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.
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 – they were extremely helpful in finding the right part despite it being for a different marque. The part you’ll require is: https://www.bailey-parts.co.uk/product/1040673
- 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!