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Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
8/21/21 9:46 a.m.

I leave mine on "Auto".   If I'm plugged into shore power or running the genset it runs on electricity.  If no electricity it runs on propane.   

Are you plugged into shore power?  If not, do you have Propane in the tank, and is the valve open?

I usually turn it on 12 hours before its needed, to get it fully cooled down.

When I shut it off after a trip, I block the doors open so it will dry out and not mildew.

 

New York Nick
New York Nick Reader
8/21/21 9:51 a.m.

One thing I would do with the water heater and the fridge is open up the access panels on the outside and make sure no animals or bugs have made nests. If the propane pieces of the burners are partially blocked it can cause a fire. I had dirt dobbers in my water heater burner and it made a smokey mess for me to clean up. 

For the fridge make sure the temp adjuster is on the fins. I took mine on a long trip and it fell off, it's a hookie little deal the farther up it is the cooler it will be, if it fell off it will be hot. After I reattached mine (just a little plastic clip) I put a binder clip on it to hold it in place.

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/21/21 11:31 a.m.

Going back to some basics, I suggest that you get it on the scales at a truck stop.  It will give you the axle weights.  It looks like you have a lot of rear overhang.  With the axle weights you can then go to the tire company charts for tire pressures, otherwise run them at max suggested (80 psi).  You are toting a lot of weight there.  When you weigh it, gas full, fresh water full, grey and black empty.

 

Good luck - it looks great!

 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/21/21 3:35 p.m.

In reply to New York Nick :

Ooh thanks - yeah I'm finding their nests in the slide-outs, around the water pump under the bed, and almost everywhere else I look that isn't an easily cleaned interior area. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/21/21 3:40 p.m.

In reply to glueguy (Forum Supporter) :

Granted, it's probably less actuate than a truck stop, but I found a decal in one of the cabinets last night that lists the weights:

  • Empty, with a full tank of fuel/oil/coolant - 11,400lbs
  • Full water tank - 382lbs
  • Full propane tank - 41lbs
  • GVWR - 14,050lbs
  • Front axle weight - 4600lbs
  • Rear axle weight - 9450lbs
03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/21/21 6:05 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

Probably a dumb question, but how is the refrigerator supposed to work?

The RV has been plugged into shore power for almost 24 hours. The seller said it takes about 12 hours for the fridge to cool down. I double-checked it last night - the power button is in/on, pushing the other button only toggles the amber "Auto" light on/of. The fridge is actually warmer than ambient temp inside the RV(which is already warm since the a/c is off. 
 

How do I make the fridge work?

I glanced at the link posted, and it looks like a great site!

The fridg is an ammonia refrigerant / absorption. The site can explain that better than I. But one point. It uses either a flame, or an electric heating element to expand the ammonia / oil mix. When not used for a while, the oil settles out of suspension, and it does not circulate well enough to cool. I have know old timers with smaller propane fridg's in their cabins; after setting a while, they turn the fridge over ever hr or so a few times to mix the oil back in (at least that's how they explained it to me!) Since the whole RV is a bit hard to turn over, heating it (10 - 12 hrs or so) gets it "percolating" and mixes it back in so it can start cooling properly.

I have found that, when both systems are working correctly, that propane heat cools a bit better than the resistive heating element, and is also more efficient. Also leaves more amperage to use on other stuff! (like SHMBO's hair dryer and curling iron - don't get me started)

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
8/21/21 6:51 p.m.

One thing everyone forgets:

When you outfit your rig for travel, please buy some plastic dishes and cutlery.

Everyone fills their motorhome with "the old stuff from the house" and by the time you have a load of water, all your toys and camping gak and all those heavy old ceramic dishes and cast-iron cookware, you're overloaded.

Do yourself a favour, buy lightweight stuff, lay out everything you're absolutely sure you're going to need and leave half of it at home.

03Panther
03Panther UltraDork
8/21/21 10:29 p.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

Very well said! My wife found, even with a well appointed kitchen in our rv, using the plastic utensils saved on doing dishes. Something she's never minded, but enjoyed the break, from time to time. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 7:56 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I found the Dometic manual for this fridge, and it sounds like even on shore power it still needs 12v to operate. I hadn't switched on the house batteries since the lights & a/c work with them off, but I'll turn the batteries & fridge on in a bit & see if it starts working by tomorrow. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 7:57 a.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

Oh yeah, we've discussed that! Fortunately we have quite the collection of packaged plastic cutlery from GrubHub/Door Dash, so we're set there. Just need to pick up some plactic plates & bowls sometime. 

birdmayne
birdmayne New Reader
8/22/21 8:39 a.m.

Those fridges are really easy to diagnose if they aren't working properly. Less easy to repair, but certainly attainable. 

03Panther is right on the money with it. 

 

You should not need house batteries on to run the fridge. Pull the outside cover and check the 110V outlet there on the left hand side. If it is working properly and you still have no cooling on shore power, check power to the heating rod using an Amp clamp and confirm heating chamber is getting hot. 

 

Also inspect for yellow oily residue, indication of cooling unit failure. 

Also, it would be a good thing to manually switch to LP and test that burner / ignitor as well. 

 

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/22/21 9:58 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to glueguy (Forum Supporter) :

Granted, it's probably less actuate than a truck stop, but I found a decal in one of the cabinets last night that lists the weights:

  • Empty, with a full tank of fuel/oil/coolant - 11,400lbs
  • Full water tank - 382lbs
  • Full propane tank - 41lbs
  • GVWR - 14,050lbs
  • Front axle weight - 4600lbs
  • Rear axle weight - 9450lbs

Those are the Ford chassis max allowables.  That's why front + rear = GVW.  They give the unloaded weight at 11,400 but you don't know the F/R split of that.  For example, the placement of the water tank and that 382 lb can be really important.  And every pound of plastic utensil (great tip), bedding, clothes, shampoo, and of course beverages adds up.

Our 31 foot class C had the fresh tank at the far rear.  I only traveled with enough water for the journey and would then fill once parked.  Also had to watch what went into which storage bays because with the long overhang I was always at or over the rear axle rating.  

This is all really just an exercise to make sure you keep tires under it and don't set up for blow outs.  It's no fun changing an inner dual on one of these.

 

maj75 (Forum Supporter)
maj75 (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/22/21 10:53 a.m.

Tongue weight will be multiplied with the hitch that far back.  Does it have a tow rating?

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/22/21 1:26 p.m.

I have a Dometic propane fridge that is probably the same as yours. It never has 12v, just propane or just 110 to test it.

 

What model is it?

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
8/22/21 2:05 p.m.

If you're trying to start the propane side and the system hasn't had gas in it for a while, it can take something like ten minutes to get all the air out of the line through the pilot orifice. 

Mine takes forever to get started on propane at the beginning of the season.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 7:55 p.m.

In reply to glueguy (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks! For our current planned usage we really only need one night's worth of water, so there's definitely no need for us to fill it all the way up. If we reach the point of boondocking out west like we want to we may need to revisit it. Though I've already confirmed that Hellwig offers a rear swaybar & helper springs for this chassis, like Tom installed on the E250. So I already have them on our wishlist. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 8:00 p.m.

In reply to Antihero (Forum Supporter) :

It's a Dometic RM2652. 

I may have made a bit of progress with it this evening. I'd not yet turned on the propane valve, because I've not had any reason to, but just in case that was the cause of my problems, I turned off the fridge, turned on the propane, and then tried again. Nothing. 

However, I discovered that now if I toggle it off "Auto" I heard something click. And although I couldn't really hear it over the roof a/c on max, I think I might have heard the fridge running?

When I finished up for the evening & turned off the a/c I didn't hear the fridge making any noise, so I tried turning it off & on again, and it's definitely clicking now when I do that. So I'll check tomorrow & see if it's cooling yet. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 8:23 p.m.

I spent a few hours yesterday & almost all day today working on the RV - though there wasn't much worth photographing. 
 

I started by filling up the mysterious dual reservoirs under the hood with some distilled water, only to have it all pour out of the bottom of the large reservoir. So much for that, whatever it is. 
 

When I was up on the ladder the other day I could see a gap along the inboard edge of the vent fan over the bathroom. So I climbed up on a ladder & sealed it with 3M marine sealant 4000uv. Since I had that stuff out anyway, I went around the whole rig & redid any seals that were questionable at all. I didn't quite use the whole tube, but almost did. 
 

Then I went back inside to work on getting it ready for the critters, as well as tackle a couple other things. 
 

The table was rattling like crazy. I discovered there were only 4 of the 8 mounting screws for the lower bracket on the wall. One was backed most of the way out & the other 3 were loose, so I tightened them & installed 4 more. The brackets up top that the tabs slide into were a little wallowed out, so snipped off a couple pieces of rubber from an old bicycle inner tube & slipped them over the tabs. It still moves a little bit, but doesn't rattle around like before. 
 

I didn't take any pics, but I enlarged the top of the cubby in the bedroom that originally held a TV. Now we can fit one of our sugar glider's travel cages up there & secure it into place. 
 

While I was back there I filled in a gap on each side of the bed that our sugar gliders could get into if they got loose. Considering that's the back side of the fuse box with bare 110v terminating on the buss bars, we definitely don't want that to happen!
 

Then I started working on the over-cab cubby to make room for the other 2 cages. First of all, it was gross - there was roach poop everywhere. Second, there were all types of wires & cables strewn about. Some of them weren't terminated & one antenna cable was just cut off. Which is kinda weird considering there was another cable coax connection(I presume shore), plus the one that connects the antenna to the tv now. Next, I had to rip out the cabinet on the driver's side & the center shelf. Here's the before. 
 

 

And here's what I ended up with. I only took one cage outside, but there's plenty of room for both of them. They don't impair ingress & egress from the side door at all, though we'll have to be careful getting to & from the cab. 
 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/22/21 8:26 p.m.

I shouldn't be surprised given the low mileage, but I'm really starting to understand just how much this RV sat unused. Both from the lack of wear, as well as the signs of insect residence & water damage(which I keep finding more of).

birdmayne
birdmayne New Reader
8/22/21 10:26 p.m.

The clicking sound is the ignitor inside the burn chamber. Does the CHECK light on the control panel come on after a while? If it does, the control board timed out without sensing a flame. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/23/21 5:28 a.m.
maj75 (Forum Supporter) said:

Tongue weight will be multiplied with the hitch that far back.  Does it have a tow rating?

Yes, it's 5000lbs. So it'll tow either the Miata or DSM(presuming I get it running again) easily. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/23/21 5:29 a.m.

In reply to birdmayne :

The Check light only blinks once when I turn it on. I've not seen it illuminated any other times. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/23/21 8:50 a.m.

Unfortunately the fridge still isn't working. I'll check the a/c outlet later today. The manual says to check the gas valve on the fridge too, but there isn't one that I can find. 
 

We have a spare dorm-sized fridge, so if it doesn't end up being an easy or cheap fix I'll just swap it in. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/23/21 8:34 p.m.

I confirmed 120vac to the fridge outlet, found the gas valve on the unit & made sure it was on, checked both fuses, and ohmed out the heating element - it was 44.5 ohms vs. the manual's 44, which is close enough to be within tolerance of my crappy meter. 
 

I messaged the PO & asked him if there was any trick to the fridge start-up that I'm missing. He didn't have any suggestions I haven't already tried, he just said it takes a long long time to cool off & thus why they usually kept the RV on shore power. 
 

The window molding from Steele Rubber arrived today & I got the rear window replaced before storms rolled in. I checked a bit ago & didn't find any signs of leaks within the rig, so that's a plus. 

birdmayne
birdmayne New Reader
8/23/21 8:52 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

I confirmed 120vac to the fridge outlet, found the gas valve on the unit & made sure it was on, checked both fuses, and ohmed out the heating element - it was 44.5 ohms vs. the manual's 44, which is close enough to be within tolerance of my crappy meter. 
 

I messaged the PO & asked him if there was any trick to the fridge start-up that I'm missing. He didn't have any suggestions I haven't already tried, he just said it takes a long long time to cool off & thus why they usually kept the RV on shore power. 

Thermistor installed on cooling fins inside the fridge? If so, and still not getting cold, manually confirm burner chamber is getting hot. 

If chamber is hot, you likely need a cooling unit / new fridge. (Not a job that I'd recommend undertaking with a bad back. Whole unit needs to be wrestled out)

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