Troubleshooting Problems with your 3-way Caravan Fridge

Running into problems with your 3-way caravan fridge? Don’t panic! Our experts are on hand with their top troubleshooting tips.

It might not quite be the end of the world, but problems with your 3-way fridge can be incredibly frustrating on a road-trip. Especially if you’re in the middle of the bush.

Rather than watch in misery as your food goes bad, check our quick troubleshooting tips. We can’t promise we have all the answers, but at least you’ll be able to narrow down the problem and find a solution faster.

3 Way Fridges for Recreational Vehicles

Temperature troubleshooting problems with your 3-way caravan fridge:

Struggling with a temperature problem in your 3-way fridge? Let’s say it’s getting cold in the freezer and not in the fridge. This is because not enough liquid ammonia is being produced for the refrigeration effect. The freezer gets the refrigerant first, and what’s left over goes to the fridge.

There are a few things that could be causing this. Start by checking that the fridge is level (use a spirit level). Next, check to see if there’s sufficient ventilation. If neither of these solve the problem, you could have an issue with a failing cooling unit.

For temperature problems, the first thing you should always check is the positioning of your caravan. Even if the vehicle is at a slight angle, that could be the problem with the cooling unit.

Gas troubleshooting problems with your 3-way caravan fridge:

Camper fridges are not like your fridge back home. Your 3-way caravan fridge is running on propane gas or electricity, which means it has a pilot light to trigger the fridge burners. So, what happens if the pilot light goes out?

There are a few reasons behind this. First, it could be down to the thermocouple, which regulates how much gas is in the fridge’s burner at any time. If this component fails, it’s time to replace it.

If replacing the thermocouple doesn’t fix the issue, perhaps your pilot light’s gas line has too much air in it. This will prevent the pilot light from turning on and staying on. Fixing this means getting into the fridge’s gas valves and resetting them. The good news is, if you have a newer 3-way caravan fridge, you can do this all by pushing the power button. If it’s an older model, reset the fridge manually.

Power troubleshooting problems with your 3-way caravan fridge:

Are you struggling to get sufficient fridge power? Do these quick checks:

  • Is the door sealed properly?
  • Is the fridge positioned too close to heat sources?
  • Is the fridge well ventilated?
  • Is there too much food/drink in the unit?
3-way Caravan Fridge
Dometic recommend cleaning, checking the door locking mechanism and defrosting your fridge regularly for maintenance and to save energy!

Noise troubleshooting problems with your 3-way caravan fridge:

Struggling with excessive noise coming from your caravan fridge? This can be an annoying problem when you’re living in a small caravan space! Check that the fridge is positioned on a flat surface. Then, look to see that it’s not touching any other objects that might cause vibrations and knocking. Finally, check the circuit tubes at the back of the unit – are they touching or vibrating against the appliance?

General troubleshooting problems with your 3-way caravan fridge:

Is your cooling unit leaking? There are two ways to check. First, you might notice a heavy smell of ammonia. Second, when you access the cooling unit in your fridge, you may notice that it’s coated in yellow residue. This is because the steel tubing has deteriorated due to prolonged exposure to the cooling solution. So, what can you do about an unwanted leak? Call the professionals.

To prevent further troubleshooting problems with your caravan fridge click here!

Service Agent Support:

Both Dometic and Thetford have national service agent support locations around Australia. To find your closest service department, call:

Dometic: 1800 21 21 21

Thetford: +61 3 9358 0700

3 Way Caravan Fridge: Dometic RUA Series Review

Thinking of upgrading your 3 way Caravan Fridge to a 12V Compressor Caravan Fridge?

The current trend for many Caravan owners is removing their old 3 Way Absorption Fridge and upgrading it with a new 12v Compressor driven ‘2 Way fridge’. You can read more about that in our article HERE comparing 2 Way or 3 Way Fridge for Caravans and you can watch the video below:

2 Way Fridges vs. 3 Way Fridges for Recreational Vehicles

Shop Best Selling 3 Way Absorption Caravan Fridges HERE

Shop Best Selling 2 Way Compressor Caravan Fridges HERE

DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

S Reynolds

Steve Reynolds, Power Product Expert at mygenerator.com.au is a small engine specialist with particular expertise in Generators, Water Pumps, Pressure Washers and other Outdoor Power Equipment products. Outside of work; an avid caravan enthusiast who enjoys time on the road and has gained years of familiarity with Caravan & Camping products also. A passion for power products used for work, home and leisure!

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9 thoughts on “Troubleshooting Problems with your 3-way Caravan Fridge”

  1. Dometic RM2350 3 way fridge;
    Fridge and electric stove top both stopped working on 240V.
    Power supply to both units are functioning correctly, and have also connected both units to a known functioning external power supply but still neither will operate.
    Could this simply be coincidence that both have fridge/stove top problems at the same time or is there somthing else that could be checked.
    Regards, Bruce

  2. It is truly a great and useful piece of info about the problems with a 3-way caravan fridge. I’m happy that you shared this helpful information with us as I love to camp and travel.

  3. Good points regarding gas leak issues in refrigerator. Normally in both refrigerator and ac gas leak can cause cooling problems. We run a samsung fridge service and this post was useful for us. Thank you.

  4. What is wrong with the fridge when it works on power but not on gas? The gas is burning ok, as you can see the needle is half way between the white and green on the dial, but not cold. On flat surface, what problems and how to fix please? It’s a domestic 90lt.

  5. We have a 3 way fridge. It’s ok on gas but gets up to 11 degrees in the afternoons….. we turn it to 5 then it freezes by morning. It’s not working in 12v or 240. Any ideas

    1. Hi Lesley,

      It sounds like there is an issue with your thermostat.

      We recommend taking your fridge to your closest service agent to be inspected. They will also be able to quote repair compared to replacement costs.

      Thanks for contacting us.

  6. We have a Thetford N175. The temperature display in scrolling and we can’t switch between power sources. We have tried changing the PCB board on the front but this hasn’t worked.

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your comment.

      We would suggest you take your fridge to your closest Thetford service agent for inspection. They should be able to determine and fix this issue for you.

      Kind regards,


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