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Old 08-17-2019, 06:31 PM   #1
ebds2019
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Need quick refrigerator advice

Hi everyone. We have a Montana 3810MS. Leaving tomorrow from Las Vegas for Yellowstone. Very excited....... BUT

Freezer is very cold but refrigerator doesn't seem to be getting cold enough to keep food in it.

Caviats:

1. It is 108 degrees here today outside.
2. Refrigerator was turned on by the facility that we store it at two days ago, however, I found out that the propane tank it was running on was at or below 5% (according to my Tank app and sensors). I don't have automatic switchover so I switched tanks about 6 hours ago. Sensors are only approximate so it's possible the tank was empty.

But the freezer feels completely normal. I turned up the temperature on the refrigerator but so far no change. I just a few minutes ago put a thermometer into the fridge to see what its really at.

Looking for advice since I am very scared about leaving for 11 days on the road with an 'iffy' fridge.

Rob
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:45 PM   #2
Rondo
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Rob, since your frig/freezer was turn on two or three days ago and your tank was empty it would not have cooled either the frig or freezer. It takes a while to cool that unit down. If it was turned on only 6 hours ago it has not had time to cool down especially if your outside temps are in the 100's. I would make sure you have the board set at the highest number possible (0-9) and make sure your getting propane to the refrig by bleeding the line by lighting a burner on the stove and letting it burn for 10 seconds or so to make sure any air is out of the line. It will take at least another 5-7 hours to get your unit cooled. Your best bet is to store any food in a good cooler and purchase any sensitive items up around Yellowstone. If you put some bottles of water in the refrig and the freezer it will work to cool better also. It just has to have something to cool to make it easier to cool. Why? Don't ask me but it does. Good luck and let us know if it starts to cool down for you. You should be able to feel the freezer starting to cool just by placing your hand on the side of the freezer and the left side seems to cool first and fastest if you have a 4 door refrig.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:18 PM   #3
ebds2019
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Nothing happening in the fridge. Temperature going up not down. Freezer cold but nowhere near as cold as it should be.

Reset everything. I can hear the gas burning from the outside compartment but the process that is supposed to get things cold doesn't appear to be happening.

This is a bit of a disaster. We have been planning this 11 day trip to Yellowstone for months. I don't know what to do now on a Sunday.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
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One option to salvage your trip is to get a bar frig and install in your outside storage compartment. We put one in unit when our frig crapped out, and it was a good alternative. We still use, travel with basics, and for short trips of 2-3 days often don’t even turn the rig frig on. Stays cold for hours when traveling. Yes, pain to have to step outside to get food, no ice, and trips to the grocery more often, but an option. You did not indicate your rig year, but sure sounds the same as when ours failed, bad cooling unit. And our bar frig does have a small freezer. Got ours at Home Depot. Measure your height and get the biggest one that fits. My standards may be low, having spent quite a few years in the field sleeping in the mud and eating out of tin cans, but the wife finds it a viable solution and likes the extra frig space as well when needed.
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Old 08-17-2019, 09:09 PM   #5
Carl n Susan
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Opening the door to check the coldness will cause the refer temp to rise unless it is already loaded with cold foods. As others said it takes a while (24 hours or more) to cool down when empty. I would load my food into a cooler until such time as the refer and the freezer have reached operating temperatures. Try to load frozen food into the freezer and cold food into the refer. The unit isn't good at cooling large portions of warm foods.

P.S. Enabling the auto-switch-over capability would have avoided this problem.
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Old 08-17-2019, 09:52 PM   #6
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Someone helping me wants to know where my converter is located? Can anyone help? 3810MS.
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:51 AM   #7
MARK A
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Should be under your stairs, remove your basement wall and it should be there.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:22 AM   #8
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As others have said, leave the door closed, don’t open it to check the temperature, get a remote thermometer to check it without opening the door. It takes a long time to get cold.

Was the unit level when the fridge was running for those two days? I suggest installing an ARP unit to make sure the fridge does not overheat. https://www.arprv.com/
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:34 AM   #9
psomers
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Is your camper plugged into shore power? If not, putting frig on auto will not help. Did you check the temperature in middle of day at 108 degrees. Was side of camper with frig have full sun. Feel your evaporator fins. Are they cold. Put hand on floor of freezer. It feel really cold. What about condenser tubes in back. Should be hot. Frig may be doing all it can do. With vent cover off place fan to blow on condenser coils to see if that helps.
Good luck and hope trip to Yellowstone works out. Been twice and DW would go back today.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebds2019 View Post
Someone helping me wants to know where my converter is located? Can anyone help? 3810MS.
Your converter is in the main breaker/electrical panel. It's been several years since Montana put them under the stairs. Not sure what this has to do with the reefer problem though.
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:02 AM   #11
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I left Phoenix when it was over 100. Freezer cooled in 8-10 hours, but frig took almost 36 hours. Also it doesn't cool as well if it isn't pretty level.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:08 PM   #12
ejerni
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Refrigerator

Do you have a power cool on the fridge?
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:05 PM   #13
twindman
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ejerni, if you are asking me, I do not.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:42 PM   #14
prndl
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install a battery powered refer fan in the refer part to get the air circulating to the fins and not relying on convection.

If as you said the freezer is very cold you just need the air to circulate in the refer part.
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:57 AM   #15
Reset19
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We experienced a similar issue. The freezer was fine but not the refrigerator. We found the bar that closes the gap between the refrigerator doors was not properly settling into position. Close the one door with the bar, and manually make sure it is completely set before closing the other door.
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Old 08-31-2019, 01:45 AM   #16
ebds2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reset19 View Post
We experienced a similar issue. The freezer was fine but not the refrigerator. We found the bar that closes the gap between the refrigerator doors was not properly settling into position. Close the one door with the bar, and manually make sure it is completely set before closing the other door.

I found that his was also true with our refrigerator. Was hopeful I had found our problem. However, after several hours of additional cooling the temps in the frig had not dropped one degree.


Can someone tell me how the outside vent fans operate. I turned on my frig and looked in the lower and upper compartments and neither of the fans was turning. However I do not know when they are supposed to turn. Is it all the time? Hopefully someone can explain to me how the fans operate so I can determine if they are operating correctly.


Thanks folks.
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:11 AM   #17
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Fans do not run all the time. At least on mine they don't. There is a thermistor mounted on the condenser coil that senses temperature. When it gets hot it starts fans. I have no trouble knowing when fans are running as they are rather loud.
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