Fridge fan (external for coils) questions


keith jeeferson

New member
My fridge fan does not work on AC. Had service work done to it last year. After I installed it has not worked on AC. Yes it is plugged in. It does work on LPG and DC I'm a little bugged because it took a month and a day to work the fridge out. But there is always the joy of using it one more time model is a 84 west. Thanks
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
The wiring diagram for your model is on page 97.33 in the shop manual. It could be something as simple as getting unplugged at the second socket behind the fridge (page 76.15), or a connector. Like any electrical problem, you will have to troubleshoot the diagram until you find the defective part or connection. On an '84, the AC and DC fridge heater modules are seperate.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from another post to consolidate same topics.

Possible Fridge Problem

Geoff Barnes, Member, 05-14-2001 07:48 AM

Running the fridge on Propane on my 85 Westy I am suspecting a problem. I seem to recall hearing a fan before, but now I hear none. The metal grill behind the cabinet (under the driver's side sliding window) seems hot, and the fridge temp isn't going below 60 or so. On electrical (not battery yet) I was almost able to make ice.

I wanted to know what the "normal" status of the fan is when one is running on propane. Is there a possible blown fuse for this 'blower/fan' that I should be looking for?

mojo, Member, 05-15-2001 08:59 PM

Yeah the fan needs to run to cool the fridge, mine tends to run more when the temps up out, it's a small fan mounted behind fridge, you do have to remove fridge to get to it, should be a post on fridge removal, it's not that hard to do,be careful with the LP . . . on my 83.5 Westy the fuses are located behind driver seat, mine has a little box with twist screw, with 2 fuses, sink and fridge, hopefully thats your problem might as well clean your combustion chamber out to if you have to remove fridge!
 

mojo

New member
the 2001 master catalog from camping world has 2 types of exhaust fans on page 157,one is solar and one 12V.im thinking of getting solar for xtra exhaust in the rear of fridge.ill post later message on performance.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred from another post to consolidate same topics.

Fridge Fan Fiasco...a cautionary tale

de_grave Junior Member # 22 posted 07-18-2001 11:02 PM

I have owned my 85 Westy for 6 years and had never heard the cooling fan turn on when using the fridge. I have removed and serviced the fridge once or twice each year and was always able to get the fan to work on the bench (manually connected to a battery). Finally, this week, after re-reading several posts on fridge effectiveness I decided to install a thermo-sensor bypass switch so that I could manually turn the fan on.

After testing effectiveness in the garage, I reinstalled the fridge and tryied the fan...NO GO!!! Only fuming slightly, I tried to see in the back using a light and an inspection mirror; no luck. I began to remove the fridge again and then realized that the fan was stuck on the 120v cable that runs from the inlet box (where the fridge plugs in) to the circuit breaker box in the cabinet near the rear bench seat. I simply pulled the cable tighter, tied it off and Viola!...instant clearance.

So beware, I still like the idea of a manual override for the fan, but if your fridge is not cooling well in warm weather and/or your fan NEVER comes on, check for a physical blockage while the fridge is installed.
 

vanis13

New member
Fridge Fan Runs all day (even when the fridge is off) during hot weather.

In my '82 westy, the fridge fan runs all day during hot weather (outside temperature above 90 degrees) even when the fridge is off. Here in Albq, NM it is routinely above 90 degrees for 16+ hours a day for months. I have taken to disconecting the power to the fan by unpluging the power supply cord under the sink. Should I even be concerned about runnin the battery down? Is there a higher temperature swith I could install and if so would I be effecting cooling temperature? or would a manual over ride off switch make sense?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Well of course you should be concerned because an electric motor, even the little ones consume power. And unless you've installed a dual battery set-up, that power is coming from your main battery.

When the fridge is OFF, the fan shouldn't be running. That yours is would indicate the fridge fan thermo switch is stuck or defective. See Bentley 97.33, track 16. I assume you are turning the fridge 3-way switch back to LP position when not running; that is the normal fridge-off setting.

On vehicles that have installed a 2nd battery, do understand that VW's original system disconnected ALL fridge power as soon as the engine stopped. Therefore they would have little incentive to arrange a system whereby high ambient temperatures wouldn't trip the fan even with the fridge off. You may find that your now continuous power to the fridge controls also provides a means for the fridge fan to power up with the fridge off. I've never experinced it with my '90, despite some baking interior temperatures so still lean towards a defective thermo switch or switch setting as I don't see an alternate power trace in my copy of the wiring diagram.
 
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vanis13

New member
Maybe my thermo switch is defective. However, during cooler termeratures the fan does not go on unless the fridre has been on for a while. I always thought it was only supposed to go on when the temp behind the fridge exceeded a certain temp. What should the trigger temp be? Cause I'm thinkin' that the trigger temperature is below our typical daytime summer ambiant temp. And yes, it does go on even in the LP (center)position with the fridge temp set to 0 - off.

Waht should I be cheking? I am still on only one battery.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to break apart separate topic.

Dometic AC/DC Fridge - Nice and Cold

76Heat Wagen Member # 3252 posted 01-30-2002 08:39 AM

For those of you who who have the non-LP AC/DC Fridges, I have a tip, as I used to repair these same fridges for Hotels and RV's.

Radio Shack 12V Cooling Fan: Place the fan at the BEGINNING (far left in Westy) of the bank of cooling fins. This will allow the condensed ammonia to continue through the fins, and cool even more. Tap red fan wire into the blue fridge wire, and black fan wire into fridge white.

Moderator Note: Discussion of inside fridge fans moved to that topic.

Every year, you should lightly tap all the accessible metal pipes with a wood hammer to break up the particulates that form in the vapor chamber. Not too hard though. From my repair days, I can offer the top 3 problems that brought them into the shop:

1) Crud, crumbs, matchbooks, you name it in between the cooling fins. If the critical first 3 are obstructed, the remaining ones are just about useless.

2) Seal problems: crack in chest, door gasket, ice-bar entrance hole.

3) Particulate accumulation (crap in ammonia system)-- hit with hammer, turn upside down.
(be gentle)

Final word of advice: People with RVs used to come into our shop wondering how to 'turbo charge' thier ammonia refridge. A note from my training: superheating the ammonia will not lower the temperature of the icebar. It is dangerous, and overkill. If it is accumulating a small layer of frost on the outer-most part, the icebar is max'd.

The plumbing and cooling fins make it all happen. Finally: heating elements (at least Dometic) are very hearty, they rarely, if at all, ever go. However, you can short it out by pouring liquid over it, poking and prodding it to adjust the wrap, sticking your finger in there every 5 minutes to see if it's warm, etc. Aside from that, the usual causes of a defunct heat-wrap are melted wires, baked wires which create too much resistance, bad thermostat, blown fuse, bad power supply. I've personally found this to be very rare. The top three listed above are the main culprits.

Hope this helps - I'm new to the Westy Club, but old to ammonia fridges. I read through as much of the threads as I could, and decided to place my 2 cents here. You will be pleasantly surprised with the cooling fan.

Recommended type: Radio Shack 3" Brushless 273-243B. External use only. Happy Camping, glad to be a new member! If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me, I'll be happy to crack open my old books!
 
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vw-traveller

New member
Hey heatwagen76
that's great advice on the chest type fridge you've posted there! You having worked on these fridges maybe you can give me some more advice. I'm pretty sure i've got a blockage. The absorber isn't really very warm, but the other end, the boiler is. And the fridge doesn't really get very cool since about a year. Is there anyway I can get rid of the blockage
 

ronwolffjr

New member
I apologize for the delay! Your chest fridge has much hope...

The key is to turn the fridge over, and take a wooden mallet and slightly bang on every pipe.

Next, turn it on it's side and repeat process.

Do the entire area. As a precaution, wear safety goggles. If you lost the cool, it is rare that the ammonia has leaked out.

You may have to do this twice a day for a day or two -- but it's ammonia and will definately come free. Make sure the exterior is not rusted, which may indicate the end of it's life.

Give that routine a try, and make sure the thermostat is on 'high'. Also, make sure the temperature control (copper line) is properly connected.

To really heat up the ammonia after your tests...use the 'city power' and run it over night preferably 48 hrs. Stay away from the battery-only. The inverter will give a higher amperage and heat is key to the circulation of the ammonia.

Keep me posted.

'76 HEATWAGEN

Ron Wolff
'76 Westy
'78 SB Conv
'74 SB Auto-stick
 

herberjw

New member
My fridge fan used to run (sometimes even after I turned off the fridge). Now it doesn't run at all & as you might expect the fridge doesn't cool as well as it should.

My question is where to go for more info. I saw mention of a Bentley manual in this thread. How do I go about getting that? Also, if I don't want to do it, where can I go to get someone else to - an RV repair shop maybe?

Thanks in advance,
JWH
 

herberjw

New member
Now that I've replaced my fan, it wants to run constantly as the post above describes. I have looked at the suggested diagram/table in the Bentley manual, but not being a mechanic or electrician, I have no clue what it means.

How do I got about fixing/replacing the thermo switch?

BTW, the fridge is a RM 182B.

Thanks in advance,
JWH
 

vw-traveller

New member
Thank you heatwagen76
After carefully hammering my fridge for days it actually runs really well again. I was able to make icecubes over night when on city power.

Type 2 T2b driver
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
John H: The Bentley (Factory Shop Manual) is basically a requirement for responses on this site -- see the Guidelines linked at the bottom of each index page. Numerous sources are listed in Parts, Suppliers and from site sponsor Amazon.com

A basic primer on reading wiring diagrams is included pages 97.2-97.6. The thermo switch is what turns the fan on or off based on fridge operating temperature. Fridge removal is described in the Bentley 76.14-15.
 
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Jozz

New member
Ok here's my problem...

1987 Westy (CND) with standard 3-way fridge.

I had a problem last week-end, seems the fridge fan doesn't want to work on LP anymore... looked for blown fuses but everything is ok.
When I run it on AC the fan goes on and the fridge coll down to a nice 2-4 celcius... As soon as I turn it on to LP, my pilot light is on so as the light in the status display.. but not fan thus no cooling...

After reading the other threads it would point to the thermo switch as being defective... but if that is the case, would the fan not work on AC too?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
If fridge works on AC, chances are the fridge fan works fine. This topic for external fridge fan questions questions only; yours seems to be won't run on LP (Vanagon Fridge Syndrome topic).
 

photofarmer

New member
I am new to the forum. I have an 84 westy I am working on and all of a sudden I notice the fan in the frig is running. I checked the frig controls-according to the manual they are all off. I took down the channel and light above the the cabinets to work on the curtains so the two wires are no longer connected to the light and later that day noticed the fan is on. Any ideas? I can't turn it off and afraid it will run down the batteries. Thanks, Tom
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
In cases like that, all you can do is go back to the factory wiring diagram and chase out the circuits that have been corrupted by the previous owner. There are no shortcuts. The interior light and fridge are NOT (supposed to be) connected electrically.
 

skottee

New member
There are two fuses behind the drivers seat. One is an 8 amp and services your control panel, water pump, AND the fridge fan. Therefore, there is always twelve volts TO the thermo switch- after that it's up to the switch. You could test the switch or bypass it with a manual one. Also, the other fuse is a 16A and services the fridge's 12V burner element.
 
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