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Norcold 3-Way Fridge in 2005 Hawk FWC

norcold 3-way fridge propane

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#1 PeteB

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 04:10 PM

Hello Wander the West Folks, We have a 2005 FWC with a Norcold 3-Way refrigerator. The problem we are having is that soot continues to build up in the flue and on the baffle. We have cleaned it probably 15 times now and in 1-3 days the baffle is covered with a quarter inch of soot (and large balls of soot fall out of the flue) which causes the fridge to not cool properly and (way more troublesome) causes C02 to back up into the camper. We have also cleaned the burner tube and box and we have a strong blue flame. We are on a Pan American trip and are currently in Mexico so taking it to an authorized repair place is not an option, also replacing it with a compressor fridge is not an option. Any ideas on what would cause so much soot build up so fast? Thanks!


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#2 97grandby

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 04:23 PM

If you are getting tons of soot, then you are not getting a clean burn or possibly something wrong with your fuel. Your in Mexico? Maybe you got a poor supply of propane. Maybe see if you can try different propane would be the first thing I would try.


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#3 PeteB

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 04:38 PM

If you are getting tons of soot, then you are not getting a clean burn or possibly something wrong with your fuel. Your in Mexico? Maybe you got a poor supply of propane. Maybe see if you can try different propane would be the first thing I would try.


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Thanks for the quick response. Any idea how to purge a propane tank? 


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#4 97grandby

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 07:38 PM

Thanks for the quick response. Any idea how to purge a propane tank? 

not really. maybe you could remove the tank and get a good distance way from the camper and any other source of sparks. Then find a small regulator and bit of hose and just open the valve  and let it drain out and try and and find a different supplier or propane then you used last time to fill up. The other idea is if you had another spare tank to try and use it first before dumping  15 dollars of propane into the air.  The other thing I saw on another forum board searching propane soot is that maybe your tank has too much pressure and to close the valve down a bit and see if that helps.  Soot normally is not enough oxygen so if you can't get anymore air in there, maybe backing off the fuel just a touch could help too. Sorry, I hope this helps. I know how frustrating it is having an issue on the road.


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#5 PeteB

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 10:42 PM

not really. maybe you could remove the tank and get a good distance way from the camper and any other source of sparks. Then find a small regulator and bit of hose and just open the valve  and let it drain out and try and and find a different supplier or propane then you used last time to fill up. The other idea is if you had another spare tank to try and use it first before dumping  15 dollars of propane into the air.  The other thing I saw on another forum board searching propane soot is that maybe your tank has too much pressure and to close the valve down a bit and see if that helps.  Soot normally is not enough oxygen so if you can't get anymore air in there, maybe backing off the fuel just a touch could help too. Sorry, I hope this helps. I know how frustrating it is having an issue on the road.

We're currently just burning off the gas by turning on the stove and hot water heater. We'll try to back off on the pressure as well. You've been a lot of help. Thanks!


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#6 Stalking Light

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 11:36 PM

Soot can be a sign of too little oxygen. If your stove burns clean it's probably not the fuel but in the fridge burner. Sadly I don't know anything about how to adjust those.
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#7 97grandby

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 04:01 AM

Any luck figuring it out?


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#8 AK Nomad

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 04:13 PM

I have the same unit. The burner started too soot up on me a couple times, and I just disassembled the pieces and cleaned them real good.  Put it back together and worked great.   If something is blocking an orifice or otherwise disrupting the normal flow of air or gas, then it may cause a sooty flame, and start building soot.  Also, there is a small screw below the tank shut off valve that can be used to purge propane from a tank. 


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