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Old 10-14-2016, 11:07 PM   #1
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How long is too long for a refrigerator operate off axis?

Ok, so my wife and I were having a conversation tonight on how long can you run a 2/3 way refrigerator off axis before you cause damage or crystallize it?

We just replaced the refrigerator in our new to us 2000 Winne because it had become "blocked". The assumption being that while you are driving it constantly changing angles and the fluid will flow. But the discussion came up "how long is too long for a refrigerator to be off axis?". From the many posts on "my refrigerator does not get cold enough any more" I have to assume those are people that have partial blockages and the ammonia does not flow properly any more.

So I have to ask... How long is too long for a refrigerator operate off axis?
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:17 PM   #2
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From the videos I've seen on the ARP web site the temperature starts rising right away. I bought the ARP control to ensure my fridge doesn't get cooked.


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Old 10-15-2016, 12:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imob View Post
Ok, so my wife and I were having a conversation tonight on how long can you run a 2/3 way refrigerator off axis before you cause damage or crystallize it?

We just replaced the refrigerator in our new to us 2000 Winne because it had become "blocked". The assumption being that while you are driving it constantly changing angles and the fluid will flow. But the discussion came up "how long is too long for a refrigerator to be off axis?". From the many posts on "my refrigerator does not get cold enough any more" I have to assume those are people that have partial blockages and the ammonia does not flow properly any more.

So I have to ask... How long is too long for a refrigerator operate off axis?
imob,
You'll get lots of opinions on this. I'm one of those that values all I have so, my theory is, If I cause something to break, i.e. the fridge damage, because I was lazy i.e. not leveling in due time or, shutting it off while un-level, then I'm the one that has to pay for the repairs/parts.

So, as an example. If we're traveling and, pull in off to the side of the road for a burger etc. and the coach is unlevel, that fridge gets shut off before we leave it to enter the restaurant. If we pull off on a rest stop that I personally think is to un-level, the fridge is shut off.

I look at it this way. It's a SWITCH! All I (or the wife) has to do is, switch it off and, back on when needed. It's that simple. And by operating this way, we've not had any damage to any fridge in any motor home (had four so far) and two truck-campers with the same type fridge for over 35 years. Each person has to determine what's important, not worrying about it, or, just flip a switch.
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Old 10-15-2016, 12:21 AM   #4
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I've never worried about being level and haven't had a problem in 30 years with a refrigerator.

I've had days where you were either going up a mountain or going down a mountain and seldom ever level.

As far as I'm concerned it's like buying special RV toilet paper. Nonissue.
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Old 10-15-2016, 08:10 AM   #5
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Refrigerator level

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Originally Posted by imob View Post
Ok, so my wife and I were having a conversation tonight on how long can you run a 2/3 way refrigerator off axis before you cause damage or crystallize it?

We just replaced the refrigerator in our new to us 2000 Winne because it had become "blocked". The assumption being that while you are driving it constantly changing angles and the fluid will flow. But the discussion came up "how long is too long for a refrigerator to be off axis?". From the many posts on "my refrigerator does not get cold enough any more" I have to assume those are people that have partial blockages and the ammonia does not flow properly any more.

So I have to ask... How long is too long for a refrigerator operate off axis?
I did some extensive research on gas absorption refrigerators before I changed out to a residential version. The information I I found said that the damage occurs every time the unit is out of level. There was never any measurement of how much damage occurs in any given time. The sad part is that the damage is cumulative and irreversible. Over an undefined period of time your ability to keep item's cool will diminish. The other issue can be safety because gas absorption refrigerators have had a history of catching on fire. The gas given off by the ammonia is highly flammable. There are after market companies that make replacement cooling tubes that can be retrofitted on many of these type refrigerators. If there is any way to fit a small apartment size residential refrigerator in the area and add a 1000 watt inverter with 2ea 6 volt batteries you will be better off in the long run.
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Old 10-15-2016, 09:50 AM   #6
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There is no set answer. The damage is small but continuous and irreversible. The longer it runs that way, the more it accumulates. Ditto for more often.

I witnessed a test where a Dometic fridge equipped with a real-time boiler temperature monitor was tilted several degrees off center away from the boiler reservoir (that's the worst case). The temperatures began to climb within seconds and reached several hundred degrees (350 F. is normal) within a couple minutes. Tilting it the same amount the other way caused only a modest increase, to about 425 degrees. Tilting it frontwards or backwards had essentially no effect.

The sodium Chromate begins to crystalize in high heat, and high heat also begins to heat stress the metal, especially the welds at the joints. It's impossible to give any one number for time or amount of heat that will cause failure - it can and will vary from fridge to fridge. All that can be said is that it is harmful and risky, and that "your mileage may vary".
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:06 AM   #7
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We try to level up when we camp but just turn it off while driving. It will keep cool for long periods of time without having to run. Then there's also the potential ignition source for flammable vapors if you're involved in an accident or some one screws up while filling your propane.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:45 PM   #8
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Side to side limit is usually given as 4 degrees. Front to back 6 degrees

Given a 40' RV and usual fridge location, that corresponds to front to back out of level of nearly 3 feet. Side to side out of level of 10".
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I've never worried about being level and haven't had a problem in 30 years with a refrigerator.

I've had days where you were either going up a mountain or going down a mountain and seldom ever level.

As far as I'm concerned it's like buying special RV toilet paper. Nonissue.
I've heard when the jacks aren't down, the rocking of the coach as it's traveling precluded damage. And Mine is siting in the same nose down driveway it's been in for 2 years plugged in with the refer in auto. No prob so far.
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:51 PM   #10
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I block mine up a few years ago, was able to unblock it by removing it and turning it upside down over night, my rv guy if able to easily get them out of the coach will put them in the back of his pickup upside down and drive around for a few days.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:32 PM   #11
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I've heard when the jacks aren't down, the rocking of the coach as it's traveling precluded damage. And Mine is siting in the same nose down driveway it's been in for 2 years plugged in with the refer in auto. No prob so far.
A good friend of mine read somewhere that it was better to leave his 2 way frig on all the time. He tried it and sure enough, it quit working (believe the heating element went out). On all the rigs we've had, i've always turned the frig off when not in use. We run the refrigerator while driving and of course when stopped and leveled. Knocking on wood now,, but we've never had a problem.

TonyMac, may i ask why you leave yours on?
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:04 PM   #12
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I block mine up a few years ago, was able to unblock it by removing it and turning it upside down over night, my rv guy if able to easily get them out of the coach will put them in the back of his pickup upside down and drive around for a few days.
I would love to hear someone chime in if they have ever heard of this and if this works.

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A good friend of mine read somewhere that it was better to leave his 2 way frig on all the time. He tried it and sure enough, it quit working (believe the heating element went out). On all the rigs we've had, i've always turned the frig off when not in use. We run the refrigerator while driving and of course when stopped and leveled. Knocking on wood now,, but we've never had a problem.

TonyMac, may i ask why you leave yours on?
Oddly enough as I know the family that owned from new my rig before me... I know this is what they believed. And honestly the fridge stank and ultimately got cooked. The stink is why we decided to replace the unit rather then rebuild it with a new cooling unit.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:08 AM   #13
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I would love to hear someone chime in if they have ever heard of this and if this works.



Oddly enough as I know the family that owned from new my rig before me... I know this is what they believed. And honestly the fridge stank and ultimately got cooked. The stink is why we decided to replace the unit rather then rebuild it with a new cooling unit.
My research concluded there is no way to unblock the cooling coils of a gas absorption refrigerator. If you look at the back of the unit you will see how the coils are designed and how the sizes change. I would submit if they could be unblocked we would not be having this discussion. The cumulative damage is not reversible. The only fix is to replace the unit or the coiling coils. The only answer is to longevity of the refrigerator is to be sure you level when parked or turn the unit off.

If you google "gas absorption law suit" you will find some interesting reading. I am one of many who are part of this lawsuit. These refrigerators have cooling coils with marginal wall thickness and have other design flaws which have caused untold number of fires. The sad part is that gas absorption refrigerate is not new technology. It was used back in the early 1900's. The RV version was built with cheap material and engineering took short cuts which in my opinion has caused this cooling and safety issue.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:22 AM   #14
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Side to side limit is usually given as 4 degrees. Front to back 6 degrees

Given a 40' RV and usual fridge location, that corresponds to front to back out of level of nearly 3 feet. Side to side out of level of 10".
This is very helpful. Could you post the mathematical formula you used as there are many different length rigs?
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