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Old 09-24-2017, 12:36 AM   #1
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Default refrigerator won't light on propane

I have an older RV, with a Dometic 2353, it's the kind where you hold down the propane button and push in the igniter button to start it on propane.

I had difficulty starting it before I left on vacation, almost gave up except I'm too stubborn to give up. I could hear it try to start only a couple of times after repeatedly pushing the igniter button. Once during my trip it lit fairly easily and after that I couldn't light it again, didn't even hear that foomph! noise it generally makes. I have propane and all other propane appliances are working without any problems.

I've returned from my trip and everything I've searched on the internet has turned up slightly different problems than the one I'm having. I took off the back door and vacuumed it out, hoping it would help. Which was gross but not where the the flame would be, that was relatively clean for a 12 year old semi neglected RV.

I'm including a picture the electrode/jet area. Any ideas?
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:50 AM   #2
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Nice clean burner. Have a helper inspect is there is a spark from the spark igniter when you try to fire up. If there is no spark to igniter the burner, it won't start.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:42 AM   #3
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It sparked but only once. We switched places and again it sparked once but not at all after that.

This is my first RV and I'm finding there's a lot I don't know. I'm hoping it's something easy I can fix because repair rates are fairly high here. Every trip brings a new issue, but it's still fun.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:15 AM   #4
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You probably need a new piezo igniter. Part # 2931796011 It sends the spark to the burner to ignite.

Test #2 .... just for grins see if you can have your helper ignite the pilot with a lighter (as you are inside doing the ignition sequence...)
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:19 AM   #5
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.

If you can hear the spark, but no flame,

then the problem is in the LP.

It is either you have no LP,
or the LP is not being delievered to the burner. eg. the valve is shut.

The valve is controlled by the electronic brain and the thermostat.
One of them might be bad.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:27 AM   #6
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As I remember my old gas refrig with one of the piezo lighters also had a red button you had to hold to get the gas to flow without the flame. You had to hold the red button until the safety got hot.

The flame would blow out whenever a truck went by.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:38 AM   #7
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I'm not hearing the spark, I saw it briefly spark just once when I think it should be sparking whenever the igniter button is pressed. My SO saw the same thing when we switched places.

I do have a button I hold down first which provides the propane, then begin pushing the igniter. I'll try to light it with a lighter or long skewer tomorrow.

The propane was on and I still have somewhere between 2/3 and full tank, all other propane appliances are working. I appreciate everyone's help.
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:56 PM   #8
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When I sold my 04' Rialta, the fridge would not work on propane. I cleaned the burner but still would not stay lit. The flame would lite but would go out after releasing. The problem is the thermocouple. While you hold down the button, this bypasses the safety shutoff of propane until the thermostat warms up to keep the valve open. Research your fridge for manuals and troubleshooting. You then can find out where you thermocouple is and part number to replace it. If your fridge lites with a lighter, then your piezo is bad.

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Old 09-26-2017, 04:02 AM   #9
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We were able to get the refrigerator lit using a lighter.

I'll buy the piezo igniter and see if that fixes it, hopefully it's an easy installation.

Thanks for your help
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:22 AM   #10
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You could also check to make sure the gap between the electrode and burner tube is within the specified 1/8" to 3/16" range.

electrode gap.JPG

electrode gap photo.JPG
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:10 PM   #11
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Great tip by Marcopolo.... spark gap! Check spark gap first! Since your burner lights with a lighter and stays lit, AND since you can only get 1 little spark out of your piezo igniter, I think the new igniter will be the solution. (Darn, you have a nice clean burner tube!)
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:11 PM   #12
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When the burner tube rusts our, check if there is a SS burner tube. This is what the was available for the Norcold and did not rust out.

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Old 09-26-2017, 05:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
You could also check to make sure the gap between the electrode and burner tube is within the specified 1/8" to 3/16" range...
The porcelain insulator on the ignitor on my Class C had loosen from its stamped steel bracket from vibration I guess and would rotate out of position and wouldn't spark because of the distance Marko mentions. A drop of JB Weld cured that.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:05 AM   #14
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I tried to replace the igniter today. Took the cover off the controls inside the RV, only to discover there isn't enough room to take the old igniter out, went around to the back, took off that cover and saw there was a wire lying on top. It was the wire that connects to the igniter and it's covered in electrical tape that is not sticky anymore, it must have wiggled loose and fallen off.

I don't have room to stick my hand all the way to the igniter and I'm wondering even if I can get it connected how do I get it stay connected? Am I reduced to electrical tape that I don't have room to wrap around the igniter. It seems a poor solution.

Does anyone know if I'm missing a piece or if that's really how it's supposed to be connected. Am I going to have to pull the screws around the refrigerator and pull it forward. How heavy is it?
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:03 AM   #15
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It is necessary to remove the refrigerator to access the back of the control panel.
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Old 10-02-2017, 03:11 AM   #16
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I just had to take my Dometic burner all apart to clean it. My unit is from 2009 and quite a bit of rust and debris from the 'chimney' had fallen down around the burner causing ignition failure. If you are cleaning the burner tip, though, be careful not to damage the very fine aperture for the propane. It's a very specific opening size and mustn't be cleaned with a pin or any other mechanical means. Clean it only with an alcohol. I screwed mine up and it took over two months to get a new one from Dometic. Once I had the thing cleaned up and the new tip in place, it started up like a charm.
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Old 10-02-2017, 04:03 AM   #17
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Thanks everyone!

The refrigerator is now working on propane, it looks like someone at some point used electrical tape to hold the wire in or next to the igniter. The tape lost its hold on the igniter and fell off. I thought it was the igniter, ordered a new one and then discovered I could only access it from the back. I bought long needle nose pliers to try to reconnect the wire for the existing igniter and in the end they weren't long enough and my SO made a tool out of a wire coat hanger and it's now connected and working.

I think I may take that "tool" with us on trips, just in case the wire falls out.

I've learned a lot! I'll now inspect the refrigerator on a regular basis, check for rust, clean the burner carefully, no sharp implements, check the gap on the electrode and the burner and work harder to make sure I'm level when parked.
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Old 10-02-2017, 04:38 PM   #18
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Hurray! Glad you are fixed up. I hate to say, but my spark seems to be intermittent, and I may have to open up to check my spark and my gap.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:10 PM   #19
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This may sound odd, but having the same intermittent lighting problem, I found a trick that works 9 out of 10 times. Light your stove burner, and if you can, turn on your furnace. This seemingly gets propane flowing past the refrigerator, and the fridge lights right up.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:38 PM   #20
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+1 on running the stove first, if it helps anybody, our old Trailmanor needed this. Won't fix a disconnected wire LOL
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