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Old 10-17-2016, 05:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Jonesboro
Posts: 6
A (not so) unusual cause of propane RV refrigerator malfunction

I am writing because this is a recurring problem in many cases of equipment malfunction in the area I live in. Today I was engaged in the longer than expected rehabilitation of a motorhome that had sat untended for two years. Of course, the generator wouldn't start. Leave one for two months and your chances are 50/50. I filled the propane tank and the water heater checked out fine. The stove burners lit. I had to clean out a mouse nest from the oven, constructed of fiberglass insulation, probably from around the oven. After disposing of that, the oven lit OK. The refrigerator had checked out OK on electric power, but now was the time to see if it would run on propane. Initially it lit, but after a minute I got the "no flame" code. I took the outside cover off and inspected it. No obvious problems were seen, but soon after igniting, yellow flames were visible outside the flame shroud. After shutting it off and doing some disassembling, it became obvious what the problem was. A mud dauber nest was in the burner tube. It was completely blocked. I drilled out the nest, washed and blew out the tube, and reassembled it, and was rewarded with the reassuring blue flame and no error code. I had had a similar incident this summer with a four wheeler that would sputter and stall out at high RPMs and under load. It showed all the signs of air starvation. This one I had predicted. Sure enough, the snorkel (air intake) was almost occluded by a golf ball sized mud dauber nest. After cleaning it out I glued a screen over the snorkel entrance. For those of you in the South (and maybe elsewhere), always consider the possibility that these little creatures may have built a nest in your machinery. It seems there is no hole too small for them to get into and no end to the head scratching you may do trying to figure out what is wrong with your stuff. When I get this RV back together I'm going to put screens on the inside of the outdoor covers to the refrigerator, water heater, furnace, and every other vulnerable entrance to these pests.

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Old 10-17-2016, 05:52 PM   #2
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Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 9,371
Good info to be aware of with any gas appliance. I live in the south and have never had a dirt dauber problem in my camper but we use it a lot.

It could happen and I am planning to put some screening on both of my fridge vents.

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Old 10-17-2016, 05:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Dripping Springs
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Good advice. In fact the tech at the dealer when we bought ours recommended screens as the first mod I did to the trailer. I live outside Austin Tx and mud daubers build nests everywhere and they are darn near indestructible!
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:53 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: North Central
Posts: 55
Ahhhhhh! I have declared war on those little things. My wife thinks I have 'issues'. I see them fly under my MH all the time and I will literally chase them down until I get them.

They cause a lot of damage around here. I left my shop door open one day and 1/2 of my air chucks had mud nests built in them. I can't imagine where they have built nests in my MH but this gives me some ideas. Grrrrrrr!
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