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Refrigerator Problems, Norcold 1200 LRIM


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23 replies to this topic

#1 carlpeterson

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 11:03 AM

I have a 2006 Safari Simba with a Norcold 1200LRim Refrigerator.

On my last trip, the freezer, & ice maker worked fine, but wouldn't cool down below, even with the temp. setting at the coldest (9). Same problem whether on gas or AC.

I could hear it running, but the cooling fins in the main part just didn't get cold. House batteries were okay. Is this a grounding problem somewhere? Any ideas?
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#2 wolfe10

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 11:28 AM

Since the cooling coils go through the freezer first, then the refrigerator, if the total ability to remove heat is inadequate to cool both, it is always the refrigerator that suffers high temperatures-- so you symptoms are common.

And, the hotter the ambient temperature, more the refrigerator side of the coach is in the sun, more you open the refrigerator, the poorer the door seals, the less you have in the refrigerator and freezer, etc the more easily "adequate cooling" can deteriorate to "inadequate cooling".

Start by checking air flow in the bottom refrigerator outside vent and out the roof/upper vent. Check for possible bird or rodent nests that are obstructing air flow. Use the dollar bill test to make sure the door gaskets are sealing properly (closing a dollar bill in the door and pulling should give firm resistance all around the door). If your refrigerator is equipped with muffin exhaust fans at the top of the coils, verify that they are working. If you don't have them, this is an inexpensive, worthwhile upgrade.

There are many coach makers who do a poor job of installing the refrigerators, leaving too large a gap at the back and top of the refrigerator. Pull out or download the installation manual for your refrigerator and confirm that the proper clearances exist. If not, install diverters to channel the cooling air correctly through the coils rather than allowing the cooling air to bypass the cooing unit.

Brett
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#3 ellerich

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 01:00 PM

I have the same problem with my 1200. Norcold just serviced the unit in Madison. Replaced the burner, but lower unit still doesn't cool very good. Am interested in installing a muffin fan. How would I proceed?
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#4 carlpeterson

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 03:19 PM

Thanks Brett, I will look at all that, If I need more advice, I may call you. I live near Alvin.
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#5 1Sammiedog

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 06:02 PM

Carl, Brett gives you some very good ideas to check on your fridge for proper cooling functioning. With a setting of #9 on your fridge, you should be seeing a freezer temperature of 0 to 10 degrees and fridge temperature of between 32 to 40 degrees. If you cannot maintain a temperature of 40 degrees or less in the fridge, I would suspect a partially clogged evaporator coil or it could be that your external fans on the back of your refrigerator are not working. If it turns out to be a bad cooling unit, you can get a new one installed for half the price of a new refrigerator or do it yourself like I did and save some $$$$ in labor costs. If your interested, take a look at the picture slideshow I made while doing my Norcold Cooling Unit Installation It will also show the new external fans I installed to help cool the coils and condensor fins.

Good Luck,
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#6 carlpeterson

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 10:21 AM

Any electronics store will have 12 VDC muffin fans. Using aluminum angle, you can easily fabricate a "frame" to hold them in place just above the "fins" at the top of the cooling unit. Install them from the roof or upper access panel exhausting up.

Brett
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#7 johnctysonfmca

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:07 PM

Could be thermister. Thermister is fairly inexpensive and easily replaced.
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#8 ctstegall

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 09:54 PM

Norcold or nocold... I Have been RVing for a number of years and feel it is only proper to note my experiences with Norcold. I have an 40 OP Allegro Bus. It was equipped from the factory with a Norcold 1200LRIM.

The first failure occurred at 25,000 miles or Jan of 2006, total cooling unit failure which was replaced in Ft Myers Camping World for $1687.00. Unit performed marginally until March of 2009 until it exploded and caught fire while we were having lunch. Fortunately we extinguished the fire with minimal coach damage. A replacement was provided by Nocold and installed by an authorized service person.

This replacement unit appeared to be of a lesser quality but under the circumstances we accepted. Initially the unit cooled nicely but soon it became necessary to increase the setting to 9, and yes the baffles were installed. The unit was covered on recall as I am sure most everyone was. I was sent two recall notices at different times which if followed to the letter would mean that I would have been without a unit for more than a month. The replacement unit never performed to satisfaction meaning it would only cool to low 40s if the door was not opened, I use remote temp monitors to observe its performance without opening the door.

So finally after more than two years and so much frustration we decided to dump the unit and install a residential unit from Sears. One needs to evaluate how necessary it is to have the gas function as my unit only draws 5 amp and will operate fine on the already installed 2000 watt Inverter....Charlie
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#9 jaselton

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:16 PM

We had a similar problem with our Norcold and stopped at a Camping World in Albuquerque. They quickly diagnosed it as a mud dauber nest in the back which restricted operation of refrig. but not freezer. (I am not technical, so may not have all the right words for the parts affected!!). In less than 1-1/2 hours we were back on the road (it had been out since the day before, but Flagstaff CW was no longer open so we had to go to ABQ)They also did the recall "fix" at that time.

Judy & Jerry Aselton
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#10 wolfe10

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 06:49 PM

Judy and Jerry,

Actually the cooling unit cools the freezer section first, then "remaining BTU's" remove heat from the refrigerator. So, when total cooling ability is limited (by anything or combination of things), it is the refrigerator that shows the first sign of failure/inability to maintain the proper temperature.

Brett
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#11 chucknewman

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:17 PM

UPDATE TO ALL

We had a new cooling unit and high temp module installed in February 2011 as part of the latest Norcold recall. No charge to us. Our Norcold 1200LR ran in the mid 30's for a few months on the lowest (warmest) temp setting, then we had to increase the temperature setting gradually to the max just to maintain 45F in the refer. Not cold enough. The weather cooled off and the unit began to run again in the 30's.

While following this thread about two weeks ago in 20 and 30 degree temps outside, the refer interior temp went from 36F to 50F in two days. The back of the cooling unit was cold. I thought it went out. So this time around I got out my CD of Norcold and Dometic manuals, and put the Norcold into the diagnostic mode. What a wealth of information it gives you including past events. It showed my thermistor had failed in the past, then apparently recovered. I tested the thermistor and it indicated OK, but I had read a post on another forum that these thermistors can test good, but actually still be bad. The documentation showed the problem had to be either the thermistor or the power board.

I learned my model has a backup operating system (BOS) and placed the unit in this mode which bypasses the thermistor and controls the cooling unit by electronically controlled duty cycle instead of voltage from the thermistor. Within 24 hours the refer interior was back down to the mid 30's. The temp setting was at mid range. This clearly indicated the cooling unit was OK. It had shut down because the electronics told it to do so.

I purchased a new thermistor for $26.49. I've been logging the refer interior temp, and outside temp every few (waking) hours for 6 days. The outside temps have varied from 14F to 55F, and the refer stays at 36F all the time at the lowest (warmest) setting on the temperature selector. Even when we leave the refer doors open longer than we should at 72-74F inside the coach, I notice the interior cools back down at least three times faster than before.

My point here that the basic information about ventilation and fans (only for very hot weather) from Brett and others is valid and good advice. But it can be very costly to assume the cooling unit is defunct every time one has a cooling issue with an absorption type refrigerator.

If you want to save time and aggravation running the RV back and forth to a dealer, and save money on parts and labor -- the latter not necessarily skilled -- get a CD of manuals that has just about every absorption model listed. I got my CD from an eBay seller for five to ten dollars. It has saved me more than a magnitude of bucks over what it cost me.

Chuck
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#12 Ramon

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 03:52 PM

Our '06 Tradewinds has a Norcold 1200 Series Refrigerator - went out while it was parked in our garage - had a bad odor and there was a yellow element coming down from the coils. Will not go into all the details but learned a lot in the process - in our search for a replacement cooling unit - was directed to Leon, with National RV Refrigeration, Shipshewana, IN, Phone is: 260-768-7059.

He installed an after market cooling unit with more cooling capacity. Freezer stays at about 3 degrees above zero - thermostat is set on 7.

Ramon
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#13 jamestouchstone

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:32 PM

This is not a reply, but more of an information request.

Chuck you mentioned that you got your CD for tech info/repair from E Bay. What do I ask for/look for in order to get what I am looking for. I am a retired air line/ auto mechanic and do all repairs I can on our 03 Fleetwood Revolution. We have had all the recalls done on the Norcold 1200 LM with ice maker. It worked fine for 6 mo. We got home in October and parked the coach in the back yard plugged in to a dedicated 50 amp service all appliances off but coach not in the store mode. I turned the refrigerator on yesterday selected auto mode and it flashes no ac available,. Popped the cover on back of the refrigerator and the 5 amp auto style fuse is really smoked. Called Norcold, but company policy no info period. You must take it to a certified repair facility. Replaced the fuse and as soon as I selected AC the fuse blew again. any ideas or how can I get the CD.

Thanks for your time and happy travels.

Jim Touchstone.
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#14 wolfe10

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 03:03 PM

Jim,

An easy "suspect" for blowing that fuse is a shorted out heating element. Unplug it (with power off). Put in a new fuse and see if it holds. If so, you have identified your culprit. The heating elements are not expensive or hard to replace.
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#15 jamestouchstone

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 05:31 PM

OK, unplugged the heater wires replaced the fuse and HOT DOG it didn't blow now.

Do I need to remove the refer from the cabinet for access and where do I get the replacement heater?

Also are there 2 heaters as there is 4 wires to them?

Thanks

Jim t
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#16 titanbus

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:38 PM

We had a Norcold 1200 LRIM in our 2007 Tiffin Allegro Bus. All diagnostics checked out, checked the flue effect, baffling etc., and added a third fan. We also purchased a stand alone cooler (Whynter) which can freeze meat, to get us through last summer's travels.

In the end this Norcold unit is a $4000 boat anchor which would effectively cool about 30degrees below outside air temp. That would suffice in Canada, not in the Continental US. All the above synptoms translated to a faulty cooling unit. The Norcold It also catches fire.

We bit the bullet and installed a Samsung model 197, which holds the temp right where you set it. Amazing! The Samsung costs less than the replacement cooling unit. And until they start making the cooling units out of stainless steel, those will continue to corrode. So my recommendation is to get down to your appliance dealer and pick out a new reefer that will fit in your bus, and call Billy T's Premiere RV in Scott LA for an input date. They did a great job for me, with a lot of cabinet work to fit the taller Samsung in place.
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#17 jamestouchstone

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:41 PM

Hi to all,

Well I have the new heater element in hand but I can not get the old elements to move, they seem to be frozen in place.

I can see no holding screw or anything that is holding then in place, tried twisting and pulling even used a hammer, to tap on the flue area where the element is situated so far no movwment.

Any help or advise will be helpful.

Once again thanks to who ever reads and responds.

jimt.
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#18 jamestouchstone

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:55 PM

Hi to all, I finally got them to move and yes it is an easy fix . I used a twist and lift or pull upward. The space is a little tight but it is possible, the new elements seem to be working so wife is happy camper.The elements were rusted or corroded in place after 9 years.

Thanks to all and I hope this helps someone who may have the same issues.

jimt
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#19 arkybobbie

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:15 PM

I have had a similar problem. I have a 2004 Dutch Star with a 1200lrim refrig. My coach was plugged in to 30 amp for 3 months and the refrig. was off., doors open. Yesterday I turned the refrig. on and mode light shows no ac. I had a 5 amp fuse replaced 2 years ago for the same code and it worked. Can a 5 amp slo blow fuse replace the auto type?. what is the cause of the blown fuse? How hard is it to replace fuse?What steps necessary?
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#20 Koliver

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:40 PM

JimT, Arky

The 5 amp fuse is easy to replace, is behind a black cover over the circuit board, and if it blows again, (Brett above) the heaters are the likely culprit. When the heaters wouldn't move without breaking the rusty tubes they sit in, I had the cooling unit replaced with the Ahmish one, for less than the Norcold part, including the labour to install. The CU I now have looks like it should last twice as long as the one that came out after 13 yrs. It also works way better, as the lowest setting now gets what the highest used to get. I wouldn't go to a household fridge, as I think the alternative of propane is valuable.
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