As the title says this post is about fitting a fridge to the van. It says “main fridge” because we have two, an older 12V Vitrifrigo, from our slide-on camper, with external compressor and a domestic fridge LG310 digital inverter fridge. We only fit the Vitrifrigo because we have it and we need more space for greens when away for longer at places where it is hard to get. The new inverter fridges are very energy efficient, this one is a 4 star, and a lot cheaper than caravan fridges. Automatic defrost, much better air circulation, better freezers and far less energy consumption than caravan fridges, both 12V and 3-way. I do not understand why people put up with this overpriced rubbish. We bought the Virtrifrigo because we could not fit a bigger domestic one and it had the external compressor, which gives far more room inside the fridge. Anyway, the subject is to fit the LG, and this requires a bit of thinkering (thinking and tinkering).
We like this fridge because it has a bottom mount freezer, making access to the fridge a lot easier and the freezer compartment is larger than the average top mount one and has drawers, which is far better to organise the content. We could not imagine anything else, we would consider that very impractical, but obviously we are a minority since most domestic fridges are the other way around. Top mount freezer and smaller, unless you go to two door ones. In our case this would be too wide and especially too heavy. This fridge weighs 80 kg empty and with stuff in it will easily get to 110-120 kg. When this mass bounces on corrugations one wants to make sure it is secured properly and this is were the main focus lays.
My floor is not very strong as far as point pressure is concerned. Small dimple feet or rollers are not really ideal for this kind of floor, actually they are not ideal for any kind of floor. Most caravan floors a 12mm plywood and this is not very solid either with high point pressure especially when it starts rotting. Caravan fridges generally have a flat bottom, which distributes the weight better onto a larger area. Our Vitrifrigo is not really an issue in that regard, it has a flat bottom and of course is not that heavy anyway.
To fit the large fridge properly I have to make a mount panel which takes the weight of the fridge and spreads it over a larger area of the floor, also I will remove point loads by removing the dimple feet and the rollers.
The images above show the front feet and the rear rollers and the locations where they are removed from. The rear of the fridge has a larger flat cover to which the rollers were mounted and which can be used as a larger rear foot, very handy.
The front feet were screwed into a bracket with an 8 mm threaded bolt. I made two feet from timber and fixed the with 8 mm stainless pan heads to the brackets.
I use timber for this purpose because I can drive screws into it from underneath and they will hold firmly, better than in the aluminium honeycomb of my floor or the composite panel with foam core. I use the composite panel for optimal weight distribution, but a large screw will not hold enough in that panel to fix the whole fridge. Each foot will get 2 screws from underneath the floor and for additional fixation I use another timber board across the middle of the composite panel, which will be held by another three screws from underneath. I also will have a composite panel underneath to avoid too much point pressure on the aluminium honeycomb floor panel.
At the rear of the fridge I secure the bottom with an aluminium angle screwed into the floor pad of the fridge. I also use my special glue to glue the angle. The screws are more to secure the angle to the fridge, and hold it in place until the glue cures. The last image above shows the finished angle with the rear cover fitted again. I also secure the top of the fridge with an angle between the side walls because I do not completely trust the angle at the bottom with this large leverage of 80kg at 175cm high.
I put some trim in front of the timber feet for cosmetic reasons. The front of the composite panels will be covered once the floor covering goes in. The image below shows the fridge recess and the right side wall. It is fairly close to the fridge wall, but this is not really a problem because in case the fridge wall gets warm when the fridge is working hard the recess wall can take the heat away easy because it is fully aluminium and creates a thermal bridge between the fridge recess and the rest of the cupboards, which are aluminium as well except the front doors.