60L Fridge mounted inside Tacoma/Hilux Xtracab

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 16, 2003 at 01:52
ThreadID: 7254 Views:3735 Replies:3 FollowUps:1
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A while ago, I posted a query for some help to come up with a way to mount a big (60L) fridge in a Toyota Tacoma xtracab (U.S. version truck, very similar to Hilux).

(I tried doing a "follow up" to that thread, but it doesn't seem to show up as active, archived, or "both" for some reason.) I came up with a final design, so here is the latest news on the project.

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 had to remove the rear seats, rear seatbelts, and rear backrest to make this project work. I would not recommend this for a tall person, as I am about 5'-10" and was able to squeeze the fridge back there without losing my normal seat position that I have always had, but a taller person might have trouble, so would probably want to use a 45L fridge.

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

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

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

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I cannot believe how many hours I have spent on this!! This must have taken more time than a solid-axle swap!! Hahahaha - 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...

I used a Xantrex Pathmaker dual battery isolator/combiner that has user programmable set points for the voltages. I had no place (and didn't want) to mount the controller in the engine bay, so I split the controller from the solenoid, and left the solenoid in the engine bay, while I relocated the controller to the cabin, like this...

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Below the controller is a battery energy gauge that reads like a fuel gauge. It can be switched between the main and aux. batteries. I made a cover for the controller out of... (I can't believe this, hahahaha) ...a fishing tackle box! Hey, don't laugh too hard... it works great! The box dimensions were just perfect. Although it was a twin sided box with lots of little dividers, so I had to cut the back half of the box off, and remove the dividers. Here is a picture with the lid open...

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If you look at the carpet where it meets the plastic wall, there is a step in the line of the carpet, just below and to the left of the battery gauge. That is where the original bench seat used to take a 90 degree turn to the floor.

And it's still not over!! I am going to be doing some more tweaks and mods with this. I still need to mount a magnet on a small bracket above the fridge, to hold the lid open for hands-free access to the fridge compartment, and I am also going to be adding some fans for better cooling and ventilation. I plan to add a small 12v fan to the bottom of the fridge case, to blow up at the compressor when the fridge is running, and a solar ventilation fan that will be mounted in the OEM side speaker hole on the side of the cabin. This fan will pull hot air from the cab and push it out of the cabin vent located on the back of the body. Because it will be solar powered, it can run automatically whenever the truck is parked without adding any load to the battery.

BAJATACO.COM
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Reply By: floyd - Tuesday, Sep 16, 2003 at 13:45

Tuesday, Sep 16, 2003 at 13:45
Nice Job Man. Are you sure that you are not an Aussie. That is real DIY Aussie style job. You mentioned a solid diff change over. Have you done this? I have seen a job that was completed in the USA on the net and it looked like a butcher had done it. I am interested in the job for a 99 Hilux (Tacoma) IFS changeover but it must be neat. Let me know if you know of any sites that have a proffessional conversion documented. I would be interested in having a look. Thanks.
AnswerID: 31228

Follow Up By: BajaTaco - Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003 at 01:23

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003 at 01:23
Thanks Floyd! I must have some Aussie blood in me somehow... hehe

You are lucky to live in a country where the automotive mfg's cater to the 4wd adventure people. The solid front axle seems to be gone here in the U.S. including the Land Cruiser. You will only still see them on the big, full-size trucks.

OK, regarding the solid axle swap (SAS) for the Tacoma, it is a VERY COMMON modification nowadays. I have only seen a few proffessional shops producing them though. The vast majority of swaps are done by private owners in their own garages. I have not done it myself, and I'm not so sure that I ever will.

Here is a couple of "Shop" produced swaps:

front range off-road

bentup.com

And some personal pages:

Frankentaco

Fourbychef's Doublecab

Yogi's SAS

SAS Tacomas on the Rubicon trail 2003

SAS Tacomas in Arizona 2003

SAS Tacomas on the Rubicon trail 2002

SAS parts list

SAS Tacomas in action - the Terminator trails in Arizona

That oughta keep you busy for awhile ;o)

0
FollowupID: 22242

Reply By: floyd - Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003 at 12:27

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2003 at 12:27
Thanks mate I will have a look at the sites. It is really strange in Australia, the V6 only came out here in the Hilux about a year ago. I spent 5 years in Canada and the US in the late 80's and early 90's and they had a V6 back then in the SR5. They also had a whole heap of fully optioned models and SR5's that have only just become available here in the last 6 years. The early Hilux in australia was aimed at the workhorse and farmer market where as in the US the Tacoma and early models were obviosly aimed at the sports truck market. Finally we have a well fitted out range here however the IFS I feel is the only let down in the strength area. On this forum a lot of people seem to be critical with the swap to IFS in Lancruiser and Hilux however I have yet to see any evidence of a front end failure due to weakness of the IFS. I have had to crank mine up a couple of inches since fitting whinch, bull bar, duel batteries, side rails, and a 115 litre fuel tank but the standard torsion bars are still performing as well as they did when new. I am happy with the truck and my kids reckon it rocks so it must be OK.

Cheers Floyd
AnswerID: 31310

Reply By: BajaTaco - Friday, Sep 19, 2003 at 00:34

Friday, Sep 19, 2003 at 00:34
That's a pretty nice bit of education you just offered. I was unaware that the V6 was not avaialble until recently! I guess maybe I shouldn't "complain", eh?

Despite the V6, I must say that you Aussie folks have enjoyed the choice of petrol vs. diesel, whereas the diesel market has been very limited here. You cannot buy the Toyotas with them. I really had my eye on the Land Cruiser 78 that Toy was offering over there - the one with the factory goodies like tray back and snorkel, and lots more. How many of those do people actually buy? Do you see alot of them? Or are they mostly popular with the station owners and such?

Regarding the IFS on the Tacoma/Hilux - the Tacoma actually has a VERY nice and strong IFS (for an IFS) design. The Taco uses a double wishbone with a coilover shock. The coilover assembly eliminates the torsion bar and allows for a very sturdy (and good performing) way to lift the front suspension. The ball joints are sealed (I still have my originals on there - almost 161,000 kms on them). The weakest points would be the CV axles (if you run very large tyres, or a front locker) and the steering has a rack and pinion that is really hardy, but certainly not invincible. They are one of the most common things to fail first after many years of abuse. You can see some pictures of my IFS setup at my website...

HERE
AnswerID: 31480

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