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Dometic 'Fridge Modification
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MootPoint
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject: Dometic 'Fridge Modification Reply with quote

Back in September I asked if anyone had modified their Dometic 'fridge door to access the controls while keeping the 'fridge door itself closed.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=248757&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Some good ideas and suggestions were posted and I'd thought I'd share, as a FWIW posting, the end result.

The problem, as most of you with Westy kitchen units know, is that to change the energy mode from 12v. to electric to gas requires opening the refrigerator door and letting out all your hard-won cold air. This is especially a problem when you are trying (and trying and trying) to light the propane flame. Throughout the process the door is open and your beer gets warm. But you know that already.

My solution was to take a deep breath and cut the refrigerator door above the door seal, just above the upper hinge. Originally I was simply going to leave it open but noganav suggest a hinged access door and a magnet latch. Perfect!

So, here's the new control access:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Much better looking than simply having the open controls (thanks noganav!):
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Nothing gets in the way on the inside and the cut is well above the door seal so the refrigerator itself is uneffected:
    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

And for those of you who worry about such things, I moved the instruction plate to the inside of the large cupboard door.

For me, at least, it turns out the magnet was unnecessary. There was just enough friction between the access door and the door frame moulding (largely thanks to the fact that my moulding has shrunk and imploded a little bit) that the access door closes with a nice little "click" and stays that way.

If you decide to do this, measure the thickness of your closed piano hinge and add whatever is necessary to the thickness of your saw kerf (mine totaled 3/16th's of an inch so it took two passes with a good sharp plywood blade on my table saw). BTW I didn't even take the door apart to cut it, just took off the shelves and cut it with the outside face down. You could probably do it with a circular saw if you have a good fence clamped in place on the door. My cuts were as close as I could possibly get to the top hinge without actually hitting it.

My one warning/concern for anyone who wants to do this is to try the cut on a piece of scrap Westy cabinetry. I had some around from my last project, a new door into the back closet. You want to make sure your blade doesn't tear up or shatter the edge on the laminate surface.

Anyway, I though this might be useful if you need a winter project. See you on the road!
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: Kudos! Reply with quote

Nice, informative, intelligent, thorough post. Thank you!

Best!
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82WestyMan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that's a mod that's going on my 'to-do' list of enhancements
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noganav
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That mod should have been stock, very sharp. Cool I wish I could do that on my own van, but on the old woodgrain cabinets the fridge latch is up near the top. Sour grapes, well sour milk actually. Wink
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70coupyel
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great mod! I know I look at that and it's so simple and functional, Why didn't I think of that?? Maybe can you lay some masking tape on the outside of the door to keep it from chipping while sawing it?

Glenn
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Saying that specs are different than dimensions doesn't make sense. Porsche specs/VW specs/engineering specs are nothing but a series of dimensions,sizes,percentages,measurements, etc.

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Robw_z
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:59 am    Post subject: Re: Dometic 'Fridge Modification Reply with quote

MootPoint wrote:

    Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Off topic, but does that grated sticker on the inside of the door serve any function other than looking like a grate?

and oh yeah, I have a line on a spare fridge door if somebody wants a spare to cut Smile

-Rob
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice!....
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tds3pete
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice mod.

One trick when sawing laminate covered wood, it to "score" the laminate on a first cut...............run it through the saw once with just enough blade depth to removed the laminate. Then run it through again cutting all the way through. To do this you obviously need to have a method to hold the material in the same place both trips. It is sometime better to score it from the visible surface, the cut it through from the other side.

You can also use the masking tape trick and/ or do both.
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