The washer/dryer combo unit we have in our RV is a Dometic brand, model #: WDCVLW… It stopped drying our clothes recently, throwing an obscure error code, and we finally had time to investigate over the holiday weekend.
A lot of the ventless combo units are really similar, regardless of what brand the sticker on the front is. There’s Haier, Midea, Best Appliance, even Magic Chef. I’m not guaranteeing that all of these units are the exact same inside, but I’d be willing to bet they are pretty close.
We’ve had our washer/dryer combo since we bought our Momentum 5th wheel in March 2015. (My mom got it for us as a housewarming gift-love her)! We’ve used it almost daily to wash clothes since then, sometimes doing more than one load a day, except when we are boondocking or on the road.
For a few months now, the dry cycle hasn’t been working well. We’ve had to hang dry our clothes even after running it 2-3 times. Just recently our unit kept throwing an error code: E3A.
My first step was to check the manual… That code isn’t listed in troubleshooting section. So then I called the Dometic customer service number. What a joke!
The representative claimed to only have access to the same manual I had in my lap. She told me I would have to call a service center and either take the unit in or pay a mobile tech to find out what the code meant. (She stated dealers and certified service techs are the only ones who have access to technical support, that not even she did.) After wasting lots of breath and time, I finally requested to speak to her manager. After another 10 minutes on hold, the same rep came back with what the code meant, saying her manager found it. Basically, the unit is overheating or not heating properly.
We’d never cleaned the unit, only emptied the coin trap and kept the drum clean, but never opened it up or anything like that. I honestly didn’t think we needed to, as the manual doesn’t say anything to that nature, even in the care & cleaning section. But from now on, we will clean it probably every 9 months or so since we use it so often.
Once I googled the code and the explanation, I came across this video that Edgestar made. Edgestar also made a similar unit but it’s since been discontinued. Edgestar put out some how-to DIY fix videos for their unit and that’s where we got just about all of our info on how to diagnose and fix ours. I watched it twice, then made Allen watch it, so we would know what we were up against, then we got to work.
We unscrewed the feet from the shelf (a robertson bit) and pulled the unit out of the nook in the closet and removed the top.
There are two screws in the back holding it on (phillips head). Then we took the fan off to access the condenser. That’s held on with 4-5 phillips head screws, and there’s one wire you need to disconnect (that’s a star bit).
The condenser was definitely clogged! Lint galore! I got most of it out with my hands, we tried to shop vac some of it, then finished up with a Lysol wipe tied to the handle of a fly swatter! Gotta be inventive sometimes!
So with a clean condenser, we put it all back together and started a cycle. Low and behold… E3A yet again!
So we got it out again, pressed play on the Edgestar video, and continued to investigate. Allen got his volt meter out and we tested the fan: all good.
Then we tested the thermistors. These are what the red and black plastic pieces plug into. Neither the main one or the safety would put out any volts. So we removed those, and found the problem. One of them was corroded pretty badly.
I think what happened is the condenser got clogged, causing the element to overheat, ruining the thermostat.
So I called Dometic yet again, this time I got someone helpful so it made the call a LOT shorter and more pleasant! I explained what I needed and Carrie emailed me a parts list with a diagram. Super helpful! Allen and I picked out the part number and called back to order it. $3.10 plus $5 for shipping… We went ahead and ordered two sets so we will have a back up if it ever happens again.
And even though the parts list says “manual limit switch”, the rep I ordered from referred to it as a “thermistor limit switch”… I told Allen last night that I really thought it was called a thermistor but I’m still not sure where I got that from. I feel pretty smart!
So those should be here by Friday hopefully, and we can get them in and cross our fingers it’s fixed! If not, I’m thinking our heating element is shot, in which case that would be part #30 and it is $78.15 plus probably at least $5 for shipping…
Here’s the rest of the parts list in case it can help anyone else out!