Fridge element and also heating issue

Jul 27, 2018
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Hello,

New here - please feel free to tell me I've posted in the wrong place (if I have).
I have an old Buccaneer schooner. My "latest" problem is that the fridge is popping the mains circuit.
When it is turned on the power box trips (as does the campsite mains hook-up trip switch). I'm thinking this has to be the 240V element?
I leave my van on site and so never have the tools/ parts I need. I took the plastic vents from oustide off and have small access behind the fridge.
Problem is that now I'm stuck. I've read that the fridge should be disconnected and taken inside the van. But this means messing with gas and I just don't feel comfortable doing this. Others seem to say it's possible to change the element through the outside holes? I just have no idea what I'm actually looking at though, it's all just pipes and padding. The fridge is ELECTROLUX 4271
I did try to run the fridge on gas to check whether that would work, but I can't even find the pilot light etc to do this. I tried on 12V but from what I read the 12V won't get cold anyway, so that wouldn't help.

I'm really thinking that this is just beyond me, but as the van is old ('97) and I can't tow it, I might actually have to scrap the old girl ;-( which would be awful over just a small part. It's just not really worth investing more money on having it properly repaired...sadly enough.

Also - The ALDE heating doesn't work now. Well it works, but has an air lock after I decided to change the fluid (2 years ago). It's never worked after the fluid change. I can only find 2 bleed nipples (there should be loads on such a large van) and there isn't one on the radiator which is the highest point.

So as you can see I'm facing a few problems which together sort of point to the great van store in the sky ;-(

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot.
Simon
 
Nov 6, 2006
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Fridges are usually held in place by 4 screws that pass from inside the fridge to the surrounding woodwork. Remove white cover caps to see these.
You may find that the fridge was installed with a loop of copper gas pipe, that enables you to remove the fridge from its housing, without breaking the gas connection, since this is then easier to access.
The pilot light becomes visible via a small clear glass tube located at the bottom and very back of the fridge, but its a good idea to vac out the base of the 'chimney' at the back of dust, insects, leaves etc that can affect the gas jet
AFAIK, all Alde radiators have a bleed point, but on older vans this is on the radiator at floor level, and not extended via a tube as on later vans. You will probably have to remove bunk lining panels to access.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Look at the following manual. It will tell you how the fridge is installed.
Imo you will have to break the flue joint and gas joint to remove the unit. As you realise these are very important joints that if incorrectly refitted may prove fatal.
The new electric element is not cheap, about £90 or so.
Maybe you will be better off asking a mobile caravan engineer for a quote for doing the job on site. 12 volt usually only works off the car when the engine is running. Not off the leisure battery

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/45557/Electrolux-Caravan-Rm-4360.html?page=6#manual
 
Mar 14, 2005
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richo36 said:
Hello,...I'm really thinking that this is just beyond me, but as the van is old ('97) and I can't tow it, I might actually have to scrap the old girl ;-( which would be awful over just a small part. It's just not really worth investing more money on having it properly repaired...sadly enough....

So as you can see I'm facing a few problems which together sort of point to the great van store in the sky ;-(

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot.
Simon

Hello Simon,
Others have given their advice, and mine might differ.

Let me respond to your comment above,

There are some very good mobile engineers who will come out to the caravan, so towing may not be necessary. It will almost certain to be cheaper to have your two appliances repaired that to cover the cost of scrapping and replacing, and such jobs are quite common, so should not present any difficulties to a competent person.

Even though caravans often stand idle for months on end, they do periodically need to be serviced. Often lack of use can cause more deterioration than constant use, so for your safety especially with the gas products periodic servicing is an essential part of an ownership regime.

As to the cost: What price the safety of your family and your self.

On another point, fridges will cool down on 12V but proper caravan wiring will only allow the 12V element to be powered when the tow vehicle engine is running and the alternator is producing enough voltage. The do not run off the 12V Battery.
 
Apr 19, 2017
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Just a sideways suggestion.........
Since your 'van is static on a site, and you clearly have EHU, why not consider simply replacing the fridge with a standard domestic fridge?. Used fridges in good working order can usually be had for £20-30 (or even quite often free) as long as you can collect. Even new ones are probably less than a repair.

There is normally an isolating valve for the gas, and you can also cap-off the outlet from the valve if you really want. Then it is simply a case of removing the old one and slotting in the 'new' domestic one.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Quote " There is normally an isolating valve for the gas, and you can also cap-off the outlet from the valve if you really want"

If you go this route the gas supply must be capped, you cannot just hope the gas isolating tap will stop any gas.
Secondly, whilst the above suggestion is valid, you would be changing a silent operating fridge for a compressor fridge which will cut in and out as needed, all night long!!! and in the dead of night are noisy !!
 
Jul 27, 2018
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Hello,

Thanks to everyone above - the input is really appreciated.

Don't know where to start really ;-)

Thanks for the manual - probably made me feel less comfortable in "having a go" ;-) I wouldn't be looking to do anything gas-wise without an expert.

The home fridge idea was very interesting, but as I've had past issues with water pumps trying to pressure up over night it might not be too good an idea to add some in-van nighttime entertainment.

ALDE - I did have a real good look around for bleed points. Found one above the onboard tank and one under the kitchen units. I was expecting to see one on the bathroom radiator (highest point), but there really is nothing there - and I think that's the point at which no water can move through the system. I think it's a huge air lock as the pipe isn't even warm 2 feet from the end of the chamber with the propeller in. As the van is a 4 wheeler I can't get it up at either end. Maybe I need to bite the bullet and get one of the alde machines in.

Anyway, I think I'm pretty decided on the reality of having to scrap the van as it seems to have some pricey things to fix.

Thanks again everyone.

Simon
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Bad luck all round. I suggest you find the nearest NCC Approved workshop (just google) which offers a mobile service and get someone to come and have a look

I am confident you will get good and impartial advice and some possible options to follow. This is, of course, a busy time for such gentlemen .
In the meantime, if you have mains available, consider getting a big mains/12v coolbox from the likes of Halfords. This can go outside if suitably protected from rain ( if we ever get any) and will be useful in future. it will keep you perishable foods cool and - if you are very lucky - OH will even alloy you to cool one beer.
 

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