Fridge in back of ute

Submitted: Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 09:17
ThreadID: 5424 Views:12267 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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Hi everyone,

I am looking to purchase a fridge which will sit in the back of the ute. At the moment am looking at the Trailblaza or Explorer. These are both heavy units at over 30 kg's unladen.

Would the weight of these fridges fully loaded be too great mounted at the back of the tray, behind the rear axle?

I already have one storage box running down the side of the tray and am looking to get another for the other side, so my options are limited. However, if mounting the fridge at the rear will cause problems I will have to look at other options.

If I do place the fridge in the tray how is the best way to secure these fridges to the tray?

I have a 98 Hilux extra cab and was contemplating fitting a smaller fridge behind the seats but access would seem a bit limited. Does anyone know of anyone who has fitted a fridge in this position?

Thanks in advance.
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Reply By: athol - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 09:45

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 09:45
Sqid, I have an xtra cab as well, it would not be a problem load (weight) wise but it would get a smoother ride at the front of tray. Also do you have a standard ute type back or flat tray as I have a complete camper set up ,canvas canopy with cupboards ,bed with draws under to suit a flat tray ,for sale.
AnswerID: 22397

Follow Up By: Squid - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 10:07

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 10:07
Hi athol,

I have a flat tray and I have contemplated setting up a camper type set up on the tray, however, for our needs the open tray is more suited at this point in time. Although I will be needing a canvas canopy soon. Where did you get yours made up?

I know the ride is going to be pretty rough up the back of tray cause the ride ain't that great in the drivers seat. Perhaps I need to review my set up, and move the storage box down the tray a bit, so I can fit the fridge at the front.

FollowupID: 14736

Follow Up By: Wayne - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 14:32

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 14:32
Hi Athol, I'm interested in your camper setup. What price have you got on it? I have a single cab 'lux the tray is 2.4 meters long about 1.8 wide What size is the camper? Also do you have any pics of it up anywhere? I'm in Perth WA
FollowupID: 14757

Reply By: athol - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 10:57

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 10:57
Sqid, I live in the wollongong area and got a company called Atlas canvas to make it for me plus it has a detachable 2 metre awning that goes down one side and across the back. its in 12oz canvas and i think it cost about $750 a couple of years ago. its a good set up but I just bought a camper trailer.
AnswerID: 22403

Follow Up By: Squid - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 13:35

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 13:35
Thanks athol,
I live not too far from Wollongong so I may give them a call when the time arises.
FollowupID: 14750

Reply By: athol - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 11:01

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 11:01
Oh and by the way I used to carry my fridge in back corner as well cause it to was the most convenient spot aswell
AnswerID: 22404

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 12:03

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 12:03
Theres an ad in 4x4 aust for a mount to rigid mount the Waeco fridge, that maybe your thing....

dont go hitting too many bumps otherwise ;)
AnswerID: 22412

Reply By: Squid - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 13:51

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 13:51
Well guys I have just been down to speak to my local 4wd guy and we threw a 40litre Engel, with insulation cover, behind the seats and it fit ok, although you could not open the lid fully. Enough though to comfortably access the goods.

I might look at the Waeco's though and see what they have to offer size wise.

If I can get a quality fridge to fit in the cab I think I will go with that, at least we can access some of the drinks and stuff as we go I guess. It will also work out cheaper as the Trailblaza is relatively expensive.

Thanks for your thoughts.
AnswerID: 22422

Follow Up By: Phil G - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 19:18

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 19:18

The 52 litre Waeco has the same dimensions as the 40 litre Engel. ie should fit.
FollowupID: 14799

Follow Up By: Squid - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 19:30

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 19:30
Yeah thanks Phil that's the way I am leaning now. The 52 litre lid also opens sideways rather than lengthways (if that makes sense). So it provides easier access for us, and the lid when fully open is not as high.

Looks like I will be getting the Waeco. It should fit in the space nicely and the boss has given the go ahead.

Now all I have to get is a dual battery system.
FollowupID: 14802

Reply By: desert - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 16:24

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 16:24
My fridge is always kept in front of the wheels, as the rear overhang can cause a bucking effect(I said bucking!) to items aft of the wheels. Most important is to clamp the fridge to the floor so it cannot bounce up and crash about. I have a 50 litre Bushboy and this company will make a fridge to your measurements if you wish. So if the commercial off-the-shelf fridges do not fit in your available space, give the Bushboy a go to tailor-make for you. The bloke at Bushboy has a Triton ute with a 100 litre fridge going right across the front of the tub.
AnswerID: 22436

Reply By: athol - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 16:40

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 16:40
g'day Wayne, being an xtra cab my tray is about 1950mm x 1800mm from memory thats why I asked squid but I guess you could lengthen it (at a cost).But its more suited to an xtra cab.I do have some photos I can email if you want. I am fairly new to this site and find it extemely informative and entertaining at times so I plan to join, just have to convince my finance manager. Then Ill put some photos in members rigs.
AnswerID: 22438

Follow Up By: Wayne - Saturday, Jun 14, 2003 at 14:40

Saturday, Jun 14, 2003 at 14:40
Hi Athol,
My email is "" I realise there's a difference in the trays but was thinking it the space where your cab extension is could be a good place for a couple of spares/toolbox/tirfor/heavy items etc. Flip me a pic when you get a chance. Cheers.
FollowupID: 14848

Reply By: CT - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 13:51

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 13:51
I have a 78L Explorer and it sits quite happily in the passengers side rear corner
of the tray on my 75 series cruiser ute. It sits on a solid rubber mat about 10mm thick. I've secured it to the tray via a turnbuckle on each handle to an eye bolt mounted through the tray floor (two turnbuckles to one eye bolt at each end).

A mate (visitor fj45ute) has the same fridge mounted in the same manner but without any rubber spacing. Fridge sits just behind a full width toolbox behind the cab on a 45 series cruiser ute.

Yet another mate has the 56L Explorer mounted over the axle in the tray of a hilux. He also sits it directly on the tray and secures it from the handles.

All three fridges and installations performed flawlessly while up the Cape this time last year, and none of us have had the need to modify anything in the 12 months since.

Hope this helps with making the big decision on where to spend the hard earned dollars!

AnswerID: 22652

Follow Up By: Squid - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 19:19

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 19:19
Thanks for the reply CT. How do you find the Explorer? I did have a quick look at those but decided I could do without the separate freezer, so I turned to the Trailblaza mounted in the tray and now the Waeco inside the cab. Aaaaagh!!!!! Too many bloody choices.

I am still concerned that if I secure the fridge in the tray behind the rear axle the contents of the fridge will get a hell of a ride. Have you had any breakages or spillages?
FollowupID: 14974

Follow Up By: CT - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 11:19

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 11:19
Things do get shaken up occasionally I guess, but I've never broken anything (except I froze all the eggs once and they didn't like that much, neither did the lettuce) and everything is still sitting in the same spot once I get to the other end. I bought some of the 1 or 2mm non-slip matting sold from Clarke Rubber/Camping stores etc (also saw it at Crazy Clarks the other day) and I lie it in the bottom of the fridge to avoid the bottoms of containers, tinnies etc. rubbing those round rings in the fibreglass. Works a treat and keeps the fridge looking brand new.

I went with the explorer as I wanted the seperate freezer for extended fishing trips. Its been indestructable to date and cleans up well when I get home (from where the dog rubs on it and the like). If I didn't want the freezer, I'd have gone for the Trailblazer. Other than the Freezer, I couldn't seperate them when making my decision. I was also really impressed by the way they compared in the 4x4 Monthly fridge test (mentioned in the archives somewhere). For life on the back of a ute, I'd stick with the big insulation and marine grade alloy or stainless exterior (archives give some other brands).

Good luck in the Fridge Minefield

FollowupID: 15087

Reply By: george - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 18:38

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 18:38
spoke to Brett at Camp Mart Springwood (Qld) ha has a big (90litre Evakool ??)fridge in his Cruiser ute and rolled in up the cape some time back, righted ute 40 mins later and fridge is still working to this day. I spoke to him about tie downs that Evakool make to hold fridge secure.
he seems to know alot about fridge and he seems very impressed by Evakool. Good Australian made product
AnswerID: 22919

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