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Starting Dometic on 91 Westy from Propane "solved?"
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:11 am    Post subject: Starting Dometic on 91 Westy from Propane "solved?" Reply with quote

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A friend called yesterday to ask me about lighting the above fridge. While it looks similar to mine, it is a little different. The placard with directions to light is also different. Does the Dometic from the later models have an auto igniter? When he pumps the pump, there is no "snap" according to him. It works on 12V and 110, just not propane. I'll be over there tomorrow night, but though it would not hurt to ask. The FAQ's seem to be about the earlier one like I have. P.S. it does have propane and he blew out the drain. Just does not seem to have a "spark". Any tips or point me to a reference for this model would be appreciated. Thank you.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had an early model and late model fridge and neither had a "snap" or "spark" sound when lighting.
I could only tell it was lit from the gauge on the early model, or the LED on the late model.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you pump the air, continue pushing in on the pump knob past where it feels like it stops, until it clicks - that's the piezo sparking.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems the 90-91 Dometic could have an auto igniter?

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=3652&category_id=382&category_parent_id=

Neil.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

photogdave wrote:
I have had an early model and late model fridge and neither had a "snap" or "spark" sound when lighting.
I could only tell it was lit from the gauge on the early model, or the LED on the late model.


Maybe "click" would be a better description of the pump action when ready to light. Neil, I'll check the link. markw
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanagon Nut wrote:
Seems the 90-91 Dometic could have an auto igniter?

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=3652&category_id=382&category_parent_id=

Neil.


Hmmm, I wonder what combination makes it "auto"? Need to figure out how to troubleshoot. If GW sells them, they must go bad. Probably need to pull the fridge to access. Thank you. markw
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pump it a bajilion times.
Two bajiliion perhaps.

Also take the drain out at the bottom (under the fridge you'll find a small metal screw on cap, remove that cap...) and blow compressed air through it before attempting anything. Usually crap gets into the combustion chamber and this causes problems. Blow that out, CHECK THAT THE GAS IS TURNED ON! and then start pumping. Pump a bajillion times.

Look for flame through the sight glass, as sometimes you'll get flame but no indicator light.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:53 am    Post subject: Re: Starting Dometic on Propane from 91 Westy "I search Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:
Any tips or point me to a reference for this model would be appreciated. Thank you.


Make sure the propane is on... all the way on.

A) Press the far right button with the flame on it.
B) Turn the dial from "off" to the 12 o'clock position.
C) Light the stove and run it for a minute, then shut it off.
D) Turn the temperature dial to somewhere between 10 and 12 o'clock position.
E) Using the far left "dial", pump air. Give it about 15 or so quickish pumps.
F) Press and hold the igniter button (the one with the finger pointing to it), while firmly pushing in on the air pump dial. Give it one quick, firm snap, keep the igniter button pushed in, and watch the green LED on the panel. The LED should begin to glow and the red light above the flame button should go from flickering to solid. If it does, release the igniter button. If not, repeat step F (and/or repeat steps E and F).

Following the above procedure, my 1990's fridge lights first time, every time.

As for the "auto" feature, mine sure as hell isn't automatic; it requires manual work... as stated/described in the owner's manual. Eh?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:
Vanagon Nut wrote:
Seems the 90-91 Dometic could have an auto igniter?

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=3652&category_id=382&category_parent_id=

Neil.


Hmmm, I wonder what combination makes it "auto"?


Good question. Looking at the panel image you posted, I have to wonder. To me it simply looks like Dometic replaced the 3 way switch with 3 switches.

My guess ....

edit: ya my guesswork is pointless. Can the owner post an image of the instructions on the fridge door?

Neil.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
while firmly pushing in on the air pump dial.


That would be the same as mine and the early ones. I was trying to explain to my friend over the phone. I'll take your steps and try it tomorrow night. I had him run the stove and run it on 110 before attempting to light.

Disclaimer, I am pretty good at lighting my Dometic in my 82 so I can say with some confidence, I know what I am doing. The different button layout and lighting directions on the placard were throwing me off without being in front of it. Here is the placard. It does not mention pushing the air pump button in to light. Here is the placard he texted me.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ya that sure looks like an auto igniter set up.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsxsr wrote:
Here is the placard. It does not mention pushing the air pump button in to light. Here is the placard he texted me.


Actually, it does... step #5. Wink

And, I guess mine does have an "auto" igniter. "Auto" ignition though, to me, is simply turning on the gas and pressing a button.

Stupid, but curious question: If all the fridges light in the same manner but the '90-'91s have a piezo igniter, what kind of igniter do the older ones have?

Edit: Here's the Dometic Service Manual for the piezo-equipped fridges in case you need to troubleshoot: http://www.westfaliat3.info/General_Dometic_Refr_Service_Manual.pdf .
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark: I googled a bit. From here

http://www.westfalia.org/community/showthread.php?618-Vanagon-Fridge-Syndrome-won-t-run-on-LP

Model V182woR Dometic Fridge in a 1990 Westfalia. I'm pretty sure it's an original installation.

Electronic/piezo ignitor won't work most of the time unless I remove the access screen on the back, left of the cabinet, reach in and unplug the high tension ignitor wire from the block behind the AC/DC/GAS selector switch.

If I pull the wire and then push the ignitor switch, it will start making the audible clicking noise. I then shut if off, reconnect the wire and the ignitor works again.

I don't know if the wire is bad or the block behind the switch is bad or neither.

I do know the fridge lights very easily if it's allowed to run on AC for 2-3 hours (overnight preferably), and then switched to LP. Once lit, it runs wonderfully.

Let me know of any more info on this. Thanks

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Step 5.
Push safety device button "F", keep it depressed and actuate simultaneous air pump knob "C" till Lamp "E" stops flashing: the sign that the burner is lit. Keep button "F" depressed for another 10 seconds, then release it.

This is very similar to my Dometic from my 82 except, I pump 5 times or so and press air pump knob "C" in from where it sets normally. This action is what seems to light the fridge. I think VW expects it will light itself with the auto igniter as long as the mixture is correct in the furnace box.

I appreciate the link to the manual and the link to Vanagon Fridge Syndrome. I will tackle it tomorrow night and see if I can have some success. Removing the side grill to unplug the ignitor temporarily seems like a pain. The stove still has the plastic protection so it is likely the fridge, sink, and stove have seen little service. Thank you. I'll report back either way. markw
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have this same fridge in my '91. It definitely has an on board automatic piezo igniter (it keeps sparking automatically until lit). You can hear a faint clicking while it's trying to spark. To verify you're getting spark at the business end, try it out at night and look at the little flame window in the lower left of the fridge, you should be able to see a visible spark. If you are not getting the automatic spark, check that you are getting 12V to the fridge. The air pump on this fridge has nothing to do with the spark, it is a pump only.

The other advice above is good, light the stove first to purge the propane line, get the spark going, then turn on the gas valves and hold in the safety button. If it doesn't light right away, turn everything off, pump a LOT of air, then try again.

I have fixed at least five of these fridges and all of them now operate reliably, although the first start of the season can take a while. Compressed air into the drain line at the lower front usually clears things out and it will start right up. I have found no less than four of these to have bad spark igniter leads and the spark jumps to ground along the wire somewhere. Good thing to check if you are having issues. If you can see a steady spark through the window, you should be fine.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thread possibly of interest if you are a geek like me.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=467401
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jetpoweredmonkey wrote:
I have this same fridge in my '91. It definitely has an on board automatic piezo igniter (it keeps sparking automatically until lit). You can hear a faint clicking while it's trying to spark. To verify you're getting spark at the business end, try it out at night and look at the little flame window in the lower left of the fridge, you should be able to see a visible spark. If you are not getting the automatic spark, check that you are getting 12V to the fridge. The air pump on this fridge has nothing to do with the spark, it is a pump only.


Thanks for that... now the differences between the two types makes sense. I don't recall reading about an auto igniter anywhere in my van's literature (will re-read), the POs included multiple printouts of lighting tips, and I've never heard any clicking (not that it isn't clicking), so I just assumed it was like all the other years. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the additional information. I left VW in 89 and never saw this arrangement before. I'll report back. markw
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:52 pm    Post subject: referigerator Reply with quote

No mystery here. All late model Westys Dometics have electronic ignitors. ALL have piezzo's. Electric ignitors make them very easy to light. Do the following:
1) make sure there is propane in the tank. 2) open valve on propane tank going to regulator.3)turn temp knob to full position.4) push bypass button(the one with a finger logo) and at the same time depress flame button on the extreme right side of the panel. the flame button light will flicker until burner is lit.
Thats it, nothing to it. If you encounter trouble lighting you may have air in the gas lines, be patient, just hold the bypass button for a minute or two, then wait another minute or two(to clear out excess gas) then try steps 1 through 4 above.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The replacement ignitor is much cheaper through Gunzl Classic Auto Parts than it is from GoWesty, even with shipping from Germany. $150 vs $60ish.

http://www.vwbusshop.de/epages/GuenzlClassicParts....253070690A

In addition to the above lighting procedure, sometimes there is not enough air to ignite the flame. The little pump inside the fridge isn't up to the task. You can give a couple of puffs from a bike pump into the drain at the bottom of the fridge. That usually helps.

The great thing about these fridges is that they re-ignite themselves if they blow out and in general they seem to be easier to light than either of the fridges on my old 1980 vans.
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