Ammonia smell in refer!

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by SmokinT, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Hi! I'm kind of a newbie. I've learned on my own and have had mechanics do the work that I don't have a clue about. I've actually had pretty good luck in that respect. I have poured over this forum and others, trying to learn as much as I can, but I'm stumped here.

    I have an old Class C (1986) Shasta MH, Ford 460, that I bought in 1999. My refrigerator (Dometic) has always worked wonderfully...until now. I'm doing a "refurbishing" of as much as I can do (no electrical, some minor plumbing). I normally leave my refer doors open when I'm not planning a trip. In this case, the refer door has been closed for about a week. I have connected to shore power and tried to get the refer going, to no avail. I've opened the hatch, "inspected" and vacuumed. Today, while working on other things, I opened the refer door and got a powerful ammonia smell. This has never happened before.

    I assume the refer is an original, I have not put propane in the tank in probably year or so, so don't know if it would work on gas or not at this point. I will be doing that shortly. If I could get a starting point from you I would certainly appreciate it. Understand that I don't know much, but am stubborn about learning and will do my very best to follow any instructions. Thanks in advance for any help you can give. Teri
     
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    RE: Ammonia smell in refer!

    well first off ,, welcome to the forums :)
    But i hate to greet u with bad news ,, but if u smell amonia in the refer ,, it is gone ,,, dead ,, u'r refer does not have a compressor ,, like a house hold refer ,,, the amonia ,, when heated ,, sets off a chemical reaction ,, and thus produces cold ,,, but in u'r situation ,, since u smell the amonia ,, the refer has a leak ,, and there is no way to repair it ,,, oh it can be fixed ,, if the leak is in the coil unit ,, but by the time u pay labor and parts mark ups ,,, u would be better with a new refer ,, and also ,, since u'r unit is an older one ,,, there may or may not be a replacment coil for u'rs ,,, if that is the prob ,,, i know that the new units (dometic) have a prob with the coils ,,, but JMO :approve: :)
    Btw ,, just sent u a PM on how an rv refer works ,, ck it out and enjoy :approve:
     
  3. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    730. Thanks (I think!) You gave me the "starting point" that I had asked for. Too bad it was also the ending point! :( Poor old girl! (Me, not the refer!) ;) And I had just taken measurements for a new glass shelf to replace the one I broke! :eek: Guess it's back to the old ice chest for now. So far, I have replaced a vent (with fan), gravity fill (found a leak at the fresh water tank by doing that!) and replaced my black water waste valve (I'm especially proud of that one-got it on the first try!). Well, things go bad and that's the way it is. I do appreciate your help here! :) Note: Not to worry. I have many more areas of concern that I will need help with! :laugh: Teri
     
  4. LEN

    LEN Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    First of all welcome.
    There might be a way out for not too many $$$. If you camp with hookups most of the time replace the fridge with one of the counter high mini fridge. You can find them for $149 and a bit lower at times. They are 110 only but for camping with hookups and use frozen packs while in route or the freezer packs using it as an ice chest.

    LEN
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    well welcome to the world of rving ,, all units have problems ,, and the more u can do u'r self ,, the more money u save for a trip ,,, but post away on any other things u might have a ?? on ,, we are here to help u ,, and good luck on u'r rv ,, even i have had probs on my own MH ,, but it goes with the life style :eek: ;) :approve: :)
     
  6. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Len. Thanks! Maybe I can find a small one to fit in the dead refer box. At least it will be serving a purpose for awhile! :laugh: I do seem to end up with hook-ups, although I don't have any qualms about boondocking, either.
     
  7. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    730. You are right about it going with the lifestyle. It's all ok, though. When I first bought this unit I spent my money on all things making sure I could get from point A to point B. I figured I could work on the "looks" as I went along. Not much point in looking good if you're sitting on the side of the road and can't move, right? :eek:
     
  8. *scooter*

    *scooter* Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Welcome to the forum SmokinT. Well a couple words of comfort...it happened to me, ok not much comfort . :blush: On my previous coach, the refer smelled horribly. Then I began to notice that the interior was beginning to turn yellow. But the good news was, I was able to replace only the working parts (not sure exactly now what they were) to the refer, and didn't have to replace the entire unit. It still cost $$, but it coulld have been worse. Good Luck
     
  9. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    The Cooling unit can be replaced, but Rod is correct. Not a LOT of price difference when you compair the cost of the cooling unit and labor to a new Refer. Also, cooling unit would have a ONE year warranty....new Refer would have 3 year warranty.
     
  10. rjf7g

    rjf7g Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Sorry for your troubles - it is not cheap to replace a fridge in an older class C. However, it is a must to have a fridge you can count on!
     
  11. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Thanks to you all. It seems to me that the best thing to do would be to replace the refer. as I think I can still get some good use out of the MH for a few more years. It sure as heck has no value to anyone else but I've had a great time with 'Melba' (long story) these past ten years. Can anyone reccommend a good brand? I've only heard of Dometic and Norcold.
     
  12. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Dometic and Norcold, that's it. Honestly, I believe Norcold to be the better brand, although my 5th wheel has a Dometic in it.
     
  13. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Thanks, Ken. Since Rod feels that Dometics may have some inherent coil problems, I believe I will look into the Norcold. Of course there may be some concerns there, too, but since my choices are limited... I started looking around online for refurbished refers, but then I really don't know what I'm getting. I think I will feel better ($$ not withstanding) with a new one.
     
  14. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Tell me your model number of the Dometic, and I can give you a cross over number for a Norcold that will fit the same space.
     
  15. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Ken. I don't have any manuals for my appliances (or anything else for that matter). It's all very general in the only booklet I have. If you can maybe tell me where I might find any numbers, I will look for them. Yeah, I was thinking about that today, in that I need to find one that will fit into the space I have. Thank you!
     
  16. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Look right inside the door of the refer. That is where they are in new models. Should start with RM and have 4 numbers.
     
  17. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Hi, Ken. There is nothing in, on or around the refer that tells me anything. I did look through my old files from all my repairs to the MH and found a couple of things. First, it turns out the refer is not a Dometic but a Norcold (my mistake) and there was a recall on it (an 838/8310 recall) which I had done in 2000. The only other thing I can find is that it seems it is an EG2 Model. The other thing I did was to measure the refer (including freezer). 42 3/4 X 52 1/2.

    I don't know if this helps, but it's all I have. Thank you for your help!!
     
  18. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    The width is not 42 3/4, rather it's 24 3/4! Dislexic I'm guess. :eek:
     
  19. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Teri,
    Looks like the closest Norcold made today is the N641. The cutout dimension is 52 7/8 by 23 1/2. You might have to cut some cabinet away for the height. Everything else is way short or way tall.

    Again, I am giving you the cutout dimension, you gave me overall of the flange. My guess is your cutout on height is about 51 1/2.

    There is a Dometic, RM2620, that has a cutout of 49 1/2 x 21 3/4

    Both of these are 6 cu. ft.

    Hope this helps!!
     
  20. SmokinT

    SmokinT New Member

    Re: Ammonia smell in refer!

    Thanks, Ken! I was looking at that one on some websites and maybe the 621? I'll have to go back and take another look at that, though. I absolutely appreciate your taking the time to help me out here. Truly!
     

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