Steve Savage submitted this article to RVtravel.com when he was a Master Certified RV Technician with Mobility RV Service.
Do you have an RV refrigerator that’s not keeping its cool? We often make service calls for this very reason – and often the call wasn’t necessary. Why? Many times a customer could make their own diagnosis. Here are a couple of things to look at before calling the service tech, or dragging your RV to the dealer.
First, check the controls on the front of the refrigerator. These are properly called an “eyebrow board” or “upper board.” Is the board getting power? You’ll know it if any of the lamps or indicators on the board are lit up when the power switch is on. If the upper control board has power, you’ll find your problem on the back of the refrigerator. Do your checking behind the vent lid on the rig’s exterior wall.
Locate the burner unit. This is the tube where your propane flame heats up the cooling unit and where one or two electrical heating units are found.
If the burner is working with a hot flame, you can be sure the refrigerator controls are working. If after a few hours’ operation you find your fridge still isn’t cooling, it is almost invariably that the cooling unit has lost its charge. Feel the cooling unit. If it’s very hot to the touch but still not cooling, it’s possible you’ll hear gurgling noises or notice a yellow coloration on and around the burner tube.
Gurgling and/or yellow on the burner tube are dead giveaways the cooling unit has leaked. The same is often true for a hot cooling unit with no cooling – a “leaker.” The only decision to make at that point is whether you want to spend the several hundred bucks to have a new cooling unit installed or whether to replace the fridge.
If the RV is just sitting stationary, it’s a simple (and less expensive) task to replace the fridge with a small electric household model. Replacing the cooling unit is doable but requires a good bit of labor. In the event you are thinking of a completely new refrigerator, keep in mind a replacement will normally set you back “north of a grand.”
(photo courtesy austinado16 on photobucket.com)