Refrigerator Not Cooling Properly
by Mike D. (Chandler, OK)
Question: I have a 1983 Ford Jamboree RV. The refrigerator does not freeze cold at all and the bottom of the icebox does not get cold at all. Can you help at all? It’s as if it is low on ammonia – can it be refilled?
Answer: There are many factors that can contribute to the problem you are experiencing; too many for us to attempt to diagnose. We can offer a few thoughts.
Here is a link to a Dometic and here is a link to a Norcold. You can find links to service manuals and/or contact information on their websites.
So contact the manufacturer for service manuals or telephone support to help diagnose the problem. Most RV refrigerator service manuals include some troubleshooting tips. You need a basic understanding of refrigerator troubleshooting and a few simple tools. However, please be advised that any damage you do trying to save money may actually cost you far more than taking the RV to a service center. Remember that if you troubleshoot, you will be working on live electrical circuits and LP that can cause electrical shocks or death and or a fire that can total your RV.
Since you mentioned ammonia, we assume you suspect that the ammonia is low and that at some point you smelled ammonia. If you smelled ammonia then it is because of a leak. Once that happens, your only recourse is to replace the core (cooling unit) or replace the entire refrigerator.
RV refrigerators have sealed cooling units and you will find it difficult to find someone who will want to attempt to fix an ammonia leak and try to refill the coolant. If you unit is as old as your RV then it may be better to replace the refrigerator rather than spending a lot of money to replace the core.
Hope you get the problem resolved. Other input welcome. Feel free to search our site for other posts on RV refrigerators.