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Old 07-01-2021, 09:42 PM   #1
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Repair/Rehab vintage refrigerator

After 65+ years my refrigerator gave out in our 1954 Silver Streak (see newbie intro in a recent post). The refrigerator is the Marvel UL-40 (ice box/electric). So far, I have not been able to find anyone in the Portland, OR area that is willing to look at it. The refrigerator had been working fine and the "next day" I turned it on and the unit was not cooling. In addition, when I would turn the switch to the off position, the unit would continue to run. I have a strong desire to keep the original refrigerator. Has anyone had any luck with replacing the cooling unit?
I saw an ad for the Norcolder AC/DC SCQT Conversion Kit. Would you be able to connect this unit to the evaporator in the Marvel unit so that you could retain the original appearance of the refrigerator? If there is an existing thread that I can review -- please send me in that direction.
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Old 07-02-2021, 01:43 PM   #2
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I typed in converting vintage marvel refrigerator and there are several threads on the subject. most promising seems to be converting with a 12v. marine remote unit. Hope this helps
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Old 07-02-2021, 02:36 PM   #3
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We had a Dometic M-16 we converted for our 55. We removed the propane equipment, re-insulated and repainted. We used an Isotherm conversion compressor. Normally, we run it on 12vdc. But we can also run it off 120vac. Has worked great since we installed it a couple of years. It’s on our thread listed somewhere. Good luck
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Old 07-02-2021, 04:10 PM   #4
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Repair/Rehab vintage refrigerator

I recently paid Bubba a visit and got to see their excellent conversion of their Marvel refrigerator. I was very interested in the conversion as we are not happy with the performance of our absorption refrigerator in our 66 Tradewind. We plan to convert it to a compressor fridge.

Here are some photos that may be helpful. The compressor is contained in the cabinet to the upper left of the refrigerator.

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Old 07-02-2021, 04:51 PM   #5
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thanks - I was able to track down the treads and will read through them
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Old 07-02-2021, 05:22 PM   #6
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I did the Isotherm conversion on our Krefft frig. PM me if you want to take a look at it.

Original guts

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Lines to evalporator with conversion. Also removed rear side & top sheet metal from body of frig.

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This allowed me to recess the frig further into the original cabinet and get it out of the aisle: before after
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Compressor and electrical controls:

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Interior is original except evaporator is now the freezer compartment. Freezer door is original.

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Our thread:
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Old 07-03-2021, 07:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
We had a Dometic M-16 we converted for our 55. We removed the propane equipment, re-insulated and repainted. We used an Isotherm conversion compressor. Normally, we run it on 12vdc. But we can also run it off 120vac. Has worked great since we installed it a couple of years. It’s on our thread listed somewhere. Good luck

Here is a link to the page where fridge info starts:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f73...154849-20.html
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Old 07-03-2021, 07:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redthies View Post
Here is a link to the page where fridge info starts:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f73...154849-20.html
Thanks for locating the info. Hope it helps anyone interested in a compressor fridge.
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Old 07-11-2021, 08:16 PM   #9
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Update

Just a quick update - I have ordered the compressor so I am on the road to a rehab. Thanks to Bubba L for support and encouragement.
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Old 07-21-2021, 04:15 PM   #10
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Status report

The compressor has arrived. Been making progress removing the refrigerator. Ordered new seals.
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Old 07-21-2021, 04:39 PM   #11
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Glad you got it. Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 04-13-2022, 11:13 PM   #12
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How'd the New Fridge Guts Install Go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by javeman70 View Post
The compressor has arrived. Been making progress removing the refrigerator. Ordered new seals.
Hello! Just wondering if you had an update. We're looking at needing to do the same? If you've installed it, how has its power draw been? Thank you!
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Old 04-15-2022, 08:30 PM   #13
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Update on refrigerator rehab

Where do I start ..... First off, I am working on a 1954 Silver Streak so the removal process was very different because the refrigerator box had various trim pieces that were riveted to some trim and surrounding pieces. Once the rivets were ground off, I was able to remove the box. I decided not to remove the insulation, so a person that has helped me with other restoration projects painted the door, and the inside of the box and he fabricated new shelves. We replaced the interior light with a new LED light. He also installed the evaporator. I got some great replacement door seals from B.A. Refrigeration. (800-695-7929). An electrician did the wiring for the Isotherm 2301 Compact Classic. Days before we were scheduled to leave on a two-week trip in the trailer, I was left with the task of connecting the compressor to the evaporator. It failed. We were left to travel with a very expensive food pantry. Upon return I was put in touch with Indel Webasto. They were helpful but are based in Florida and any technical help needed to be by phone. Harold, who lives about an hour from me and has done the conversion was very helpful but the remote work had significant limitations. The unit was not cooling properly and they thought it had lost gas. The unit uses 134A gas. What I ran into was nobody wanted to deal with checking the gas level even though Portland has a relatively significant boating community. I finally found a boat guy that would help. He did in fact discover that, in his opinion the gas was low. He charged the system (and he said that the fitting is not the same fitting used on automotive air conditioning units). Based on his test, he felt that the unit would cool and there were no apparent leaks in the system. In the testing of the unit, my fan died so I ended up buying a 110v fan and a 12v fan that will be connected to a thermostat. Bubba has been very supportive and has been able to answer various questions. We will be leaving on a one month trip and I am not certain that the system will be dialed in. This is not an inexpensive project for someone that lacks the overall technical skill but the thought of replacing the unit with a contemporary unit was something I could not buy into. Feel free to DM me if you have specific questions.
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Old 04-20-2022, 05:42 PM   #14
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Here's what we did ...

Ok, so we got super lucky and found this Isotherm fridge at a freight damage place for $350 even though it wasn't damaged. We were going to use the Marvel as the actual fridge with the Isotherm compressor inside, but we ended up doing the reverse -- we used the Isotherm as the fridge and only the door and trim from the Marvel so it still looks retro. Husband just could not give up that amazing Isotherm interior! We're not quite finished, but it looks like it's going to be really cool. The Isotherm is deeper than the Marvel so we had to mount it lower due to the curve of the trailer. It's also shorter -- the compressor is behind the fridge not below it. That meant building a cabinet below that the lower panel of the Marvel could attach to. To do that we rebuilt the face of a cabinet we weren't using. Above the fridge, we're going to make a louvered or punched panel for airflow to the fridge components.

Anyhoo ... here you go.
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Old 04-20-2022, 06:05 PM   #15
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The Marvel door and Isotherm fridge looks like a great combination. I think compressor RV refrigerators work really well. I like the authentic looke in a vintage RV. Good job and thanks for posting. Have fun
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Old 05-30-2022, 10:10 PM   #16
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Update of Silver Streak rehab

Wanted to provide a “final” update to the vintage Marvel refrigerator restoration. I worked with a guy who specialized in marine refrigeration to try to identify what was causing the low cooling in the Isotherm unit. He determined that the unit had, in fact, lost some of the 134A gas but he did not see any evidence of leaking or problems with the fittings. So why it was low on gas remains an unsolved mystery. As a result of bad connections or other issues, the 12v fan stopped working even though it worked when the unit was originally installed. I removed the original fan and replaced it with the same sized fan that ran off of 120v power (AC Infinity AXIAL 1225). The Silver Streak had a dual plug where the unit was installed. It is set up to run when the trailer is connected to electricity. Bubba L’s wife (Stephanie) helped with the 12 volt fan replacement. She had sourced parts from “Coolerguys”. I got a 120MM high airflow 12v fan coupled with a Pre-Set Thermal Controller (Rev4). Be sure to get the 4-pin molex power cord extension. I mounted this unit in the compartment and wired it directly to the battery. The Silver Streak does not have a vent to the outside so I created a vent that goes into an under sink cabinet in the bathroom that abuts to the refrigerator.

We took the Silver Streak out for a one month trip in British Columbia to test the refrigerator. Overall the unit ran well when it was connected to electrical power. The evaporator develops frost very quickly. I had eliminated the drain when we restored the box so we had to come up with a system to catch the frost as it melted in transit. A plastic dish washing tub worked perfect. The unit and 120v fan is very quiet. When the 12v fan kicks in, it is not as quiet. When I hear the 12v fan kick in, I take off the metal cover to increase the ventilation. My goal was to use the 12v system to keep the refrigerator operating when traveling from one campground to the next. That worked the first time. However, the second time it barely kept the unit cool. Very few campgrounds had electricity in BC so I feel that the first trip drained most of the power from the battery and it was never able to get to an adequate level of charge. More reach and testing will be required.

Overall, I am happy with the end result but there were quite a few wrong turns with this project.
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Old 05-31-2022, 07:04 AM   #17
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Jerry, your refrigerator looks great. Do you have a door for the freezer compartment evaporator? I’m surprised the fridge drained your battery. Last week we took a four hour drive to a campground with the Dometic running in transit. We took a reading on the battery via the SeeLevel before we left. The reading was about 13.3. We we got to the campground we checked again and it was reading the same. I know the TV adds a little supplemental power to the trailer battery through the 7-pin, but normally not much. We’ve taken longer
trips with the same result, though not checking the battery.
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