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Old 08-04-2011, 12:23 PM   #1
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Fridge problem

Hello Friends:

I'm still new here. I just got a 90 Fleetwood Bounder 34s. The engine is hardly used but the motor home needs some work before I can take my first trip in it. My biggest issue is the fridge. It's an 8 cubic ft refrigerator/freezer but doesn't work (Model: Dometic RM2804). It operates on gas or electric but neither will make it work. When I run it under electric power it just blows the breaker in my house and when I run it under gas the pilot light starts up and it gets going but it just makes gurgling sounds and doesn't get cold, in fact, it seems to be getting warmer instead of colder. I can hear the fluids bubbling inside. Is this normal? I have been running it on a level surface for 12 hours with no change Can I fix it myself? Should I hire a pro? or is it smarter to just buy a new one? The fridge and the rest of the motor home has been just sitting unused for 10 years. I'm a total newbie and any advice would be helpful. Thank you!
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:10 PM   #2
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your fridge....

hi...
first of all i would like to say hi to a fellow 90.5 bounder owner like myself. i am in the process of bringing my coach out of a semi-retired state that has lasted ten years or so. i park it in front of my house here in calif and have to move it every two weeks for street cleaning so it has been on the road at least twice a month for those "retired" years. the beast is in amazingly good shape mechanically although the sun has raveged the outside finish. i have been working on it for the last two or three months and am just about where i want it to end up technically. i have done a complete upgrade of the ancient electronic entertainment stuff so i don't have to feel like i am stepping back in time when i get into it. sorry for the rambling background info. on to the fridge. the only system that has me pulling what little hair i have left out is my fridge. i have the same one you have although my problem is different. before i put it in suspended animation ten years ago the only issue i had with the fridge was that i couldn't adjust the temperature level when it was running on gas - one of the knobs inside the front door - it was frozen. that is still broken. when i tried to fire it up recently the gas would light but the refridgerator would not cool; the rv was level. being an engineer i am afraid of nothing mechanically so i decided to tear into it to fix that problem. on the outside of the motorhome is the door that allows you access to the back of the fridge - open that. (do you have the manual for the fridge? - if not, send me your email address and i will send you an electronic copy) you will see a plate on the right side held in place by two screws. remove the screws, remove the plate which is actually shaped like a "T" laying down and you will be looking at the burner. on mine there was a whole bunch of flakey stuff there (sort of light rust colored but not rust). i removed as much as i could see and as much as i could from up in the "tube" above the place where the flame is. i left everything disassembled so i could see the burner and tried the fridge again and it worked. there was no gurgling sound - i don't know what that is. the manual says to do what i did every year as part of routine maintenance which i had never done. try that. my email is dokeefe@toast.net if you want to take this offline - i just joined this group so i don't know if it allows attachment but my guess is you may want some of my library sent to you if you don't have all the original documentation. good luck and looking forward to hearing from you.
dennis
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:13 PM   #3
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bounder group

one more thing. if you haven't already done it you need to join the "bounder" group on yahoo. VERY GOOD GROUP.....
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:14 PM   #4
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Sorry to have say your fridge is shot, I'm not real technical but when they don't get used for a long period the cooling solution separtes and the amonia in that solution eats through the tubing, this causes the gurgling sound and often an amonia smell. You can replace the cooling unit but they are expensive and you will want to price that vs. a new fridge. If you google rv fridge and gurgling sound you will get a better explanation.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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Some mis-information here. Setting does not cause the solution to separate or settle. The unit is charge with ammonia and water and a chromate corrosion inhibitor.

The gurgling is not at all unusual. But if you have tried it on gas and electric it may well be shot.

Give it one last try...make sure it is reasonably level first.

Disconnect the 120 volt electric heater element and wire it directly to a 120 volt power source and plug it in. Let it operate for 12 hours and see if it is cooling. What you have done is bypass all of the controls. If it now cools, it is a control board problem.

If you get any ammonia smell...the unit is history.

From the reports I am getting, I would rebuild the unit using an Amish cooling unit if the cabinet is in decent shape.

ken
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler6357 View Post
Hello Friends:

I'm still new here. I just got a 90 Fleetwood Bounder 34s. The engine is hardly used but the motor home needs some work before I can take my first trip in it. My biggest issue is the fridge. It's an 8 cubic ft refrigerator/freezer but doesn't work (Model: Dometic RM2804). It operates on gas or electric but neither will make it work. When I run it under electric power it just blows the breaker in my house and when I run it under gas the pilot light starts up and it gets going but it just makes gurgling sounds and doesn't get cold, in fact, it seems to be getting warmer instead of colder. I can hear the fluids bubbling inside. Is this normal? I have been running it on a level surface for 12 hours with no change Can I fix it myself? Should I hire a pro? or is it smarter to just buy a new one? The fridge and the rest of the motor home has been just sitting unused for 10 years. I'm a total newbie and any advice would be helpful. Thank you!
Welcome to the forum Tyler. You will find lots of friendly people here willing to share their helpful information for FREE . As for your refrigerator, TXiceman has probably the best knowledge on this subject and after trying his tests if you determine that the cooling unit is shot, you might want to replace it yourself. It's really not that hard if you are handy at fixing things. Here is a company that sells the replacement Amish Built cooling units. RV Cooling Unit Warehouse They are very easy to deal with and will go out of their way to help you with any questions you may have. I recently bought a cooling unit from them and did a replacement on my Norcold fridge. Here is a video showing what was involved in my replacement.

Sammie

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Old 08-04-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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your fridge

one thing i should bring up for you. since your fridge, like mine, was designed an built just after the discovery of electricity and before computers it has no control board. there is a mechanical switch that probably does many of the critical things a newer fridge does via its control board. that switch is bad on my unit and i have a new one i need to install. when you see anything regarding control boards and codes it reports etc you can move on since it doesn't apply to your fridge. if you haven't tried it at all on electricity try just running it normally from inside the fridge in the electric mode before you dive in and try to patch around 120 volts into it. just my 2 cents worth. i know more about that model of fridge than i ever cared to because i have one and have a couple of minor issues with it.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:04 PM   #8
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the amish cooling unit video

hi....
the fridge in that video doesn't look ANYTHING like the one you and I have. i don't know if the amish unit would even work in it - i doubt it. if my fridge dies i intend to look for a replacement on ebay - the unit we have really works well when it works at all. if you end up getting a new unit would you consider selling me your old one for parts? just keep me in mind.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:14 PM   #9
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hi....
the fridge in that video doesn't look ANYTHING like the one you and I have. i don't know if the amish unit would even work in it - i doubt it. if my fridge dies i intend to look for a replacement on ebay - the unit we have really works well when it works at all. if you end up getting a new unit would you consider selling me your old one for parts? just keep me in mind.
dennis
Dennis, The fridge in my video is definatly not like yours. I was just showing you an example of how a cooling unit change out could be done. If you look at this link, they sell cooling units for all Dometic and Norcold refrigerators. RV Cooling Unit Warehouse

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Old 08-04-2011, 08:45 PM   #10
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amish 2804 units....

someone has 9 amish cooling units (remanufactured) for the dometic 2804 on ebay for $395. just a heads up. item - 370514748664
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:37 AM   #11
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Dennis

Dennis---I sent you an e-mail. It should be in your mailbox
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:47 AM   #12
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Thank you

Sammie: I agree with you. Although they are not the exact same fridge I assume that they have similar parts and design. The video is very helpful to learning about how these things work. It is helpful for a novice like me for my own general knowledge on the subject as well as with my particular unit and I want to thank you for taking the time to post it.

For TXiceman----Thanks for the correction!
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:09 AM   #13
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Dennis---I'll just post it

Hey Dennis:
Its nice to meet someone with the exact same rig as I have. I have the Chevy version. I'm brand new to motor home ownership and I've been trying to educate myself and get up to speed on everything RV. We might have some similar issues and it could be beneficial for both of us to exchange ideas.

I inherited my 1990 1/2 Bounder 34s motor home with only 6800 miles on it from my father. My father had purchased it (brand new) to live in after his home burned down in a wildfire. He and my mom lived in it for over a year until their home was rebuilt. They did take it on a few trips after that but it mostly just sat. They kept it in case of another fire (they lived in a very high fire prone area of southern CA). Because it was purchased to live in more than to travel in, they got the optional rear door entrance in the bedroom. It has 2 of the exact same sized entrance doors on the same side of the rig, although only the front one has the electronic step, the rear one is just a pull out type. Anyhow, my mother passed and It sat uncovered in a field on the property but some health problems lead my dad to neglect it and the last 10yrs it has just been sitting in the hot CA sun in a field. It has suffered mice infestation and some sun damage. I dug a huge rats nest out of the engine compartment, purchased a new starter battery, and was able to at least get it started and moved into my driveway and plugged into an outlet on the side of my home. Surprisingly the mice didn't nah through many of the wires because they were all surrounded by plastic wire protection tubes.

I will have to take pictures of it so you can see what it looks like and how it compares to your own! I must admit that it isn't exactly ready for the camera yet. I have cleaned up the inside and then I did it again, haha. Lots of disinfectant, a carpet cleaner with upholstery cleaner. The outside is very sun faded but no rips in the skin. I need to replace the 2 plastic vents on the top which are burned by the sun. It has 2 air conditioners on the roof which both work and are in good shape! However, it looks like I can only run one at a time. The outside is dirty and heavily faded and the stripes are pealing in places. I wouldn't mind spending a little money to make it look better if I could do it myself. Like most people, I wish I had more money than I actually have! ha ha, I could put something into it but my biggest issues are the fridge and the generator.

The generator just needs a new fuel pump I think. I replaced the spark plugs and the fuel filter looks clean. The starter motor seems to be working OK, it just doesn't seem to be getting enough fuel. Do you know if I can just get a cheap $40 low pressure electric fuel pump or do I need to get the $120 Onan one? My Generator is an Onan--Emerald III Plus (gas powered). I have a half a tank of gas in the main tank so it shouldn't shut off.

The fridge on the other hand is not so easy. :( Thank you!!, by the way, for all the advice you gave me about it. It's interesting that you said that your temp. knob is frozen because mine, while not frozen, is very hard to turn, I can still adjust it but it is very tight, I don't know if this is my main problem or not. I took the back off already and tried to clean it out like you suggested. When I took the thermostat off I heard it "click"-- like something was stuck, I put it back on and started up it up again but before I could see if it is working or not my propane tank ran out. There wasn't much in there so I need to get it filled up before I test it again. I will keep my fingers crossed. I'm happy to hear that you got yours working!!

The tires are actually not looking too bad, no major cracks, it was parked facing east and against a steep hill side on the south side so I don't think they got much direct sunlight but I read that they should be replaced based on age alone. The good thing about Bounders is that the tires seem to be recessed back into the wheel wells further than on many other rigs. This makes the tires less susceptible to sun damage. I have a spare tire in the basement floor area and my wallet isn't exactly dying to buy new tires (ouch!). I probably won't replace them right away. Can you tell me if I can put truck tires on it? I hear they are cheaper to buy and are built for weight where as the motor home tires are built for a smooth ride. Anyway, they need air for sure. I will have to find out what pressure they should be at.

Also I have a question for you. Inside the coach, there is some plastic flexible material that slide into slots cut on the side of shelves. It sticks up vertically on the edge of shelves. Its function is to keep things that are on the top from sliding off when you make a turn during travel. It sticks up vertically, kinda like a lip, against the shelves. It is located on the shelves on the side wall under the window of the driver's side as well as the passenger side seats. There is also some on the shelf against the wall behind the sofa back-rest right under the window and in the bedroom around the nightstands (unless you have twin beds). This has suffered sun damage and is cracking and is pealing off. I was wondering if you know what it is and if they sell rolls of it that I could cut to fit for replacement.

I'm still in the time zone when it comes to the entertainment systems. It's something that will be improved with time. I consider this a "long term project"--haha, Where is this mechanical switch that you speak of? I am going to enjoy fixing it up!! I have dreams of flat screen TVs and a satellite dish on the roof and a killer stereo and paneling in the bedroom. Do it myself of course. One good thing is that since it is an older 90 model RV it should be cheaper on the registration and insurance fees. But it only has 6800 miles on it!

I will look into joining the yahoo group. I really like irv2. So much info and cool people to help me become the RVer that is deep inside of me. It's nice to meet you and I hope we can help each other in the future. My father put all the manuals one of the top compartments that the mice couldn't get into so I have all the manuals on everything but thanks for offering to send them to me. And thank you so much for all the valuable info!! I will let you know about my progress and keep in touch!!

Also, feel free to ask me anything although I think you are a bit more knowledgeable than I am with all this stuff. It's nice to talk to an engineer, wouldn't you know it, I got a business degree.

Tyler
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:01 PM   #14
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Hi Tyler,

I've had 17 class A motor homes and half with inoperable refers.
All but a few have come back to life if you do these few things:

Take out the refer from the RV and turn it upside down for 24 hours.
This process is called burping.
Turn over and plug into a/c and try again.

As one of our members previously stated, vacuum out the stove pipe and uncover the pilot light base to light by LP.

Steve
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