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A few weeks ago our RV refrigerator suffered a complete failure with the ammonia mixture leaking out of the cooling unit. I managed to capture it on video.

We were fortunate to have it covered on our RV extended warranty plan and now have a brand new fridge installed.

I thought the footage may be of interest to other RVers out there since many of us have these types of fridges.

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34 thoughts on “Fail Footage of our RV Refrigerator Leaking Ammonia

  1. John-Peter Hundt says:

    I had my my Fridge go last month. It was 15 years old. The dealer also suggested replacing it because rebuilding it would only save me a couple of hundred dollars so it was better to pay a bit more and have a new fridge. Interesting enough most of the instalation time was taken up by removing my motorhome door (class A) to get the fridge out and back in. We were short by about a quarter inch with the door in. My new fridge (Dometic) cost me $2500 installed and that's in Canadian dollars or $1850 in USD at todays rate.

  2. Allen Bennett says:

    hi ray this is a little of the subjuct but have you seen anyone hall an atv of the back hitch of a 5th wheel trailer i here you can its not a trailer it hooks up on the back off the hitch i no yours dosnt have a hitch but some do thanks allen

  3. Bryant Ford says:

    Glad you got a new fridge. I've smelled the ammonia leaks but never heard them. I used to repair (ok-change out) RV fridges decades ago. They're so simple yet so finicky. Good luck to you. Enjoy the Oregon coast. I spent my summers there when I lived in an RV. I miss it.

  4. NWHiker says:

    Looks like you should have headed south a few weeks ago. Record rains in Oct-Nov. I had snow/rain/cold throughout N. Calif. Been basking in the mid-upper 80's the past 3 weeks so loving the warm weather in S. NV. My propane fridge died about 2 years ago and I replaced it with a Visanni A/C fridge for $175. I've been 100% off grid. Have had no problem keeping it running with my solar panels and battery banks. New cooling unit for my fridge runs about $600 now, so may take the plunge and revive the old fridge and save the wear and tear on the battery bank. Be nice to not have to babysit the solar panels for a change, but sure has been light on the pocket book with very little propane use. I've been very surprised how little propane I use now. I can easily go 2-3 months on 1 7 gal bottle. That's running the cook top and oven daily and hot water when I need it.

  5. Hermes says:

    Thanks for sharing.  Personally I have never been fond of extended warranties but having one sure worked in your favor. Food for thought..  Peace & happy travels.

  6. NJ5W Rick says:

    We never smelled anything but we did get the "yellow dust of death" on our cougar's fridge. The leak was small but once it starts your have had it. Was pretty easy to replace but we had to take the door frame off to get the new one into the rig. UGH!! You would think they would make the doors just a little wider. LOL

  7. raybbj says:

    What about your upgraded quiet fan(s)? Do you need to re-install? Also, to clarify, did this happen on the island before you headed south and you took it back to Greg's RV for warranty service?

  8. Sammie Puppy says:

    Thank you for sharing. Many people think extended warranties are a waste of money. You and I agree that it IS NOT! Just one repair can cost as much or more than the cost of the warranty. My RV has a residential fridge, and my biggest fear is that if anything goes wrong, the windshield will need to be removed to take the fridge out. Pretty scary to imagine. Safe travels!!

  9. R S says:

    How was it dealing with the warranty company ? We have an extended warranty and have used it a few times. Roof top AC, factory installed inverter where the 2 biggest. It took weeks to get them replaced and we had to pay for shipping. Not a fun experience.

  10. raybbj says:

    Hi Ray – Have you ever thought of running your fridge off your 1000W inverter while driving ?? Assumming your alternator is big enough to charge your battery bank

  11. JCMakeStuff says:

    We had this happen on our Dometic RM2652 refrigerator in our 2004 Wildcat 27RK too. I was able to purchase a Third party cooling unit that was not a stock replacement but an upgraded style for less than half of a new refrigerator. I was able to do the change out myself in a couple hours with the directions sent and a YouTube video from the manufacture. The wife was happy as the new fridges that were available we wouldn't have been able to use the Wood panels on the doors and she really likes that look in our rig.

  12. Charlie Sheehan says:

    Next time your refrigerator dies or leaks ammonia, Look up "Ford's Rv Refrigeration" on Google, they could fix your RV refrigerator cheaper than buying a new one regardless what the RV technician says. but thankfully you had the warranty and not pay big bucks for a new refrigerator or cooling unit.

  13. Gordon Cindy says:

    Hi Ray, really enjoy your videos. Did you look into the compressor style fridges when yours failed? I believe there are 12volt versions of these fridges that are, sort of, like the "normal" household variety.
    Perhaps in your case because you had a warranty, it wouldn't have been an option? I know very little about these compressor style fridges but they sound interesting.
    Cheers! 🙂

  14. OJ Higgins says:

    Posts: 17
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    Re: Dometic fridge ammonia leak
    « Reply #32 on: Today at 02:25:05 pm »
    QuoteModify
    Hi
    Did the ammonia leak into your camper like it did mine. Dometic has denied the fact the ammonia can come into the camper. The fridge has two huge holes around the tabs where you screw it to the cabinet and also you can see daylight from outside showing under the bottom of the fridge. I sent them pictures and I plan to get a fog machine and put in the back access and film it coming in the camper. I plan to send that video to the attorney general in order to hopefully get a world wide recall on this problem. I am not the only one that could have died from this leak. A family on here also could have died had their dog not awakened them and got them out of the camper. It has been over two months and you can still smell ammonia in the camper. I had the fridge removed immediately and for a month and a half you could not get within 20 feet of it and that was in the open air. I just had it put back in the camper so I could prove to the company that there is a defect in the manufacture of their fridge and the ammonia can come int the camper and kill you. They said the fact the cabinet was sealed would prevent the ammonia from coming in. The cabinet is sealed in the corners from top to bottom and all around the top and bottom of the cabinet. But that is not where it comes in. It comes in from below the bottom of the fridge and through the mounting holes at the top of the fridge behind the panel that has the on off buttons and such. I am warning every one if you have a dometic fridge in your camper pull the bottom metal plate and the control panel up top and you will clearly see where outside air can and will enter the camper. I had my ac on which circulates the inside air. It sucked the ammonia right in the camper while I was sleeping. My fingernails, hair and throat are still suffering from the effects of the 99.98% pure ammonia. Household ammonia is 10% and breathing it can cause problems so imagine what this will do to you if this happens to you like it did me the other family and God only knows how many other people. Please help by contacting the attorney general in Indiana and make a complaint when you find these open places where the ammonia can come in because if it develops a leak count your blessings if you live through it.
    Modify message

  15. Joe Kokinda says:

    I’m dealing with this very problem now! My 35 year old trailers Dometic fridge just gave up the ghost last week! From what I can tell from watching multiple YouTube videos, my fridge sprung an ammonia leak!

  16. James Ray says:

    Our Dometic refrigerator (RM2852) stopped working sometime in the last week. It’s approx. 15 years old and has been running pretty much continuously, 90% of the time it's on shore power. While researching my problem last night I viewed your June 2013 video about the heating element and tested mine. Mine showed closed, had resistance so I moved on. I tried the cooling system using on gas only. My pilot light started and I could tell the furnace/boiler was heating up. Within half an hour I could tell the metal plates in the frig were cooling again. I shut off the gas and it was then I noticed the hissing and faint aroma of ammonia gas like this Nov. 2016 video mentions. Now I guess I’m off to source a replacement refrigerator and will add this remove and replace repair experience to my 30+ years of "pleasure" owning motorhomes. Suppose I shouldn’t complain because the refrigerator cooling system has failed after so many years of flawless service. Nothing lasts forever, a fact my body reminds me of regularly these days! Any comments or advice you might have is appreciated and thanks for creating and publishing your videos!

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