Refridge question


New Member
Jun 20, 2022
Yes I know all questions are welcome but I still think this is overly simple- but here goes - 2002 Coleman - new to us - 1st time popuppers. The fridge isn’t working. ???? Is there a secret to turning it on or is it simply a dud. How do we know?


Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
After familiarizing yourself with the basics of 3-way fridges (if you aren't already--they are weird), try to find a manual for your fridge model online.

It totally could be a dud, though. It just takes time to know.


Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
Assuming it's a 3-way:

The gas line is often empty of propane after sitting a long time, and as such, will require that you keep trying to ignite it for a couple minutes holding the on/off knob in so that propane flows even though no flame is detected. After sitting awhile, it takes mine a minute or two to charge up the gas line so it will ignite. And it's hard to detect that it's lit. I can't really see the flame even when I slide open the little peep hole. I have to feel for warmth rising out of the chimney.

Unless all the fluid has escaped the closed system, it probably works as well as it can. Even once it's lit, it takes a day for it to really bring the temperature down in the fridge.

I have installed a vent fan that makes a big difference in cooling time and fridge temperature. Also, cool it at home on 110vac, tow in 12v mode, and switch to propane (or 110vac if you have Shore Power) at the campground.


Jun 9, 2018
Like DavidO said- if it’s been sitting awhile it takes a bit for the propane to get there- we ignite the stovetop first as that seems to light right away and then the fridge ignites right away. We add 3-4 frozen water bottles as soon as we set up and that helps get the fridge to a good temp


2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
Northern Virginia
Bugs also could make a nest in the propane lines which may prevent lighting itself or sufficient burn. I discovered My fridge HATES wind and found my pilot light always blew out When it got breezy. I ultimately always ended up using it on 120v (green switch). As mentioned it takes these fridges 24 hours to cool. Truth be told I’m not crazy about these fridges. I can’t trust my food to stay at a safe temperature on hot days. I’ve seen it creep above safe temperatures if it got in the 90s outside but back down to safe temperatures when ambient temperature went down. So good for drinks and some condiments but for food that can spoil the cooler is still my go to. many people have installed 12v fans and baffles to the back of the fridge to help make things operate more efficiently. I haven’t tried this so Can’t comment on the effectiveness. All I know is even if camping in the shade it wasn’t enough. Don’t use it on 12v (red switch) unless you are actively towing and you know you have an effective charge line between your tow vehicle and camper as it can kill a battery in no time.

F. Jake Glotz

Sep 1, 2021
Boise Idaho
I have a 2001 Coleman Santa Fe and probably have the same or similar Dometic refrigerator 2191 or 2193. I would start by plugging in to Shore Power and using AC power. Use only one heat source at a time. AC cooling is controlled by a thermostat (right side of panel near electric source switches. Be patient and let it cool for 24-48 hours. If it cools on AC then move on the the other sources. 12v DC will really drawn down the battery, so stay plugged into Shore Power to test. LP is usually quite efficient and used for long periods or boondocking. Put a thermometer in so you can measure the changes.