Replaced my ice box with a 3-way fridge in my Scamp - Fiberglass RV



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Old 03-16-2019, 04:33 PM   #1
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How I replaced my ice box with a 3-way fridge in my Scamp

Multi-part post coming!

I got tired of trying to find block ice for the icebox and having luke-warm food on our National Parks trips so decided to install a 3-way fridge. I bought the two recommended fridge vents and realized after I got them that the top one wouldn't work because of the belly band. Figure that out later! I drilled a hole from the inside that was at the lowest point and would still allow me to mount the vent and it ended up being pretty much on top of the inner fender. I made sure it was straight back from the bottom right corner of the fridge opening as well. From that I was able place the vent, trace around it, and cut it. I used a oscillating multi-tool and it did a great job with very little dust.
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:48 PM   #2
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I bent some square metal stock to make mounting brackets as there was no way to attach the vent frame to the camper, as I am guessing most campers have a mounting system in place for this standard vent? I used a copper pipe cutter and installed a T-fitting in the gas line to the stove to supply the fridge with gas. Another problem was the outlet box that is on the end of the counter by the dining seat stuck out about five inches into the fridge space. Seriously, it was the largest electrical box I've ever seen! I found this neat low profile one at Lowe’s that goes more sideways, and less back into the cabinet. The fridge would hit the electrical box otherwise and would not slide all the way into the opening.
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:55 PM   #3
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Next issue was the converter. The cord was about two inches too short so I had to buy a new cord, install it, and move the converter so that it would fit entirely under the dinette bench. I then installed that board to close up that opening some. I screwed two screws through into that piece of wood that is fiberglassed in to the cabinet and two nuts and bolts to hold the side. The other side is cut to fit tight against the rat fur. I then installed a small ledger board for the bottom of the fridge enclosure to rest on.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:05 PM   #4
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Pictured is the shelf for the enclosure bottoms. I also have to account for the wir s and gas lines going through there so left a hole for them to pass through. I ended up sealing it up with a scrap of wood and foam. This fridge enclosure has to be built in the cabinet so it's more difficult than building a box and then putting the cabinet over it afterwards. I also wanted it to be something I could disassemble if needed for access. The upper vent is a problem because of the countertop and the belly band. I bought a metal upper fridge vent but it is about 12 inches tall and it's not fitting in that spot! I decided to cut holes above the belly band and below the counter and I will cut the vent to fit. I plan on installing a fan to help move that hot air out, especially since it would have difficulty escaping with the smaller vent.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:26 PM   #5
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Next, I installed a custom cut piece of wood on the left side of the fridge, caulked it, and then installed two blocks on the right hand side for the fridge enclosure to rest, or stop, against. I screwed into the wood wrapped in fiberglass under the counter and straight through from the wheel well and into the piece of wood on top of the fender. I cut the right side piece of wood to fit the curve of the camper on the exterior wall. The left side will use the vertical wall of the cabinet by the dining area for the “enclosure” wall. The last picture (albeit on its side. Must not like portrait mode?) shows the right enclosure wall and the top and bottom support. It looks flimsy but with a nice thick stick-on weatherstripping, it's held in place nicely when the fridge is in there.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:42 PM   #6
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Smile

The last pictures show it installed from the front (I need to cut a piece of laminate that matches our cabinets. I have no idea where the piece is they sent with the fridge. I've had this for a year and a half so it's gotta be floating around somewhere in my garage!) The vent on the outside is held in by nuts that go all the way through the shell and the backsplash of the counter inside. I installed winguts on the inside and plan on adding some type of utensil stand-up-holder-thingy against the backsplash inside to cover the wingnuts from view and provide convenience as well. The lower bolts for the upper vent are accessible from reaching through the lower compartment and from inside under the cabinet. I really wanted that to be removable for servicing.

One thing I didn't get a picture of the dead air space between the top of the fridge and the countertop. This can affect fridge efficiency so I took care of that by jamming a pool noodle in there. I also plan on adding some simple panels or baffles to direct airflow where it needs to go for effective cooling.

Just wanted to get this down somewhere as I know I looked for something like this and couldn't find one. I am not saying this is the right way, but it might get someone else started.
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:23 AM   #7
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Name: Martin
Trailer: 1993 CASITA 16SD
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What brand and model fridge did you go with?
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:14 PM   #8
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Name: George
Trailer: '73 Trillium
British Columbia
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Hi Bryan,

Thanks for documenting your install!

I am within a week or two of putting a Nova-Kool 3000 into my '73 Trillium and a looking forward to addressing the challenges involved...

I am going to be using 2 exhaust fans. 90 mm diam. mounted behind small individual vent covers and slaved to the circulation fan on the N-K.

The oversized fridge is going to require enlarging the ice box hole and reinforcing the face of the cabinet as well as, like yours, building a fridge box before sliding in the fridge.

Like you I was looking for DIYs from others but yours is the first one I found that resembles mine so closely. Thanks again!

BTW, I didn't think about the belly band possibly interfering with the exhaust until reading about yours, will check on it after posting.

Will post my install pics when done.

George
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CASITA BANANA View Post
What brand and model fridge did you go with?
Domestic RM2193 from Scamp
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:21 PM   #10
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan L. View Post
Multi-part post coming!

I got tired of trying to find block ice for the icebox and having luke-warm food on our National Parks trips so decided to install a 3-way fridge. I bought the two recommended fridge vents and realized after I got them that the top one wouldn't work because of the belly band. Figure that out later! I drilled a hole from the inside that was at the lowest point and would still allow me to mount the vent and it ended up being pretty much on top of the inner fender. I made sure it was straight back from the bottom right corner of the fridge opening as well. From that I was able place the vent, trace around it, and cut it. I used a oscillating multi-tool and it did a great job with very little dust.
Looks like a lot of work with a nice outcome. I want to cut a hole under my closet in our Casita and put a door in. I never thought about a multi-tool. We have one and have used it numerous times and love it. What kind of blade did you use to cut the hole? You will love the fridge instead of spending $$$ on ice all the time and the inconvenience of ice. Just don't try to run the fridge on 12V when not driving. Also make sure your battery doesn't run down if your alternator doesn't charge the trailer battery fast enough. We only use the 12V when leaving a campground and going to get fuel so we don't have to turn the fridge off at the station. Then we pull out and put the fridge on propane. Always turn off the fridge when fueling if on propane. When we pull into the station we stop short of the pumps and turn off the fridge. The gas fumes can ignite from the flame or igniter on the fridge. It's not just your fumes it's other people's also that can build up.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:11 AM   #11
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Name: D
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
Illinois
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3 way Fridge

We had a problem when we first got our Scamp. Forgot to turn off the 12V to the fridge after stopping for a while. When we restarted, unbenounced to me, the fuse between the TV & Scamp blew due to the drained battery. So for the rest of the drive the battery was completely drained through the fridge. Battery was ruined. Very easy to forget, & you only have to forget once & ruin a battery.

So, I installed an auto cube relay in the 12V to the fridge that will only allow the fridge to run if the running lights are on. Just need to remember to drive with the lights on. The TV will alert if the lights are on when exiting the vehicle.

Works pretty well.

Dennis.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:48 PM   #12
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis McMillan View Post
We had a problem when we first got our Scamp. Forgot to turn off the 12V to the fridge after stopping for a while. When we restarted, unbenounced to me, the fuse between the TV & Scamp blew due to the drained battery. So for the rest of the drive the battery was completely drained through the fridge. Battery was ruined. Very easy to forget, & you only have to forget once & ruin a battery.

So, I installed an auto cube relay in the 12V to the fridge that will only allow the fridge to run if the running lights are on. Just need to remember to drive with the lights on. The TV will alert if the lights are on when exiting the vehicle.

Works pretty well.

Dennis.
I believe a battery isolator to keep the batteries from draining each other would prevent that problem also. We've always had one but our new vehicle doesn't so it will before camping season. We've had it 2 summers and just found out it doesn't have the isolator. I guess none of the newer vehicles do.
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