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TOPIC: Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas

Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452124

  • pilchard
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This Fridge in our 2001 Autosleepers Symbol Campervan has been working fine up 'till now... and we are only in our second week of a 5 month tour of Italy. Sod's Law!
So... I'm hoping someone here could suggest a probable cause and how to fix it.
It works fine on 240v & 12v, but a couple of days ago it was reluctant to light up on gas... currently Propane. The 12v peizo ignitor was sparking (although a bit weak I thought... maybe) but not igniting. Just a split second after releasing the gas knob there'd be a small "boof" at the back indicating that even a weak spark was capable of igniting something, and that maybe it was getting more gas/not enough air. I then realized I still had the winter covers on (which shouldn't realy stop it working) and took them off. It eventually lit. Problem solved... I thought.
Next morning I turned off the gas side of fridge and onto 12volt and we went for a drive up a mountain pass (in the Dolomites), had a walk, came down to the valley... and it was again very lazy lighting up on gas. Thought it had eventually lit, because the 12v igniter stopped clicking. Woke up this AM and made a brew only to find we had yoghurt instead of milk in the fridge. The fridge had stopped... the ignitor swith was on, but no clicking and no flashing light.
I'm pretty hands on and... retired multi-trade Joiner... have some problem solving skills... and a small tool kit with me. It could be the ignitor... it could be the burner as well... it could even be the gas jet as well as those two. I do know it wont have had a service for a few years before I got it last year.
Any suggestions... or repair manuals etc...?
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452129

  • otherclive
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Had a similar problem recently with our fridge very difficult to light on gas using the push piezo. At its service couple of weeks ago I reported it and the technician found gas leak on the fridge gas supply which when tightened up sorted the problem out. The worrying thing is that my wife nor I could smell any gas, which shows that the floor vents are working. Yet it must have been a small leak as the gas bottle gauge (rubbish) didnt drop any more than normal. So now it gets isolated when not being used, which isn't a lot as we tend to be on EHU most times.
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452148

  • Dustydog
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I suspect bearing in mind it is 17 yearscold the flue directly above the burner has rusted and allowed debris to drop where it shouldn’t. The fact it does or has recently lit is a good sign. A good clean out looks the order of the day. When was it last professionally serviced?
Make sure all the vents beneath the fridge are clear. What colour was the flame last time? Please be very careful, getting it wrong could be disastrous. Take plenty of photos. Do you have any gas leak detector spray? Unless you are certain what you are doing and have the manual maybe best to seek an expert. They do have them even in Italy B)
Sir Dustydog (BAR) TS .Woosie Round Table
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452198

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Thanks to Clive an Dusty for the replies.
We really need to have this fridge running on gas as we are doing a fair bit of off-site wild camping... approx 5 days off and 2 days on-site.
I took the two side vents off yesterday, and the top flue-vent assembly, and discovered that there is actually combustion going on... the top of the cumbustion tube was hot to touch, though not so hot you had to remove your hand, yet the heat exchange matrix was just at ambient air temp.
So, despite not getting any cooling, and seeing no flame in the ridiculously impossible to view through little plastic window in the fridge, which has condensation on the back of it anyway, there must be a flame... but I suspect it's so weak it cant achieve mutch.
So, like you guys, I suspect it needs a good clean out. But access to the back of the fridge is so limited via the appertures (once grills are removed) that its impossible to access the screws to the burner box at the bottom of the heat exchange tube in order to clean out any rust, soot, or spiders.
I did carefully introduce a rubber tube down the burner stack and gave it several enthusiastic blows in the vain hope it might have an effect... but nothing. Put it all back together and it's just as it was before. It sparks, it obviously must light, but nothing to see through the perspex window, only low heat from the flue (though I wouldn't know how hot it should get) and zero discernable cooling... like its turned on to minimum in expectation of a Scottish winter.
As an ex Corgi registered installer, I have no qualms working on gas appliances, but could do with some advice from someone that has removed one of these fridges... cos that is the only way I can see me (or anyone else) getting to that burner. One would hope that it is possible to pull it out without mangling gas and electrical feeds.
Of course, I could try to find a service engineer or depot, but Italy and Italians can be such damned hard work... despite my Italian being fairly functional... I'd probably have to drive 80 miles, the guy would tell me to leave the camper with him for a week, and on return chargee virtually the price of a new fridge for doing a job that might only last a couple of weeks before playing up again. Had a similar unfortunate car experience here.
Any advice much appreciated.
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452199

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Thanks to Clive an Dusty for the replies.
We really need to have this fridge running on gas as we are doing a fair bit of off-site wild camping... approx 5 days off and 2 days on-site.
I took the two side vents off yesterday, and the top flue-vent assembly, and discovered that there is actually combustion going on... the top of the cumbustion tube was hot to touch, though not so hot you had to remove your hand, yet the heat exchange matrix was just at ambient air temp.
So, despite not getting any cooling, and seeing no flame in the ridiculously impossible to view through little plastic window in the fridge, which has condensation on the back of it anyway, there must be a flame... but I suspect it's so weak it cant achieve much.
So, like you guys, I suspect it needs a good clean out. But access to the back of the fridge is so limited via the appertures (once grills are removed) that its impossible to access the screws to the burner box at the bottom of the heat exchange tube in order to clean out any rust, soot, or spiders.
I did carefully introduce a rubber tube down the burner stack and gave it several enthusiastic blows in the vain hope it might have an effect... but nothing. Put it all back together and it's just as it was before. It sparks, it obviously must light, but nothing to see through the perspex window, only low heat from the flue (though I wouldn't know how hot it should get) and zero discernable cooling... like its turned on to minimum in expectation of a Scottish winter.
As an ex Corgi registered installer, I have no qualms working on gas appliances, but could do with some advice from someone that has removed one of these fridges... cos that is the only way I can see me (or anyone else) getting to that burner. One would hope that it is possible to pull it out without mangling gas and electrical feeds.
Of course, I could try to find a service engineer or depot, but Italy and Italians can be such damned hard work... despite my Italian being fairly functional... I'd probably have to drive 80 miles, the guy would tell me to leave the camper with him for a week, and on return charge virtually the price of a new fridge for doing a job that might only last a couple of weeks before playing up again. Had a similar unfortunate car experience here.
Any advice much appreciated.
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452206

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Hello PiIchard,

Difficult ignition, unreliable flame retention, heat but no obvious flame visible in the viewing window, strongly suggests a blocked or damaged burner. Many years ago I had a similar problem on a 20 year old fridge whilst on holiday, As a CORGI registered LPG fitter myself, I strip down the burner, and found the gauze on the top of the burner had eroded away.

As an ex CORGI registered fitter, you should be able to remember the practical aspects of working on gas appliances, duty to seal and of course the necessary safety checks. so that gives me some confidence in your ability to safely undertake work on the appliance. However I don't know the Italian law on who can work on caravans, and whether its legal for an owner to do it themselves.

It sounds like you have so far basically done all you can, without having to gain full access to the burner.
Unless I use quotes, All advice and opinions given are my own and are given in good faith. Never act on anything you read on a forum unless you can validate and verify its source and content.
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 1 week ago #452213

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Pilchard,

Instead of trying to blow out dust\debris, could you borrow a vacuum cleaner with the little accessory nozzles and try sucking the debris out?

Worked for me when I had what I think was spider webs and other unknown particles in the burner area, took 3 or 4 attempts as I recall.

Access wasn't that great, probably why it took so many attempts at clearing the obstruction.
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 6 days ago #452222

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Two good replies from Proff John & Anseo, and both sound advice.
If I could access a vacuum cleaner Anseo, I'd possibly give it a try. But not knowing what's down the bottom of that heat exchange tube makes me nervous to go prodling about down there. When I blew it out with a gas hose I only stuck it down as low as the spiral difuser reached... just in case. Having an exploded diagram would help. A full workshop manual would be even better.

Regarding safety Proff John, if I were to remove it to work on it, I'd want to ensure absolute safety re CO, gas, & electricity... but other than a soap test, I'm a bit stuck as to how I could test for soundness without a guage, even if there were a test nipple.

Anyway, we took the van on a very short run with 12v on and it "seemed" to cool a little. We have come on-site now for a day or two, and it's deffo working on 240v. But earlier I closed all the curtains and blinds, stuck my head in the fridge with the door at my neck to block out as much light as I could, and spotted the tiniest blue flame... which didn't vary whatever I did with the numbered control knob/valve.
A blue flame (without any suggestion of yellow or orange) might suggest no contamination or blockage on the air side of the burner... and might suggest some sort of constriction or blockage. Well no-one has been bashing gas pipes flat, so I can only assume some sort of contaminant in the gas line... probably at the burner jet. I've seen a post elswhere where a guy had something like this gumming up the feed to the jet. He took the jet off and poked the crud out with a fine panel pin and everything was OK after that.

I'm reluctant to start riving the fridge out without some authorative guidelines so, in the absence of a workshop manual/PDF/or whatever... I'll give Autosleepers (who built this campervan) a buzz and see what they can send me.
Failing that, the nearest Dometic agent is an hour's drive away 40km over a pass to Bolzano.
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Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 6 days ago #452244

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From your description then I would suspect the gas jet is partially blocked.

Click here for a DIY description of how to sort this with a minimum of tools.
The refrigerator is not your model but the workings are almost identical.
You would have to remove the refrigerator from it's housing.
I have serviced my 23 year old caravan absorption refrigerator using the same techniques and it works perfectly on gas.
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Last Edit: 4 months 6 days ago by Gafferbill.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Dustydog, pilchard

Electrolux RM4213s Fridge on Gas 4 months 6 days ago #452250

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Pilchard, just another thought, Might it be a blocked regulator, from the bottle, to the MH. Restricting the gas. Have you a gas hob in the van and does that work ok. ? Back to basics.
Hutch
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Last Edit: 4 months 6 days ago by EH52ARH. Reason: Correction.
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