Rear drawer set up for LC105 series

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 14:34
ThreadID: 99833 Views:8332 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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Hi folks,

I have recently been doing a fair bit of research on rear drawer/fridge set ups for my 105 series Landcruiser. My girlfriend and I are sick and tired of what we call "the dogs breakfast" in the back of the truck on trips away and the time has come to do something about it.

I have narrowed it down to the below 4 options and the decision will ultimately come down to the lesser of 2 sacrifices. Those being fridge space over drawer space or vice versa. At this stage I am leaning heavily towards setup 04 due to the capacity to carry the larger 60litre Engel but am curious to see what set ups work best for people in a similar situation to me.

There is almost always only my girlfriend and I travelling on trips away. Our trips will last anywhere from short 3 days jaunts to 3 week adventures. Alot of our travelling is offroad so we try to leave Perth fully loaded up with food, water and fuel so we can get as far as possible without having to stop off at towns to replenish as you are almost always paying a higher fuel price and food is more expensive with less selection. Of course on longer trips this is unavoidable but it is carefully planned so they are kept to a minimum.

It would be great to get some advice from people in the know already using similar setups and the advantages and drawbacks (pun not intended!) of the various choices.

Thanks and Regards


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Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:14

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:14
I'm not a fan of many aftermarket drawer systems as they appear to be HEAVY.
Yes they are convenient, but if you are a handy person you can make what you want far lighter and cheaper. If you really want the extra of carpet well go for it.
These are at least 30% or more heavier than some thing you or a mate can make.

One glaring thing to me in all the pics is the fridges, while on slides etc are either one way round or the other, ie vents to rear of truck or inside facing forward.
This means there is almost no airflow around and through the condenser sections of the fridge which is essential for it to be able too cool or freeze.
All I have seen do not have provision for this airflow to be changed with cooler air. All fridges seem to sit in a stagnant pool of recirculating hot air which the fridge is creating by pumping the heat to the outside of the case.
This must make the fridges run either full or nearly full time. = flat battery quicker.

If you have a setup make sure you have a computer fan and flex hosing feeding cooler ambient air from a slightly open window or special vent made for the purpose.
This will keep the fridge as cool as possible in situ and also keep pumping air into the car the expel the hot air created by the suns rays. This means the fridge works less hard and the battery discharges slower, the vehicle is cooler inside.
You can't leave a child in a closed vehicle and a fridge feels the heat too. It may not die immediately like the child will but it won't be much good at fridging or even freezing.

It is a pity drawer makers don't seem to consider the fridge but make a hole for one.
35C day, vehicle 45C inside, fridge can only cool to about 40 below ambient working full time = hot lettuce and beer.

I made my own and did the fan thing too, never any problems.
AnswerID: 501856

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:40

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:40
Hi Ross,

Great advice and exactly the sort of feedback I was after. I have gone (or am looking to go) for the ORS brand.


Mainly because one of my mates went with them and he is really happy 6 months in, they are also really lightweight with the standard 2 drawer system weighing in at 38kg. My mate was a bit sceptical at first but they have turned out to be very rugged and durable. I suppose 6 months isn't long enough to gauge but they have been given a fair thrashing int that time and as yet no problem.

I hadn't considered the issue with circulation and definitely something I will have to take into consideration when fitting. I wish I was a bit handier with a tape measure, hammer and nails but I would reluctantly have to admit that trying to knock something together like this on my own would only end up in wasted time and money! I have learnt the hard way that if you can't do something properly on your own, get someone else to do it or just buy the bloody thing!

Your advice is greatly appreciated.



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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 16:02

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 16:02
I agree with what Ross has said regarding adequate airflow to the refrigerators. Most portable fridges have air vents on both the end and sides of the cabinet and clearance must be provided for these vents and arranged such that the hot exhaust air does not recycle into the inlet vents.

Most drawer arrangements I have seen do not make adequate allowance for this. In those photos above only setup03 appears to have adequate airflow provision and even that could be ruined when other goods are packed around the fridge. Even in setup04 with the end vents facing outwards, there is insufficient clearance between the side vents and the inside of the enclosure.


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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 17:16

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 17:16
Thanks Allan,

I'm wondering if I still went with setup 04 and modified it's "house" to suit the type of fridge I buy by drilling some holes to allow for extra ventilation at least on one side. Not sure this would compromise the integrity of the unit but I shouldn't think so. My friend has the standard 2 drawer set up and there is just under a foot of space between the back of the fridge and the cargo barrier. With this in mind I am wondering if the fridge with the vents at the front, the space at the back and some modifications to one side would be enough to keep it cool?

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 21:55

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 21:55
Hi Craig,

It's difficult to quantify or assess this sort of thing but anything you do to improve the airflow is good. A pattern of holes in the side in line with the fridge vent would be helpful. The better the airflow then the better the fridge efficiency and so the less battery power it will consume.

In the end it comes down to whether it is working for you. If the fridge is coping OK then all is well.


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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:08

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:08
Hi Allan,

Thanks again for your valuaed advice.

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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:09

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:09
That should have read VALUED! :)
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Reply By: 2517 - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:46

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:46
Hi, no 2 which give you the flat surface on top,I built s my own and have 25 litres water tank behind the fridge as there is ample room with a 39 litres Engel fridge,as the fridge run in air all the time never had any problems in years of travel.
AnswerID: 501860

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 18:05

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 18:05

Thanks for that, so when your vehicle has been parked up in the sun for an extended period you haven't noticed much difference due to the circulation issues suggested above? I am also of a mind that it would not be too much of an issue in hot weather when the car is running with aircon on and the cooler months would also not affect performance but you would want it working at its best when its 30+ degrees. Once we have reached our destination the car won't move for up to a week sometimes so aircon not an option and if it's hot then I can evisage the issues mentioned above would come into play then. No one likes a warm beer!

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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 20:36

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 20:36
i built my own unit similar to No.4, though i have an 80ltr fridge in the back. in the rear section behind the fridge i've drilled 6 holes about 110mm in diameter to allow better air flow aswell as a small metal vent in the top shelf to allow some heat to escape when there isn't anything sitting above the vent (i try and pack the top shelf so it gets some air flow through there). due to the height of my fridge there isn't a lot of room to get stuff on the top shelf (your size fridge would work better), but i still manage to get our bags full of clothes up there plus some other gear. fridge has been there since 2006 and been to Cape York, through the Gulf and across The Simpson without issue thus far.
for us when we don't have the camper trailer along, food goes in the top draw (aswell as down the side sections) and tools / tool box and recovery gear takes up the bottom draw. axe, log splitter, umbrella and tent poles go under bottom draw. chairs, tent and sleeping bags go on roofrack in roofrack bag as there is 4 of us, so we leave the rear seat for the kids to sit in.
we have longrange tank so no wories about fuel, water goes in jerry can on rear bar and some more water usually gets stored in the rear of vehicle also in smaller containers.
the way i built the draw system all O.E storage pockets in the rear of vehicle are still accessible, so spares and other stuff are tucked away in them. all in all it does the job for us.

ignore the mess, there's stuff everywhere in this pic

AnswerID: 501873

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:27

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:27
Hi Rumpig,

Thanks heaps for your advice and photo. That's a bloody reliable fridge you have there. What brand is it may I ask?

I am looking at getting a stainless steel water tank between the cargo barrier and rear seats as otherwise that is wasted space and the 2 big 20litre water containers annoy the buggery out of me so it will be good to get rid of those. I also aim to get a rear bar fitted but that won't be for a while yet so need to make do with the space I have.

Given that you are sporting the 80l fridge I assume I would be correct in saying that it would pump out more warm air due to a bigger fan? Seeing as though you have been where you have and had it for so long it would appear the mods you have made are sufficient enough to keep everything running cool and smooth. With that in mind, I think I will either go for no.2 or no.4 and make similar mods also.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, much appreciated.

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Follow Up By: rumpig - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 18:49

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 18:49
Hi Craig,
the fridge is an Engel 80ltr Combi, so half fridge and half freezer. it uses a bucket load of power and cycles almost constantly when it's cranked right up to keep stuff frozen in the freezer section, so the fridge has seen a heap of heat in it's time and coped with all thrown at it. not sure if it pumps out more heat then a 60ltr or not as i'm not sure if it'd use the same motor set up or a touch bigger one, so can't answer that for you without going looking for specs. i vaguely recall it ran the same as a 60ltr but could be wrong on that as i bought the fridge over 6 years ago now.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 07:48

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 07:48
I have a two drawer system with a built-in fridge slide.
The fridge is strapped to the slide when I'm using it, otherwise I have a flat surface for other times when I'm not camping. Don't underestimate this feature.

This allows the fridge to sit in an open environment with air circulation around the fridge vents. No need to bugger about wth computer fans, etc.

I find two drawers sufficient for most of my gear, with food items stored in two removable and stackable plastic drawers.

Each to his own I guess.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:42

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:42
Hi Sandman,

Cheers for the response. If your profile pic is of the vehicle you are currently describing it looks as though you would have a fair bit more space than me to play with. I had considered the standard 2 drawer option also and admit that having the flexibility to remove the fridge plus the bonus of added circulation would be good however we rarely use my vehicle for anything other than trips away so wouldn't really see the need to remove the fridge. We use my girlfriends MUCH smaller car to get around town when we are home and as she works within walking distance of our place it's never usually a problem if I want to go somewhere when she's at work and I am home.

My friend has the 2 drawer option as well and it works for him but we just have too much stuff for that to be enough. We carry around lots of camera equipment, tripods etc as well and we are desperate to get rid of those dreaded plastic drawers we have in the back currently!

As you say, each to their own and it's always good to find a solution that works best for you and it looks as though you have found yours. Thanks very much for taking the time to reply Bill.


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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 15:26

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 15:26
Craig, with an arrangement such as setup02 where the fridge is housed in a 'tunnel' try to position the fridge so that its vents are at the 'end' of the tunnel in order to get best ventilation, although I understand that this may create some problem with the opening direction of the lid. The worst case is if the fridge vents are at the back of a 'closed' tunnel, but even if the back of the tunnel is open, there would be recycling of the hot exhaust air unless the vents are right at the end of the tunnel.


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Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 20:02

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 20:02
Craig like some above I'm not really impressed with the majority of storage systems on the market due to being so heavy, fixed permenantly & with draw sizes that don't fit my gear. This one below in my old 105 fitted a 73 litre Autofridge yet had far bigger draw space than most others. It's far lighter as well with the draws being alluminium, a RHS frame & weldmesh sides to assist with air circulation. Including a 1/2 cargo barrier total installation time was just 10 minutes meaning it could be removed easily to put the 3rd row seats back in. By not having infill panels on the sides you gain even more space & flexability. I could slide a 10L Jerry on the LHS & a 20L on the right. You may also consider fitting a tapered water tank in behind the fridge like these 50L water tank
Whichever way you decide to go ensure the fridge is mounted as low as possible to ensure easy access & removal. Your 3rd option for example is too high & can't be easily slid out with gear packed on the sides & obviously nothing can be packed on top.
Full height cargo barriers waste space too & aren't required with a storage system.

Cheers Craig....................

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Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 20:13

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 20:13
And this is the latest version in an FJ.

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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 23:56

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 23:56
Hi Craig,

I have always made my own drawer systems and this is my 3rd incarnation. It has been in my 200 for some 4+ years now and has worked very well, both for touring and as a daily driver around town. It has a 60L water tank, invertor, ARB compressor, twin fridge slides and power outlets.

Depending on where I am travelling, I can have a wide combination of fridge and/or freezer space. There is a writeup of how I made it in my blog, if interested just click on the link below.


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