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Old 10-04-2009, 05:49 PM   #1
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Fridge operation while travelling?

Another question for you nice people. I have a 99 Jayco Eagle FBS 266. I am the third owner.....it has been used very little and is in excellent shape. I am going out on the maiden voyage for us in a few days and am getting it ready and testing all functions. Everything seems to work fine, but I have a question about the Fridge is the Norcold N841. Here is the question:

What do most people do when travelling to a destination four to five hours away, as far as the fridge is concerned. I've been told to start up the fridge with AC the day before to get it cold. Sounds reasonable. What about the trip to your destination. Do you run it on propane during travel? That seems dangerous and with all the wind, I would expect that the flame might blow out. I don't know if the DC battery on the tongue will power the fridge, but even if it did, I'm not sure I would want to use it to keep the fridge going, because I have an electric tongue jack and I want the batter on the tongue to be charged up for that when I get to unhitching. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. I'm sorry for probably repeating this question....I'm sure some of these get asked a lot by newbies. Thanks for all your help.


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Old 10-04-2009, 06:14 PM   #2
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Start the frig at least 24 hours before you plan to load it and load it with only cool food. As for on the road, use the propane. It will need 12 volts to run the controls, but uses very little power. If your batteries are charged you can run the frig for days with the batteries and the propane.

You should also have the car plug wired so that it charges the batteries while on the road.

You will hear stories of trailers exploding while on propane frig, but no one has ever been able to point to a real life case.


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Old 10-04-2009, 07:08 PM   #3
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Zackley What the Ice man said....

Ive cruised all across the country... and then some always ran the fridge. There is a shield to protect the flame from wind, the electronics will keep it lit.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:57 PM   #4
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I start the fridge the day before we go, and turn it off when we get back home.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:06 PM   #5
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Gee, guess we are a little strange. We fire up the refer 48 hours before departure. Load the food 24 hours before and switch to gas 1 hour before during hitching process. Yes, leave the gas on. Only caution is turn the propane off before fueling your vehicle as a gas station. Are there fires because the gas is on during travel? most certainly yes. But I would be willing to guess that most of those fires would have happened even when parked and were caused by faulty components.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:13 PM   #6
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We start the Fridge the afternoon before we leave and when it's cold enough we load it. The time varies with the weather. It can take several hours for the frezzer to get down to temp. The more cold stuff in it the better it holds temp. We leave it on while driving running on propane. The 12 V disconnect is always enabled when we drive because for some reason the radio is powered by the disconnected 12 v. One of the last things on our departure check-list is to insure the Check Light isn't lit and the fridge is on LPG. If it's on AC I haven't unplugged yet . If the check light is on we restart it until it isn't. It's not like it's on constantly only when needed and if the doors aren't opened then you won't use much propane at all. The 12vdc draw is really low but needed.

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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I leave ours on automatic and do not touch it unless I am going through a tunnel where I have to turn it off and shut off the gas. I shut the fridge off first and then the gas. If I don't do it this way it brings in a alarm. I have been over 40k miles with this fiver and never a problem with the fridge. I also just leave it on unless I am not going to be using it for a couple of months.
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Old 10-05-2009, 06:34 AM   #8
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I think most of us leave the frig on gas operation during travel except in tunnels. As stated, the battery should be recharging while driving.

If you feel uncomfortable leaving it on, turn off the gas. If the frig is good and cold (meaning turned on about 24 hours before leaving), it will stay cold for many hours. On the Alaska ferry, one leg required the gas to be turned off for over 14 hours. The freezer was 11 degrees when we checked it once off the ferry - - thank goodness - - it was loaded with salmon and halibut.

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Old 10-05-2009, 06:45 AM   #9
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We always start it on gas just to make sure it works and then turn it to auto a day before it's loaded. We have traveled a lot over the years and have never seen a tunnel that required us to turn off our propane.

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Old 10-05-2009, 06:52 AM   #10
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My driveway slopes more than allowed for running a refrigerator. (6 degrees side-to-side, and 3 degrees front-to-back, looking at the front of the refrigerator.)

So, we wait until we are ready to pull out before loading the refrigerator. I have french doors with double freezer. I'll fill two large zip lock bags with ice cubes and place them in the freezer compartments, then we load all the cold food into freezer and refrigerator compartments. Just before we pull out I will put the refrigerator on Automatic and it will switch to the propane mode. Six hours later when we arrive, and the soft drinks during the trip, remain cold, and the refrigerator has caught up with the demand.

Look at your manual to see what degree of level is needed to operate your refrigerator and go from there. Operating it out of specification will, even after an accumulated period of time, ruin the refrigerator.

Good luck.
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Old 10-05-2009, 06:57 PM   #11
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I have been rving since 1974 and i always travel with fridge on lp, never had a problem. I turn it on two days before i leave , fill it up with cold food and go from there. Just have your co pilot turn it off when you stop to refuel.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:12 PM   #12
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Congrats on your new (to you) Eagle 266 FBS. I have the same Jayco TT but a year newer. Since we're on the subject of refrigerators, I want to make you aware of a recall that occurred way back in 2001-2002 for Norcold N8xx refrigerators. The N841 in my 2000 Eagle 266 FBS was involved in this recall so the possibility exists that yours might have been one of the recalled refrigerators too.

Now, before you panic, please keep in mind that one of the previous owners may have already participated in the recall and your refrigerator is fine. It's also possible that your refrigerator wasn't involved at all. But I'd rather post the the recall information for you to investigate for your own safety and peace of mind.

N600 and N800 Series Models
1082 Free-Standing LP Model

Norcold has voluntarily recalled N841, N821, N641, N621 and 1082 gas/electric refrigerators built in 1999. Affected models have a cooling unit serial number (found on the solution chamber and viewed through the refrigerator vent door outside the RV) from 1038000-1099000.

The defect is a potential cooling unit leak caused during AC electric mode operation. If a leak occurs, the refrigerator's cooling performance will deteriorate and a yellow powder residue will be evident at the cooling unit's heating element. Because extended operation of a leaking cooling unit in the AC electric mode may result in a fire, immediate replacement of the cooling unit is required.

Some customers have previously had a heater element in your cooling unit replaced - we now want to replace the entire cooling unit in your refrigerator.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause, we do want to assure your refrigerator provides you years of safe, reliable and dependable service.

An affected refrigerator without a leak must still be serviced to have its cooling unit replaced to prevent any potential future problem.

Persons owning one of the affected models should:
  • Turn Off the refrigerator. Do not use it until it has been repaired
  • Contact a Dealer/Service Center to arrange a service date as soon as possible. The cooling unit will be replaced. There is no charge for parts and labor.
  • Call Norcold at 1-800-767-9101: with any questions; to obtain the location of the nearest Norcold Service Center; or if the Dealer/Service Center fails to, or is unable to, remedy this defect without charge or within a reasonable time.
I hope you enjoy your Eagle 266 FBS. We are nearing the completion of the tenth camping season in ours and it has served us well. If you have any questions/concerns about your rig, please don't hesitate to post them or contact me via a private message through this website.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:13 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
Only caution is turn the propane off before fueling your vehicle as a gas station.
I used to practice this religiously, now I don't even bother. Fumes would have to knee-deep or better before they'd reach the fridge vent on the opposite side of my trailer.

I do, however, make a point of selecting the outer pumps.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:30 AM   #14
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Did not know

I didn't know there was a certain level where you would not run the frig. Why are you not able to run the frig if the rv is not level?

Also, we leave our rv plugged into power all summer with the frig on auto and the frig full of food. We unplug during out final walk around just before we pull out of the driveway. It's runs on propane the whole trip until we get to our destination and plug the power in. Never had a problem.

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