Truckfridge / Vitrifrigo
Ordering and installation instructions, FAQ's
First, the FAQ's:
1) Does the fridge run on propane?
** No, this is a compressor fridge, it runs solely on 12, 24, 110 or 220 volt electric power, and is far more efficient than older style fridges.
2) Will I need to modify my van or cabinet?
** Yes, this is detailed below and in the photos on my website.
3) What will I need to power the fridge?
** You can run it on the main battery for a day or so, but I highly recommend a deep-cycle auxiliary battery be added. It also runs on 24 volt, (110 volt and 220 volt current with optional power pack), and chooses the highest voltage source when multiple types are connected simultaneously, like 12 and 110.
4) How long can it run on a full battery?
** On average, the fridge will consume about 25 amp-hours daily on 12 volts. Most deep-cycle batteries should only be depleted 50%~75% before recharging for best lifespan - so size you battery/batteries to the maximum number of days you plan to use the fridge. For instance, a 100 a/h battery would suffice for 2+ days before charging. Two 'golf-cart' 6V deep cycle batteries fit nicely in the rear under-seat area, and can supply 230-260 a/h, enough to run off grid for 5-6 days.
5) Can I bug you to help me install this?
** I'm willing to answer questions but this is a fairly straightforward installation. Email is the best way if you have basic questions. I also do installations to your specs in my shop.
6) What advantages are there of this unit over the original Dometic fridge of another 3-way fridge?
** It actually stays cold no matter the outside temperature, has almost twice the real usable interior space of the old Dometic, a real freezer that works (although small), and an interior light! No more worries about propane staying lit, difficulty in lighting, etc. It also will work anywhere in the world with it's quad-voltage capability. Vitrifrigo / Truckfridge has been selling as an OEM supplier to the trucking and marine industry for years in the US and elsewhere, and have a good network or repair facilities around the country.
7) What is the price?
** The Truckfridge TF49 sells for $495 / $595. Vitrifrigo models a bit more. Virtually the same fridge with a slightly different latch and country of manufacture. All models can be purchased directly from Westy Ventures - we have an agreement with Truckfridge and Vitrifrigo to drop-ship direct.
8) Which unit is this again?
** Vitrifrigo C51iSAC, or Truckfridge TF49
Truckfridge: order direct from www.westyventures.com, ask for pricing on any models not listed as a direct buy on the site.
1) Remove the old fridge, disconnect the wires and propane line.
2) Disconnect and/or remove the old propane line to the fridge at the regulator; insert a 3/8" NPT pipe plug where it was previously connected. It is not really necessary to remove the entire line but makes for a 'cleaner' installation.
3) Move the 110-volt outlet box beneath the sink from it's current location and relocate it to the back wall or other preferred spot. (the new fridge extends further into the cabinet and this box is in the way!). You may also need to remove the brass fitting on the city water connection, and either not use it or locate a shorter fitting, as this will interfere with the cooling unit of the new fridge.
4) Remove the old fridge door from the fascia panel along with it's hinges. Also remove the plastic 'T' trim around the opening.
5) Using a fine-tooth saw (a jigsaw will work well) enlarge the opening as pictured. You'll need to remove about 1/8" on each side and top, and square the upper corners. You should also trim a small spot where the screws of the new fridge sides may need a little extra clearance. Also, install a couple 3/4" x 3/4" x 2" blocks, using screws, behind each corner of the fascia board to help support it in the cabinet for a more secure mounting area for the new fridge. Optionally, you might opt for fabricating a new front panel as several have done, as in the photos on my site. Score the formica at your cut area, so that it doesn't chip off.
6) Using a box cutter / utility knife or fine-tooth saw, cut out the wall-board at the rear of the fridge compartment to the same dimensions as the width and height of the box where the fridge sits.
7) Reinstall the modified/new fascia panel.
8) Cut a wide section of plywood or pine boards to provide a support shelf for the fridge, and screw into place from the sides of the cabinet at the correct level. Alternately, use aluminum angle as support pieces.
9) Bring the fridge close to the opening and tuck the 115-volt power cord into the area of the outlet. Tuck the 12-volt wires atop the compressor.
10) Slide the fridge into place, being careful to check clearance around the compressor and power unit as enters the area you trimmed from the wallboard. If it looks good, level it up as needed and install with the #8 x 3/4 round-head screws in the outside perimeter trim.
11) Retrieve and connect the 12-volt wires to your auxiliary battery with a 10-amp fused connection, or other preferred connection method. Plug in the 115-volt plug to the previously-moved outlet. If using a direct connection to the existing fridge 12-volt supply, use the two 1/4" disconnect terminals for the 12-volt wires ends, plugged into the original fridge wiring plug. Alternately, you could cut the mating plug from the old fridge and attach to the new fridge's wires. Also, if using this existing connection, you will need to effectively bypass the fridge relay beneath the driver's seat, by disconnecting the large wires on terminal 30 and 87 and connecting these together.
12) You should reinstall the old fridge exhaust vent on the body exterior, but use aluminum- or duck-tape or other quality product to seal the hole before reinstalling. You can also fabricate a cover plate to match the original aluminum baseplate, but delete the oblong center hole.
13) Fabricate a panel of thin plywood or metal (or use a soffit grille like I have on mine temporarily) to cover the open space below the front of the fridge. Or use a section of the old fridge door to fabricate a nice matching door or drawer as pictured on my site.
14) Turn it on and enjoy! Cold food, cold drinks, frozen goodies! No more stress, yay!
15) Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org