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Old 08-02-2020, 07:22 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1962 24' Tradewind
Quakertown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 38
Decision time - rebuild or replace the 1962 Dometic?

We are getting closer to the point that we need to make some decisions about appliances. Of course, we love the look of the older appliances, but with so many things that need to be replaced, we're also open to switching over to electric only. Click image for larger version

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The fridge is one part of this dilemma. Here are some of our options:

- Rebuild the original fridge. Or, re-use the box of the fridge but update it with electric power. I can't find anyone still in business that works on old fridges - anyone have a recent contact?

-Replace with an uglier but functional modern RV fridge (Dometic, Norcold, etc)

-Replace with a cute retro style but electric only fridge

-Replace with a modern electric only fridge

What did you do? What do you wish you'd done?

I've gathered some options, with dimensions and links here:
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:13 PM   #2
Rivet Master

1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,630
Our 55 was missing the fridge when we got it. It was a two way, 120vac and propane. We gutted the propane off of it (mustíve been 75 pounds). We found a supplier for the gasket. We repainted and reinsulated. We got the idea of a 12vdc marine compressor (Isotherm) from 57 Vintage (Harold) and installed that. It works like a charm. Good luck
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:38 PM   #3
Rivet Master
57Vintage's Avatar
1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 821
Images: 22
Rebuilding the frig

We opted to retain the original frig in our 58. I specifically wanted electric (12V & 120V) with no propane. That led me to look at marine equipment. I settled on using a unit from Isotherm. The components come to you in pieces, but it is pre-charged with fittings that allow you to complete the hookup without leaking.

Ours is a Krefft frig (German), it was a great size and sets off the floor in a cabinet so putting a newer frig would mean altering the cabinet. This is what the orignal unit looked like mechanically. It is very heavy.

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The Isotherm evaporator is rectangular and was very close in size to the original freezer so I could retain the freezer door (inside the frig).

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The compressor is now above the frig in a storage area of the cabinet. The wall unit to the left is the controller that automatically will switch from 120V to 12V. It defaults to 120V so I have a receptacle that is shore power only next to it. The item above the receptacle is the temperature control/off rotary switch.

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The lines for the evaporator come out the back of the frig and are straightened out to go up.

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I removed the rear extension on the body since we didn't need it. (compare photo 1 to photo 4) Unfortunately it didn't allow me to recess the entire amount (roughly 4"), but I did lose about 2" of overhang past the cabinet front face. So less is out past the cabinet face.

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I also added additional rigid foil backed insulation in the spaces between the cabinet and the frig. 1" on the sides, 1" on top & 2" below.

Part of wanting to eliminate the propane was to eliminate the lower venting through the floor/belly pan. I still get circulation for the compressor cooling, but the air originates in the trailer and is aided by an additional fan below the original frig roof vent.

We also went solar (4 - 100 watt panels and 2 160aH Lithiums) so having 12 volts while traveling is not a problem. I know a lot of people run propane while traveling, but it is not in my comfort zone to do so.
Harold & Rebecca

Our thread:
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:01 PM   #4
Rivet Master
66Overlander's Avatar
1962 22' Safari
2016 30' Classic
Southeast , Michigan
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,922
Images: 41
For my '62 Safari, I had the exact same Dometic fridge as you converted from propane to a 12V/120V electric Danfoss compressor based cooling system. Original looks. Modern controls. I had it converted by National RV Refrigetation in Shipshewana, IN, but you could peobably do it yourself if you are handy.
Wally Byam Caravan Club International Historian
Vintage Airstream Club Historian
WBCCI/VAC #702 & #6768

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Old 08-03-2020, 10:52 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
2019 23' International
2022 28' Pottery Barn
Tomball , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 39
They have everything to rebuild. You can make it an all electric with compressor too.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:57 PM   #6
Rivet Master
bibbs's Avatar
1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1973 21' Globetrotter
1975 26' Argosy 26
Vista , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 589
I would put a new Dometic in, i don’t think they are ugly? And I like being able to run on propane
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:12 PM   #7
:SPACE A" S/O 11 Air19745
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2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,767
You need to find an Amish refrigerator expert in PA. that know all about absorbsion refrigerators. And then all do quality work.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:31 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
1962 24' Tradewind
Quakertown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 38
Thanks for all the help everyone!
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Old 08-11-2020, 09:48 AM   #9
Rivet Master

2003 25' Classic
Houstatlantavegas , Malebolgia
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 19,096
Images: 1
We replaced our 63 Safari fridge with an AC/propane Dometic and installed a 'vintage' style boomerang panel in the door.

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It's that time again... Have a great Happyhollowgivingthankmas everyone.
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