Early models of Dometic’s 9-series fridges (Pic above) feature the ‘Click-Lock’ system where you push the door in a little to lock it for travel. Unfortunately, once locked, these fridges are very difficult to open – requiring an unnervingly sharp tug. The constant force eventually causes the door hinges to work loose and cracking of the plastic on the catch. In my case, no amount of fettling with the catch ‘receiver’ appeared to alleviate the issue. Dometic are well aware of the issue and have changed the mechanism to a ‘hook’ on later fridges – getting this retro-fitted on my fridge under warranty met with disappointing dis-interest from Dometic and their local agent.
Old broken catch
After a fashion, I managed to obtain the part I required to fix the fridge for myself. I bought this from Bailey Motorhomes Parts Department (edit: Now called Prima Leisure) l– they were extremely helpful in finding the right part despite it being for a different marque. The part you’ll require is: https://www.primaleisure.com/product/1040663/dometic-rml9330-fridge-door-lock
Upper: new catch | Lower: old catch
- Small Philips Screwdriver
- Large Philips Screwdriver
- Large Flat Blade Screwdriver
- 19mm socket and extension bar
- Snipe Nose Pliers
- Dinner knife(!)
- Socket-head screws and allen key M4x15mm for loose upper door hinge – see text.
Time Required: About 1 hour, Difficulty: easy, but exercise patience with it – don’t use force!
Whether upgrading a fridge with the older ‘click-lock’ catch or replacing the newer ‘hook-style’ catch, the process is the same.
Step 1 – Remove the door card
With the fridge door closed, on the hinged edge of the door, grasp the plastic trim where it overlaps the front of the door, and pull it to the side. Start in the middle, once it initially gives, it will come away easily. You do not need to fully remove the trim, just remove it enough such that you can slide the door card out. Place this somewhere safe, on its side ensuring that it can’t fall/fold.
Step 2 – Remove the plastic door surround
The black plastic trim around the door handle can be removed by inserting a knife from below. Don’t force it, just use the knife to gently lever it away from the surrounding door. To release the catch-end of the trim, twist off the door edge trim in the same way you did to remove the door card.
Step 3 – Remove the silver door handle
The silver door handle splits into two; working from below, at the catch end of the handle, insert the knife and work it along the handle until the handle cover pops off. Remove the handle cover in its entirety, noting its orientation for refitting. Be gentle here its delicate!
The remaining handle is made from metal, and is removed from the hinge end of the handle by gently compressing the lower part of the hinge while twisting the handle upwards until the lower lug pops out. The handle can now be removed, but use it one last time to open the fridge door.
Step 4 – Remove the old door catch and receptor
With the fridge door open, use the 19mm Socket to remove the old door catch, and a philips screwdriver to remove the old door-catch receptor. Removal is self-explanatory.
Step 5 – Fit the new handle
Fit the new door catch using the 19mm socket, be careful not to over-tighten it. Offer up the door handle, ensuring that the ‘T’ on the actuator lever sits in the recess on the door handle. Locate the upper lug on the hinged end of the handle in its receptor, and using the snipe nose pliers and a downwards twisting motion, locate the lower lug in its receptor also. Test that the handle correctly operates the catch. To ensure that the handle cannot come out, insert a flat blade screwdriver in the obvious gap between the lugs and gently twist it (not too much!)
Refit the silver door handle cover (noting orientation), and refit the black plastic door trim (start at the catch end, remembering to re-fit the door side trim so that its flush. Refit the door card, and gently clip the plastic edging back in place again.
Step 6 – Fit the new door catch receptor
Back inside the fridge, fit the new door catch receptor, and adjust forward/aft until a simple pull of the handle unlocks and opens the fridge in one simple motion.
Step 7 – Tightening the loose hinges
The strain of forcing the door open can cause the upper door hinge to work loose. Unfortunately, access is not easy, but I fixed mine using some socket-head screws and anti vibration washers in place of the existing screws – the allen head screws can be tightened with an allen key thus alleviating the access issues. Search eBay for ‘Socket Head Cap Self-tapping Screws’, I used M4 x 15mm
Begin by removing the control panel, by depressing the lugs either side. The old screws are probably loose enough to remove with your fingers, or failing that an electric screwdriver bit. Remove them one at a time, replacing with the allen head screws and washers (hand tight), Once you have replaced those you can reach, tighten with your allen key.
Enjoy your new easy-open-fridge, extra bonus is that when its closed, its locked – so no more swinging fridge doors around a corner after you forgot to lock it!
Usual disclaimer applies – if you are cack-handed and you foul it up, its your fault, not mine!
Your instructions are excellent. It took me minutes to remove the handle, door card and handle.
Fitting the new lock took just five minutes. It saved me £300 at the dealer. I’m really very grateful.
Thanks for the help to get at the door latch. My fridge (RML9336) had the new latch but the spring had failed. Once I got the door handle off and removed the latch I could fashion a new spring which works perfectly.
I had already bought a set of plastic body panel removing tools (£3.99) and a box of assorted springs (£3.99) in order to replace the latch springs on the habitation
door lock mechanism.
My motorhome warranty is a nightmare with ridiculous travel implications so I saved myself nearly £500 for an £8 investment -which still keeps giving.
I do recommend the plastic body panel kit as they are less scary than knives and screwdrivers – and much more gentle.
I used this method last night to change my catch, I would not have been able to do it without this guide, thank you for posting.
thanks for the help. lock latch replaced successfully. caravan guy Jarmo Hakala from Finland
Hello all I have just arrived on site to find my fridge door open? Turns out the spring inside to the door lock is broken is it possible just to replace the spring itself? My fridge is the RML 9336 model which looks identical to the one in the video?
Brilliant helpful article – I had to replace a broken existing hook type so didn’t need the new handle – the longest bit for me was figuring how the handle fitted the actuator of the lock – felt pretty thick when Penny eventually dropped! Thank you saved me £££££s.
Many thanks. Fiddly but managed it. Couldn’t have worked this out without your article.
Another RML 933 series fridge door latch problem.
Door latch internal spring broken caused by faulty spring material, is this due to more cost saving by using inferior materials?
Similar story, 2018 Buurstner Harmoney Motorhome. with Dometic 9 series fridge Model no RML 9435 My fridge door has been a nightmare to open, the handle has eventually snapped from the door catch, im hoping the only damage is a new
door lock / catch,and a new black plastic trim around the door handle, im hoping the left hand side of the door handle hasn’t done to much damage to were the lugs on the handle attach to the inside the door, if this is the case i will have to buy a new fridge door,
My view this is an engineering design fault my Dometica.
The plastic T shaped end on the door catch snapped on our Dometic RML9435 fridge when we were away in our motorhome a short while ago. It’s now out of guarantee so with the help of your superb explanatory article I had no problem at all removing the broken catch and fitting the new one. It’s a shame that you can’t just buy the replacement plastic part which would cost a few pounds, instead of having to buy a complete new catch costing £55+. Thanks for such a brilliant article, it’s very much appreciated!
The new style hook snapped from the handle on my Dometic 9335 fridge. The process of contacting the dealer arranging taking the van in (90 mile round trip) for possible warranty work (or not); waiting for the delivery of needed parts etc, I found your article and thought I would give it ago while heeding your disclaimer. Placed an order for a ‘Dometic Bolt, Complete, Lock’ the Dometic description for this part (From Leisure Shop Direct £44). Although described as the complete lock this part is just the inner hook as the above photo and does not include the black screw-type cover which clamps the hook to the fridge door this comes as a separate part, fortunately, this was still OK when I proceeded to replace the hook. I gathered the required tools and followed the step by step instructions all completed in just over the hour fridge door now OK. I am not a fridge engineer just a layperson with limited DIY skills some parts of the process could have gone wrong as care was needed removing some of the plastic surrounds which could have easily cracked so proceed at you own risk.
Interesting. I’ve just bought a new (2019) Bailey Unicorn with the RML9330 fridge and guess what – very first outing the fridge door opened and contents over the floor. Door catch not locking. To be fair this is only a minor issue compared with all the other faults in the caravan. Wish I’d never seen it.
Where can I buy a replacement plastic ventilation door catch?
The white plastic U-shaped clip which swings out allowing owner to vent fridge door (leaving it slightly ajar) when defrosting. It commonly breaks (as mine has) & seek a replacement.
Great article, exactly what happened to our fridge catch, job done, thanks.