Dometic and Norcold expand recalls

May 16, 2008 by
Filed under: What's New 

Hmphh… all recalls, all the time 😉

Thanks to the many members of the RV.Net Forums, I found out about a couple of expanded recalls (the service centers are always the last to know!).

Norcold has expanded the recalls on their 1200 series “4 door” models to units built before February 2001 (the old cutoff date was March 1999). The official Norcold recall site still doesn’t have the information, but it can be found in this letter from Norcold to the NHTSA, which spells it out (basically, you are looking for the cooling unit serial number (not the refrigerator serial number), which is on the outside tank of the cooling unit- the new recall adds cooling unit serial numbers from 1008701 to 1273700.

The Dometic recall has expanded to add refrigerators built between May 2003 and September 2006- they have updated their recall web page to include this information.

The expanded Dometic recall- adding another ~750,000 to the ~925,000 refrigerators already recalled may have something to do with the recent change in cooling unit policy- adding another $40-50 million has got to hurt a bit.

Comments

29 Comments on Dometic and Norcold expand recalls

  1. Chris T. on Wed, 25th Jun 2008 9:42 am
  2. Any pictures available of what completed retrofit looks like?
    Took my rig in as it was indicated to be under expanded recall.
    Tech looked and said retrofit was already done.

    Motorhome was built 3-2006.

    THanks,

    Chris T.

  3. Chris on Wed, 25th Jun 2008 9:55 am
  4. Hi Chris,
    The new units do have the thermal fuse on the boiler tube, but the recall is more than that- it’s a second fuse and a bunch of sheet metal.
    If I can manage to insert this picture-
    recall done
    Notice the final sheet metal cover over the burner.
    I also have the recall instructions at Dometic recall instructions.

  5. Chris T. on Wed, 25th Jun 2008 12:55 pm
  6. Thanks Chris….. Okay, now I am concerned as I do not have the sheet mewtal shroud around the burner assembly as shown in the photo.

    Can you provide a link to the recall repair instructions? I would like to see the documentation and confirm that this applies to the latest round of recalls. If so, I guess I will have to educate the dealer (who was on hte Dometic list for this recall) on how to correct the problem.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  7. Chris on Thu, 26th Jun 2008 9:20 am
  8. Sorry about that- I put a link in, but it got lost in the fog ;).
    Try this- http://bryantrv.com/docs2/temp/recall2.pdf (a pdf scan I made).
    This link is to the first Dometic recall page, and http://www2.dometicusa.com/recall.php is where you can put in the model and serial number.

  9. Chris T. on Thu, 26th Jun 2008 1:05 pm
  10. Thanks for the link to the repair PDF. I am hearing that there may be two different repair procedures out there. One with the box/shroud around the burner and one with just an additional shroud wrap on the boiler tube stack.

    – Chris T.

  11. B.P.Falk on Mon, 29th Sep 2008 4:26 pm
  12. Dear Sirs

    I recieved this recall notice today and discovered that it be the second one , and I have had the protection shield installed or replaced . BUT — according to the letter the real problem is the “Fatigueing part of the Boiler tube , which may rupture at any time , and that part is not addressed ,( as it should be), and that is then the part to be replaced , instead of just the protective shield .
    What do I do when the rupture occurs, ? is my real question , .
    May I recieve a reply please
    Ben Falk

  13. JACKIE on Fri, 31st Jul 2009 12:17 pm
  14. MY REFRIG, COOLANT, AND ELECTRIC PANEL IS TOTALLY GONE. THEY SAID SORRY AND HAVE A NICE DAY. IT SHOULD NOT BE A CUSTOMER PROBLEM, BUT THE COMPANY. THEY SHOULD REIMBURSE THE CUSTOMERS WHO ARE AFFECTED. WHY SHOULD I BUY A NEW REFRIG FROM NO FAULT OF MY OWN. I’M REALLY PISSED!! IF MY CAMPER BURNED DOWN, I’D HAVE A NEW CAMPER WITH A REFRIG THAT WORKS!

  15. Chris on Mon, 29th Sep 2008 6:29 pm
  16. Hi Ben,
    I have not heard of another recall- there are 2 basic Dometic recalls on this problem, but they are really both the same thing (the shield) and the second recall just expands the refrigerators affected.
    The problem has always been the defective weld.
    Up until earlier this year, Dometic was replacing the entire cooling unit (which is the defective part), but they are now- the laste information I have- only replacing those units still under the original warranty.

  17. Sheri on Tue, 25th Nov 2008 5:33 pm
  18. Chris,
    I too have a dometic refrigerator that falls under the recall. In trying to understand the real problem could you answer a few questions. If I am understanding this correctly the recall does not really fix the promblem. To take care of the problem is it the heating element that seems to be to hot ,need to be replaced or is it a couple things. If I was to replace items myself for my piece of mind and safty what would you say I should replace? If at another time Dometic may or may not reemburse me I could save my receipts. But until then at least I could use my RV and feel safe. Also and ideas as to cost. Thank You for any help.

  19. Mike McIntyre on Tue, 30th Dec 2008 3:22 pm
  20. Hi Chris: I have a 2002 Monico Executive with the Norcold Model 1200LRIM. A couple of days ago I just happened to be in the shop and heard my smoke detector going off in the motor home. I had the back of the refrigerator open and looked in to see the cooling unity was on fire. I got the fire out with no other damage to the coach. My cooling unit serial number is #CU1357468. Norcold is telling my service guy that it is not one on the recall list and they won’t pay for the new unit. Do you have any suggestions on getting them to help me. Thanks, Mike

  21. bob on Mon, 1st Jun 2009 2:52 pm
  22. I also had a fire from my 1200 Series Norcold frig and they are also denying responsibility. Did your problem get resolved and if so how?

  23. Bob Hendricks on Thu, 1st Jan 2009 2:39 am
  24. Chris…Thanks for this blog and the information you provide. I recently found out that my 1996 vintage refer is included in the second Dometic recall. It is a model RM3662 with a 613xxxxx serial number. Can you tell us your understanding of the evolution of this Dometic problem? Basically, as I gather it , there was a point where Dometic increased the wattage of the heating element, I believe in 1997, and they think this led to the potential cracking of a weld in the boiler tubing in some units. If you happened to be unlucky enough to have your propane burner go on in the short period of days after a crack opened and before all the ammonia leaked out, you could have a fire. Their fix is to turn off the heating element sooner, add another thermostat to track the temperature flue, and add an elaborate metal shroud to contain any potential fire. What I don’t get is why they seem to have added in my refer, which I think is from 1996 or prior. It would supposedly have the lower wattage heater. Also, Dometic says in their announcement of the second recall that it has been extended to the years after 2003, I think. So I just don’t understand why mine is now included. If you have any insight or if my understanding of the evolution is spotty, I would really like to know. Also, is there an after market or oem kit that could be used to replace all the tubing and burner, assuming there is something that would be safer? The only problem I have had with my refer is that it doesn’t stay cold (in the low 40s) when the outside temperature gets over about 97 degrees F, but I think that is pretty normal, from what I’ve heard.

  25. Chris on Thu, 1st Jan 2009 7:32 am
  26. Hi Bob,
    Your refrigerator actually isn’t in the recall. What happened is Dometic uses a serial number made up of the year and week as the first 3 digits, but they built the same models for over 10 years, so there are 2 refrigerators out there with the same serial number- yours built in the 13th week of 1996, and one built in the 13th week of 2006 (which is the one in the recall)-they have since switched model numbers to DM3662. The only way to tell for sure is by the product number, but they don’t give that information without calling and asking specifically- an oversight they still have not dealt with.
    I’m not really certain whether it is purely a too hot element, or whether, as Dometic says, it is a defective weld. From what I understand, the dates for the serial numbers are due to production changes rather than the heating element changes.

    That said- I would probably go ahead and have the recall done, simply for the added thermal fuses, because I have seen many refrigerators leak at the boiler tube- my 1980’s Norcold did that, as well as some non-recalled Dometics.

  27. Bob on Thu, 1st Jan 2009 11:43 am
  28. Ahhh! So maybe mine did not have the hotter heating element and did not have the bad weld.

    Did you mean to say that Dometic admits to a bad weld in the boiler tubing? The phrasing “…or whether, as Dometic says…” sems to say that Dometic says it was a weld. I thought they were saying it was the hotter heating element.

    I would have to think that Dometic would decline to reimburse the servicer if they were find out that mine was built in 1996 instead of 2006. Do you think that would be the case?

  29. Chris on Thu, 1st Jan 2009 2:39 pm
  30. Bob- I’m pretty sure Dometic would still reimburse the service center- though I did do one that wasn’t needed, and simply didn’t submit the claim.
    The following is from a letter from Dometic to the NHTSA:

    For the population of product with the models and serial number range shown above
    from the 20th week of 2003 through the 30th week of 2006, a potential inconsistent weld
    process may have contributed to the weld fatigue resulting in a crack of the boiler to
    heater pocket welds or in the boiler tube on cooling units manufactured or warehoused
    during this period.
    Increased market demand required a new production line with new state-of-the art
    technology to be introduced and the old production line to be updated with the same
    new technology between the end of 2005 through January of 2006. This improvement
    in technology and the streamlining of the production weld process significantly reduced
    the variability of the boiler to heater pocket seam welds. By September 30, 2006 all
    quantities of cooling units manufactured prior to the introduction of the new production
    line technology having the potential safety related defect were used and no longer in
    inventory.

    While this deals with the expanded recall, it seems that it is the same problem as the original. You can download this letter here (a 486kb pdf file).

  31. K Dillon on Fri, 2nd Jan 2009 8:21 am
  32. I have a NDR 1292 dometic refrigerator that was in my 5th wheel when I bought it new in 2005. In Feb. 2007 the cooling coils were replaced under warranty and now 12/21 the cooling coils are out again. I have talked to the company on 3 different occassions and they will not warranty these again. Seems to me there product isn’t very good or they would have warrantied these again in 2007. I think maybe my refrigerator is a lemon. Would like to know if anyone else has had trouble.

  33. Norm on Thu, 5th Feb 2009 10:14 am
  34. I had a 2005 Georgetown with a Dometic that was included in the recall. However, I did not receive a recall notice until 9 days after my coach was destroyed by a fire caused by a crack in the boiler tube. I am still going through the insruace stuff to try and get everything I lost paid for. I hope no one has to go through that as it is a real chore, to say the least.

    In any event, based on everything I can find out about the recall, it DOES NOT correct the actual defect, just adds a couple of safety devices to try and reduce the possibility of a fire. My unit was plugged into shore power and turned on as I had a few items in the frig I wanted to keep. I did not have the propane on and it still caught fire. My guess is when the leak happened, the element overheated and potentially burned out at which point, the frig thinking there was a power failure attempted to switch to propane and the DSI ignitor started firing and ignitied the amoonia/hydrogen fumes created by the leak. Two different inspectors concluded it was the refrigerator, one from the fire department and a specialst hired by the insurance company. I also got some good pictures of the fatigue crack in the boiler tube.

    This definitely seems like a potential Product Liability issue and I have started consulting with an attorney to find out about my options. I’m not sure what the outcome will be yet but I certainly think there is a potential there to hold Dometic accountable, at least I hope so.

  35. Roy Mozingo on Sat, 27th Jun 2009 6:12 pm
  36. Hi Chris,
    Like Mike McIntyre 30Dec08, my Norcold 1200LRIM 4dr had stopped working and I checked to find the cooling unit (1339958) very, very hot. So, I turned the unit off and called Norcold, they said it was not under warranty and there was no recall,,, then they gave the name and number for a local repair facility.
    Have you heard of many other Norcold 1200 4dr cooling unit problems for these later models?? My coach is a 2002 Monaco Windsor mfr 9/01.
    Let me know if you have any info or way to get this refrig fixed.
    Thanks,
    Roy

  37. Chris on Sun, 28th Jun 2009 10:39 am
  38. Hi Roy,
    Your unit is now under the expanded recall- link to recall, which is only a couple of months old.

    Norcold has voluntarily extended a prior recall to include refrigerator models 1200LR, 1200LRIM and 1201LRIM manufactured from March 1, 2001 to December 31, 2002. Each cooling unit under the extension has a serial number between 1273701 and 1536607.

    I would call Norcold again.

  39. Marty on Mon, 6th Jul 2009 9:53 pm
  40. Chris,

    Thanks for the all the great info. As a person very familiar with the actual kit I have a couple of questions. I have a copy of the installation instructions but the pictures are not very clear. My problem is after the kit was installed the fridge ran fine on gas for a couple of days when I got home from the dealer. That was about a month ago. Now over the holiday weekend it will not run on gas. Though I could smell gas. I figured the valve was opening, no ignition, safety valve off. Thinking maybe I had a spider web or something gumming up the works I attemped to remove the burner cover to check if out. Yes I turned off the gas valve. To my suprise the new kit installation seems to be interfering with the removal. Should I be able to remove the burner cover without bending the new sheetmetal out of the way? Or is the installation not quite correct. I don’t suspect a problem with the new parts installed as the fridge ran all weekend on 120 vac once I got to my destination. Thanks for all help you can give. Calling Dometic got me nowhere. They suggested I take it to the dealer for service.

  41. Roy Mozingo on Sat, 1st Aug 2009 6:56 pm
  42. Hi Chris,
    Thanks, you were right,,, But the recall is for a TEMP LIMIT SWITCH or so I understand, not for the coil that is to be inspected by the Norcold rep when the SWITCH is installed. Do you know what they will be looking for?? My unit is not cooling.
    Thanks
    Roy

  43. Roy Mozingo on Sat, 1st Aug 2009 6:59 pm
  44. Hi Chris,
    Thanks, you were right,,, But the recall is for a TEMP LIMIT SWITCH or so I understand, not for the coil that is to be inspected by the Norcold rep when the SWITCH is installed. Do you know what they will be looking for?? My unit is not cooling and the Norcold rep on the phone said they would not cover the coil if it was just blocked?
    Thanks
    Roy

  45. Chris on Mon, 3rd Aug 2009 4:08 pm
  46. Hi Roy,
    As I understand it, the cooling unit (coils) will be replaced if there are signs of leaking, which is what they are looking for.

  47. Roy on Mon, 2nd Nov 2009 7:23 am
  48. Hi Chris,
    Thanks so much for your help… Good news, after a long timeline starting in mid June and finally repaired 23Sep09,,, my 1200LRIM Norcold frig is working just great.
    Norcold sent a Temp Limiting Switch to a RV dealer that must not have wanted to work on my unit. I took my Monaco to their shop, they kept it for three days and still didn’t install the switch, saying that the unit wasn’t working, so no reason to install the switch. I told them in mid June that all the frig electronics/electric was working, but the cooling unit wasn’t working. They tried to charge me for the test, but I had told them to contact me before doing anything other that the recall work.
    After contacting Norcold again, they said that I could take my RV to another dealer for inspection/repair. After the other dealer tech looked closer and determined that the cooling unit had “released”, he contacted Norcold. Norcold wanted photos of the damage and they took almost 6 weeks to make a decision
    Norcold came through and sent a new cooling unit and heating elements to Longview RV and their service tech, Larry did a great job installing the parts and putting my frig back in place.
    It took a little time but the price was right. $0.00.
    Thanks again,
    Roy

  49. Jeff Morrill on Wed, 30th Sep 2009 11:31 am
  50. Chris, I am a fire investigator working out of the Atlanta area (and also an RV owner…2007 Alfa See-Ya 5th wheel). I have inspected a couple dozen RVs with both Norcold and Dometic refrigerator failures. Currently, I have several in litigation. Seems that even when either of these entities are shown the forensic evidence, they still tend to deny liability. Of course, the strength of the denial is comiserate with the size of the loss (the bigger the loss, the harder they fight). I am patiently waiting for my recall repaired fridge to go ‘poof (yes, I took mine in and had the bandaid put on it)’. I have been in this business 19 years and it still befudles me why manufacturers insist on leaving the bad part in and trying to cover it up with some kind of ‘repair’. Take the DEFECTIVE part out and put in a non-defective part. I remember one of the Norcold control board fire problem recalls. The replacemnet part actually caused more fires than the original part…guess what, the same company made both! You think it is hard to get $$ from your insurance company or the mfg…how hard do you think it will be for someone like me who knows ALL the problems to settle an insurance claim? I would be honored to offer my services to anyone who needs some advice on these problems. My wife and I were recently in Destin, FL at Camping on the Gulf (if anyone wants a great beach vacation, this place is it) and I actually had notices that I went around the park and talked to people about…over 70% knew NOTHING about the problem…over 400 RVs in that park and any one of them could have gone nuclear at any time…and that is just the ones that I talked to in the 6 days we were there! Guess how many RVs visit that park every year!!! If anyone has a question, they can email me at [email protected].

    Thanks

  51. ted on Fri, 2nd Oct 2009 3:38 pm
  52. Chris,
    I have a Norcold 1201LRIM 4 door, Winnebago 2000. Norcold has suggested I pay for the repair of my frig. ($1300 for replacement parts or $3800 for new one) due to metal fatigue or rust. I thought that was the reason for the recall metal fatigue in the boiler tube area. When I here terms like fatigue, deterioration, defective weld & craking, it all relates to their quality system failure. Weather its workmanship, materials or poor design, Norcold should stand up to their quality as advertise.
    Question: Who can give me some advise?

  53. Patrick on Mon, 26th Apr 2010 2:05 pm
  54. Hi Chris,
    Thanks so much for your help… Good news, after a long timeline starting in mid June and finally repaired 23Sep09,,, my 1200LRIM Norcold frig is working just great.
    Norcold sent a Temp Limiting Switch to a RV dealer that must not have wanted to work on my unit. I took my Monaco to their shop, they kept it for three days and still didn’t install the switch, saying that the unit wasn’t working, so no reason to install the switch. I told them in mid June that all the frig electronics/electric was working, but the cooling unit wasn’t working. They tried to charge me for the test, but I had told them to contact me before doing anything other that the recall work.
    After contacting Norcold again, they said that I could take my RV to another dealer for inspection/repair. After the other dealer tech looked closer and determined that the cooling unit had “released”, he contacted Norcold. Norcold wanted photos of the damage and they took almost 6 weeks to make a decision
    Norcold came through and sent a new cooling unit and heating elements to Longview RV and their service tech, Larry did a great job installing the parts and putting my frig back in place.
    It took a little time but the price was right. $0.00.
    Thanks again,
    Roy

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