Oh Oh, things are melting!
The other day I went to get a couple of ice cubes for my “Happy Hour” beverage and splush instead of ice I hit cooled water. Weird, I thought to myself. Maybe I had left the door slightly open on the freezer but checking the fridge section I noticed its temperature was also low.
First thing I did was head outside and pull off the fridge’s external panel. I felt the flue and piping and everything was dead cold, not normal!
Next step was to troubleshoot the problem. First thing I did was switch the fridge from electric mode over to LP gas mode and see if it would cool. Thankfully it cooled great running off the LP gas, which meant the cooling unit was functioning properly. So I had determined the problem was with the electrical operation.
Disclaimer: Working with Electricity and LP Gas is very dangerous and should be performed by a qualified technician. This article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as instructional. I’m not a qualified RV Technician. If you decide to do the same repair I’ve done here then research and beware of the risks. Have it checked out by a professional, I accept no liability, you have been warned!
Pulling out my Fluke multimeter I and set to work troubleshooting the electrical circuits. My fridge is a Model DM2652LBX and was able to get the manuals I would need for repairs at the Dometic website. After familiarizing myself with the circuitry I first unplugged the trailer from the AC power and disconnected my battery, so I could start the Dometic DM2652 RV Refrigerator Repair. I then opened the control board, which is behind a square black cover. This cover is a bit of a pain to remove due to the plastic clips on each side but with a little leverage to them it does release. Behind it you’ll find the control board with a fuse and various connectors leading in and out of the board. Using my multimeter I checked the fuses for continuity and found them to be OK. I re-applied the power and checked for the listed voltages. I had the proper DC and AC voltages throughout the control board.
Next step was to check the electrical element. It should read in the neighborhood of 40-45 ohms, but mine read open. Bingo, I had isolated the faulty part! I was able to acquire the part locally here in Sidney, BC at Peden RV. I have had good luck with Peden and recommend them to RVers in the area. The part number required was 3850644422 (120V 325W Heater Element) and ranges in price from $70 to $120 depending where you get it. Mine was on the highest end being in Canada and on an Island.
Now that I had the part I set about the task of changing it. This is where it got sketchy for me. I had a hard time finding any information on how to actually get the old one out. Lucky for me I hang out in a great online forum for Keystone RV Owners and the knowledge base there is tremendous. I posed the question and got back some great tips and suggestions from fellow RVers who had done the job. It was recommended the easiest path was to pull out the fridge completely to work on it, so this is what I did.
To pull out the DM2652 RV refrigerator you need to do the following:
- Turn off LP Gas supply, Unplug the AC power and disconnect your DC Battery supply
- Remove the top plastic header on the fridge front
- Remove several screws from the top and bottom areas on the fridge front
- Remove 2 screws from the bottom frame rails on the back bottom corners
- Disconnect the AC and DC power wires
- Unscrew the LP gas burner assembly
Once this is done the whole fridge can be slid forward in to the RV. I used a wood box of the right height and was able to slide it right in to that. Once removed from the opening it was a breeze to work on the fridge.
To remove the element, I simply had to unclasp the sheet metal boiler covering, pull back some insulation and slide out the electric element. It took a little twisting and coaxing as the element had a bit of corrosion on it. Installing was just everything in reverse.
My video detailing the Dometic DM2652 RV Refrigerator Repair
Photos taken during the repair
When I got everything back assembled and plugged in I turned on the AC, DC and LP gas. First I checked the operation on LP Gas. It sparked and fired properly and the flame burned a nice blue. Next I set the fridges operation mode to electric and measured the current draw. This was easy to carry out with my EMS-HW30WC Surge Protector from Progressive Industries as it has a digital current readout. It’s display showed an increase of around 3 amps as the element came on. This is roughly what I would expect for a 325-watt element to draw.
I did some last checks, feeling for warmth on the flue, testing the AC voltage reading on the control board and with a thermometer in the fridge. I also sprayed some soapy water solution looking for bubbles around the gas connections to be sure I didn’t cause a leak. All things check out good and the “Happy Hour” ice is solid once again. I hope you found my post detailing my Dometic DM2652 RV Refrigerator Repair useful.
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