This #[email protected]*&$# Fridge!

PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,214
The Norcold 3163 3-way fridge in our 2016 [email protected] Max S has been a pain almost from the start. The only reason I don’t haul the thing out and take it to the landfill is it works PERFECTLY on electric. The first time we had it in to the dealer they cleaned up the burner, and the last time (last week) they replaced the thermocouple. 

Now the green light comes on when we start the fridge as expected. But I don’t feel any heat at the countertop, and the fridge cools to only 50 degrees.

The trailer is level, the ambient temp is 70, and we’ve run the fridge on propane for 24 hours. The propane tank is full and we had the regulator tested so the gas pressure is good.

ANY ideas? 

Apparently parts aren’t available for this stupid thing any longer. Every time we take it in it’s $160/hour and removing and replacing it takes 3 hours.
John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York

Comments

  • Mellow_YellowMellow_Yellow Member Posts: 240
    Hello. Have you tried this: with the fridge set to "off", light one burner of the propane stove for a minute or two, just to make sure the propane is flowing and pressurized. Then turn off the burner, turn the fridge to propane, wait a minute and then light the fridge. 
    My "under-used" "new to me" 2014 [email protected] 320 S has the same Norcold fridge. Mine fridge works perfectly on propane, so well, that it freezes my food unless I turn it down to "2". Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the green light to stay on when lighting it, but once it's on, it's reliable, cold and quiet. But I do know what you mean about the countertop heating up!
    If your fridge still doesn't cool down, it might need to be replaced. There are a few posts in this category about people who have replaced the Norcold. The newer fridges are surprisingly inexpensive, but it sounds like many of them are "two way" and run just on AC/DC, with no propane option. Provided your battery is good and you have a way to recharge it (solar or generator), you might be ok with a 2-way fridge.
    2014 [email protected] 320 S "Solare" - 2015 Toyota Sienna LE - British Columbia, Canada
  • Tabaz Tabaz Member Posts: 1,999
    Here's the thread where Ron recently replaced his Norcold with an Isotherm:
    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/comment/164418#Comment_164418
    Not a cheap solution, but may be your only option.  Sorry to hear this is happening.
    2016 Outback 320 with a 2010 Ford Expedition.
  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,214
    What I’m thinking is to rip this thing out and put a regular no-tech cooler on a pull out drawer. I do like the idea of the electric fridge though.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • Tabaz Tabaz Member Posts: 1,999
    Shooting in the dark here - does the computer fan come on when the frig cycles (located behind the gray access panel on the left, below the coils)? I assume you've already checked the three fuses located at the top of the frig under the stove.  Not sure how to check the fluid level (not even sure what "fluid" is used).
    2016 Outback 320 with a 2010 Ford Expedition.
  • Tabaz Tabaz Member Posts: 1,999
    BTW, I once tried putting my 50 quart ARB portable frig in the cabin to augment the Norcold's small capacity (on the driver's side pedestal without the seat cushion).  The ARB was too loud for this application.
    2016 Outback 320 with a 2010 Ford Expedition.
  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,214
    Tabaz said:
    BTW, I once tried putting my 50 quart ARB portable frig in the cabin to augment the Norcold's small capacity (on the driver's side pedestal without the seat cushion).  The ARB was too loud for this application.
    We have an ARB but it doesn’t fit into the space where the fridge is, and there are two of us so we don’t want it on the bench.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • Tabaz Tabaz Member Posts: 1,999
    Agreed.  It takes up a lot of real estate.  And its noisy.  Photomom - you are a very experienced [email protected] owner and valued poster to the forum.  Please take my suggestions with a grain of salt - only offered to you as a last resort to fix this problem. 
    2016 Outback 320 with a 2010 Ford Expedition.
  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,214
    Mellow_Yellow said:when the fridge worked on propane, it worked really well. 
    Hello. Have you tried this: with the fridge set to "off", light one burner of the propane stove for a minute or two, just to make sure the propane is flowing and pressurized. Then turn off the burner, turn the fridge to propane, wait a minute and then light the fridge. 
    My "under-used" "new to me" 2014 [email protected] 320 S has the same Norcold fridge. Mine fridge works perfectly on propane, so well, that it freezes my food unless I turn it down to "2". Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the green light to stay on when lighting it, but once it's on, it's reliable, cold and quiet. But I do know what you mean about the countertop heating up!
    If your fridge still doesn't cool down, it might need to be replaced. There are a few posts in this category about people who have replaced the Norcold. The newer fridges are surprisingly inexpensive, but it sounds like many of them are "two way" and run just on AC/DC, with no propane option. Provided your battery is good and you have a way to recharge it (solar or generator), you might be ok with a 2-way fridge.
    When the fridge worked in propane, it worked really well, I’d have to be careful not to freeze stuff!
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • db_cooperdb_cooper Member Posts: 668
    For our style of camping we could get by with the using the fridge as a cooler with an ARB  out in the TV.  Certainly more convenient when it works though.  Hope you find a solution.
    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • PhotomomPhotomom Member Posts: 2,214
    edited May 2
    I really think we will end up with a low tech cooler on a slide out tray. 

    We are thinking of selling the [email protected] in a couple years, I have to think buyers would have an issue with a three way fridge that works in two ways.
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • vhollowvhollow Member Posts: 29
    It is possible that, when the shop replaced the thermocouple, the tech turned the fridge on its side. Those units have to be rocked from side to side on a vertical axis to make sure no gas bubbles are trapped in the ammonium hydrate coolant. Also, the burners should be wire brushed annually to remove rust. It is also possible that loose rust particles re-clogged the burner when the fridge was removed for servicing. Basically, as you imply, you need a good hot combustion on propane to effectively cool. You might verify if the techs took care of those two concerns this time. I used a Norcold 3-way for 20 years and liked it well enough. I like my 2-way Isotherm better.
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 3,013
    Another option is to install the Isotherm Cruise 65 fridge.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400 Custom Outback, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
Sign In or Register to comment.