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Can someone help me fix an ammonia RV refrigerator ? Answered

This is a 27 year old RV dual power ammonia refrigerator. 
It runs on 115VAC or propane until a month ago when the smell of leaking ammonia gave it away.
Now it, the Fridge, is ambient temp as the ammonia smell is dissipating.
A quick check with a local RV repair said $ 2000 for a replacement :(

Any hope ?


No chance without very specilised equippment.
The amount of ammonia, water and hydrogen must be calculated first.
Water and ammonia gas is added and then compressed using the hydrogen to the exact point where the ammonia gas turns into a liquid.
Not possible with simple home remedies...

This is the first that I learned Hydrogen is in the the mix.

I never examined one of these old fridges but was told the hydrogen is used to get a defined pressure so the system is more efficient.

You can only dissolve a certain amount of ammonia in the water and without extra pressure even the heating is not enough to make a proper cooling cycle.


3 years ago

Monday an ammonia fridge repairman will come to remove our failed unit for repair for $800 we will wait and see...

The Large burly repair man came by and pronounced the fridge will be removable and will com back with muscle to remove the unit..

This sounds tricky.

I think actually fixing it would require a lot of steps that need to be done correctly, and requiring uncommon equipment.

I mean you'd have to figure out where the hole is.

Then patch the hole.

Then make another hole, for to install a port of some kind, for adding/removing gasses.

In the event the gasses inside have been contaminated with air, those gasses would probably need to be removed, i.e. vacuumed out.

Then the right amounts of the right kind of gasses,(e.g ammonia, water, and hydrogen), would need to be put back, likely under pressure.

Then the port has to be closed, and then all the plumbing has to be free from leaks, or else you have to do it all over.

In summary: very tricky.

Agree tricky beyond my skills and full of .

Are there shops that can do this and what might they call themselves ?

Or did Xpresident Clinton drive AC repair out of business....

I don't know. I guess they call themselves refrigeration technicians who know how to rebuild an ammonia absorption refrigerator.

Also I just tried asking almighty Google, "how to repair an ammonia absorption refrigerator",


and who knows? Some of the links it returned might be useful.

For example, this place,


says the peeps you seek call themselves,

"RV Refrigerator Reconditioning Specialist"

They might be a rare breed. I don't think I have ever encountered one in the wild. However, the fact they have a web page suggests they have not yet been hunted to extinction.


We have a local ice plant, that casts what looks to be five 3'x4'x10" slabs at a time, and smells of ammonia when I go there to buy dry ice.

They got to have some one who maintains it.