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Author Topic: Vintage Dometic refrigerator doesn't get cold.  (Read 1389 times)


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Vintage Dometic refrigerator doesn't get cold.
« on: September 15, 2016, 09:40:14 PM »
Hello, new here. I've searched all over and couldn't find any solutions. In a 86 Lance truck camper I have a Dometic 3500 AES. The camper has all manuals including installation of the refer but no operating instructions. So I finally put a thermometer in it to figure out if the thermostat meant max cold or minimum temperature. I got that sorted but it only gets to 58f on either propane or electric. I did clean out the burner and the propane jet. I also used a shotgun brush to clean the exhaust pipe. Also I've set it to level within 2 degrees both ways.

The freezer goes to 30f and will freeze water bottles. I'm not sure why the freezer would work perfect but the fridge part only gets to 58f. Any ideas or input would be appreciated!

Lou Schneider

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Re: Vintage Dometic refrigerator doesn't get cold.
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 03:37:15 AM »
Welcome to The RV Forum!

Unfortunately, having the freezer get cold but not the refrigerator is often the sign of a failing cooling unit.  The freezer has first call on the available cooling and has to cool down first, then surplus cooling drains down to the refrigerator cooling fins.  If the amount of cooling is impaired, the refrigerator won't get cold.

One thing you can check is the gaskets around the refrigerator door.  They must close tightly all the way around or the available cold will leak out.

Test the gasket by closing the door on a dollar bill inserted between the refrigerator and the door gasket, then pull the bill out.  You should feel resistance, if not the gasket isn't making good contact.  Check several places all around the door.

You also need unobstructed airflow around the back of the refrigerator, so the hot coils can set up a chimney effect to vent hot air out the top vent while drawing in cooler air from the bottom vent.

Here's a link to your refrigerator's service manual.  The first part is a tutorial on how absorption refrigeration works, troubleshooting starts on page 42:

« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 04:00:04 AM by Lou Schneider »