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Old 01-05-2019, 06:41 PM   #267
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New Fridge Install Planning

I have the parts made that I need to raise the galley cabinet, except for the pantry shelves. I'm moving on to the "fridge cabinet" before I apply the finish to these plywood parts.

Here is the fridge install plan"

1) Today I ran a new 12vDC positive and negative wire from the fuse panel to the fridge cabinet. I just figured the wires hanging in the fridge area were 12vDC source for the fridge controls. Wrong. Someone labeled them "thermostat". I do know there is no voltage in the wires at all. So I will "abandon" them and run a dedicated circuit. My fridge is not a "3 way" with a DC boiler heater.

2) I will connect the new fridge to this 12vDC circuit and then plug it into 120vAC. I want to "bench test" it before I do all the work of the install. It did start up, it did try to ignite gas (tick, tick, tick), and it did begin heating in the boiler when I switched it to "Auto". So far, so good. We'll see if the freezer is cold in the morning.

3) My new fridge will draw fresh air from a hole in the subfloor and also the belly pan. My trailer does not have a "side vent" for the fridge. For the life of me I can not understand why Airstream would make this floor vent "off set" instead of directly beneath the fridge location. The hole in the belly pan is under the pantry??? So I'm moving the belly pan hole so it aligns with the fridge and with the warm air roof vent.

4) Dometic is quite strict that there is no more than one inch maximum between the cooling coils and the back wall of the fridge cabinet. If it is more, and mine is closer to 4", you have to make a "baffle box" to close the gap. This will allow a good "chimney upward draft" of warm air out the boiler, up and then out the roof vent. So I have to make that piece. I wonder if new Airstreams have a baffle box to accommodate the curved sidewalls of the Airstream.

5) Then I have to make the fridge "platform" that it will be fastened to, and the fridge "surround" all around the fridge itself. Everything must be well sealed of course.

6) Finally I'll make the "microwave" cabinet" on top of the fridge. I have already run a dedicated 15 amp 120vAC circuit from the load center to the cabinet bulkhead where the microwave will be powered.

Geez, it only took me a couple of hours to remove the old fridge. It will take me 10 times that, or more, to install the new one.

Ready, set, go!

David
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:01 AM   #268
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my prior hole in the floor for fridge vent was lined up with hole in belly pan. i thought it invited a lot of road dust. wonder if offsetting would reduce that??

i have seen a curved baffle box for sale to vent along the walls. ran across it when searching for options during my fridge install. didn't like that it protruded out from the wall and took up some counter space. decided to just use the space in between the walls. keeping fingers cross that it will work, but also installed some computer fans in there to help draft the air.

good luck with your install
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:46 PM   #269
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Hi Jermey: My new fridge came with a small 12vDC fan already mounted and wired. The idea is to keep the air moving over the cooling fins which will make the fridge cool better. There is no "baffle wall" in my wife's 86 Limited and I don't believe I've ever seen one in an Airstream. I bet your fridge will work just fine.

David
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:57 PM   #270
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Beginning Fridge Install

The "bench test" of the new fridge was a success. This model has "automatic" cooling settings instead of old fashioned "warmer - cooler" manual adjustment. I am always suspicious of anything that says "automatic". I remember when automatic chokes came out in cars. What a pain. And the "automatic" choke on my lawnmower is a joke, not a choke. I've had many problems with it. So I hope this "automatic" setting routine doesn't freeze the milk as there is no adjustment for fridge temp. We hope it will work well.

Today I moved the floor fridge vent hole in the belly pan forward about 18". It is now directly under the hole in the subfloor in the fridge cabinet. I had to remake a small section of belly pan and rivet it in place. Brings back belly pan install nightmares! And I have a lot of belly aluminum yet to install on my Overlander.

David
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:37 PM   #271
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Fridge Install Progress

One step at a time. I did a "trial fitting" of all the parts I've been making just to see how the new fridge and old microwave will fit up. Lucky for me I think it will work okay.

Here is a photo of the fridge and microwave "stack" as I envision it. Bigger improvement.

Here is a photo of the below floor vent that I moved forward. Smaller improvement.

The fridge is smaller but adequate at 5 cu ft. I does have automatic ignition and much better insulation. Expensive improvement.

I have to fabricate the "baffle box" behind the fridge to ensure adequate cooling of the fridge piping. And then I have to fabricate a deflector to insure all the combustion air has a clear path to the roof vent. Then I will seal the entire cabinet so no bad air gets inside. I have to install the fridge "utilities"; gas and 12vDC. 120vAC is already present. Finally I have to assemble and finish the whole mess.

Many more hours to go.

David
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:37 PM   #272
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David,
Your "stack" is looking very sensible.
Keep on Keepin' on...
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:00 AM   #273
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I have the same large hole in my floor for the air intake. Does it have to be so large? It seems to me to be a spot where critters can enter and up here in windy Alberta, snow can blow up there. What about decreasing the size by 50% but add a computer fan or 2 for enhanced air flow
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:32 PM   #274
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Hello TinCan Don: I understand Dometic and others are sensitive to the "lower vent" size. Extracting "rejected heat" from the cooling system is dependent on a good upward draft of hot air. These gas absorption refrigerators usually don't come with fans. This Thetford document link does give some vent sizes for both the lower cool air intake and the upper hot air exhaust.

I would think a fan would reduce the need for such a large cool air intake. The four Airstreams I have worked on have large cool air intakes in the floor or side of the trailer. I have installed a 12 volt thermostat controlled fan on three of the four fridges I have replaced as I think it is a good idea.

My lower floor vent is covered with 1/4" hardware cloth. It is a small mouse that can get in there. I made a fridge lower side vent cover for the 86 Limited years ago. It was stored outside during the Minnesota winter and yes, snow would blow in there.

The answer your intake vent size and fan question... Heck if I know?

David

https://www.thetford.com/wp-content/...ion-Manual.pdf
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:49 PM   #275
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Hi Aluminuminum: Thanks! My appliance stack will likely work okay. But it is just a slightly modified 75 Overlander design.

Your 68 Globe Trotter is an excellent example of creative "elegant design", and beautifully hand crafted to boot. Examples: Stove corner vent, new "control center" by the door, nifty dinning nook, bath pocket door, bath shower curtain, bath toilet seat, floor covering and many others.

Thanks for following my "blog" blah blah.

David
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:56 PM   #276
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Watching closely to see how you seal the fridge off. Have yet to do mine and likely will follow your example as am confident you give more thought to this than I would. I recall reading in Norcold installation manual that sides of cabinet could not be more than 1 away from side of fridge but I do not recall it specifying you must seal it completely. Think I will read it again.

I like your mod. Everything seems to fit right in.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:29 PM   #277
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Hi Jeremy: Yep, everything has to be sealed to prevent combustion gas from entering the interior where we sleep. Dometic provides a gasket of sorts around the lip in front of the fridge where it mounts to the cabinet.

I'm a few days away of sealing up the fridge and microwave cabinet I made. I plan on simply caulking every seam; floor, walls and ceiling joints of my bulkhead walls. I'll look for any holes in the fridge cabinet and seal them. Lastly, I will have a CO monitor that works in the interior.

I wouldn't say Airstream sealed the fridge cabinet and roof vent just perfectly. Maybe there is enough fresh air flowing up in the back that there is little chance of CO leakage into the interior. There are two 1" wire grommets through the interior skins right smack in the plastic roof vent. Combustion air surely can seep into those holes. I will seal them up.

David
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:00 PM   #278
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Galley Cabinet Parts Made

I have made about 22 separate and distinct parts for this new, slightly bigger galley cabinet. A lot of work for a little improvement. I think I will like it when it's done.

Here is a photo of the Dometic "required" baffle that directs warm boiler air, as well as cool fresh air, over the cooling fins at the top of the fridge. The fridge will sit about 1" away from this baffle. They say the fridge will run more efficiently with this baffle.

And here is the collection of parts I made for the new galley fridge cabinet. There is a support for the fridge to sit on, there are three new bulkhead walls, there is a overhead locker shelf, there is the wood surround pieces for the fridge front, there is a microwave support and back wall, there are 4 new pantry shelves, and so forth.

Now I have to apply polyurethane to all these parts. Ugh.

David
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:07 AM   #279
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David

The baffle really is important to fridge efficiency and more importantly to fridge performance. After all, absorption type refrigerators generally have a problem cooling when the temperatures get too hot in the summer. The baffle makes sure the air is directed across the heat exchanger surfaces and also increases the speed of the air which also improves the heat transfer rate. It is winter now. Just think about how much colder it feels outside when it is windy.

Nice work on all the cabinet pieces too.

Dan
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:31 PM   #280
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Hi TouringDan: You are correct sir. I have a wide open lower vent for the boiler to draw fresh air. The boiler "chimney" is inside the baffled area. Hot air rises. My baffle is shorter than some due to the "offset" roof vent. This is per Dometic instructions. The fridge is about 6" away from the interior skins at the middle of the fridge, but the plastic vent is mounted along the interior skins. I made a "diverter" to direct the warm air into the plastic vent and out the roof.

We shall see how the thing works once installed. My new fridge does have a 12v fan that comes on at about 85 degrees. This will help push air over the cooling fins and then out the "crooked path" to the roof vent.

David
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