Dometic DM2652 RV Refrigerator Repair

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!

Dometic Fridge Model DM2652LBX

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.

[box type="warning"] Disclaimer: Working with LP Gas and Electricity is dangerous and should be only performed by a qualified technician. This article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as instructional.[/box]

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.

DM2652LBX - Outside view  DM2652LBX - Control Board area

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.

DM2652 element #3850644422

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.

DM2652LBX - Pulled out  DM2652LBX = Flue exposed

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.

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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.

If you enjoyed this post please like, tweet, +1 or share it, thanks Ray

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  • Jim Belanger

    I have a Dometic DM2652 and it works just fine. It is in a 2011 Zinger tow behind camper and is installed in the slide out. My question is that the fan behind the fridge seems to run much more often than I ever expected. It turns on for about 10 to 15 seconds, turns off for 20 seconds and then runs again. This seems to be continuous no matter what the temperature is outside. I don’t want to mess with it because the unit is working fine but it’s just annoying.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Mine will cycle like that also but only when it is warm out or the sun is beating on the fridge side of the rig. If it is cooler out it doesn’t run, but I don’t have the fridge in a slide and it has a roof vent so maybe cooling is better. Maybe for slide units they set it up to have the fan run more often.

  • David Spackman

    I just replaced a RM2652 with a DM2652, the new one worked for 2 weekends and did the same as the old one. The freezer was cool, and the bottom half warm. Is the new one defective or is the camper causing the problem? The company is replacing with another new one, but I was going to have the techs install, it is 6 screws, gas line hook-up and plug in electric to outlet. I checked all fuses, the gas was lighting, and electric was working. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Perplexed Camper

    • http://www.CampFridge.com Matt Willis

      When you have a problem with an rv fridge most people look at the fridge as being the problem instead of maybe being a propane regulator problem. More than once I have tested the gas pressure an seen that is was at 11 inches of water pressure before I started, and after the gas started to flow the pressure would rise and raise the flame which would in turn give me a cold freezer and a warm fridge. That was rare and most of those regulators was on old rv’s I have also had new fridges that were D.O.A. I would also check to make sue any insulation has no fallen on top of the condenser (top of the fridge) Old insulation on the side walls sometimes falls down when the contact adhesives dries out. It is a pain to pull the fridge to find out, But you can get on top on your rv an take the 4 screws off from the vent and look at the top of you fridge and make sure your airflow is clear.

  • Eloy De Luna

    Can the element be tested before going thru the trouble of removing it with the meter? By simply disconnecting the black wires? My refrigerator too works in gas only mode.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Yep, you can test it without taking the whole thing apart, just pull off the two black wires that lead to the element and test in ohms mode, should be around 40-45 ohms if the element is OK, if bad it is likely open.

      • Eloy

        Great, but since it’s running on gas at this moment. Can I still disconnect element and test or does refrig need to be completely off and cool to test?

        • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

          Doesn’t need to be cool but you’ll want to make sure the electricity is off. For sure the AC power so you don’t shock yourself, but also the DC 12 volt if you can. If you can’t disconnect the 12 volt battery power just be very careful not to cross any wires or you may blow a fuse somewhere or fry the control board circuits.

  • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

    Hi Deb, I move the slider up higher to get a cooler temperature.

  • ray smith

    hi all I have dometic 3way fridge with heater element problem,,fridge no DM2652RB1-sku9108516245,,-mfg-958527787,these numbers are inside the fridge,,in the book there are four diff,numbers they are rm-2354,,,2454,,,2554,,,2663..i am thinking with the four numbers the one element fits these..fridge fitted 2010yr..so dose the heater element i am reading about on this sight fit my fridge,,,the part number I got is for a DM2652LBX FRIDGE,,HOPE YOU CAN HELP ME OUT ,,,,BYE

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      I would think so, here is a pdf showing the part numbers – https://www.dometic.com/0b8aa29e-2690-4ddb-9241-856774a04c90.fodoc

    • ray smith (from australia)

      hi ray thanks for your info,but iam having trouble finding a heater element for my dometic
      fridge molel n0-dm2652,part n0- for fridge—3850644422.so could you point me in the right direaction to where I can buy an sent Australia an also cost..tks ray smith..

      • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

        Hi Ray, I would try Ebay, go to Ebay and search the part #3850644422 should be able to find one there and get it shipped to Australia. I see them there for around 60-80 bucks.

  • vajensen

    I need to rehang a door on a fridge that the bracket broke on and wondering the best and easiest way. Do you have to remove the freezer door first or is there a bracket I can loosen to insert the dowels into the holes? Thanks Verl Jensen

  • bobby cu

    I have a Dometic double door fridge and was subject to freezing cold weather last week and the unit quit cooling. I placed a heater in the back to thaw out the cools, left it running for two days, had a heater on the inside as well. It has been 24hrs and the uit still does not cool. I ran it on electric for a while then switched over to LP but no luck. the unit is a 2010. Any ideas?

    • http://www.CampFridge.com Matt Willis

      This is something that happens to any ammonia refrigerator when the temperature drops below freezing for a length of time. I was told by another rv re builder that below 15 F. is the critical point however it may be above that point. I would shut the fridge off in a warmer climate and let the aqua-ammonia mix go back together then try it again, and Norcold has a fix a cold weather kit for it that should work on the Dometics also, (Norcold Product No. 634913)

  • http://WWW.CampFridge.com Matt Willis

    I never liked how Dometic does not give you the option of changing your temp settings on some model. There is a fix for that, someone on Ebay is selling a repair thermister that alows you to adjust the temperature inside your fridge and it only takes a few minutes to install. Just type in Dometic Thermistor Repair on Ebay. and you will have control over you rv fridge settings again.

  • philip vogelaar

    my unit is on electric right now and has auto temperature control but freezes all my groceries in the lower part. Was wondering if there is some adjustment to make it warmer in the refrigerator part.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      If it’s like my model Philip there is a slider temp control on the top right side of the metal fins in the fridge. It may be jammed up to high.

      • http://rvhappyhour.com Bill

        my fridge also freezes everything in lower half, but i don’t have a slide control. how can temp be adjusted?

      • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

        Hey Bill, what is the fridge’s make and model number?

      • http://aol Bill

        Ray, I will try to find make and model. all I know now is Dometic, americana.

      • deb

        does the slide go up or down to make fridge cooler?

  • Tom

    I feel comfortable pulling my fridge after your video. I have carbon falling from the flue onto the burner. I have pulled the cover off from the roof and droped a small chain down the flue to clean out any hornet nests and there isn’t any nests in it. It will run on elect. After a day or two I will put it back to propane and then lightly bang on the heat stack and a chunk of carbon will fall on the burner. I have called a couple of RV Techs and two of them are perplexed over the carbon falling on the burner. My unit is still under warrente my RV dealer ship is booked up, so I checked out your video and what a help it is to me thanks. Perplexed in Utah!

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Hey Tom, glad it helped you. I had a tough time finding much info on it so decided to video it to help others. Cheers Ray

  • http://rbilv.com/ Kristofer Warner

    Great idea.Thanks for sharing.The design is amazing the wooden style.

  • Roger

    Hello great vide, I believe these RV refrigerator DIY videos might help your friends. Look at FRVTS on you tube. GBYAY Roger

  • august indovina

    my dometic fridge same as one mentioned here 2652 this thing is 1,00.00 any way around this i need replacement i have been liveing in this trailer since i lost everything in hurricane katrina..

  • http://WWW.kONACOOLS.NET Matt Willis

    Well you did everything I would have done. I rebuild cooling units for a living, and I ran across the same problem with your model of fridge. You have a very unique model the Dm2652 is what replaced the Rm2652 series and Dometic took a really good cooling unit (excluding the boiler assembly) and made it about 1/3 smaller, the Rm heating element could have been easily replaced without removing the fridge. There has been since the early 80’s an access door to replace the element with ease from the back. Your Dm model does not have that feature. Also I predict the within the near future your cooling unit will be the next to go. I replaced a shorted heating element in your exact fridge months ago and the first hot spell the cooling unit went out. Luck Dometic uses the same cabinet and I replaced the unit with a 606A cooling unit with a boiler tube twice as thick as the original. You should also put a fan on your cooling unit the one I fixed had one to compensate for it’s smaller size.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      Thanks for the advice Matt. My unit does have a thermal controlled fan, but it’s fairly small and noisy. I was thinking of installing a quieter one with more air flow. We never are in really hot climates so hopefully the cooling unit will last a little longer.

      • http://www.konacools.net Matt Willis

        They put a very small fan on the backs of their new design. The older model worked fine without a fan unless the fridge was in a slide out in that case you still need a fan.. When your cooling unit fails make sure you replace it with a 605A or a 605A cooling unit. the unit will fit in you cabinet and you will not need a fan for it to run properly.

      • http://WWW.CampFridge.com Matt Willis

        I have doing allot of research on fans and try looking up http://www.silenx.com/ They have quiet fans and also two models that have a thermister fan switch built in so no need for extra wiring, they are pretty cool. No pun intended.

    • http://www.CampFridge.com Matt Willis

      I just wanted to ad this to my previous comment. I have replaced to of these new type DM2652 cooling units with the larger older ones and I have seen some of the DM models have the lager older ones come from Dometic. So all DM2652 do not have the small cooling unit on them. The point I am trying to make is as a rebuilder of cooling unit and also a friend of mine who does the same can no longer switch the small one for the lager one, so where ever you have them repaired try not to put the smaller one in. And these fridges look brand new so don’t let some tech tell you you have to buy a whole new fridge that is simply not true. My CampFridge DIY repair videos online can show you how to swap them yourself.

      • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

        Thanks for the great info, Matt. Like some of the useful tips you give in your videos. Like the bent screwdriver tool. http://www.campfridge.com/

  • Mike Morris

    Thank`s ,well done video! I`m going to fix mine now. Mine is the same model in 2002 Fleetwood Mallard. Gas works fine ,ac does not. Going to check my level first before I take it apart. Thank`s again!!