Melted plastic smell coming from Refer

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Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
811
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
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Newmar
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Ventana 4326
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TOW/TOAD
2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
Woke up this morning and quickly got a whiff of a burning or melted plastic smell somewhere in the living room/kitchen area. Took us a few minutes to hunt it down, I initially thought it might be the inverter as it seemed to be coming from behind the refrigerator so went down to the basement but nothin going on down there.

Came back up, DW opened the fridge and a small light puff of smoke came out and the smell was much stronger.

Hit the breaker to the fridge and cut power to it, calling NorthTrail as they are fairly close.

Anyone else experienced this? We have a whirlpool.

It rained last night but the Power Watchdog EPO would have cut power if we had a surge. Site is pretty level.
 
Joined
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Location
Midlothian, VA
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2017 Chevy Colorado
Never heard of that from a frig. My first thought was an electrical short in your OASIS like I had which had the electrical burning smell. Do you know how to inspect that? Worthwhile to check that wiring as it's quite common to be a problem. But it sounds like you verified the source. Just go to your OASIS and sniff there for verification.
 
Joined
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Location
Prince William, VA
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2020
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Newmar
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43
TOW/TOAD
2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
I ended up calling Newmar. They in turn called Whirlpool and hung out on the line with me. Got transferred to whirlpool’s “Safety Team”. They are sending a mobile tech to diagnose on Wednesday. Wondering if should ask them to replace the entire unit out of an abundance of caution given that motor homes tend to light up pretty quickly.

Also think I’ll be asking them to cut me an allowance to replace food items in the fridge. Whether spoiled or not, they’ve surely been exposed to some chemical breakdown inside the unit. Not sure if I’ll get anywhere with them on it but the thing is 6 weeks old.
 
Joined
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Let us know how this transpires. Scary for sure. Good thing you have the alternate Dometic in the basement.
 
Joined
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Location
Prince William, VA
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2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
So unfortunately I was out of town on business when the “service provider” came. No one had told us that we needed to pull the refer out beforehand and when he got there, he looked at it, told my 115lb wife to pull the refer out and call back when that was done.

Thanks for nothing Fields Appliance Service in Orlando! Got back Friday night, too late to call Newmar Or Whirlpool Customer Service. Called Fields Service back, next Appt is Tuesday.

We tried giving it power again to see if maybe it was a fluke, but within the day it was producing the same smell so we’ve cut power and everything is in the dometic freezer.

More to come...
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Newmar
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40' 10"
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2017 Chevy Colorado
Newmar's failure. They should have arranged a RV mobile tech to pull the frig out for the repairman. This is the same procedure as is done for the washer/dryer as I had to do with Whirlpool. Sounds like Newmar needs to arrange for an immediate refer replacement. I'm curious how they get it out and a new one in, i.e. through the entry door?

Sorry to hear of the frustration. Lucky thing is we have probably one of the best support reps (Erica) - but I can't really say that as I haven't had experience with the others. Erica is amazing!!
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
657
Location
Orinda, CA
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Newmar
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Ventana 4002
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TOW/TOAD
2015 Jeep Trailhawk
X2 on Erica!
 
Joined
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Pleasanton, CA
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Newmar
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Dutch Start 4018
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1973 Toyota FJ40 / Jeep GC Limited
John:
This poor guy was camped behind me a few weeks ago and "smelled" burning plastic behind his refer while they were having coffee. 15 minutes later, his coach was gone. Residential Whirlpool. I did not hear back from him what the exact cause was, but he did say he had it at CW twice for refer repairs. Hmm. Fortunately the husband, wife, and pups got out OK. Don't take any chances!
Good luck with your repair,
Mike
 

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Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
811
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
Will give Erica a call. Had previously spoke to Craig I think, but will ask for Erica specifically on Monday.

I’m thinking I might not want a whirlpool now though. Power to refer is cut at the breaker, we have wireless interconnected smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in the basement as well as inside at the front, middle and rear and generator area - extinguishers not meant to save anything but give us time.

Started a fire purposely in the backyard before we left to teach the 9yo and wife how to use them.

Anyway, with the power cut at the breaker I think we’re safe but I’m not sure I feel comfortable with the WP refer in my coach at this point. Was reading about some class actions against WP that seemed related but scant in details. Need to find that actual case info, if so WP will be a no go, fixed or not.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2019
Messages
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Location
Pleasanton, CA
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1973 Toyota FJ40 / Jeep GC Limited
Great ideas on training the family John.
A pre-trip review/reminder of the locations of all fire extinguishers would probably be in order as well. I have one in the bedroom, one in the front of cab, and one in each of two storage bays. I also had Tom Chelbana install Proteng sticks at the inverter, the power cord bay, and the chassis and coach battery bays at the Golden Bears rally last month. I'm going to have him do the engine and generator bays at the next rally. Watching that coach burn and the speed it burned really hit me. Can't be too safe.
Be safe John.
Mike
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
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Location
Orinda, CA
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John:
This poor guy was camped behind me a few weeks ago and "smelled" burning plastic behind his refer while they were having coffee. 15 minutes later, his coach was gone. Residential Whirlpool. I did not hear back from him what the exact cause was, but he did say he had it at CW twice for refer repairs. Hmm. Fortunately the husband, wife, and pups got out OK. Don't take any chances!
Good luck with your repair,
Mike
Just seeing that picture reminded that I want to get a fire suppression like Proteng installed. Anyone have a suppression system and how do you like it?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Pleasanton, CA
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Newmar
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Dutch Start 4018
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TOW/TOAD
1973 Toyota FJ40 / Jeep GC Limited
Sheridan:
Yes, I currently have 4 areas with Proteng and 2 more to go. See my earlier post. How do I like them? Its piece of mind for me and I love them, but I hope I never find out how well they work. There are a few YouTube videos showing what they do and how they will extinguish the flame. There will still be damage, but we would be safe and the coach should be saved. I also added 2 10-year battery smoke detectors in the basement.
I sleep much better knowing they are all there.
Mike
 
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Thanks Mike. I emailed Tom this afternoon to schedule a time for an install. My biggest problem is I am hearing impaired and I cannot hear those alarms without aids. Even last month when the alarm was chirping a low battery, I didn’t hear it. I have strobes in my house but they are hardwired and i have yet to find a battery alarm with a strobe. So I am talking to a few vendors to try and engineer something. Same for the bays, I won’t hear them either. I figured with a suppression system, I have a chance of survival, but I need more. It’s not easy to solve top to bottom in an a RV.
 
Joined
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Location
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40
TOW/TOAD
1973 Toyota FJ40 / Jeep GC Limited
I see what you're saying about the smoke alarms Sheridan. My wife says I just don't listen. :0(
Even if you just go with the Protengs, that will be a significant improvement over what you currently have. We certainly sleep much better knowing we have an extra layer of protection.
Good luck with your mod.
Mike
 
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Joined
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Not particularly, @Neal . Fields Appliance Service (different tech) came out for the second service call. I had the unit pulled out for them. At this point, the refer had been powered off for over a week so he came in, opened the door and took a whiff and said he didn’t smell anything. The smell was still there but it was pretty faint at this point. I wish I’d thought to power it on the morning of the appt. He opened the back panel, looking for any signs of a short circuit, but there wasn’t anything at which point, he basically said he had nothing to chase and couldn’t do anything, then left.

Following that, I played phone tag with Erica Miller for a few days, finally got in touch with her Monday morning. Her response on the phone was to call Whirlpool back, schedule another service call but with a different company this time, see if a fresh set of eyes can find anything. If still nothing, give her a call back and she’ll see what she can do.

I’m pretty frustrated and a little - no a lot - let down by Newmar at this point. A bought a Newmar because I felt like they would stand behind their product but that’s not the experience I’m having right now. I get that this isn’t their product, it’s Whirlpools but it’s less than two months old. We’ve been to just four campgrounds. I wish I’d given a little more consideration to the fact that I have to deal with the item manufacturer when things break. I knew that to be the case beforehand but I didn’t expect such a major appliance failure to occur within less than a month of taking delivery and assumed if that happened, Newmar would be on it no matter whose product it was.

You know what they say about assuming...

We’re in the Keys right now and we’re headed back to Orlando afterwards to try and get it serviced. To get by, we’re letting it run during the day and cutting power to it at night. I work from the coach so if something starts burning I should be able to detect it pretty quickly. The strength of the smell seems to be strong some days and pretty faint others. It’s really hard to put a finger on, though I suspect it may be the defroster.

If it’s not fixed after the next service visit and Newmar doesn’t want to step up and replace it, I probably will. Then I’ll drive out to Napanee and dump it at Newmar’s corporate office with a kindly worded note to Matt attached explaining its presence and inviting him to Install in their kitchen.
 
Joined
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Location
Midlothian, VA
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Newmar
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RV Length
40' 10"
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2017 Chevy Colorado
Sorry to hear that, not the best feeling after spending big $ on a new coach, Newmar at that. I know the feeling as I had Whirlpool washer issues, they continued even after my service and I emailed Newmar telling them hey I'm going to be stopping through NIRVC, this would be a great opportunity to get this replaced. Didn't happen as I didn't continue to pursue with Whirlpool. I have a hunch Newmar will step up and take care of you, just keep patient as you can. If you can get the smell to reproduce from running it then hopefully you're all set for the next service call. These parts of RVing make RVing not fun. It's no fun when things don't work. Hang in there. Again, I do feel this is going to get resolved in your favor. Just let Erica know that you do not feel this is safe for your family to live in next time you have to work with her. She's the best in the Ventana crew, at least that I experienced.
 
Joined
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That is a really frustrating experience to say the least. What Neal says is spot on. Patience is key here and hopefully it will get resolved to your satisfaction. I have been there myself not with the whirlpool issues but others.
 
Joined
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Location
Orinda, CA
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One other thing for what’s it worth. I did search on google whirlpool fire burn smell and got quite a few links. The words that shows up a lot is Capacitor starter waterline and compressor through the links. Is it possible to look behind the appliance and plug it in to see if you can trace the smell. Just a suggestion and I know nothing about fixing appliances.
 
Joined
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Messages
657
Location
Orinda, CA
RV Year
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Newmar
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40’10
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2015 Jeep Trailhawk
@MapNerd Any new updates on this? Hopefully getting resolved.
 
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