Optional Refrigerator

You had to choose between a Wardrobe and a refrigerator

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The Martin Walter Land Rover 626 layout forced purchasers to make the hard choice between storage space and being able to keep food cold for longer than a weekend. Both are very precious things to anyone contemplating longer duration travels.  Both the standard fitment wardrobe cabinet and the optional refrigerator take the same space in a 626 interior and there is not room for both if you wish to retain the cooker and sink.

Interior of Dormie with propane freezer.

Both the wardrobe cabinet and the refrigerator stand came standard with a fold up seat. The seat is handy to be able to sit and cook, use the cooker cabinet as a desk and as a step up to the upper beds.

The optional toilet occupies the same space as the flip up seat.

Refrigerator stand with optional chemical toilet in its stowed position

The toilet sticks out enough to be used as a short seat and step up to the upper bunks and was padded for that use.

Refrigerator stand mounted in its proper location. Note the table in its stowed position  on the rear door.  At the very top of the picture you cab see part of the upper water bottle mount secured directly to the body.

The stand is held in place as shown above with a rear bolt on an "L" bracket  and a floor mounted stud on each side flange. There are additional pictures of this stand showing other views at the bottom of this page.

The refrigerator is held in place by a pair of rails to keep it from sliding side to side and a securing strap on each side.

The original lid was warped and had been replaced by a butcher block lid.

The refrigerator shown above is held in place by a sheet metal strap on each side that clamps the refrigerator side handles to the stand.  This mounting method was probably changed over time as the refrigerator manufacturer came out with newer models.  The refrigerator stand in a proceeding picture has "U" brackets on each side to secure a different style of refrigerator mounting bracket.

This is the refrigerator showing the original Lid and the feet that fit into the 'U' rails on the stand.  A close up of the front label is below.

Label affixed to font of a Dormobile optional refrigerator

Side view showing side handle and lid hinges

Here is the back of a refrigerator removed from the vehicle showing the propane refrigeration hardware.  The top knob shown top right adjusts the temperature, and yes that is the exhaust at the top left.  The propane refrigerator vents inside the Dormobile.

Interior showing cooling unit taking up a chunk of the interior space.

The refrigerators that Martin walter installed almost 50 years ago are very inefficient by today's standards requiring more power to keep going and having thicker insulation walls which allow for less cold storage space than a modern refrigerator. Propane refrigerators need to be level for use which means leveling the Land Rover prior to switching on the propane.  And the old style electric compressors use more electricity than their modern counterparts.

I personally feel that a modern chest type refrigerator should be used with a Dormobile that is going out longer than a weekend and that the original style is best left for display at British car field meets.

The electric chest refrigerator line sold under the Norcold and ARB brand names can easily be fitted to a Dormobile refrigerator stand, are very efficient and rugged enough to stand up to long term off road use.  They can be turned up to keep food frozen during a hot summer day in the Southern deserts, have efficient thin wall insulation and I've personally had one keep food cold on a single group 24 deep cycle battery when my land Rover is stationary in the hot desert for 48 hours.

I recommend staying away from the plastic converted ice chest electric coolers.  They use a lot of power and will not keep food cool enough to avoid spoilage during hot summer days.

Rear of mounted refrigerator as seen from outside.


Additional views of the refrigerator stand

A 3/4 view of the refrigerator stand showing its overall shape and construction. Note the bottom side flange mounting slot. There is one on each side allowing the stand to be secured to the floor mounting studs.

Thinking of building your own or a similar one to hold a modern chest refrigerator? The top, sides and front are made from seperate sheet metal parts spot welded to the angle stock.

The cut out on each side is sized to fit the side bench and end against the body side.  The cutouts are different sizes for a 2 door and 5 door due to different side bench height so I'll let you make side patterns to fit your vehicle.

If building the front to fit a toilet box, the front panel is 8" by 15" high and has a 3/4" flange facing inwards along the bottom and opening side.  This leaves an opening of 14-3/8" wide for the toilet box.  Of course like everything else, finish is silver hammerite paint.

Another 3/4 view of the refrigerator stand. The white cotton strap riveted onto the side of the stand is half of the lower water bottle mounting strap.


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Copyright 1996, 2004 by John Hess, 2005 by TeriAnn Wakeman and John Hess                  All rights reserved