Fridge in new TAB does not work!

Since I brought home my new camper it's been plugged in with battery on. Never got the chance to examine the fridge until more than 2 days ago. Turned it to the plug sign and temperature all the way up. The little green plug also lit up. But it has not been cold at all! There is hot air venting out from the top vent and the camper is also leveled. Have not tried to use propane yet thinking that most times I will go to campgrounds with hookups. What's the deal here? Newbie is lost...
Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
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Comments

  • ChanWChanW Posts: 2,406Member
    edited September 26
    How long has it been on?
    Are the 'waste heat' vents unobstructed?
    It'll take a good 4 hours for the fins to start feeling cool.
    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    @ChanW, the fridge has been on for more than 2 days! The trailer is leveled, double checked this morning. And nothing is blocking the vent.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • ChanWChanW Posts: 2,406Member
    edited September 26
    Just throwing out some ideas of things to check...
    Maybe the breaker? Or the GFCI? (Dunno if the fridge is on the GFCI circuit - probly not)
    Is there a 12V fuse for the fridge electronics? I don't remember.
    Also, check the plug under the kitchen cupboard.
    I'd try it on propane, just to rule out a bad fridge......?
    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    Went out to check on the fridge just now, still blowing out hot air on top vent and inside fridge is almost as warm as the hot air it blows out! Apparently nothing wrong with the outlet under the sink... Will try it on propane tomorrow.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • ChanWChanW Posts: 2,406Member
    edited September 26
    Also, you might shut it down for 12 hours, let the heater unit in the fridge cool off, to allow the 'refrigerant' to collect itself.
    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 3,242Moderator
    I don't know if this applies to the newer model fridges installed in 2019s, but the previous model had three glass fuses on the top of the unit. You had to remove the stove to get to them. Your owner's manual (or maybe somebody else here) might be able to provide more info.
  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    I just don't understand why a brand new fridge will not work at all! Turned it off and disconnected it from AC early this morning, about 11 hrs later switched it to propane usage. It's been 4 hrs the darn thing is still warm inside. Upper vent still blows out hot air, and the red pointer is at the green area. You mean to tell me that fuses need to be replaced already on a brand spanking new fridge?! 
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • BaylissBayliss Posts: 347Member
    @T_BDancing, see the document below.  Maybe it will help.

    There is a separate thermostat control for electric vs. propane.  Are you using the correct thermostat control for the power source you are using?

    Turn off whichever thermostat control is not currently being used.

    Also, don't set the applicable thermostat for the power source you are using all the way to the highest setting to start the cooling process..........maybe set it 1/2 to 2/3 of the way toward the coldest setting first.  I'm not sure that will make any difference, but it might.  (Greg)

    https://us.v-cdn.net/5021717/uploads/editor/km/hagzgl7hkh71.pdf
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • B0atguyB0atguy Posts: 55Member
    Is the right hand side of the countertop hot ? 
    2019 320s Silver / Black Trim . Boondock front rack, 150w Solar , Sofitel sink , etc.  
    2011 Silver Dodge Grand Caravan 3.6 Adventure mobile   

  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    @Bayliss, I noticed the thermostat part from the beginning and I am very sure I have had it correctly set. Already have the same manual on my computer thanks to you, appreciate your contribution.

    What I don't understand is that either AC or propane, the fridge seems 'normal' with hot air coming out of the top vent and I can hear the 'liquidy' sound when I open the fridge's door, if you get what I mean.

    Is there anything I am able to check through the top and bottom vents for defects or something 'abnormal' ? My last resort will be to do what @ScottG has mentioned above... 

    Thank you.


    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    I turned the fridge off from both AC and propane since last night, @B0atguy. Will use it on AC once again later this afternoon to check the right hand side of the countertop, once there is hot air coming out of the top vent. But what does that mean? Thanks.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 3,242Moderator
    I'm not an expert on refrigeration, but I know that three-way types involve heaters (AC, DC, or propane) as opposed to compressors found in two-way or household models.
    If the counter is heating up it suggests that the heat source is working. However, why that would not translate into chilling the inside is a bit out of my pay grade.
  • VernaVerna Posts: 5,328Administrator
    In the past, other owners have commented about how good the tech support was at Norcold. You might want to get the phone number from your paperwork from your camper (or Google it), and call them. 

    Please do report your findings. 
    Verna, Indianapolis, IN, living full time in my 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator




  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    Fridge has been running on AC for about 4 hours, same as usual. Hot air comes out of top vent, counter top right hand side not especially warm but the right hand side of fridge's door is. I will wait till tomorrow to see if there is any changes, will give Norcold a call otherwise.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • B0atguyB0atguy Posts: 55Member
    Fridge has been running on AC for about 4 hours, same as usual. Hot air comes out of top vent, counter top right hand side not especially warm but the right hand side of fridge's door is. I will wait till tomorrow to see if there is any changes, will give Norcold a call otherwise.
    Ok, that rules out the insulation problem nuCamp had surrounding the fridge . 
    If the countertop on the right hand side gets warm to the touch, the insulation is falling down blocking the top exterior vent slightly or completely and the countertop will get warm, and the fridge wont work so good . Solution is to re-glue the insulation board back in place. 
    Looks like that is not your problem. 

    Leveling is VERY important with these finicky norcold fridges . If the front of our [email protected] is slightly elevated , the fridge just wont work . All kinds of heat and burning smell coming out of the upper vent though ...... 
    Make sure your [email protected] is level, or even slightly nose down and see if it works any better . 

    NOTE: I hate these 3 way norcold fridges nuCamp is using , and will likely try to swap mine out with a nice compressor style 2 way fridge in the future. They are $$$ , though ! 
    2019 320s Silver / Black Trim . Boondock front rack, 150w Solar , Sofitel sink , etc.  
    2011 Silver Dodge Grand Caravan 3.6 Adventure mobile   

  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    edited October 8
    Thanks @B0atguy, my trailer is actually slightly nose down just like you have said, but not too much. The heat that comes out of the top vent has no smell at all. I hear you about not liking the this Norcold fridge. I have a non famous AC DC fridge from Amazon that can cool to 32ºF in 30mins at a 40º angle and quiet. I use it in the car or when I tent camp. It may be soon that I will have this Norcold replaced!  It's been 3 days trying to get this thing to cool!
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • BaylissBayliss Posts: 347Member
    edited September 28
    @T_BDancing, at this point I do not have any other suggestions for you, but agree with @Verna's suggestion to contact Norcold to see if they can help diagnose what the problem is.  I would recommend doing that before removing the stove top and checking the fuses.  (If you search this forum regarding those fuses, I believe there is a thread with photos describing locating and replacing them.)

    It may be that you are due a replacement refrigerator, which is what I would be demanding if Norcold (or nuCamp) cannot resolve the issue.  I am following this discussion closely, because I am very interested in how it all turns out and wish you all the luck with what you are dealing with.  Very frustrating.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    Thank you @Bayliss, I will definitely go with @Verna's suggestion to contact Norcold. I have read somewhere in the forum about fuses and some heating elements, just hate the idea of something new and does not work, plus I'm not very handy. Any updates will be posted.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • JEBJEB Posts: 265Member
    Thank you @Bayliss, I will definitely go with @Verna's suggestion to contact Norcold. I have read somewhere in the forum about fuses and some heating elements, just hate the idea of something new and does not work, plus I'm not very handy. Any updates will be posted.
    There are a couple of more things you can try.  First, make sure you are level in all directions. Not just front to back but also side to side.  Next, try to isolate each power source completely to test.  I’d start with shore power first, with the other two sources disconnected.  Turn off the propane and switch the battery disconnect off.  That way you insure that only AC is being tested.  If you have a mechanical/piezo igniter, make sure you use it even on AC because the AC will not trigger the igniter automatically.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2019 Chevy Colorado ZR1 Duramax
  • BaylissBayliss Posts: 347Member
    edited September 28
    @T_BDancing, from what you have been describing, and the steps you have taken, it does not seem like a "power" issue.  How about this.............is the rubber seal on the door properly sealing the door?  Is the seal even present?  (It probably is, but I figured I should throw that out as a possibility, just in case.)

    Many, including me, have had problems with the rubber seal repeatedly falling out of the channel on the inside edge of the door within which it rests.  During my last trip (two months long), it was continually falling off due to absolutely no adhesive present to hold it in place.  Sometimes, the seal was misaligned, which could quickly let out all the cold air.  I could not fix it until I got home, because I was using the refrigerator daily.

    The proper way to fix the loose seal is to remove the door (very easy.....just remove the screw at the top right corner of the door and lift the door up off the pin it rests on at the bottom right corner of the door), lay the door flat on it's outside panel, and apply small amounts of adhesive (I used Amazing Goop II) at a few spots along the seal before reinserting the seal in the door seal channel.  You do not need to put sealant along the entire length of the seal.  I recommend against putting on too much sealant, because you never know when the rubber seal may need to be removed and replaced due to damage.

    The "loose seal" issue is a known problem, so it boggles my mind that Norcold and nüCamp have not addressed it.  Such a simple and inexpensive fix.  Thank goodness we have bright minds on this forum who are willing to help each other out with issues like this.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • BaylissBayliss Posts: 347Member
    edited September 28
    @T_BDancing.........in addition to my above comments regarding the seal, you might want to read all the info in the link included below.  It is a long read, and primarily deals with a different Norcold model refrigerator, but it may be of interest to you since you may read some symptoms that are the same as what you have encountered.  There are photos (including your model), so it is a good link to keep for future reference.  Just click on the star in the upper right hand corner of the thread and it will be "bookmarked" for you so you can easily relocate it when needed.  (Greg)

    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/7717/norcold-3163-3-way-refrigerator-wont-start-on-propane-what-fixed-mine-general-diagnostic-advice

    ALSO.............read p. 7 ("Troubleshooting") of the attached .pdf document, which is from the above thread.  It is a Norcold service manual for another model refrigerator, but may describe what you are experiencing, and the potential resolution.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    @JEB, when the fridge was on propane I had to use the igniter then the red 'pointer' will move to the green area, does that mean the igniter work? But I will try it with the AC as you suggested. Thanks.

    @Bayliss, it's funny what you have said about the gasket. I noticed that even the first time I saw the camper on dealer's lot. Looked like a crooked picture frame! But again thanks to the great people in this great forum that I have been forewarned ahead of time! Long story short, that was the first thing I did when I brought the camper home, before I even had time to mess with the fridge(thought that it's a new fridge right? Will get to it later, but who knows!)

    Need to scroll back up 'cause I know you already left me more info before I can finish typing. Thanks, @Bayliss.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • JEBJEB Posts: 265Member
    edited September 28
    @JEB, when the fridge was on propane I had to use the igniter then the red 'pointer' will move to the green area, does that mean the igniter work? But I will try it with the AC as you suggested. Thanks.
    Yes, it probably does mean that the igniter was working.  But I think these 3-ways require that you use the igniter to light the pilot regardless of the power source.  I could be wrong about that.  On further reflection, I probably am.  These absorption refrigerators work by circulating ammonia, and that requires a heating element.  Flame, in the case of propane certainly, which would require you to use an igniter.  But it’s possible that on battery and ac power the heating element is just a resister, in which case there is no flame and no igniter.  In any event, it’s worth pursuing operation using only one power source at a time.  When testing the AC operation, confirm three things: (1) the mode switch (far left) is set to AC; (2) the thermostat (middle switch) is set to at least two snowflakes: and (3) the AC light above the propane operation meter is on.  Then give it at least 8 hours. 
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2019 Chevy Colorado ZR1 Duramax
  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    @Bayliss, thanks very much for sharing the great discussion from @rajamar, such great contribution! Honestly it's a lot for me to digest, but believe me it's saved as one of the almost 20 bookmarked stars!

    So as per @JEB's suggestion, turned on fridge about 4 hours ago, shut off propane, turned off battery, switched mode to AC, set thermostat at 3 snowflakes, press the igniter like 10 times, little green plug light is on, leveling bubbles are all in the middle.

    This will be my final attempt until I reach Norcold on Monday. I personally do not like time consuming stuff like leaving the camper to dealers or manufacturers, waiting for parts and all the nonsense. Hopefully Norcold is able to fix the problem or replace it, otherwise I will most likely replace it with my existing portable compressor fridge. That will be a project and another topic. We will see...

    Thanks.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 3,242Moderator
    JEB said:
    ...
    Flame, in the case of propane certainly, which would require you to use an igniter.  But it’s possible that on battery and ac power the heating element is just a resister, in which case there is no flame and no igniter. 
    ...
    Agree. The previous 3-way model had an automatic ignitor that was only triggered when on the propane setting. The electric heaters use neither fuel nor flame.
  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    Sorry Norcold, I give up!

    After all this time of back and forth from camping, individual use of energy source(LP and AC), no matter how leveled the trailer has been, I have gotten no positive results. 

    Norcold told me that in order to have the fridge replaced or repaired under warranty, I must go back to the dealer where the Tab was purchased. Besides the 5 hour drive to that dealer, there are many good reasons for me not to deal with and trust this dealer ever again. 3 other dealers(within 2hr drive) I have called had told me the same as what Norcold did. One of them was nice enough to go through a few things with me and suspected that the refrigerant of the fridge was dead.

    So, inspired by the mod from @GeoMars, I have decided to go that route but the outcome may not be as great...

    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/6556/replaced-norcold-3-way-with-efficient-ac-dc-electric-fridge


    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 3,242Moderator
    It might be worth a call to nuCamp to see if they have any other suggestions or if they have any way to grease the skids a little, either with another dealer or directly with Norcold. I don't know how compensation for warranty work is structured but it must not be very favorable for dealers since it seems refusing work if you didn't buy from them is not uncommon.
  • DougHDougH Posts: 397Member
    @T_BDancing ; Empathy and Understanding.  Luv my [email protected], but have long been disappointed by the Norcold.  Took too long to cool, used too much power on DC, couldn't light on propane, and finally cooling unit just died completely, and I had my dealer rip the durn thing out and cap the propane line and vents. Now using an old Dometic AC/DC top loader in that space, and plan to put in a more efficient / smaller AC / DC fridge-in-a-drawer when finances allow.
    2014 328d diesel wagon, 2016 [email protected] S Max

  • T_BDancingT_BDancing Posts: 53Member
    Thank you @ScottG, I appreciate your input. Unfortunately the 'renovation' on that compartment has already begun. Ripped that darn fridge out of the hole but could not see what was wrong with the whole fresh and spotless of the side and the top. Oh well. Like @DougH has mentioned above, I am disappointed especially when it comes to the efficiency on AC and DC, not to mention it also takes too long to cool and uses more power at the mean time. I guess on propane it will be just fine. Power to the people with the ones that work. I am also a bit skeptical on flame that's hidden behind 'closed door'  :s.
    Tent to trailer w/TV: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Altitude 3.6L
    2019 Tab 320 S Boondock Edge and get me out of NYC!!!
  • B0atguyB0atguy Posts: 55Member
    Good luck with your project . Wish there was a better outcome for you . In the end , a good 2 way ac/dc compressor style top loader (like an ARB, or Dometic CFX W ) will be way more efficient than that archaic 3 way Norcold . Its no suprise that in the nuCamp 2021 320s prototype, they replaced the 3way Norcold with a more modern (and working) 2 way . 
    Keep us in the loop with your project (with pics !!!) , so we can all see how it turns out and exactly what cooler/fridge and parts you used to make it work ! Cant wait to see a happy ending out of this !  

    My 3 way is working marginally enough that I cant quite yet justify replacing it just yet . It did freeze 2 dozen eggs on our last trip though ..........Hmmm , maybe it is time ! 
    2019 320s Silver / Black Trim . Boondock front rack, 150w Solar , Sofitel sink , etc.  
    2011 Silver Dodge Grand Caravan 3.6 Adventure mobile   

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