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Old 11-02-2005, 10:14 AM   #1
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Original Refrigerator for 1958 Cruiser

Can someone confirm the refrigerator that would have been originally installed in a 1958 Cruiser (similar to the Overlander, different floorplan and has tandem axles, from the California factory)? Is it a Marvel? Also, were these refrigerators available in different colored enamel in that year? Was it typical for the color of the refrigerator's enamel to match that of the stove?

I'm working to restore my 1958 Cruiser to its original condition and the refrigerator is the only non-original part in my trailer. Well, the curtains aren't original either, currently.

Any help is appreciated, thanks!
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Old 11-02-2005, 01:25 PM   #2
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Hi ankornuta -
I hear tell that you went out and looked at Stev's fridge in his '59 O'lander. I can't tell you exactly what model came in yours but do think the factory workers used what was available at the time of assembly, Some have been Marvel some have been other brands. I think it also depended on the factory it was built in. The type of fridge could have also been dependant on the customer's wishes and type of coach meaning standard, land yacht or international trim package. I don't believe there's a specific by model year and coach.

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Old 11-02-2005, 09:03 PM   #3
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Brad, I heard you were close behind me coming to check out the stuff that Steve had available, I was hoping to see you there. But yes, you're correct. I'm going to go pick up the refrigerator this weekend from him. It's the right size for the original opening where the refrigerator went in my trailer, so I guess that's a good indicator that it's probably the same type.

But I guess for the reasons that you've cited I'll be damned if I can find a definitive appliances list for AS trailers anywhere.

Thanks again,
-Andrew
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:36 PM   #4
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ankornuta,
I have the sales list for 1959 airstream. It is complete with prices for the trailers and different models; standard, landyacht, international. It also list all of the available options and prices for these options. There are two refer's listed, Dometic and Norcold. This is fun to look at, and I can fax it to you if your interested.

Steve
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Old 11-04-2005, 07:03 AM   #5
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It might even be an ice box. My '59 came with a Frigidaire. It still works.
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Old 11-04-2005, 09:13 AM   #6
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Airhead, that sounds really interesting! I'll private message you my fax number. However, my trailer is a 1958... you wouldn't happen to have something similar for that year, would you?

Mark, the original opening for the refrigerator in my trailer appears to be smaller than yours, about 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Maybe it's just the angle in the photo, but your frigidaire looks to be about 5/5.5 feet tall. Of course, the floor plan in my trailer is weird compared to just about every other Airstream from that era
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Old 11-06-2005, 10:07 AM   #7
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It's states that it is effective as of 1959. Even though mine is a 61 Overlander, it's still kind of neat to see what items were standard or options. Mine in particular is not the International model but has all lot of the options for this model. The PO/ Original owners even tour Europe in it with Wally!
I'll try to fax it to you guys at the office on Monday.

Markdoane, Very nice trailer. I have some similar traits as yours. Is your Santa Fe, Ca.? I noticed you have drawers under your gaucho. Mine gaucho looks like something you would find in someones living room. No drawers underneath, just legs.
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Old 11-14-2005, 10:01 PM   #8
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The refrigerator tear-down is complete. I've decided to keep the original compressor and "guts", but I need to find someone to restore it for me. I think rebuilding an ammonia-filled compressor is a little beyond my skill level. Do people still restore and work on these things? Are they legal?

List of scary substances discovered in my Airstream so far:
- Asbestos
- Ammonia
- Fiberglass insulation (scratchy!)

Here's a pic of the guts. I almost broke that little copper pipe and then I'd have ammonia all over my garage... That's the freezer compartmenet setting on the red stool. The cooling coils only run around it. It also has these two large pill-shaped wide points on the pipe that comes from the compressor. I wonder what those are for?
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Old 11-14-2005, 10:46 PM   #9
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Andrew,

If you have a compressor refrigerator, I doubt that it is ammonia, it is probably freon of some type, talk to an appliance repair outfit about repairing the unit.

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Old 11-15-2005, 09:15 AM   #10
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I hope you're right, but just to be on the safe side, I'm not going to sever that copper tube like i had initially planned, in order to make it easier to move the parts around
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:18 PM   #11
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Okay, I double-checked and I believe it is indeed a freon-type system (and not ammonia). All ammonia refrigerator systems have a burner of some sort, don't they? This refrigerator has a condensor, compressor, evaporator and capillary tube, so I think it's a freon-type system. That's reassuring.

I think I'm just going to clean the compressor and fan and condensor, patch up the wiring and plug it in and see how cold it gets. I guess I should have done that before I took the whole thing apart... LOL. Well, I needed to take it apart anyhow to have it re-enameled to match the stove.
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:16 PM   #12
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The down side to the frig you have is that it will only function with shore power or a generator running.
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:22 PM   #13
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I know... but ever since I decided to do a true restoration I've had to deal with the reality of a lack of certain modern amenities. When I eventually use this trailer for camping I'm going to have to bring not only a generator, but also a portable air-conditioner. Unless I decide to avoid camping in Arizona in the summer altogether
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:01 PM   #14
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So, was the air conditioner not even an option on your model in 1958? In the south we think of our air as a necessity, and since you'll need shore power to run the fridge...

Lamar
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ankornuta
I'm going to have to bring not only a generator, but also a portable air-conditioner. Unless I decide to avoid camping in Arizona in the summer altogether
White Mountains, Big Lake, WM Apache Reservation etc, no AC required
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Old 11-15-2005, 05:36 PM   #16
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SafeHarbor: My intent is to restore this trailer back to its original condition, and while some units had A/C in 1958, this one did not. It was built in CA and purchased by some folks in Oregon.

AzFlyCaster: Very true! We have some property up in Eagar, AZ. Not too far from Alpine which has just great weather in the summer, so long as there aren't too many fires And Bear Wallow cafe is there in Alpine. They have the best patty melts ever. Between the patty melts and the weather, it's well worth the drive.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:49 PM   #17
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Restoring the "guts"

One of my business partners owns and A/C company and will be testing and possibly recharging the freon on the refrigerator, but while the body is being restored, I had to find a way of suspending the freezer compartment at approx the right height above the condensor and compressor so as to not accidentally break the capillary tube. So I built a little frame to hold it up and now I can move it around without having to ask Max to come out and help me every time.

I think I might have too much time on my hands
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:16 PM   #18
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Marvel fridge question

ankornuta, howdy this is NorCal Bambi in northern California. We have just found a 50's Marvel R12 electric fridge. How did your restoration go? I'd like to restore this one. Maybe even convert it to propane electric. Do you have any suggestions and or names of parts suppliers.
Thanks Don
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:28 PM   #19
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Don,

You might send a PM to n2batr. He bought the trailer from Andrew several months ago.
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:21 AM   #20
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You can power 120V fridge with inverter, while on the road.
It takes 10-15 amps at 12V so 30 amp trailer plug in TV is pretty sufficient.
Can't convert freon fridge to run on propane.
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