ARB Fridges?

So we've been talking about getting an ARB fridge. Only 2 concerns, they aren't cheap and they take up space. Is it really worth it for those of you who have one? And is it worth getting a 37 qt to save space? We have 3 kids, so my gut is to go with the 50qt. But I don't want to give up gear space.

Other questions. Does this just plug into the rear 12v power source or is heavier wiring needed? If we don't want to build/buy a slide, can it just be picked up while fully loaded or is it too heavy?
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Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 17:18

Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 17:18
The size of your fridge is a personal one, yes it takes up space of other things but yes it gives you refrigerated space and comfort. How much beers versus how much gear you have space for is up to you.
As far as wiring, you DEFINITELY need to upgrade the wiring to heavier stuff (6mm2) and directly from the Aux battery. The standard OE wiring is not much thicker than a pubic hair, with voltage drop you probably won't be able to run it without the engine running.
AnswerID: 625951

Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 20:02

Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 20:02
Hi Govard S,

Your query is too generalised. eg
What vehicle do you have?
Where are you going/travelling?
Are you camping overnight v 1-2 weeks v 3 months around Oz?
What do you intend putting in your fridge?
etc etc

This will help you decide or the crew here to provide more detailed answers.

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AnswerID: 625956

Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 20:48

Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 20:48
"What do you intend putting in your fridge?"
Me thinks your extracting the urine Phil. :)
Dave.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 22:18

Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 22:18
Why? There is big difference between fruit & vegetables, beer & wine & frozen foods!
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FollowupID: 899624

Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 06:50

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 06:50
Cripes and to think my post was all about the original query being vague.

The difference I'm on about is the space they take up if you need lots of each or very little.

There is a lot of difference between
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Reply By: Darian - Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 21:01

Monday, Jun 03, 2019 at 21:01
Just on the weight issue (I use a 50L Waeco - I've not used an ARB)...unless you are herculean in build, trying to access goods in fridges that are stowed away (or to lug the fridge out just to get at the contents) will soon have you devoted to fridge slides ! You 'might' be able to tolerate lugging a full 35L fridge but a 50L seems totally impractical to me. Nothing beats a slide that is positioned so that you can easily and readily access the goods. Fridges are usually tied down to the slide too...you need them to be secure on rumbly roads. As for slides....I made mine (slide rails can be bought at hardware stores), and I was lucky to have a metal bending mate who made the aluminium tray. That said though, should this one fail, I'll get a robust commercial slide next time....expensive I know, but those that I've seen are very well built.
AnswerID: 625958

Reply By: Malcom M - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 06:20

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 06:20
Plenty of choices other than ARB.

We have an 80 liter fridge in our camper but even if we are tenting, we have another 80L for the truck. They have totally different shapes to fit the spaces available.
80L has done our family of 5 for a couple of weeks in the outback of just two of us for 6 weeks.

You need to think a lot more about where you are going, how often you can restock etc.
Your 'gear' decision may be highlighted once you run low on food.
Have you considered the possibility of a breakdown? You could empty the small fridge way before help arrives.

Yes, upgrade the wiring and change the plug to an Anderson style. The ciggy styles fall out in the corrugations.
Don't forget that whatever fridge you buy, it will need ventilation space around it.
AnswerID: 625963

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 06:44

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 06:44
Your choice of alternatives may depend on where you live. I note you refer to quart sizes.

Tony
200 with 2012 Tvan Canning.
Happiness >= your perception of the events in your life minus your expectation of how life should be.

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AnswerID: 625964

Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 12:06

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 12:06
An ARB fridge is just another brand of fridge in disguise. Maybe different plastic but same as other fridges. If they were serious the company would fit decent size 12v cable and appropriate fitting for offroad use. Might look good but nothing special.
AnswerID: 625973

Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 12:17

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2019 at 12:17
Agree, so much so that I choose the fridge with dimensions that suits the space and my preference of lid opening (sideways or lenthways), and only then look at brands
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019 at 08:03

Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019 at 08:03
Definitely need heavier wiring if you expect your fridge to run when the engine (alternator) isn't running
Almost definitely require a second battery if you intend to run the fridge overnight (without any engine running or plugged into 240V). Otherwise expect to be stranded with a flat battery or a fridge with contents warm

If the 2nd battery is placed under your bonnet expect to pay up to $1000 to have it supplied, installed with heavier wiring run to the rear of the vehicle and that's assuming you get away with just a solenoid
We have a 50 Litre fridge and we had three kids.
Though heavy I pick it up and carry it to/fro the vehicle fully loaded (and I'm about 60 years old)

AnswerID: 625993

Reply By: Hoyks - Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019 at 19:22

Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019 at 19:22
As said, depends on how far you are traveling and what you need cold all the time. I have a 39L Engel and find it adequate for extended trip with me and the 2 kids, resupplying every 3-4 days.

It won't fit everything, so you stack it with the stuff that has to be in the fridge (milk, butter, meat and a few drinks) and then just add things that don't mind traveling at room temp as you get room. You want it stacked full as mass resists temperature changes and you don't want stuff rattling around in there.

An empty fridge will be around the 25kg/50lb mark, fill it with food and drinks its closer to the 65kg/140lb mark, not something you want to be hauling in and out of the vehicle. Bolt in slides are a good thing, the other bonus of slides is that you can build a light weight box to fit over them, stack stuff on top and not have to empty the vehicle to access the fridge contents. Even an arch made from aluminium security mesh bent into a U is light and does the job.

I'm due for a new Engel, first one I inherited, it was 30 years old when it stopped getting cold, last one 25 years, so they go alright. I should probably get them repaired, motor still goes, just not getting cold.
AnswerID: 626017

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019 at 23:01

Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019 at 23:01
Hoyks
I think you need to put your fridge on a set of scales and reassess the claimed weights or perhaps I should be entering the Olympics as a weightlifter ?

Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 at 14:04

Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 at 14:04
Hi Hoyks,

I have had my 60 Ltr Engel for over 15 years. It stopped cooling about 10 years ago, had it checked, turned out to be the Thermostat, it was replaced for around $130 from memory, much cheaper than a new fridge.

As far as weight is concerned, I can carry/lift it when it is empty, but when full, I imagine (never weighed it), the food etc. would add at least another 30 kgs. I also have a 35 Ltr Waeco that I use as a freezer on some occasions, and whilst I can pick it up when it is full, I would not want to carry it very far, or lift it very high. A fixed/bolted in slide is definitely the way to go.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 at 17:52

Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 at 17:52
40L ARB is 22kg and the Engel is 24kg, so 48-52lb. 50L is heavier, but not much.

Fill it with water (worst case) and that's another 40kg/88lb and you can fit more stuff in the 50L.
(figures sourced from https://www.whichcar.com.au/gear/electronics-gadgets/eight-way-fridge-comparison)

Better sign up for that green and gold onesie.
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Reply By: Troopyman - Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 at 17:11

Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 at 17:11
I never had a fridge from 1981 to 2015 while owning 4wds . Bought one in 2015 , what was i thinking . Should have bought one in 1981 .
AnswerID: 626037

Reply By: Kumeged - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:36

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:36
I've had mine for a year running 100% of the time. I used a DC outlet (read here) from Amazon and not ARBs. So far it has worked without issue. I also leave the AC plug dangling out the back because it is plugged into a shoreline at home and work. 50qt has been perfect for the wife and I. And I keep several water bottles for the dog. It is the best money spent on the jeep. I may be biased being Houston and having a cold drink is always justified at any time here except for the 5 days a year it gets "cold". Mine sits 9 inches higher due to the shelf I made. I've unloaded it fairly full a couple times. It's heavy but not impossible. I wouldn't wanna do it regularly. I don't have a slider only the bag and straps. It takes a up a lot of space but we just spend more time picking what we actually need and where it should go. It has been worth every penny despite its large size. I will get a small bag cooler for ice since my preferred drink is rum and coke. Only downside to it as a fridge. I haven't used it as a freezer but I do keep it at 30 or 32.
AnswerID: 626276

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