What a job it was to figure out the problem though. It was driving me crazy because it didn't make any sense. I would actually wake up at night thinking about it because I felt like I was missing something. It took a lot of work today, but eventually I fixed the problem.
Our fridge is a Norcold 6162. They made thousands of these units back in the mid 1990's, and of course ours is one of them. It will have been in service for 20 years next year!
Overall, it's worked very well for the seven years that we've had it. Other than the annual (or more) cleaning of the burner assembly, we haven't had to do anything more to it.
But this recent problem had me stumped.
I had read that a blocked chimney flue could cause a problem similar to what we were experiencing with the flame appearing to blow itself out, so I went up on the roof and poked a rod down the access opening up there. But something gave way, and it didn't sound right.
Checking back down below, there was a piece of twisted metal that sits inside the flue that allows the heat to be concentrated where it does the most good. That piece had broken away and was sitting on top of the burner. Unfortunately, there was no way to fix this without actually removing the entire refrigerator.
Okay. You do what you have to do!
My timing wasn't great. Ruth had to go in to Mazatlan to get her crown done, and so she went off to do that on her own, and I stayed working on the fridge. I would have rather gone with her, but I was also confident that she could manage on her own. Besides, we really need a working fridge!
Half way out!
It really wasn't that bad of a job. Once you disconnect the gas line and a few wires, it's simply a few screws and then the whole unit slides right out. I didn't even bother to empty it! Besides, the best way to keep the items as cold as possible was to leave them right there where they would stay cool.
Out, and set on top of some makeshift supports.
It was a bit of a chore doing it by myself, but I built up some supports from material lying around where we're parked up. The fridge was pretty heavy, but I was able to slide it out on top of the supports so that I could access the burner flue tube.
Yep, that's what I needed to be able to get at.
These two pieces fit inside the flue.
That wire holds that piece of twisted sheet metal in the tube so that it stays in place.
Round about this time, Ruth returned.
She said that if she wanted the crown done now, it wouldn't be completed until Monday January 5th, and she wasn't prepared to hang around here that long! Glad she made that decision, because either am I. We have had enough beach time and are looking forward to some fresh mountain air.
So, she will have the crown completed when we're in Durango or Hermosillo or maybe even one of the border towns when we get up to that area. No panic, because at least she's not in any more pain.
Kevin, re-installing the fridge.
So, with the fridge re-installed, I turned everything on. Unfortunately, the problem was still there as I expected it would be. The flame would still blow itself out. This time, I sat and watched it a little closer. There was actually a moment where you could see a blue bit of flame inside the burner tube when the flame extinguished itself.
The most annoying part was that every time I cleaned and scraped the tube, the actual problem became worse.
I stated thinking that maybe the slots on the tube were abnormally large because they had been cleaned of corrosion so many times and so the air/fuel mixture wasn't right and that caused an unstable flame. I tried to think of a way to counteract that, and found a washer that would fit inside the slot closest to the orifice to block off that slot.
I put it all together, and fired it up.
It worked perfectly!
So essentially, we need a new burner assembly. They aren't very expensive (around $35) but you can't buy one in Mexico. Pretty sure that my "MacGyver" fix will last until we're up in Arizona in three weeks or so.
Around happy hour, we wandered over to Colin and Contessa's lot at the RV park to say goodbye. With a working refrigerator and Ruth's dental problems temporarily solved, we're outta here fairly early this morning!
We never did make it over to the other RV park here to say goodbye to Carol and her husband and the others that are parked up there. Sorry about that guys...hopefully we can meet up again on the road somewhere!
A great day for people on the beach.
Another freighter awaiting it's turn in port.
And another Mazatlan sunset.
Sure is an orange sky.
Walking back to our campsite at dusk.
Chris and Juan came by for a nightcap this evening. Pretty sure we'll be seeing them again before our winter wanderings are over. That would be great. We sure do have a few laughs together!
Today...we're headed up into the mountains. It's going to be cooler, with highs around 20C (68F) and lows around freezing. But that's okay...we've had enough of sand and bugs and are ready for some fresh mountain air!
Last day to check out Amazon.com's end of year deals...