I’m guessing that my doing a ‘day by day’ summary of my trip will quickly become tedious for even the most excited reader. For this reason I’m going to break up my coast-to-coast trip report with a discussions about the Caribou Lite’s systems.
One item on the camper I’ve had some challenge is the fridge. Two things specifically –
- temperature setting
- pilot staying lit while driving
Temperature regulation –
The outside temp plays a big role in interior temperature of the fridge. During this last trip I saw a wide range of weather with the outside temp being in the low 20s to the low 80s. The Dometic RM 2193 unit is on the basic side with no thermostat. In propane mode you have three settings: high, medium, low. In 12V there is only ‘on or off’. In 110V mode you can set the fridge from ‘7’ (most cold) to ‘0’ (least cold).
When the outside temp is near, or below freezing, on ‘low’ the fridge will get down to the low 20s or event the teens overnight … freezing food in the fridge. In cold outside temps I found it best to turn the fridge off.
12V mode will kill a battery VERY fast, even when the truck is running. In 12V mode the heating unit is using 12-14 amps each hour. The camper’s current battery is a Group 24 with, best case brand new and with no concern about ‘abusing’ the battery, between 60 and 70 amp hours capacity. Running in 12V mode, which I did a few times, the battery will be at 50% in about four hours. If the temps outside are are above 40 degrees in 12V mode the fridge will only hold the fridge temp steady: so if the fridge is 50 degrees the fridge will remain 50 degrees (if you don’t open the door).
110V mode there is more adjustment and I found that setting the fridge at around the 2/3 setting at night, when it was near/below freezing, the fridge would remain just above freezing overnight. Once I got up and began accessing the fridge (ie, making breakfast) I needed to turn the fridge up to ‘7’, the highest, setting to keep the fridge around 40 degrees.
All these adjustments must be made outside the camper from the back side of the fridge.
Pilot not staying lit –
This is really the problem. 95% of the time when I stopped the truck I found the fridge pilot light had blown out … meaning the fridge was not being cooled. This is not the biggest of deals when the outside temps are less than 40 degrees. When it is 70 degrees outside you begin to worry about the mayonnaise.
Speed I am traveling is only part of the issue. Even when traveling below 60 MPH, as required when pulling a trailer in California, the fridge will still get blown out … and at other times not. Being passed by many semi-trucks or panel trucks or RVs, the fridge is on the left side of the camper, seems to be likely to blow out the pilot light. But, there were a couple of times when traveling at 70-75 MPH the pilot didn’t blow out … and this is with heavy cross, side, or tailwinds.
I am now in the process of seeing if a can make an ‘air dam’ that will keep the ‘wind’ of truck speed and passing vehicles not hit the pilot light AND not constrict air flow.