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 > Gas fridge on the move?

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windhorse

USA

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Posted: 05/11/22 01:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been driving our 1996 Lance Legend truck camper with the Dometic ac/dc/gas refrigerator/freezer on - until today, when, as we got to CO, the fridge started to switch itself from “gas” to “check” (ie off), so we stopped to consult with a technician, who told us some things we did not know:
- yes, altitude can effect the performance of older model gas/electric refrigerators
- yes, it is possible to enhance the performance at higher altitudes of older fridges like the one in our truck camper by having a qualified technician bore to a slightly wider size the hole the gas passes through, to increase the flow of gas and thereby improve the reliability of the gas powered operation of the fridge up in the mountains, though this would be an irreversible modification, resulting in use of more gas than necessary after we returned to lower altitudes, and, thirdly:
- no, you should not drive with the gas-powered fridge on!

This last point came as a surprise for us, as we have been driving with the gas-powered fridge on for thousands of miles… gosh, does this mean we are just lucky not to have had any problem apart from the fridge switching itself from “gas” to “check” today?

Are we the only older (though prefer the term “classic”) truck camper owners with a fridge like this one who drive with it switched on?

AidenJ

Adirondacks, NY ,USA

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Posted: 05/11/22 03:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Except for tunnels, ferries and fueling up ours is always on.


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JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

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Posted: 05/11/22 05:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We camp at 8700' elevation quite often with truck campers and 5th wheel trailers with LP fridge. Never a problem.
Our first truck camper with a LP fridge was in the '70s.... and all three 5th wheel trailers we've had since we travel with the fridge on LP just as they were designed and advertised to do.
Sounds like the tech needs to be re-schooled on the LP/12v/110v fridge.


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JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 05/11/22 05:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You received incorrect advice.

For higher elevation, the air is thinner and combustion engines need LESS gas. For higher elevations, gas jets should have a smaller diameter. Drilling one out is absolutely incorrect.

As you already know, you can drive with the refrigerator working on a propane flame without issue.

Did the tech at least help with the issue of the unit turning off?

wildtoad

Blythewood, SC

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Posted: 05/11/22 06:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Why not just turn the fridge off during travel? Things should stay cold for hours if you keep the door closed.


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Sjm9911

New Jersey

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Posted: 05/11/22 06:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I drive with the propane on. Since yours is an older camper , im guessing the controll knob is turning itself off while driving? It may just need to be replaced. Easy fix.


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mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 05/11/22 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For the ones that turn it off out of fear of explosion, this isn't a Michael Bay movie. Propane does not behave like you see on TV.

The conditions required for any sort of propane explosion are so specific that it is for all intents and purposes impossible to achieve in a camper fridge compartment.


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Lwiddis

Owens River area

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Posted: 05/11/22 08:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You sure missed the rule that more air is needed as altitude increases. Not more fuel.


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windhorse

USA

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Posted: 05/11/22 08:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the reality check!

Looks like the very friendly free over-the-counter diagnosis given by the repair shop manager of the reputable RV dealer we consulted yesterday may not be quite right, so the issue may be more complicated than thought - not surprising with an old fridge.

We will continue to troubleshoot as best we can (any suggestions about how to do this most welcome) then if the problem persists consult with another technician.

Meanwhile, back at the ranchito, after we parked last night we restarted the fridge three times, the first two times it clicked through the start up sequence behaving just fine, then after staying silent apart from a couple of clicks for about a minute and a half switched itself to check.

We switched off the gas, removed the panel behind the fridge, checked the wiring etc and tried again. This time after about a minute we heard a noise like a bump, then we heard the gas jet starting and continue to burn (which we didn’t hear on the previous two attempts) and the fridge has ran perfectly since then?

Could it be there was air in the pipes that prevented the gas getting through properly, or a faulty electrical spark ignition mechanism that failed to light the burner on the first two attempts but worked the third time, or … ?

Lwiddis

Owens River area

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Posted: 05/11/22 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fridge is 26 years old.

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