More Dorm Fridge Questions - Fiberglass RV

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Old 11-02-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
Pam Garlow's Avatar
Name: Pam
Trailer: U-Haul 1985
Posts: 3,096
More Dorm Fridge Questions

OK, all you FGRV rehab experts, I need to pick your brains. My winter project is to replace my icebox with a dorm fridge in my UHaul. I'll be trying to put in the tallest one that I can, and will enlarge the old icebox hole as needed.

So here's my list of questions:
1. How much room do you recommend I maintain between the top of the fridge and the bottom of my cooktop? Should I consider putting a divider above the fridge isolate them better? I could put a heat shield on the divider under the cooktop.
2. Should I insulate the surrounding wall areas? FYI, my icebox area already is divided from the sink on the left, and the front seat on the right, by two vertical plywood partitions, so this area is fairly well isolated already. I'd only need to insulate the exterior wall.
3. From what I hear, you can just plug in the dorm fridge and leave it alone. So if my trailer is home and unplugged, no power to the dorm fridge. On the few occasions in the winter when I plug in to charge, I'd let the fridge run too. Other than power usage, I don't see an issue with that? Camper is stored in unheated polebarn, so ok to leave fridge in place? (I sure hope so).
4. I want to make the opening just large enough to slide in the fridge. However, my plywood partitions are blocking any access from the sides so I can't attach L-brackets to hold it in place. I can't take the partitions out either. So I'm thinking of mounting a 'flange' around the front edge of the fridge and then attaching the flange to the edge of the hole. This would be same attachment method hat the existing icebox uses. The flange would also act as the frame-out for the hole.
5. Do most people use the icebox feature? I don't care if I have ice cubes, but it might be nice to keep my meat frozen as long as possible? Do any of you find that the freezer is good to have?
6. Any photos you may have of the hardware, and mechanics of installing one of these would be appreciated.
7. What tool do you recommend to enlarge the opening with?
8. Also, I need any sleek and cool ways you use to keep it closed in transit.

......I think that's it for now.....

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Old 11-02-2013, 04:37 PM   #2
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Name: Denny
Trailer: Lil Snoozy
Posts: 541
Hi Pam. Snoozy just runs a couple of ss lag screws through the side walls of the fridge and into the plywood partitions on either side. Seemed kind of cheesy but it works OK. Drill a hole in the end of the plastic handle to engage a simple door latch bolt. See pic.

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Old 11-02-2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,706
Originally Posted by Pam Garlow View Post
5. Do most people use the icebox feature? I don't care if I have ice cubes, but it might be nice to keep my meat frozen as long as possible? Do any of you find that the freezer is good to have?.
Pam cant help you regarding any of the other questions but I can tell you that having a small freezer for me is a BIG plus. I keep a 3 small freezer packs in mine that I use when traveling down the road to put beside the dairy products etc in the fridge to keep them cool when not plugged in. Works well! Wouldn't be a happy camper without the ability to do that.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:41 PM   #4
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Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Posts: 2,548
This old thread from March 2012 has a pictorial which includes an example of your "flange" brainstorm. Update on dorm fridge install--Burro 17 I don't recommend that you go this way but it is possible to do it and serves to trim out a rough opening in f-glass, which you will have as a matter of course in a double hull like your CT-13.

Addressing your questions:

1. Greatest physical gap possible between top of fridge and the steel catch pan of the range top. What's possible may not be optimal.

2. I believe you should not insulate if you DO NOT find condensor coils or grid on rear of or in base of fridge. I was told at the time I installed mine (rebadged Haier) that condensor heat dissipated thru the shell (top and sides). When I discovered that the shell did indeed warm up, I removed the single layer of Reflectix which I had added as additional insulation.

3. Most of them have a switch inside but you can turn it off with the AC line breaker, unplug it, or let it run.

4. I'd be happy to talk to you about the problem of attaching alum. angle as a flange. Sent you a PM.

5. Ice box concentrates cold but is pretty anemic for making ice in a jif.

6. See initial comment

7. Saber saw is about as good as it gets. Router makes too much fine dust and requires tracer template, template guides or top bearing bits, experience and eye protection. If you have one of the combi tools with a single motor head, it probably has some sort of rotary slitter or skin router attachment.

8. Ordinary draw bolt (McDenny), pin, turn button. Utilitarian is the new sleek.

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Old 11-02-2013, 06:42 PM   #5
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Name: David
Trailer: U-Haul CT13
South Carolina
Posts: 28
Hi Pam,

I recently picked up a 1984 U-Haul with a dorm fridge in it.
Unfortunately the owner had cut away the entire stovetop area, pulled the icebox and dropped in the refridgerator. It was not even bolted in, just framed in with 1x2s but it seems to have held in place since then. I am still figuring out how I want to fix the countertop.
I am planning on pulling out the fridge and putting an icebox back in. Is yours in good condition and would you happen to be located in the southeast US? If so, would be interested in it.

Thanks, Dave

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Old 11-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #6
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 3,704
Like jack says mostly. I made a platform for the dorm fridge to set on, platform screwed to floor, fridge screwed to platform. That's the simple version, it's a little more complicated than that. Enlarged the opening with a thin cut off wheel on a air die grinder. Trimmed the opening with trim-lock with a space around the fridge. Put an outlet on the floor next to fridge to power it. If I was going to plug in the camper occasionally while in storage I would leave the fridge off, door open. I don't know as if you would get a fridge much taller than the original icebox unless you get the one with the separate freezer door. We just got one of those, but for use in the screen room, not in trailer. The little freezer in your standard dorm fridge was not adequate for us for long term camping ( 3 months ). We have had no problem with it staying closed while traveling, about 3000 miles so far since installation. What's with the plywood partitions, were they added later, as we don't have that, so I could work on my installation from the sides through the under sink cabinet and front storage area.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 3,704
Another thought, when you enlarge the opening in the fiberglass, drill a hole, 1/4" or so, at the corners, so you end up with nice rounded corners.

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