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idahoskier Tue May 08, 2012 11:10 pm

Figured I would put this in its own thread so itís easy to find, and for posterity. Hell, it might even help somebody :lol: Iíve really wanted to install a 12V fridge for a long time and since I actually got a tax refund this year I started gathering parts. I also installed an aux system. I wont go into my 12V system too much but will say that Iím using a Yandia with 3way switch, Blue Sea fuse block, 101Ah aux, Xantrex TC10, and mostly wired with marine wire.

After weighing my choices I settled on the Truckfridge TF65 because I like cold beer... lots of cold beer :wink: I will say that I donít think you could go any wider than this unit and keep the stock door adjacent to it.

Howesight definitely gave me inspiration and has great photos of the fridge itself here:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3...;start=180

Removing the cabinet is straightforward. Disassembly is pretty easy but be careful as these boards are thin and antiques. I used a combination of a mallet and a spreader clamp and had no issues getting the pieces apart. They are dadoed, glued, and stapled together. In my case it all came apart just with a few hits of the mallet after I got it started with the spreader clamp. Looks like this:

Then you need to cut approx 3/8" off each side of the adjacent panel. Having now done it I can say cheat it towards the back of the van say maybe 1/8" so cut 1/2" off the left of the face and 1/4" off the right. Youíll see why in a minute. I reconstructed mine like the factory with dado cuts. I also made the panel adjacent to the fridge cover the whole divider instead of just half so that the edge was clean. Hereís a pic to give you an idea:

*Edit:I also remember that people had asked in other threads about the best way to cut laminate. There are special blades made just for laminate and I have some, but they are kinda spendy. For this, and most laminate/finish jobs, I just use a 10" Diablo 40T thin kerf blade (Its what was in my table saw at the time anyway). It works almost as well and is more versatile without the $. Best of all you don't need to worry about scoring the cut. If possible, make sure to cut face down. For the jig saw you can use either a ground taper or milled wavy blade with a thin profile if the radius is tight. With the jig saw you need to cut face down to avoid the need to score the cut.

You will need to enlarge the cutout in the panel on the wall of the van. You will also need to seal the hole from the old fridge vent. Then you can relocate the outlet or eliminate it. I moved mine like the picture shows and the stock wires would have reached. You can keep your city water connection but youll have to swap it with the electric. I did but the water line isn't installed in this pic. The wiring in this pic is still preliminary so donít judge :wink:

I used aluminum angle for the fridge supports and removed the mounting flanges just like Howesight. Once installed you will find that the propane line no longer lines up with the hole and you will need to enlarge the existing opening. You will also need to cut an opening in the divider panel. This would be easiest/cleanest if done before assembly but I didnít catch it till I had it assembled :oops: You can get the bracket on the face of the cabinet panel to work without modification by loosening the bolt and then wiggling it together. Itís tight but it does work. I reworked my propane tank at the same time and the extra length of the new valve can work in this setup with a little bending of the existing stove line. New floor cutout looks like this:

So I then went to reinstall my drawer and found that I was rubbing the sink drain. Again, I should have caught this but :roll: If you cheat the cuts like I mentioned above it should not be a problem. Just be conscious of the width between the two drawer slides as well a making them parallel. I shaved my drain as well as shimmed the drawer over and it works better than original since I used melamine on the contact surfaces of the drawer slides as shims. See how tight the clearance is:

I used my old fridge door to make an access for storage below the fridge. There is plenty of airflow on the topside by the condenser/fan setup as per mfg specs. This was somewhat tedious. I like the stockish look of it but thatís just me :lol: Finished:

For those that want to see what the profile is like:

There has been discussion as to the Truckfidges being a little noisy. Since everyone has a different opinion as to what constitutes noisy take this with a grain of salt. I found the fridge out of the box to be decent but not as quiet as Id like so I worked on it :twisted: First I loosened the screws on the compressor as they were mashed into the rubber dampeners with no give at all. Then I installed rubber dampeners under the mounting bracket for the condenser since the fan is hard mounted to it.

This made an improvement but the fan itself was still a little loud. You wouldnít hear it while driving of course but with 1/3 duty cycle Id rather not have the wife tell me about it every 3 minutes while we try to sleep :lol: So l looked up the fan since its just a standard 92mm computer fan. The stock one is rated at 25.5 dBA and 37 CFM. Hmmm... I found a 92mm fan that is rated at 15 dBA and 42 CFM for $10. I installed that and its much quieter now... and I dont think a little more air flow will hurt either :wink: Just link the positive wire to the speed control wire and youíre all set.

Finished just in time for Syncro Solstice 2012 cause I told my little girl she could have ice cream in the desert this time :lol: Cheers!

pinealservo Wed May 09, 2012 1:20 am

Nice write-up! I just finished installing mine, although I haven't yet worked out the cover for the under-fridge storage. I am considering using the fridge door as a secondary access to the side closet, so I don't want to chop it down like you did. I have some hinges and a cabinet door catch to make a fold down door, but getting the dimensions and hinge mounting right to make it function well and look good is taking some thought.

I have also been prepping for Syncro Solstice, since we had a bunch of food spoil last year. My other big projects were a new sink faucet and pump and de-rusting and painting the propane tank. I also put a 12v outlet and 1/8" stereo jack right under where our TV mounts so we don't trip over the wires all the time, and I replaced my rusty gas tank and fuel pump so I don't break down on a trail drive again!

morymob Wed May 09, 2012 5:55 am

Don't know how shipping is nowdays but used to the compressors either had 'shipping screws' that clamped it down or like u found the rubber mounts and had to removed/loosed before use.

wontfalia Wed May 09, 2012 8:29 am

Good Job!

Show us some pics of it full of beer!

Vanagon Nut Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:12 pm

This is just what I was looking for!

I was just trying to envision this job.

I have a table saw, router, have done some woodworking, but it's not my forte. To help me see whats' required, is this basically it in a nutshell (POV looking at cabinet, installed):

- remove, disassemble cabinet as required
- move divider 1" to RH (+ 1/8" wiggle?)
- cut 1" off LH of undersink cabinet face panel
- cut 1" from LH drawer slider block
- LP lines remain at stock floor holes but notch cabinet floor,
bend lines with "S" to position ~ 1-3/8" to RH.

Drawer stays as-is?

Given that you modded your TF, do you think there's any need for a vent fan? Thinking about rear heat and fridge part longevity.

For the relatively few extra semolians on the DC only TF65, this mod seems highly worthwhile.

Neil.

an86carrera Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:06 pm

wontfalia wrote: Good Job!

Show us some pics of it full of beer!

Here is my TF65 with 24 cans of beer 2 cans of soda and 1 1.5 liter bottle of wine. There is room on the side where the wine is for one more 1.5 liter of wine and a shorter bottle of the same diameter in the back. top self is empty as you can see. and, there is the freezer above. Love all the room in it plus the new, still unfinished drawer below.


idahoskier Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:15 pm

Drawer stays as is but be careful of alignment and clearance to the guides and the sink drain. DC is a great option but I'm using a Xantrex 10a charger that's hardwired to the aux panel from the electric hookup. This has been perfect for my needs so far. The fridge and my other devices don't draw that many amps so I always leave camp fully topped off if there is a hookup available. No need for a vent fan since the factory fan is in the right spot to use the existing vent in the cabinets. You could create an exhaust fan using the old fridge vent if you camp in warmer climates and have it triggered by the fridge or set up for manual operation. Pretty sure I've seen this mod in Sambaland somewhere. With a summer of use now I'm really stoked on this fridge for size and function.
Colin

Vanagon Nut Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:44 pm

an86carrera: though my liver doesn't agree, you're speaking my language! Good to see how much space there is.

idahoskier: Cool, good tips. Yes. Was thinking same: permanent charger. But as you infer, I should determine my total amp needs and then some. I use very little power when camping though. Like I'll play my Eton portable before my head unit.

I was surprised at how easy it was to get the cabinet out.

The common term I've seen for the vent fan is "city water" fan. I installed one on my '81. Pulls a lot of hot air out from behind fridge. I will likely delete the city water hookup. We'll see. Options.

Thanks again for the post and pics. Really helpful. With any luck I won't have to bust out my "adding file". ;)

Neil.

Vanagon Nut Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:47 pm

idahoskier wrote: Drawer stays as is but be careful of alignment and clearance to the guides and the sink drain.
Colin

Colin; I was too quick to post.

Since the drawer doesn't move toward front of van, re: alignment to sink drain, is it b/c an poor up/down angle of the slider block will cause drawer to hit drain?

Thanks

Neil.

SpeedoJosh Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:07 pm

Is the interference with the sink only due to the 65, or would the 49 also run into that problem?

I just picked up a 49, and am looking at installing it. So pretty much, take out old fridge. Cut out bard behind old fridge for new fridge room. Block off old vent. Move the water hook-up. Install brackets, then plug in? :lol:

an86carrera Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:16 pm

Quote: Then you need to cut approx 3/8" off each side of the adjacent panel. Having now done it I can say cheat it towards the back of the van say maybe 1/8" so cut 1/2" off the left of the face and 1/4" off the right. Youíll see why in a minute. I reconstructed mine like the factory with dado cuts. I also made the panel adjacent to the fridge cover the whole divider instead of just half so that the edge was clean. Hereís a pic to give you an idea:

3/4" is enough and leaves an 1/8" clearance for fridge. And I used the 'cheat' above which worked perfect.

Vanagon Nut Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:31 pm

Thanks an86carrera. And I see your thread here:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=520375&highlight=fridge

Yah I wasn't uber clear on that idahoskier quote but will reread til it sinks in. Cabinets on the bench. So will stare at that for a while. I'm sure it's not rocket surgery. ;)

Sorry for the minor hijack!

Neil.

BillM Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:31 pm

SpeedoJosh wrote: Is the interference with the sink only due to the 65, or would the 49 also run into that problem?

I just picked up a 49, and am looking at installing it. So pretty much, take out old fridge. Cut out bard behind old fridge for new fridge room. Block off old vent. Move the water hook-up. Install brackets, then plug in? :lol:


That's it to install the TF 49. I love my TF49 but wish I
had sprung for the next size up. Cutting the cabinets
scared the crap out of me though. I have terrible wood
working skills and didn't want to destroy my Westy
cabinet. I envey those that pulled it off.

idahoskier Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:12 pm

Neil,
You need a total of 3/4" cut off the front panel. Take 1/2" off the left side and 1/4" off the right (as you look at it in the van) so that you are only shifting the drawer 1/4" towards the front of the van. Too much more and the drawer may rub as it is allowed to wiggle a little anyways by virtue of the rail system used. Hope that helps.
Colin

SpeedoJosh Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:24 pm

BillM wrote: SpeedoJosh wrote: Is the interference with the sink only due to the 65, or would the 49 also run into that problem?

I just picked up a 49, and am looking at installing it. So pretty much, take out old fridge. Cut out bard behind old fridge for new fridge room. Block off old vent. Move the water hook-up. Install brackets, then plug in? :lol:


That's it to install the TF 49. I love my TF49 but wish I
had sprung for the next size up. Cutting the cabinets
scared the crap out of me though. I have terrible wood
working skills and didn't want to destroy my Westy
cabinet. I envey those that pulled it off.

Thanks Bill. Yea, I'm nervous enough as is with the 49. Not scared to do mechanical stuff at all, just nervous with interior projects without having pics. Writing instructions are everywhere, but I'm a visual learner when it comes to this stuff.

Vanagon Nut Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:09 pm

BillM wrote:


Cutting the cabinets
scared the crap out of me though. I have terrible wood
working skills and didn't want to destroy my Westy
cabinet. .....

Stay tuned..... "buzzzzzzz..... ≠≠[email protected]#%@≠≠ÉÉÉ "

;)


idahoskier wrote: Neil,
You need a total of 3/4" cut off the front panel. Take 1/2" off the left side and 1/4" off the right (as you look at it in the van) so that you are only shifting the drawer 1/4" towards the front of the van. Too much more and the drawer may rub as it is allowed to wiggle a little anyways by virtue of the rail system used. Hope that helps.
Colin

That totally helps.

Got it apart, albeit with some cracking, :roll: but it's all doable and I get what you mean.

Thanks again,

Neil.

westyventures Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:08 pm

SpeedoJosh wrote:
I just picked up a 49, and am looking at installing it. So pretty much, take out old fridge. Cut out bard behind old fridge for new fridge room. Block off old vent. Move the water hook-up. Install brackets, then plug in? :lol:

Trim the wallboard behind the fridge a couple inches at the top, yes. If re-using the cabinet fascia, trim about 1/8"+ off the inside edge on both sides, and square the top radius corners. Also, you'll need a new way to reattach the right side of the fascia as the old fridge held this in place before. I use 3/4" aluminum angle. The water connection is fine with the TF49, but move the electrical box. Support platform for the fridge feet.

westyventures Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:16 pm

Or, save time and just build what you really want, that's what I decided...



8)

BillM Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:32 am

Nice cabinet Karl. Is there a sink or stove on the top? I
personally never use either and would rather have the
extra room. Are you using a full width rear seat?

westyventures Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:40 am

BillM wrote: Nice cabinet Karl. Is there a sink or stove on the top? I
personally never use either and would rather have the
extra room. Are you using a full width rear seat?

I use both all the time - so upgraded to a SMEV unit with larger sink with hot/cold tap, single burner with piezo ignition and flame sensing. More photos on my FaceWaste page. Full-width Multivan rear seat.



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