Tag Archives: Clever changes

Mikes Fridge upgrade

A week or so ago, I published Robs Fan which showed how clever people can make their European (or any fridge) perform better by simply expelling warm air from behind or in Mike’s case, circulating cool air as well.

Both are novel ways of getting much better performance and both work briliiantly.

Mike and I were at school together a hundred or so years ago and where I went on to be a newspaper photographer, Mike became a very able Gasfitter and Plumber and clever with it.

Mike recently purchased a very nice  new A class Rapido from an elderly chap who imported it from Europe but due to a change in his circumstances, couldn’t keep it.

Fiona and I caught up with Mike and Wendy at Shakespeare Bay for a very nice lunch not long after they got their van. I published an article then and you can see that here.

The Rapido has a 90l Dometic fridge in it and since Mike picked it up has been very unimpressed with its performance and ability to keep things cold.  After reading Robs Fan, Mike decided to sort it once and for all.

Pix by Mike.  Click on them to see the detail in slideshow

Here is what he did in Mikes words.

Hi Chris

I've just finished installing three fans to to accommodate the cooling for a Dometic 8505 fridge freezer 90 l. All items were purchased from Jcar.

There are two 120 x 120 x 25mm fans fitted in the cooling tower.

The top fan is fitted 150mm below the cooling fins...connected via a 50degree temp thermostat. 
Duratech:   YX-2574
Air flow:      37 (CFM)
Current:      0.08A
Fan Speed: 1000 rpm
Noise:          20.2dBA

The bottom fan is fitted 100mm above the top of the bottom air vent...connected via a 70degree temp switch.
Duratech:    YX-2584
Air flow:       64.3 (CFM)
Current:       0.22A
Fan Speed:  1500 rpm
Noise:           25dBA

The fridge fan:
Duratech 90mm: YX-2572
Air flow:                 31.32 (CFM)
Current:                 0.13A
Fan Speed:            1500 rpm
Noise level:            20dBA

Each fan can be independently controlled by an on/off switch installed inside the motorhome.

The results:
Motorhome vents in full sun:
Ambient temp 27.1 degrees:
Fridge on setting three:
1) Even temperatures through out the fridge at 4degrees.
2) Freezer -10.7
3) On setting 5 the freezer got to -17degrees

Before I had a shit fridge...now I have a master piece.

Regards Mike.

Here is the link that Rob found with more technical stuff.


Nana & Poppa Bus

After 15 years of owning their 7m 1990 Nissan Civilian, Engineer Dave and his wife Josy are finally enjoying their now completed Motorhome.
About 10 years ago, Dave and a friend got started on the restoration of two buses, a Hino for Daves Friend and the Nissan Civilian for themselves.
The NissanAfter years of using it while the restoration carried on, it now looks fantastic.
Daves friend had access to a CNC router which they used to make the Matai bench top and bathroom hand basin and the results are amazing. The floor was hand made using strips of native NZ timbers put together to look like parquet flooring but a whole lot nicer.

The swivelling drop down TV which can be watched from anywhere. Two slide out pantries.

The CNC routed Matai bench top
The CNC routed Matai bench top
The routed bathroom bench
The routed bathroom bench

With the centre island bed, it is very comfortable.
I met them both at Te Mata point as we enjoyed a cold drink. It’s great to see them enjoying the results of their hard work.

Te Mata point.
Te Mata point.

They tell me that although they’ve been all over NZ, there are still nooks and crannies that they’re yet to explore.

Amazing home built Airflow

How is that lovely verandah cover.
How is that lovely verandah cover.
The interior
The interior
Looking the other way
Looking the other way

Check out these amazing piccies from Facebook. A home built Airflow caravan. The workmanship is extraordinary!

Retro colour

While we were getting ready for New Years Eve, I couldn’t help but notice and amazing retro looking Mercedes based motorhome on the other side of the park.
It was built in Germany as a Micro Supreme branded Motorhome.

Brian, Kim and their daughter Maddie and the Mercedes.
Brian, Kim and their daughter Maddie and the Mercedes.

Owned by Brian and Kim from Auckland, they bought this two years or so ago and it became Brian’s project do up. The Mercedes D307’s are really popular in Europe as delivery, courier vans and small trucks and enjoy a great reputation as reliable runners and Brian was saying, he has no problem getting parts for it. All he has done mechanically was put in a bigger radiator which is apparently a must do for motorhoming. It also has a real “unimog” look to the front of it which I think reveals its Mercedes truck DNA.

The retro paint job
The retro paint job


The Tv station iutside
The Tv station iutside

Inside, well all I can say is what a great job they’ve done. New toilet and shower area and a new galley area. The minute you walk in, you get this amazing feeling of big volume. Brian has done amazing things with a TV/ sound station including a server for movies, a wifi router and a pop out Tv station in the awning area.

The Galley
The Galley

A great achievement by them both, a nice van and although at 1988 it is not really that old, the improvements that they made are amazing and it was nice to see them enjoying Sullivan’s Bay in the sun with friends and family.

Robs Fan

Having spent the last few days with our friends Rob and Helen and their 11yr old daughter Chloe, Rob was keen to show us a modification he has made to his fridge to make it more efficient. Now Rob is a clever guy and is very familiar with things electrical so to see it working as well as it does is fantastic.

Rob with his fan
Rob with his fan

Robs fridge is an under the bench style Dometic 3 way fridge. They imported their AutoTrail themselves from the Uk a few years ago and of course it came with a “Northern Hemisphere” fridge. The difference between those and the “tropical” fridge is that the NZ fridges apparently are setup to be able to deal with hotter climates.
The work around for Uk fridges in NZ is to fit a 12v fan in the cavity behind the fridge with a thermostat to expel the air from behind the fridge, outside.

The thermostat
The thermostat

The 12v fans use next to no power and are really reliable.
Rob says it has made a massive difference to its performance and both he and Helen are really pleased with the way it performs.
There is a link to an Aussie web site which details the technical which Rob found that makes it relatively easy.  Here’s the technical link

The coffee cup holder

This was Pete’s first rally with his new Dethleffs Black Magic so it was great to see the Kiwi ingenuity being applied to his van.

There is a notable absence of anywhere in the Ducato cab for holding coffee. Pete decided this had to change and came up with a nice  tray with  locking blocks underneath the hold it between the two front seats on the seat arms.

Pete with his coffee cup holder
Pete with his coffee cup holder

Clever use of dead space and with the use of matching vinyl from the floor and a nice wooden surround, it really looks the part.

The Wooden Table

This is Richards second year at a Dethleffs owners rally so it was nice to catch up again.  Being the clever chap that he is, he  significantly upgraded his dining area with a  new table. Looking at the photo again, it looks like it might be Kauri. Very Nicely done!

Richard with his new table
Richard with his new table

A thing of beauty.