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Old 04-23-2008, 03:26 PM   #15
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DadD45,
I went through this in December,ie: Took the rig in for the recall, Yellow stain on the bottom of the flu-- New cooling unit required. Dometic has a 5 year window on this problem and the cooling unit was replaced. They authorized a replacement unit and 4 hrs of labor to install. It took 6 hours, so I paid the extra 2 hours, I guess, for the techs lunch break-- I was glad to do it! They go from the date you tell them that the unit was put into service!

My friend with an '04 Dutch Star had the ammonia smell and yellow stain, last month-- He ended up paying for the whole works, about $2000. His warranty was only 3 years. I guess they extended the warranty period for the ones that fell into the recall.

Good luck
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:40 AM   #16
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by hamguy:
"but the hydroden gas that is the cooling system is very flammable."

What hydrogen gas in what cooling system?

I'm confused
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

These refridgerators use a refridgerant that is made up of somewhere around a 50/50 mix of anhydrous amonia and water with a bit of zinc chromate thrown in to help retard corrosion of the steel tubing and other steel components used in the system. Copper does not hold up well to amonia so steel is usually used and sometimes aluminum. When they leak the zinc chromate is what causes the yellow stains.

One common occurance with this type of system is the buildup of non-condensible gas (hydrogen) in such great ammounts so as to cause a reduction or total loss of cooling. This causes the system to run hot which accelerates the corrosion of the steel tubing and increase the buildup of hydrogen inside the sealed system. Now if the system has not developed a leak the usual cure is to bleed off the hydrogen through a bucket of water. You will know you have gotten all the hydrogen out as it will bubble up through the water however when the amonia gas starts flowing, since amonia has an affinity with water, the bubbling will stop until the water reaches its saturation point with the amonia and then it will start bubbling again off gassing anhydrous amonia. You don't want to be around beyond the most breif moment of off gassing.

According to some of the insurance websites I have visited a refridgerator fire is one of the more common causes of fire losses in RV's.

I serviced mostly commercial systems and the fire damage in those usually involved the wires getting singed in a free standing metal unit sitting away from the buildings. In the enclosed space of an RV I would guess the chances of igniting the structure would be greater and is evidenced by the sections on the insurance web site commenting on RV refridgerator fires. In a regular home most building codes reqire the amonia refridgerators have a fire rated structure surrounding/behind them.

Check out the links below:

http://www.rvappraisals.com/fire-investigations.htm

Help! 5th wheel burned down this weekend
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:19 AM   #17
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Ammonia (NH3) can break down into free hydrogen under certain conditions, but don't know if those conditions can ever occur in an ammonia (absorption) fridge. I suppose anything is possible if the fridge has gone bad, i.e. is no longer "working as designed". Not something to lose sleep over, in my opinion. On the other hand, why take chances with a caustic chemical leaking from a fridge that is not working anyway? Shut it off if that happens. Norcold had added a built-in safety check for this condition - if the fridge is running for a period of time but not cooling, it automatically shuts down. [This is the dreaded "No Co" fault that requires a manual reset of the controller board].
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:36 PM   #18
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RV Roamer:
Ammonia (NH3) can break down into free hydrogen under certain conditions, but don't know if those conditions can ever occur in an ammonia (absorption) fridge. I suppose anything is possible if the fridge has gone bad, i.e. is no longer "working as designed". Not something to lose sleep over, in my opinion. On the other hand, why take chances with a caustic chemical leaking from a fridge that is not working anyway? Shut it off if that happens. Norcold had added a built-in safety check for this condition - if the fridge is running for a period of time but not cooling, it automatically shuts down. [This is the dreaded "No Co" fault that requires a manual reset of the controller board]. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It (hydrogen build up) happened all the time in the larger systems I used to service. Somewhere around the #3 reason we would be called out on the Servel units. Note that Dometic and Servel are under the same corporate umbrella.

There was usually plenty of evidence of cooling loss before enough hydrogen would build up to pass through the burner section of a cooling unit.

Loose sleep over it? No not unless you continually neglect the system and never have it checked or serviced or ignore the warning signs when it is not working properly.
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:55 PM   #19
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Max H, seems Dometic no longer observes the "5 year window" for this problem...just got off phone AND email to them and they won't repair OR replace since the unit is over 3 years old...our dealer service manager by phone says $1060 + labor for cooling unit OR $1450 + labor for NEW reefer....go figure......this RVing thing may put me in the "poor house" yet...
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:08 PM   #20
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by DadD45:
Max H, seems Dometic no longer observes the "5 year window" for this problem...just got off phone AND email to them and they won't repair OR replace since the unit is over 3 years old...our dealer service manager by phone says $1060 + labor for cooling unit OR $1450 + labor for NEW reefer....go figure......this RVing thing may put me in the "poor house" yet... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I had the Norcold rebuilt in my old Vectra. I saved a lot of $$ buy taking the motorhome directly to the people that rebuild the cooling units. If I would have taken it to a RV dealer they would have removed the unit and taken it to the rebuilder. Thus I would have paid a middle man and an RV dealer is an expensive middle man.

I suggest searching the net for LP fridge service or look in the yellow pages.

I couple years ago I paid $680 for rebuilding my big Norcold unit, removal and reinstall and he gave me a 100% 3 year warranty on the cooling unit. I drove the coach to the rebuilder, they removed the fridge and I drove the coach home because my wife wanted to use it over July 4th. A week later I drove back and they reinstalled the fridge in about an hour and I was on my way. Fridge worked like new.

-Tom
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