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Old 03-09-2016, 08:15 AM   #1
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Norcold Refer Not Cooling

Looked through other posts, here, and did a search, but couldn't find my problem discussed. So here goes:

We had a power outage at the park a couple of days ago. Lasted about 45 minutes. A couple of hours after power came back on, I noticed the meat in my freezer had lost its "frost". Checked the thermometer hanging in my refrigerator, and it was reading 45*, instead of the usual 35*. Refer light was on, and the Auto/Off/Gas lights on the control panel were working fine. Just not cooling. At the suggestion of another JOF member, I turned off the breaker at the pedestal, then back on, and did the same for the breakers in the Fuse/Breaker Panel. That seemed to do the trick, as I could "hear" the refer running, and it eventually cooled back down to its normal setting.

Yesterday, it stopped cooling again! Again, all lights working and I can "hear" the unit working . . . just not cooling. Repeated my breaker shut-down & restart, but without the success I had previously. I checked the Norcold manual, but My problem is not discussed. (In case you were wondering, the rig is level, and the ammonia accumulator tank is very hot!) The refrigerator doesn't cool on either electric or propane.
So here are my thoughts:

Either the thermostat clipped to the fins is bad, or all the ammonia has evaporated. Since I'm living in the trailer (in Texas, and my dealer is in Michigan), taking it into my dealer is not an option. I've got food going bad, so need an immediate fix. Also, the trailer is about 2 months past the 2-year warranty. So, what do you Norcold Guru's think? Should I just bite the bullet, and call a mobile repair service? Any help would be very much appreciated!
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:50 AM   #2
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Mobile repair guy. It may be an easy fix or time to consider a residential fridge replacement.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:57 AM   #3
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Norcold Refer update

Well, I ended up calling a local mobile RV repair service, who came out yesterday afternoon. As I suspected, the ammonia (coolant) had leaked out. According to the repairman, it's fairly common for the coils on the rear of the refer to develop pin holes in the weldments - even on new units. The ammonia can leak out slowly over time, or can literally "pop" and dump the ammonia all at once. A fine golden-tan "dust" on the floor of the refer compartment is an indication of a leak. The more dust, the more rapid the leak. I asked him if the leaking ammonia would set off the propane/CO detector. He confirmed it would. Mine went off every 15 minutes about a week ago . . . until I pulled it out of the wall & clipped the wires. Guess that's when it started leaking.

End result: I'm now without a refrigerator for about a week, while he orders a rebuilt coil, installs it on my refer, bench tests it, then returns & reinstalls my unit in my trailer. Total cost (including labor) = $825. Checked out new refer on campingworld.com and amazon for $1400-1800 + shipping. Rebuilt coil seemed like a better deal to me. (Just as an FYI, I'm 2 months out of my 2-year warranty, but Norcold only warrants the refer for 1 year.)
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:14 AM   #4
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Doesn't the Jayco warranty blanket the whole rig? Regardless of the component warranty?
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:51 AM   #5
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Yes, but I'm 2 months out of my 2-year warranty. Plan on calling Jayco Service Manager later today, to see if they'll cut me some slack & cover at least part of the cost.
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Old 03-11-2016, 03:02 PM   #6
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The fridge in our old hybrid was subject to the Dometic recall a few years ago. The dealer had installed the kit which was just intended to prevent a fire in case it did leak. And leak it did. After calling around and getting some prices, I thought that getting a refurbished cooling unit and doing the work myself was probably the best way to go. I read everything I could and watched lots of YouTube videos and replacing in the cooling unit wasn't as hard as you would think if you're halfway handy with tools... But it's not something I'd want to do every day.
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:25 AM   #7
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Norcold Final Update (Hopefully)

The mobile RV repair service called on Monday afternoon to say his coil rebuilder happened to have my model in stock. He had anticipated receiving it on Wednesday, but received it Monday morning. He had installed it and bench tested it, and was ready to bring the refer back out Tuesday a.m.

After letting it run for about 4 hours, I stuck my refer thermometer inside. I was reading 40* at setting 3 (out of 5) - should be about 34* - 38*. I kicked it up to 5 and put the thermometer in the freezer. After another 2 hours I checked the freezer temp. It was down to -2*! Slid the setting back down to 3, and the temp eventually went back up to 8* - right where you want it. After 2 days, the refer temp is still reading 40, but that may be because there is virtually nothing inside it. (Had to throw almost everything out, because it was starting to go bad while sitting in the cooler).

So for now, it looks like my refrigerator saga is over. If you're ever in the Texas Hill Country and need emergency mobile RV service, I'd highly recommend B.J.'s Mobile RV Service out of Kerrville. He'll travel within 120 miles, so he covers an area from Austin to San Antonio. He' very prompt, knows his stuff, and his prices are very reasonable (compared to what I've heard others pay for similar services from others).

So, until the next RV trauma comes along (seems like there's always something waiting in the wings), I'm one happy camper again!
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownie View Post
Yes, but I'm 2 months out of my 2-year warranty. Plan on calling Jayco Service Manager later today, to see if they'll cut me some slack & cover at least part of the cost.
Jayco has been good to original owners so it pays to persist with them directly on this. It might take a little while, but it costs nothing to ask. I've had them step up outside the "window".

Good Luck.
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