Funny, isn't it? We have experienced this phenomenon primarily in the Winter when the van is at freezing or below freezing temps, and found the following informative:
"Why won’t the freezer in my garage refrigerator freeze?
. . .
There’s nothing wrong with your refrigerator, the problem lies with your refrigerator being outside and the outside air temperature. Refrigerators are designed to work inside a home where air temperatures are around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermostat, located in the refrigerator part of the appliance, senses when the temperature rises above the set level and turns on the compressor causing the freezer to cool and pushing the cold air produced in the freezer part into the refrigerator part.
For a refrigerator located in the garage, where the air temperature gets much colder, the thermostat does not sense a rise in outside air temperature and therefore, never kicks the compressor on. Because the compressor does not come on, cold air is never produced in the freezer. The temperature in your freezer rises and begins to thaw out all your frozen foods. Not good.
To get around this, install a garage refrigerator kit. The kit gets installed . . ."
https://applianceparts.wordpress.com/20 ... or-freeze/
The part below is off topic for the van, but right on for our garage refrigerator. It is excerpted from the comments in the link above:
Jervil | November 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm. “I live in MN. My garage temp dips to a few degrees below freezing in the winter months. Run an extension cord to the inside of the refrigerator and plug in one or two small (7 Watt) night lights. The heat from the night lights will force the refrigerator to see a need to kick on several times a day. Since the temp sensor for the freezer and refrigerator is located in the above freezing portion of the box (The refrigerator not the freezer) the entire unit will stay at the same temps you experienced through out the summer months. This has worked for 6 years.”
RobH | February 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm. “Jervil got it right for fridge/freezers in a cold garage problem. All you need is a small heat source inside the refrigerator near the temperature sensor. I have a small upright lamp with a 7 watt bulb on the top shelf of a Kenmore side-by-side fridge and that solved the problem. You need to have a heat source in the refrigerator side, since that is where the temp sensor is. The freezer doesn’t have one. The heat source has to stay in there until temperatures stay above 45 F. When temps are below 40 F, the refrigerator never warms up enough to signal the compressor to come on unless there is an inside heat source. I put sensors inside both compartments and outside the fridge (I work in a DOE lab). The heat source inside the refrigerator does not affect anything below the top shelf. The freezer has stayed between -5F and 10F all winter.”