before we bought the camper. It had chewed through most of the electronics. It was a fire trap and is being completely replaced. Oh well, I can now be assured that it will be working properly. Thanks for the assistance.
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  #7  
Old 08-17-2010, 12:01 PM
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Hi all, I have a quick fridge question. I have a brand new 2011 Keystone. the frige runs great but i hear a fan running in behind the unit and the vent outside on and off depending. I have read that if the unit is in a slide then they use fans for circulation due to no roof vents!!! mine is not in a slide. Asked the dealership who I kind of trust says they all seem to be using the new fridges with fans? Any info would be great..
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  #8  
Old 12-17-2010, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSSML View Post
Hi all, I have a quick fridge question. I have a brand new 2011 Keystone. the frige runs great but i hear a fan running in behind the unit and the vent outside on and off depending. I have read that if the unit is in a slide then they use fans for circulation due to no roof vents!!! mine is not in a slide. Asked the dealership who I kind of trust says they all seem to be using the new fridges with fans? Any info would be great..
Your dealer was correct - many of the new refrigerators come with exterior fans - even if you don't have a slide. Some people complain that they are too noisy +/or they cycle too often.
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  #9  
Old 12-17-2010, 03:13 PM
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JSSML, KSG5000 is right. RV refrigerators are NOT the same as Homestyle refrigerators. Air circulation is more important since there units are smaller and more confined that larger home style refrigerators that are designed to be enclosed and therefore designed to expel heat differently. The fan you are hearing is the response to the RV industry in that they had problems with RV refrigerators not being able to expel the hot air generated by a refrigerator doing its job and has nothing to do with a slide. The fan you hear is one way to help this happen. This is a good thing. If a refrigerator is in the slide it can be more exposed to outside temperatures depending on how hot it is and this might be what they are referring to. That with more exposed walls surrounding the RV fridge the harder it has to work.

For the original post, there are so many things that can cause this and some of this is not a problem. For example, the fans in the RV fridge are not as strong as home style refrigerators. Circulation is highly suspect especially when the RV fridge is full of stuff. You cannot pack an RV fridge 100%. Air will not get moved around and hot and cold spots will occur. Not putting so much in there will help. You can also install a fan near the bottom of the fridge to help cycle the air upwards. The clue is if the freezer is working and keeps stuff frozen solid (around 0 degrees) then the RV fridge is working, it's just that the air is not circulating, there are too many things in the fridge or you are opening the fridge door too much. Unlike the homestyle fridge it won't take long for the air inside to get cool quickly but this is NOT the case with an RV fridge. It takes a while to cool and lots of effort to stay that way even with 110v power.

Other things are the coach must be as level as possible, but I've rearched and read that level means 0 to 6 degrees (which is quite a lot). Preventative maintenance includes cleaning out the ducting of dust and spiderwebs occasionally.

Another cause which is outside the owner's control is improper venting. If you RV fridge does not have an exhaust fan, you might consider putting one in. This helps tht unit expel the hot exhaust up and out the ceiling vent (like what the Keystone owner is experiencing).

Last but not least you might have a genuine problem, but with the freezer working as well as you imply, I don't think that's the problem.
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  #10  
Old 12-19-2010, 11:42 PM
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Default Refrigerators RV type

Rv reefers are very expendable and expensive to use, repair. The units must be nearly level and are a constant problem. Some years ago, our RV reefer was removed and a apartment size reefer was purchased from a big box. The apt unit cost about $350 and works flawlessly. Now the ice cream is cold and hard. There is no need to run the unit for quite a while, before going on a RV trip. The small apt units use very little electric power, so a small 120 volt inverter that makes about 750 watts will work very nicely. Every time the engine starts the house batteries will be recharged. The inverter makes AC only for the refrigerator. Frank in Idaho
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  #11  
Old 12-20-2010, 11:50 PM
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Yup, Frank mentions something that is becoming a popular thing to do since the unit price average is a lot lower than an RV multiple power unit. The biggest challenge is being able to boondock with a 110v unit and ensuring there is good ventilation at the back of the fridge. A dedicated inverter will help but make sure you have a good recharging system. A connected vehicle takes a while to charge the battery versus the rate of discharge by all the 12v stuff. Solar panels or a generator will help too. But solar panels need sun and generators can't be run at night.

You'll need to read the operating specs of the fridge to determine the size inverter you need. 750W to 1000W seems about right for a small fridge, but you should still check. Do not forget to turn off the fridge and inverter when in storage or you'll have a hard time with battery charging. That load is just not needed when the trailer is idle.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2010, 12:15 AM
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Default AC refrig in a RV

RV refrigs are not a great design and are very costly.
AC refrigs cost less to buy, operate and use. Ice cream and other items stay colder, and longer in a AC unit.
RV refrigs are based on amonia gas that never sleeps. The gas slowly eats all the piping. The RV units must be fairly level to allow the liquid amonia to drain to the bottom of unit. AC refrigs use freon for the cooling. I am currently using a 1968 Frigidare apt refrig in my 1968 Crown bus. The temp thermostat failed and a replacement has not been found. Currently the unit temps are controlled be removing the temp control, wiring direct and connecting to a 24 hour time clock. After some testing, the clock is adjusted to 1 hour on and 2 hours off. Where the weather makes high temps, the clock makes shorter or longer run times. Frank
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