Unique fridge mounting suggestions needed

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 09:45
ThreadID: 6615 Views:1937 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Hello fellow adventurers,

I want to mount a Norcold MRFT-60 fridge (equiv. of Engel 65 - the big one) behind the driver's seat in my '98 Toyota Tacoma Xcab (equiv. to Hilux Xcab). I have already been running around for the testing phase with it back there and decided that's where it will be permanently. During testing, I secured it to the seatbelt eyelets using ratchet-straps secured to the side handles. This was fine for testing, but for the final install, the handles will have to be removed. This is because the fridge has to be shifted as far as possible to the driver's side, so the passenger seat can still be fully reclined. There is just enough room to do this with the handles removed. This is not a negotiable issue, so I can't consider leaving the handles on. So - the dilemma is trying to come up with a way to secure it to the body of the vehicle using the threaded feet on the underside of the fridge. The tough part is that once the fridge is in place, I have no access to the underside to fasten nuts/bolts, as it will be sitting on a little built-in bench that is only about 15cm deep, and has no access from the front. I considered a slide-lock, but I can't find a resonable priced one for this size fridge, and I don't really need it to slide anyway. Whatever I come up with has to be strong enough to keep it in place in the event of a roll-over accident. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: CirclingVulture - Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 10:35

Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 10:35
If I'm reading you right the fridge has handles on either side much like a locker and you want to remove the handles ? If this is so, why don't you try making up a u-section from like 1.6 mill gal so you can slide the fridge down into it tightly and pick up the handle screw holes. Then just bolt the u-section to the floor slide the fridge in and screws to the handle holes, Would something like that work ?
AnswerID: 28087

Reply By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 12:27

Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 12:27
Could you use a bit of 5/8 ply say 50mm bigger than the fridge (all round or even just the 2 ends) fasten fridge to this first using the threaded feet and then fasten ply down.? U will have to countersink holes for fridge bolts.Wow! am I cute
Richard
AnswerID: 28094

Reply By: BajaTaco - Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 14:39

Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 14:39
Thank you both! Those are good ideas. Vulture... you may be onto something there. I like the idea of being able to slide it in and out with the removal of those screws, while leaving the sheetmetal base intact. The odd part is, I have to remove one of the seats completely, just to get it back there, and if I had to slide it in squarely from the front (to go between the sheetmetal uprights) I would probably need to take out both seats...

so... Richard, maybe your idea would be better suited to allowing the fridge to come in from an angle (only removing one seat), but I would somewhat lose the ease of leaving the base in place as Vulture's method would allow. I had also thought of building some sort of base to bolt the feet to before putting it in the vehicle, but I was thinking of steel flat stock... I didn't think to use plywood. That's a great idea with the countersunk bolts.

Thanks again! Very helpful :o) If anyone else wants to brainstorm... feel free to hop into the mix
AnswerID: 28103

Follow Up By: CirclingVulture - Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 18:41

Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 18:41
What if instead of making a u-section bracket you make one like an L section with one side pot riveted with a hinge like a door hinge that lifts to the handle screw hole so you can slide it in from the side instead of dropping it in ?
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FollowupID: 19463

Reply By: KG - Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 22:11

Saturday, Aug 16, 2003 at 22:11
Baja,

I have a 2000 hilux extra cab and I've been looking at mounting a fridge behind the front seats (on the fold down dickie seat)... I havent done it yet but I've decided the best option would be to weld up a frame similar to the existing dickie seat frame (or get a dickie seat base from the wreckers)... when you want to have the fridge in pull the pins out of the 2 hinges holding the seat in and put in your custom fridge base unit... put the securing split pins back in and away you go. this gives you the advantage that you don't do any mods / drill any holes... sell the car and take the fridge with you... like it was never there.
However, I've since started thinking about access to the fridge if it's behind the front seats... as the xcab window doesnt open enough to be useful you would have to be bending around and over the front seats to get to the fridge... do the tacoma rear windows open more? or does it have suicide doors? have you considered putting the fridge in the tray?

cheers,

KG

AnswerID: 28125

Follow Up By: BajaTaco - Monday, Sep 15, 2003 at 15:53

Monday, Sep 15, 2003 at 15:53
OK, time for some pics...

Here is the new "extended" deck for the xtra cab that I was trying to design when I first started this post. I had to extend the OEM bench to accomodate the width of the fridge. When I put the fridge in the xcab, there was no longer any room for my old Kenwood speaker boxes. So, I incorporated the speakers into the new deck. (I hope the links work)

[ View Image]

Here is the pass. seat fully reclined (this was to keep my wife happy with the fridge mod :D )

[ View Image]

You will notice the power cord and thermometer wire are laying with "slack" in the lines, and not hidden. This is because the fridge is on sliders, and can slide across the bench to the middle. The white rope you see is the "quick release" that holds the fridge in place... like this...

[ View Image]

I put the fridge on sliders because I wanted to be able to access the compressor and motor area if I want to, have easy access from either side of the truck, put the load in the middle for a solo trip if I want, and also to access the OEM stow compartments on either end of the bench, like this...

[ View Image]

[ View Image]

I cannot believe how many hours I have spent on this!! This must have taken more time than a solid-axle swap!! It seemed like a fairly simple mod to begin with... everything in that xcab is contoured... oh man, it took forever to shape the pieces for the deck. And then figuring out how to build the deck super solid so it would support the weight of a loaded fridge... even upside down (like a rollover - I hope not). And then figuring out how to do the fridge slides so they were equally stout. This doesn't even include the dual battery setup and battery controller...

And it's still not over!! I am going to be doing some more tweaks and mods with this.
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FollowupID: 22064

Reply By: BajaTaco - Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 05:07

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 05:07
CirclingVulture - yet another great idea. That would indeed allow it to slide in from an angle, and I was tempted to go with that. However, something I realized is that there is no way to fasten the screws into the side of the fridge that will be up against the side of the xcab. My little 90 degree phillips scewdriver won't even work because the screws are pretty far down from the top of the fridge.

KG, your idea might work for the next size smaller fridge. For the large one that I have, it will BARELY fit behind my drivers seat, with the seat in it's normal driving position. In order to get my fridge to fit, I had to remove the backrest that spans the back wall of the cab (it was too thick to allow the lid to open), and I had to remove the seats and center seat belts. To utilize the seat hinges, the fridge would have to sit forward too much. This might work with a smaller unit though. Also, I am not sure of difference from the Tacoma to Hilux, but the seat hinges are individual (2 per seat), and have a special welded hinge, with a spring lobe that "snaps" the seat in the upright or down position. So, there really is no removable hinge pins on the Tacoma.

As far as acessing the fridge, the Tacoma is no different than your Hilux. The side windows only open partially (pivot out for venting) and there is no suicide door. I have loaded and unloaded food and bevarage during the testing phase, and it's really not so bad. I would much prefer the easier access from a slider off the back of the tray, but that is not an option for me. I already have a cargo deck system back there that is built-in and we sleep on top of it. All of the space below the deck is already accounted for, so accomodating this big fridge would mean upsetting my perfectly working system that I have been really happy with for almost four years now. Also, if we sleep in the camper with the fridge slid out the back, there is no way to close the camper up during a storm or when the mossies are attacking :) It's kind of nice to have it in the cab because the weight distribution is excellent, (whereas it would be aft of the rear axle if mounted on the tray, in my case anyways) it's well protected, and once it's in there - I don't have to mess with it.

I am working on the project today, and now I'm thinking about some slider tracks mounted across the bench. I don't really need it to slide, but that might be a viable way to get it mounted good and solid, while allowing for a little bit of versatility, allowing the fridge to be accessed from both doors. I'm going to hardware store to see what they might have...

THANKS AGAIN!!! It's fun to mull over the options and ideas :)
AnswerID: 28262

Follow Up By: CirclingVulture - Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 09:26

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 09:26
My friend I've been a metal and general fabricator for many a year and I know if I could just see what you got there and what your requirements are, I could work it out ! But since that's not going to happen and this is starting to turn out like going cloths shopping with a woman ( a nightmare ). I can only suggest one more thing and then I'll leave in your capable hands , instead of screws in from the side of the xcab, why not buy a couple of longer screw of the same thread and cut the heads off, then find a good length, and using locktight to hold the screws in as studs. That is, the studs will hold the frideg in position stopping it from moving side to side or up and down, when screwed from the other side, over and definitely out, and good luck with that my friend !
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FollowupID: 19571

Reply By: BajaTaco - Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 12:25

Monday, Aug 18, 2003 at 12:25
Vulture...

"My friend I've been a metal and general fabricator for many a year..."

So that explains why you've got the clever ideas :)

"... this is starting to turn out like going cloths shopping with a woman ( a nightmare )."

HAHAHA - you've got me laughing... because you're right! (no offense ladies) I do appreciate all of the input folks have offered though. It has helped me expand my thinking on the matter.

I ended up deciding on a design. I picked up some really nice slide rollers today. I think they'll work well - we'll see! I will come back and post some photos when I'm done.
AnswerID: 28284

Follow Up By: BajaTaco - Monday, Sep 15, 2003 at 15:56

Monday, Sep 15, 2003 at 15:56
OK, time for some pics...

Here is the new "extended" deck for the xtra cab that I was trying to design when I first started this post. I had to extend the OEM bench to accomodate the width of the fridge. When I put the fridge in the xcab, there was no longer any room for my old Kenwood speaker boxes. So, I incorporated the speakers into the new deck. (I hope the links work)

[ View Image]

Here is the pass. seat fully reclined (this was to keep my wife happy with the fridge mod :D )

[ View Image]

You will notice the power cord and thermometer wire are laying with "slack" in the lines, and not hidden. This is because the fridge is on sliders, and can slide across the bench to the middle. The white rope you see is the "quick release" that holds the fridge in place... like this...

[ View Image]

I put the fridge on sliders because I wanted to be able to access the compressor and motor area if I want to, have easy access from either side of the truck, put the load in the middle for a solo trip if I want, and also to access the OEM stow compartments on either end of the bench, like this...

[ View Image]

[ View Image]

I cannot believe how many hours I have spent on this!! This must have taken more time than a solid-axle swap!! It seemed like a fairly simple mod to begin with... everything in that xcab is contoured... oh man, it took forever to shape the pieces for the deck. And then figuring out how to build the deck super solid so it would support the weight of a loaded fridge... even upside down (like a rollover - I hope not). And then figuring out how to do the fridge slides so they were equally stout. This doesn't even include the dual battery setup and battery controller...

And it's still not over!! I am going to be doing some more tweaks and mods with this.
0
FollowupID: 22065

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