Fridge install in 1973 Boler - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-24-2010, 11:29 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1973 Boler (Boler Manufacturing
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I am trying to get some advice on installing a fridge in my 1973 Boler. The previous owner built some cabinets where the fridge should be located and I have now removed them. I don't think this camper ever had a fridge as there is no evidence of a previous install except two vent grilles at the back of the fridge opening, they are about 6" x 18" and they do not open. I will post some pictures soon, but for now I am wanting some insight into how much work it would be to safely and properly install a 3 way fridge in that opening. The electrical is no issue for me and I will get someone to help me with the propane hookup. Any advice on mounting, sealing the enclosure for exhaust, venting issues, and where I might find a used fridge to install would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
John Jesse
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:54 AM   #2
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Name: Deb & Chuck
Trailer: Bigfoot, Boler, Trillium, ECO, U-Haul, Burro, Escape, Trailswest, Compact Jr., Casita, Scamp
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I am trying to get some advice on installing a fridge in my 1973 Boler. The previous owner built some cabinets where the fridge should be located and I have now removed them. I don't think this camper ever had a fridge as there is no evidence of a previous install except two vent grilles at the back of the fridge opening, they are about 6" x 18" and they do not open. I will post some pictures soon, but for now I am wanting some insight into how much work it would be to safely and properly install a 3 way fridge in that opening. The electrical is no issue for me and I will get someone to help me with the propane hookup. Any advice on mounting, sealing the enclosure for exhaust, venting issues, and where I might find a used fridge to install would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
John Jesse
We have a 1973 Boler (Peace River), that came with the original 2 way refrigerator. I can send you pictures of what it looks like if that would help?

Deb
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:31 PM   #3
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We have a 1973 Boler (Peace River), that came with the original 2 way refrigerator. I can send you pictures of what it looks like if that would help?

Deb
That would be a great start for me! If you don't mind I would really appreciate that, maybe you could post them on this thread so others can see as well. One thing I would really like to see is how the vents on the exterior are done and how they open as well a a view of the back of the fridge through the open vent if possible.

Thanks very much!
John
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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John,

Those passive vents sound like the ones that typically accompanied an original 3-way 'fridge in the Bolers. That said, they are not the best arrangement in terms of the physics of ventilating the unit - you can do better and/or improve what is there.

Also, the back of the unit should be isolated from the cupboard/living space. This was typically either not done, or done with sheet metal - but of course you could use other suitable materials.

If you search some of Harry Young's or Roy in TO's posts, you will find some excellent information that they have taken the time to write about these subjects. Roy also posted a link to a "good, better, and best" ventilation page written by an expert.

Also note that there are newer passive vent grilles that work better, at some expense of water-proofness. (The vent louvers are designed to pass air more in line with the principles of physics.)

Raya

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Old 06-24-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1984 U-Haul / 02 Mazda pick up
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Here are pix of my recent installation in my U-haul.

I believe the vents are of the new improved style.

The second picture is how the innards look after installation.


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I made a box out of plywood and copper that seals the entire area off from the rest of the camper.

I can send a copy of the dometic manual if you wish. or------I think it may possibly be here in the archives.
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:09 PM   #6
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Name: Deb & Chuck
Trailer: Bigfoot, Boler, Trillium, ECO, U-Haul, Burro, Escape, Trailswest, Compact Jr., Casita, Scamp
Washington
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That would be a great start for me! If you don't mind I would really appreciate that, maybe you could post them on this thread so others can see as well. One thing I would really like to see is how the vents on the exterior are done and how they open as well a a view of the back of the fridge through the open vent if possible.

Thanks very much!
John

John,
Here are the pictures. I don't know anything about how it was installed, but it still works and is nice and cold. I hope the pictures help you out.
Deb
Attached Thumbnails
Boler_Refrig.___1.JPG   Boler_Refrig._vents___2.JPG  

Boler_Refrig.__3.JPG   Boler_refig.__4.JPG  

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Old 06-24-2010, 05:23 PM   #7
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Trailer: former Boler, now 1980 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Hi,

I have a Boler made in the same factory as yours the next year (1974). I have been working on my 3-way fridge the past few days and also removed it last winter to fool with it.

Many, if not all, of the fridges of that era, including mine, had the electrical and propane controls at the back of the fridge at the bottom, so the bottom exterior vent should open to allow access to the controls. If your bottom vent does not open, then you will probably need to replace that vent for many small fridges (get the fridge first to find out for sure). The electrical and propane connections were also made at the back of the fridge, and likely still are. This is safer anyway as it is good to have a vent to the exterior for the propane connection. I would suspect that you will probably end up needing a bottom vent that opens. The top vent does not need to open, probably, although you will have to get the actual fridge to know for sure. My top vent does not open and it is not an issue.

The venting arrangement you have sounds like the same as mine. It is usually described as "barely adequate" by experts and the bigger modern fridges usually vent through the roof of the trailer. However, my original fridge with the same venting arrangement as you describe will freeze water in a few hours even though I do not have a freezer compartment (I installed a new electrical thermostat yesterday to fix that problem). So, if the fridge is working well, the exterior venting is probably not much of an issue. For a marginal fridge, better venting or a fan to help the venting is usually one of the first suggestions made.

As for mounting, my fridge has a sheet metal skirt to isolate the back of the fridge from the interior of the trailer. It is attached by metal screws to the top and side of the fridge about 1/3 of the way back, with plumber's gasket putty sealing it. The back of the shroud is not actually attached to the back wall of the trailer but rather just sits there in a form-fitted way resting against the back wall above the exterior vents. It is attached to the trailer floor along the side facing the sink, from front to back. Nothing is done to the side of the fridge that faces the front of the trailer, but that small space is sealed off by the mounting of the fridge in the cabinet. The result is that the shroud pretty much seals off the back of the fridge from the interior of the trailer. This is required both for insulation and for safety in case the propane or ammonia solution (the coolant) leaks. I suppose that it also prevents the outside cold air from getting into the trailer too easily on cold nights. The sort of sheet metal used for house furnace ducts would work well for this.

The fridge itself is attached to the trailer by a long metal strap which attaches through the floor with a bolt, goes over the top and down the other side of the fridge and attaches to the floor on the other side with a bolt again. This holds the fridge securely onto the floor, yet can be fairly easily adjusted or removed if necessary.

As for where you can get a used fridge, I am not familiar with Regina area used trailer parts places. In northen Alberta, which might ship to you by bus, I have been to a couple of possible sources. There is Murphy's RV Parts in Josephburg (780) 992-1830, a part time trailer wrecker which I found by asking a local monster RV dealer who did not stock my parts but was sympathetic to the plight of trying to find old Boler parts. When I was there last year, they had a Trillium being rebuilt in the yard and a building full of old parts. In Edmonton there is Cool It RV (780) 469-4737, a fridge specialist I found in the Yellow Pages where I got a "new" thermostat for my fridge yesterday. They did not have an exact replacement (that company has been out of business for decades), but they did have a similar one that fit the space and works. Also in Edmonton, there is WK's tent trailer rebuilders (780) 469-3234, another part timer where I got a stainless steel top for my Coleman stovetop last year.

Good luck,
Rick G
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:53 PM   #8
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Name: Russ
Trailer: Boler
Minnesota
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Hi John,

I recently installed a new fridge in my 71 Boler. Mine did not have a fridge from the factory so I had to cut the vent holes myself. You may or may not be aware that the current model fridges are deeper than the older ones so if you use one of those you'll need to build out a bit on the front of the cabinet. I wasn't patient enough to keep looking for a used model that would fit so I ended up doing the work to accommodate a new one.

When installing mine I discovered that the bottom of the cabinet where the factory fridge or icebox sits aligns with the outside shell at a point where it's starting to curve inward pretty severely. By lifting the location of the new fridge about 3 inches higher I was able to gain about 1 inch of depth, lessening what had to be sticking out of the cabinet while still allowing clearance for the cooktop above. Mine truly was a stripped model so I didn't have a drawer above to contend with. Not wanting to waste the space I ended up building a drawer below the fridge. I actually really like this arrangement because it means I have to stoop over just a little less to get into the fridge.

I don't have any pictures with me at the moment but I'd be happy to grab some later if you're interested.

Russ
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Old 06-26-2010, 11:13 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1973 Boler (Boler Manufacturing
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Thanks for all the great advice and the pictures everybody. I really appreciate the help. I found a good deal on a Koolatron 12 v thermoelectric fridge at a garage sale this weekend and I will install that until I can find a proper used 3 Way fridge for a good price. It will be ok for a temporary solution because it will be much easier to install and it was cheap, but it draws 5 amps so I wont be able to run on my battery for too long. Maybe I will post some pictures when I get it installed.
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