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I obsess over details and start overreaching/overspeccing but find that it helps to step back and make decisions on real-life expectations. Definitely wanted a dual zone chest for off-van versatility and...popsicles. The biggest impact was floorplan and cabinet layout.

With that, I ordered a dual-zone 50L cheapo model for $369, plus a 3 yr Amazon/Asurion warranty for $34. With 250# rated, 18" lockable drawer slides, I plan to call it good.

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Sounds similar to what I did. Counter space above, tucked away until needed.
 

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2019 Ram PM 3500 High Top 159" WB EXT
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Discussion Starter #22
I have the Truckfridge 65 and it has worked well for over 3 years.
Any issues with the size? How much cooking do you do? I'm concerned about having too small a fridge either not fitting everything or having to grocery shop every 3 days, but maybe I will never be as far away from a grocery store for as long as I think...

I guess it's impossible to tell my needs until I'm actually on the road and have lived with a fridge, will just have to make an educated guess.
 

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Seems like the Truck Fridge units are a good economical option. Anybody with more info on these? Would you have bought something else?
 

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A TruckFridge front door was my preferred brand and model, based on user feedback.
The only reason I didn't get one is because of budget and van layout restrictions.
 

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2019 Ram PM 3500 High Top 159" WB EXT
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Discussion Starter #27
How often do you all cook? How often do you buy groceries? I think it's important to understand everyone's use cases when seeing what type of fridge works for each person.

I think I'm pretty dead set on the larger fridges (around 4 cubic ft) because I like to cook often and I want to grocery shop less often, but looking at my currently planned layout it will be hard to find a place for it even in my large PM and still have any cabinet space for pots/pans/etc... I guess that's part of the fun with these builds, it forces you to get ultra creative.
 

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Are you doing the raised bed across the back with storage underneath?
If you don't need the "garage" under the bed for stuff like mountain bikes, you could basically make your build a big kitchen with a bed in back and use under the bed for storing all the misc items, clothes, etc.
 

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I went with a $129 Energy Star rated Magic Chef 3.5 cf 110V AC fridge from Home depot, which of course runs from the 1000/2000W inverter. I did add a bit of extra rigid insulation to the back and top. It's very efficient, and has held up fine so far to two years of use, including a lot of rough/washboard gravel/dirt/rocky back roads. I'm quite happy how it's turned out. They also come in a 4.5 cf, and split fridge/freezer units.
65289
 

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How often do you all cook? How often do you buy groceries? I think it's important to understand everyone's use cases when seeing what type of fridge works for each person.

I think I'm pretty dead set on the larger fridges (around 4 cubic ft) because I like to cook often and I want to grocery shop less often, but looking at my currently planned layout it will be hard to find a place for it even in my large PM and still have any cabinet space for pots/pans/etc... I guess that's part of the fun with these builds, it forces you to get ultra creative.
We cook a lot and rarely eat out. We usually start out with the freezer full of pre-prepared items. We don't cook complicated things so we only have a few simple pans and utensils. It all fits in three drawers and an overhead cabinet. In fact, there is room to spare. We got the biggest fridge that fit the space we had (NovaKool R4500) and we make do. You adapt to the space you have. BTW, we cook on a single burner induction unit and don't have a microwave.
 

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One good thing about Dometic, and presumably the other high end brands, is that you can order replacement parts for them.

Deciding which fridge to get is fairly agonizing.
 

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2019 PM 1500 136" Low White Tow Nav Park
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Found a reason to love my van chest-style freezer!
My in-house Igloo 5cf freezer (also chest-style!) took a crap while stuff was still frozen. I troubleshot it and ordered parts thru Amaz..all in all it took 6 days (including a weekend) and actual repair cost was $4.38.
During that time, I was able to relocate my van fridge/freezer to inside the house, plug in with the included transformer, make it a single-zone freezer, and redistribute the 5cf contents to the main house and van freezer.
I couldn't have done this had I had a built-in unit in my van, parked in my driveway, with an extension cord, in 110+ degrees.
Another lesson I learnt from this, is to keep something you use on a regular basis in your home freezer. Sure a remote thermometer would have worked, but when our frozen blueberries were found...errr...not frozen, I got an earful! Priceless alarm!
 

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2016 3500 ext-ht
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I've seen several fridges recommended, everyone has a different preference it seems. I want the best bang-for-my-buck for capacity and price. Dometic (and a couple other brands) is very expensive for not a ton of space. Maybe I don't need as much space as I think I do... However I love to cook and eat healthy, so I'm quite sure I do...

I was looking at the Dometic CFX3 75L Dual Zone chest, it's around $1300 not including shipping. An ARB 82 Quart chest is around $1250.

Currently I'm looking at a couple front-loading fridges:
TruckFridge TF130 - $850 shipped
Vitrifrigo C115ibd4-f - $980 shipped

I'm leaning towards the Vitrifrigo due to the much larger freezer space, which I would use mainly for frozen fruits for smoothies. The TruckFridge freezer space is too small to fit even one bag of my frozen fruit.

Any thoughts on either of these two fridges? Why are the Dometic/ARB/Engel so much more expensive for much less capacity? Better insulation/efficiency?

Also a side note, I notice the Vitrifrigo has both internal and external cooling unit models. I'm assuming internal will be easier to install and work with in my van, don't know where I'd even place the external unit. Am I right with thinking an internal unit will be better for me?
We have had the Iceco (65 qt?) since last spring. Has gone thru 115 outside temps, probably higher inside when we left it for 6 days parked. Dual zone, dual voltage and I believe it has a Danfoss compressor. Very satisfied. We will be adding a second smaller unit under the bed as a dedicated freezer.
 

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I've seen several fridges recommended, everyone has a different preference it seems. I want the best bang-for-my-buck for capacity and price. Dometic (and a couple other brands) is very expensive for not a ton of space. Maybe I don't need as much space as I think I do... However I love to cook and eat healthy, so I'm quite sure I do...
You might already be sold on one of the fridges but just to offer another option, I went with the Whynter 45Q. It's survived 15 months of daily use and a total of 3 years of ownership and still going strong. It's quiet and works great. The one caveat is that it seems a little thin on insulation. I built a case around it (with cutouts for the vents) with some of my extra polyiso foam and that's made a world of difference. When I open up the case, the outside of the fridge is cold to the touch which tells me that would all be wasted efficiency.

With the case I'd estimate it uses about 500-600 watts per day. It can function as a fridge or freezer (but not both).

I installed mine behind the swiveled passenger seat so it functions as a footrest/dog bed.

It looks like this is available now which I'd consider if I were doing it over again. $350 with the digital coupon is a pretty great deal.
 

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I built a case around it (with cutouts for the vents) with some of my extra polyiso foam and that's made a world of difference. When I open up the case, the outside of the fridge is cold to the touch which tells me that would all be wasted efficiency.

With the case I'd estimate it uses about 500-600 watts per day.
That's good to hear that insulation makes a difference. I was going to simply glue some leftover polyiso to the outside. The downside would be that it would "fatten" up the fridge in every dimension and raw polyiso isn't pretty. But I'm after greater efficiency and, importantly, less need for the compressor and the fan which I find noticeably noisy (though I've gotten used to it).

Do you have stats for the watts per day before your case mod?
 

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Here's a photo of how I did it in case you're curious.

I didn't get data for energy consumption pre-case but the manufacturer says it pulls 65 watts.
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