Dometic air conditioner failure

Submitted: Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 03:46
ThreadID: 124325 Views:3821 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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After several weeks in the bush we pulled in to an Exmouth park and switched on our Dometic (CAL-1360) A/C unit to find it had a dose of the rattles. A bit of dismantling revealed a loose blower motor. The motor has two mounting bolts; threaded rods that go through the motor and into rubber mounts in a pair of sheet metal angle brackets. Anti-vibration nuts should hold them in place. Ours didn't, and the motor was able to bounce around, stuffing the rubber mounts, enlarging the angle bracket holes and snapping the two skinny rods.
My e-mailed enquiry to Dometic drew the response that labour costs meant it would be cheapest to replace the two-year-old A/C unit. I figured I would do it myself but parts could only be supplied via a Dometic agent so I asked the Exmouth agent to order the bits while we cooled our heels in Cape Range National Park for a couple of weeks.
We returned to find that the parts package had arrived and included second-hand parts (a couple of the metal sleeves that support the rods inside the rubber mounts were worse than my damaged ones), angle brackets that required minor panel-beating, and no through-rods.
Why no through-rods? Because Dometic doesn't list them in its parts catalogue, doesn't stock them and so cannot supply them. Their suggestion was that I spend something like $500 on a new motor which would include the rods. This for want of a pair of 50 cent rods!
The Exmouth agent (Bill Ruby at Ruby Refrigeration - a top bloke) rattled through his assorted collection of rods but couldn't find any long enough that would fit the motor holes. He ended up welding four shorter rods to make two replacements and between us we refitted the whole thing.
Bill is in the process of fitting up a bus and will be leaving his business to go touring soon. A pity, because too few people are prepared to go the extra yards to compensate for manufacturers who produce expensive throw-away products.
Before we put the lid back on, Bill dabbed silicone on the mounting nuts to ensure that the failure would not be repeated. He also jammed a bit of foam plastic between the base of the unit and the copper coil to reduce the vibration that, he says, frequently causes the coil to fracture at one end or the other.
To anybody with one of these units it's a ten-minute job to get up on your roof and whip the covers off. The blower and its mounts are easy to get to, and a dab of silicone and a little block of foam plastic could save you the cost of a complete new unit down the track.
For the record, my complaint to Dometic later produced a refund for the second-hand parts which I told Bill to spend on his bus.

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Reply By: Kiwi1 - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 03:19

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 03:19
Sorry, a stray zero found its way into my Dometic model number. It's a CAL136.312C.

AnswerID: 573913

Follow Up By: George & Bev - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 05:57

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 05:57
Michael, very interesting Bills brother Ray has taken over jay&jackie bushtraker (luvstravlin)so will be a full bottle on any repairs on his!!!! ..Anyway great advice i will be checkin mine and seein if its the same and requires a mod.

FollowupID: 849096

Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 06:35

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 06:35
Both ours and a mates Dometic A/C's fractured a pipe on the corrugated tracks, we also both had loose bolts on the compressor mounting, one of mine had come out and was laying loose. The agent fixed, zip tied the pipes and dabbed silicone on the nuts.

Mick & Vickie

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FollowupID: 849097

Follow Up By: Black Cobra - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:06

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:06
Yep, I'm getting them to come out and check mine again ubder warranty

FollowupID: 849098

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 21:00

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 21:00
Bill is a top bloke in Exmouth - he repaired our aircon too.
AnswerID: 573914

Reply By: Kiwi1 - Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 10:58

Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 10:58
Hey Jeff,

We met at Maitland river and I remember you saying you thought you had a broken pipe. Ours was probably broken by then too but we didn't get to find out until Exmouth. We're doing our kayaking on the Swan River at present.

AnswerID: 573915

Reply By: Boystoy - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 01:18

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 01:18
Hi everyone with this problem or worries about it. I have previous postings on my fix. See Forum posts 2920 and 2932

A Bushtracker (or BT) is a "Boys Toy"

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AnswerID: 573916

Reply By: Black Cobra - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 08:48

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 08:48
After the Dometic agent came and looked at my a/c after being fixed once in Alice with the broken pipe and now not getting as cold as it should they are replacing it with a complete new unit on the 19th same style but better design apparently, will wait and see.

AnswerID: 573917

Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 09:51

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 09:51
Ours is also getting replaced with a new unit, same place same date.

Mick & Vickie

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