Fred the Van. The More We Explore's Adventure Van Build Thread

GNTY

Adventurer
Install video!!! They will owe you big time, I asked them if they had any install instructions or pointers or tips for installation when I got mine, they actually said, "we don't have instructions and will not recommend how to install as it could make us liable for anything going wrong" so in short, here's our product...good luck figuring it out.

And yes, def get the plywood on the sides for attaching your interior trim or panel.
 

sixstringsteve

Explorer
Yeah, because of their deals with their upfitter companies they sell it to, they're not allowed to provide instructions. I agree though, and install video would be SUPER helpfull. I'm not an expert, so I'll do a video showing how I did it (which may or may not be the "right" way to do it).
 

sixstringsteve

Explorer
With our new interior layout, we're going to be ditching the ARB fridge and replacing it with something that opens from the front. The top-load cooler style ARB fridge is too limiting when you're building out an interior.

So I need some suggestions on fridges. I need to to be 12v, and I'd like it to have a low battery cutoff if possible, and I don't want to have to cut a hole in the side of the van for heat escape. Here are a few units we've been looking at. Any input?

http://amzn.to/2fk1K6Z

http://truckfridge.com/tf49.html

http://www.vfamerica.com/eng/seaclassic-c60i.html
 

luthj

Adventurer
I have used truck fridge and VF in the past. Both are excellent fridges based on the danfoss/secop compressor system. Both will have similar performance. I suggest choosing a fridge that meets your needs as far as freezer size, door configuration, and aesthetics. To reduce power consumption you can add additional foam insulation to the outside of the fridge this can dramatically reduce cycling. For even further reduction in power usage isotherm makes a controller for the Danfoss compressors called the Smart Energy Controller. The controllers are intelligent and have a digital temperature sensor. They automatically regulate the control speed of the compressor for maximum power efficiency. In addition they have the ability to overcool the fridge when extra charging is available. As a bonus the SEC also has an adjustable low battery voltage cut out. As far as I know all of the Danfoss compressor systems have an automatic low-voltage cutout built-in. Although it may be too low for some applications. (It may be adjustable with the resistor mounted between two pins on the control unit.)

For a good deal all on all the IndelB fridges such as VF and TF check out Westyventures.com. I have bought several fridges from Karl in the past he has been good to work with. He can get you any of the VF or TF fridges shipped to your door regardless of whether they're available on his website.

Many of these fridges can benefit from a larger condenser fan and/or improved airflow. The truck fridge units especially could benefit from a slightly more efficient fan with higher airflow. As a plus a fan upgrade is often quiter than the stock fan.
 
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sixstringsteve

Explorer
Excellent info luthj, thanks for sharing your feedback! I'd be fine with the same performance as my ARB fridge, only with a front opening.
 

luthj

Adventurer
For reference a TF 49 will run continuously in almost all environments with a 200W solar array as the sole charge source. The Engel units will have lower power consumption, but they may struggle in high ambient temps.
 

sixstringsteve

Explorer
Great info, thanks. I think that Engel may be the way to go for now. I don't want my fridge running constantly, and I don't have solar on the van yet (that's going to be about a year out I believe).
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
My National Luna (w/ Danfoss compressor) is SUPER quiet. At times I need to go back and check it's still humming. ;)
 

sixstringsteve

Explorer
Does national Luna make a front loader ? The reason I'm ditching the arb is to get a front loader fridge so I can build a cabinet over it.
 

luthj

Adventurer
The Danfoss compressor systems are very quiet. From personal experience I can say they're quieter than the engle swing compressor. When running the only thing you can hear is the fan depending on how you have the cabinet vented. If you drive regularly and your alternator exceeds 14.1v then you're probably alright without solar for most of the small fridges.

If noise in the cabin is a major concern you should seriously consider a Danfoss compressor unit. While it does have higher power consumption they are quite a bit quieter than the engle swing compressors as they are a rotary compressor instead of a reciprocating compressor.

For the cost of a small solar system and its inherent benefits I would not own a van without at least 100-200W system. Even the high roof vans can use flexible panels if you have weight restrictions.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Does national Luna make a front loader ? The reason I'm ditching the arb is to get a front loader fridge so I can build a cabinet over it.
No, but you can change how the top-loading door opens/hinges; either the door can swing up away from you(door hinging on the east-west plane), or depth-wise to your left side (door hinging on the north-south plane).
Top loading fridges always appear to be able to pack more into to me, as stuff isn't falling out at your feet. But I also haven't really loaded up a front loading fridge.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Steve, I miss that before (reading on my phone), apologies.

If there is any way you can incorporate a top loading fridge (swing or slide? temporary countertop or ?) then I would prefer that. They are super quiet and much more efficient than a front loader.

That said, check out these guys. I have never used their products, but have heard good things, for what that is worth: http://www.novakool.com/aboutus/default.htm
 

screwball48

Explorer
What if you placed your ARB on a pull out slide. Under the cabinet when not needed. Pull it out get what you need then put it back. Not as convenient as a front load but possibly cheaper than buying a new fridge.


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