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Old 08-03-2011, 06:39 AM   #1
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Newbie need fridge help

Hi fellow RV'rs:

OK I'm a total newbie. I just joined irv2 just yesterday. I inherited a 1990 Bounder 34s motor home with only 6800 miles on it from my father. It is a class A, 34 foot motor home with no slide outs. My father had purchased it brand new to live in after his home burned down in a wildfire. He just lived in it until his home was rebuilt and then he took it on a few trips but it mostly just sat. He kept it in case of another fire (he lived it a very high fire area of CA). It sat uncovered in a field on his property but some health problems lead him 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 and was able to 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 but the 8 cubic refrigerator/freezer 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 but it just makes a strange gurgling sound and doesn't get cold. Can I fix it myself? Should hire a pro? or is it smarter to just buy a new one? Could mice have built nests in the tube that goes up to the roof or something? Also, is it generally better to run the refrigerator on gas or electric normally? Which is the best way to go for costs and efficiency?

I'm trying to get up to speed on motor-home knowledge and I have been busy working on digging out mice nests and using a lot of disinfectant and cleaning this thing inside and out as well as fixing some other sun damaged things and any advice would make me forever grateful. The engine is hardly used and I want to get this thing on the road again! I can hardly wait for my first adventure!
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:04 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! You'll probably get more responses to your fridge questions if you post them in the "RV Systems and Appliances" section. Good luck
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:17 AM   #3
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Make sure the RV is parked LEVEL. Use blocks under the wheels to get it to where it feels comfortable inside to walk around and sit. Its very important that your fridge is LEVEL when you turn it on.

Certainly clean up any mouse nests or debris that you find- these can start fires and electrical shorts as well as being unsanitary.

Second, try running an extension cord just for the fridge (you'll find the plug behind the vent door on the outside).

Make sure you have selected 120 v AC on the selector switch on the front of the fridge, and turn it to max cool.

Give the fridge 8-10 hours to cool down. Absorption refrigerators are very slow to cool. If it cools on electricity, next you can try gas. Let the fridge warm back up first.

Before you try the fridge on gas, try lighting the stove. Give it a minute or two- the pipes may be full of air. The fridge will shut down the ignition process quickly if it doesn't light immediately, so let the stove get the propane flowing well first.

If you can't get the stove to light, you may have no propane in the tank, OR the propane detector needs to be reset. You will have to drive the rig to a local propane dealer or farm store to get the onboard tank filled.

Look for a flat, rectangular plastic unit set low in the wall, probably in the hallway by the bathroom door., probably says Safety Alert. (you may need to get down on hands and knees to read it). There will be a little reset lever on the left? side. When you flip the lever, a beeping sound may come on for a while, and then eventually go off after a few minutes, and I think a green light flashes.

The propane detector is meant to shut down the flow of gas if it detects a leak in the coach. Great safety feature, but they will also detect other things. Don't let the dog sleep near it!

See if refilling the tank and resetting the detector work to get the gas flowing, and try lighting the Fridge again.

RV refrigerators will work most efficiently on gas, but electric is fine if you are usually plugged in at campgrounds or running the generator.

New ones are very costly, starting around $1000 and going up. Many people elect to replace just the cooling unit ($400-$800) or install a small residential 120 v AC unit.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:18 AM   #4
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Join us over at the Vintage Forum; lots of help there on your older rig.

And welcome to RVing!
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:49 AM   #5
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Welcome Tyler6357 to irv2.
Follow the Chiefs tips first.
What you may need is a good cleaning of your fridge. This thread will give you some tips on how to go about it.
A contact spray cleaner can be use to clean the wire leads spade tips and prongs on your control board.
Reconnect and clean the 12V leads feeding the fridge.
If your house battery is good the control panel will operate.
The gurgling maybe the internal fluids of cooling unit flowing as it should and should settle down once all fluids mix & flow.
If once you get it working on gas than try on AC if it still trips you may have a shorted electric element that can be replaced.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:44 AM   #6
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IRV2 rocks

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone! I feel like I'm among friends already. By the way, the two 6 volt batteries are holding a charge (I had to buy a start up battery to get it started). The stove, oven and heater for the coach are working well. The propane tank was still 10% full. The pilot light for the fridge ignites and I can hear it start up and start burning gas, I can hear the fluids gurgling from the outside but no coldness in the fridge. I will follow Chief's advice and thanks 007 for the link!! I think I will need to clean it out even if I do get it working. Mice suck!
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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Hi Tyler, Welcome to RVing and good luck on your Bounder. If the tires on the MH are 5 years or older and have been exposed to the California sun , you should look into replacing them regardless of how much tread there is on them. - Nothing worse than having a major tire problem while on the road. It can spoil a nice day real quick.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:56 PM   #8
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Your fridge when new would require at least 12 to 24 hours to cool to proper temps, if your in heat its going to be on long side.
After a few hours you will feel the metal plate in freezer getting cold its not like a house fridge it takes time.
When you load it have food as cold as possible and not packed in.
If you can precool food in house fridge.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:02 PM   #9
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I just went to a RV class on this subject. Inside the cooling tubes there is a chemacal powder that inhibits rust..either from sitting or being run out of level for a extended period of time, that chemacal has crystallized and formed a "clot"..that is the gurgling sound that you hear.If you take it to a service center they will charge you an arm and a leg to tell you that you need a new one.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler6357 View Post
Hi fellow RV'rs:

OK I'm a total newbie. I just joined irv2 just yesterday. I inherited a 1990 Bounder 34s motor home with only 6800 miles on it from my father.
Tyler6357, For the BEST possible information about your RV refrigerator you may want to follow this Blog submitted by: SUMDALUS.

You can start anywhere you want but you will find a lot of information about your RV refrigerator. Click on the name.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:29 PM   #11
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Great replies. I have an 89 Class A Safari Seregeti and can totally relate to your issue. I did everything possible to get mine to function properly as it would not cool enough to keep food safe. I finally just gave up and ripped it out of the RV and replaced it with a good old fashioned regular electric fridge from home depot.....I think it was a larger cubic footage but fit in the same built in space. I made sure I had a qualified friend, disconnect and close off the propane pipe that fed the old fridge.

Only problem with what I did.....is that the new fridge (Under $300) tended to stop cooling properly as the condenser would freeze up and then the fridge would have to be unplugged for 24 hours to unfreeze in order to function properly............it would do this because of the INTENSE heat in Houston in the summer. So, I took the fridge out of the built in wall unit and put shelving in there to make a small pantry.

Best of luck.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:09 AM   #12
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Meowers,you could of stopped the freezing problem by installing a fan by the condenser to draw some of the heat away...I live in Conroe, Tx about 50 miles north of you and it's hotter than hot here, we haven't had more than 1 inch of rain since Christmas
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Old 08-06-2011, 04:19 PM   #13
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Hi TX ED, Yes, I did do that first and it still wasn't efficient to keep the condenser from freezing up....removing the fridge from the wall unit was my last alternative, but was so tired of losing food and storing food in the neighbor's fridge every time it happened.
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