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Old 09-23-2018, 10:43 AM   #1
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Siesta
State: California
Posts: 79
THOR #3975
refridgerator freezer problems on the road

My wife and I have a Thor Siesta 24ft class C - bought new 2 years ago - still feel like newbies.. We did a 3 month trip to Alaska this summer - loved it! - ran into a problem with the Norcold fridge and I don't know if I was failing to do some maint, or what....

Anyway - all working fine - about 2 months into the trip, I noticed some frost buildup on the back wall of the freezer. There are no fins there - just a white metal plate with some screws or bolts. Naturally, I ignored it. Over time it did seem to be getting thicker. Not solid ice - it felt like rough crystals, but did not come off easily on my fingers.

One morning, we wake up, and the fridge and freezer are warm. And there is a bunch of water on the bottom of the freezer. I think we were running on propane, and the normal lights were on. We were quite level so I did not think that was the problem. We cleaned it up, bought some ice for fridge and freezer compartments, and drove on, hoping it would get cold. No luck. I looked at back of the fridge, and all looked ok, altho I did not really know what I was looking at.

We made some calls - found someone who would look at it - but figured any parts would be hard to come by. Anyway, this guy looks at a couple of things, then opens the cover on the burner, blows on it - we hear a puff like the burner has ignited - presumably there was some dirt in there blocking the gas - fantastic! I pay the guy $20, and we hit the road. I have a better understanding of how it works, and what the various parts are, and we had no more problems for the rest of the trip.

So my questions are:
- what kind of things should I be doing on the fridge during an extended trip like this?
- what should I have done when I noticed the frost buildup on the back wall, and did it contribute to the problem? Do I need to defrost periodically?

- why didn't the water drain from the freezer? There is a tray in the top part of the fridge section that funnels water to the drain hose - it was dry as a bone.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-23-2018, 01:27 PM   #2
geno929's Avatar
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 23U
State: Missouri
Posts: 62
THOR #8692
I've heard of ice crystals building up on the rear wall of the freezer before. I was told to take a thin plastic sheet, like those cheap plastic cutting boards and place it against the back wall of the freezer. Then when you see any ice crystals form on this sheet, just take it out and rinse and dry it, replace.
We've not had a problem since! Good Luck!

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Old 09-23-2018, 01:55 PM   #3
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16ACE27's Avatar
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 27.1
State: Florida
Posts: 4,576
THOR #7035
The ice in your freezer is just that; ice. Your absorption fridge is not frost-free so some accumulation of frost is expected. If you don't have a good seal on the freezer door it will accumulate faster and you shouldn't let it get too thick before turning off the fridge and manually defrosting as it does decrease the efficiency of the fridge. This had nothing to do with your real problem.

Dirt, critters, spider webs can all keep your burner from lighting but you should have got a CHECK light on your control panel when this happened. Now you know how to clear out the burner/ignition area if this happens again but you should troubleshoot why the CHECK light did not come on.
Ted & Melinda
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:44 PM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 8,768
THOR #1150
To troubleshoot the check light: I'd turn off the propane at the tank, put the refer on gas and watch for the check light (may have to use the stove to make sure all the propane is out of the line).
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:36 PM   #5
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Siesta
State: California
Posts: 79
THOR #3975
Thanks for the great answers!
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:40 PM   #6
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SuperD's Avatar
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2017 Windsport 29M
State: Indiana
Posts: 3,691
THOR #5196
Buy a small battery operated fridge fan to get some air circulation going. Having some air circulation helps your fridge maintain a more even temp. You can get the fans at CW, Amazon, and sometimes Walmart.

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