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Old 08-12-2016, 09:45 PM   #1
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HELP - Refrigerator failing

OK, so I will sum up my experience this weekend. We are currently camping in Dallas, arriving from Iowa via Kansas City this evening.

Wednesday night, I pulled the RV out about 5PM and started the fridge on Max on Gas (I cant really plug it in at home as I have to park on the road and cross the sidewalk). 24 hours later, the refrigerator was only down to about 50 Degrees in the fridge. I did hear the 12volt fan up top running when at home. The high on Thursday was 89 and it was fairly humid.

We got to AC power in Kansas City last night, plugged the unit in overnight, this morning it was down to 33 degrees in the refrigerator compartment.

Today, we travelled with the unit running on gas, it maintained the low 40's, but now we are parked in Dallas, temperature is in the high 80's, and even at 10:40PM its nearly 50 degrees. Needless to day, I have moved everything to the outdoor compressor fridge and a cooler at this point.

I suspect the fan may have failed, its not running at all now, on electric, gas, or even after power cycling (I even pulled the 12 volt fuse). It was definitely working Wednesday, but its definitely not now. Driving down the road would have given some air flow, but now that its still it seems to be climbing.

Any pointers to check here, or advice how to even get to that fan? Should that fan be on ALL the time that the refrigerator is on, or is it on some sort of a thermocouple switch? Is the fan a norcold standard or is that something Jayco has stuck in there since the refrigerator is in a slide (29BHDS) and it doesn't exactly have a "chimney" on the roof to force air thru it better?

The fan doesn't seem real accessible thru toe top exterior access, you can see it thru the bottom but its several feet above it and not reachable. Please tell me I don't have to pull the fridge out. If thats the case I may just go without it this weekend and it will find the dealer early next week.

I did limited looking tonight, its dark and raining, but I can see the fan, its not turning. It could be as simple as a loose connection for all I know, but I have to get to the thing.
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:23 AM   #2
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Sorry you are having problems. My rig has that same fan in the area between the two vents on my slide. My experience is that your problem is elsewhere as long as the stack is open. My fridge works flawlessly even though the vent fan only runs occasionally when I am sitting in direct sun on the hottest of days.

I would key in on something restricting the small flame that is in the burner. Any heat it generates will flow upward naturally. My guess is something is preventing the gas/oxygen mix in that tube form doing its job of heating the coolant and should work normally without that fan even in the hottest of weather..
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:33 AM   #3
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Sorry you are having problems. My rig has that same fan in the area between the two vents on my slide. My experience is that your problem is elsewhere as long as the stack is open. My fridge works flawlessly even though the vent fan only runs occasionally when I am sitting in direct sun on the hottest of days.

I would key in on something restricting the small flame that is in the burner. Any heat it generates will flow upward naturally. My guess is something is preventing the gas/oxygen mix in that tube form doing its job of heating the coolant and should work normally without that fan even in the hottest of weather..
Norty is on the right track. The reason your fan may not be coming on is the thermodisc that is connected to the condenser tube may be bad. Or better yet with the unit running on gas, like Norty said check that burner. If it is not operating properly, it won't get hot enough and turn on the fan.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:08 AM   #4
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Norty is on the right track. The reason your fan may not be coming on is the thermodisc that is connected to the condenser tube may be bad. Or better yet with the unit running on gas, like Norty said check that burner. If it is not operating properly, it won't get hot enough and turn on the fan.
I think the burner is working OK from what I can see. Its also an issue on electric and I don't think that uses the flame.

So what I am gathering there is a thermodisc that turns on the fan, its not simply on any time the refrigerator is running?
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:11 AM   #5
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Correct. All I have ever seen have a thermal disk in contact with the hot pipe. It is firmly attached with heat proof tape or tie wraps and completes the circuit to power the fan.

As I said earlier mine fell off once and the fridge was not affected.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:39 AM   #6
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I think the burner is working OK from what I can see. Its also an issue on electric and I don't think that uses the flame.

So what I am gathering there is a thermodisc that turns on the fan, its not simply on any time the refrigerator is running?
OK, I found the thermocouple on the rear coils right inside the upper cover area. Man some light makes a huge difference. i unhooked the leads and bypassed them (using a highly technical tool, a metal fork) and the fan came right no, so its not a bad fan. Its currently 78 with 82% humidity, so a little cooler than last night, the refrigerator is on the coldest setting and sitting at 39-40, usually it would be freezing water on the top shelf right now. Freezer is still doing OK.

The coils were warm but not overly hot. Since when the unit wouldn't get much below 50 last night the fan wasn't engaging however, I suspect the thermocouple. I will stop at a camping world and see if they have one or even easier, create a bypass cord temporarily, see if that doesn't solve it.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:59 AM   #7
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LOL, a fork is not just for eating!

I would jumper around that thermocouple before even going to look for a replacement to eliminate it but usually when it's gone, it doesn't work at all.
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Old 08-13-2016, 08:03 AM   #8
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The stack fan on my rig never did work even in 100 degree weather. I bypassed the thermal disc with an automotive fuse (fits right into the blade connectors) and installed a switch behind the lower vent cover.
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Old 08-13-2016, 08:16 AM   #9
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The stack fan on my rig never did work even in 100 degree weather. I bypassed the thermocouple with an automotive fuse (fits right into the blade connectors) and installed a switch behind the lower vent cover.

I think we are interchanging thermocouple with thermal disk. They are not the same.

Thermal disk: https://www.amazon.com/Emerson-3F05-...s=thermal+disc
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Old 08-13-2016, 08:38 AM   #10
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I think we are interchanging thermocouple with thermal disk. They are not the same.
Right you are Norty. The temperature sensor thingy and not a flame sensor. Just got lazy and turned off my brain.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:28 AM   #11
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Yes, thermodisc or thermal disk, not thermocouple. Mine us actually screwed into one of the cooling fins at the top left just inside the upper compartment.

I am just going to Bypass it for now. I dont suppose that 12v hot wire is wired to the refrigerator power is it, is it straight hot from the trailer box?
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:44 AM   #12
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If you pull off the wires from the thermal disk just connect them together or put temporarily a switch in between. Or go to a plumbing/heating supplier and get a new one. Or a RV dealer.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:12 AM   #13
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It is actually a heat controlled switch. If it is not secured to the pipe and of the correct temperature, it will never close.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:05 PM   #14
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Thermostat power is switched by the fridge switch. Fridge off secures power to the disc.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:19 PM   #15
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Hi All. So I hard wired the fan with a spare 15A fuse, bypassed the Thermal Disk all together. That solved the issue when on electricity, temperature was easily under 35, I had to turn the thermostat down a little to keep it from freezing the refrigerator area. I also added a battery operated fan inside to circulate the air.

Traveling back today, outside temperature was 75-80. I was running on LP, Fan was still in "always on" mode and it ALMOST maintained temperature, but when we would open the fridge, it would never recover By the time we got to our night spot, we were at 44, we want to see it at 40 or below. I have looked thru the small access hole, the flame is lit, I haven't done much more than that. The only thing that has really changed recently is on our last trip in early July we did run out of gas and switched to the second tank for the first time (Our dealer advised us to just keep it on 1 tank, and manually switch, not leave the regulator in the auto switch position). I had the empty tank filled tonight and am going to try running off that tank tomorrow and see if there is any difference, I suppose there is a chance this may be the regulator and its just not pumping enough gas back there but I am grasping at straws here. We also just put the thermometer in the refrigerator, so honestly I cant be 100% sure this hasn't been an issue all along, although it has in the past cooled down within 12-18 hours to quite cool on gas, this trip it didn't. I am not sure we have really used the outside grill our stove since we did this switch. Otherwise I will just have the dealer look at it in September when they winterize and do my laundry list of warranty issues.

My only question at this point, is my expectation unreasonable that when running on Gas the refrigerator should cool just as good as (if not better) than when on electric?
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:43 PM   #16
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Your expectation is correct...the fridges always seem to work better on gas for me. We are on our 3rd Norcold fridge.
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:09 PM   #17
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Hi All. So I hard wired the fan with a spare 15A fuse, bypassed the Thermal Disk all together. That solved the issue when on electricity, temperature was easily under 35, I had to turn the thermostat down a little to keep it from freezing the refrigerator area. I also added a battery operated fan inside to circulate the air.

Traveling back today, outside temperature was 75-80. I was running on LP, Fan was still in "always on" mode and it ALMOST maintained temperature, but when we would open the fridge, it would never recover By the time we got to our night spot, we were at 44, we want to see it at 40 or below. I have looked thru the small access hole, the flame is lit, I haven't done much more than that. The only thing that has really changed recently is on our last trip in early July we did run out of gas and switched to the second tank for the first time (Our dealer advised us to just keep it on 1 tank, and manually switch, not leave the regulator in the auto switch position). I had the empty tank filled tonight and am going to try running off that tank tomorrow and see if there is any difference, I suppose there is a chance this may be the regulator and its just not pumping enough gas back there but I am grasping at straws here. We also just put the thermometer in the refrigerator, so honestly I cant be 100% sure this hasn't been an issue all along, although it has in the past cooled down within 12-18 hours to quite cool on gas, this trip it didn't. I am not sure we have really used the outside grill our stove since we did this switch. Otherwise I will just have the dealer look at it in September when they winterize and do my laundry list of warranty issues.

My only question at this point, is my expectation unreasonable that when running on Gas the refrigerator should cool just as good as (if not better) than when on electric?
Is there a chance when you opened the valve on the 2nd propane tank you "tripped" the safety device and it has minimized your gas flow?
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:12 PM   #18
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Our Norcold Fridge is the last 4 months constant running on electric and no problems at all. Never lost a Fridge in 50 years (my luck) always do regular maintenance and protect from winter weather. The Fridges are designed to keep the temperature in the boiler at the same for gas or electric.
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:17 PM   #19
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not sure that you have a thermistor or not but our fridge had the same type issues and it turned out to be the location of the thermistor on the fins.
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