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Engel Fridge Installation

I have found through the years that a freezer / fridge is an essential comfort accessory for vehicle dependent expedition travel. While traveling in Mexico, it can be difficult to find ice, and food is often spoiled, or damaged from the water that collects in the cooler. For a minor weight penalty (over a traditional cooler with sufficient ice), an 120/12v swing motor fridge is a wonderful addition.

Since I typically only travel with one additional passenger, and the Tacoma is not driven daily, we elected to semi-permanently mount our 42L Engel fridge behind the drivers seat. I still have plenty of room to slide my seat back all the way to the stops). This arrangement allows the passenger to access the fridge while in motion, and easy access from the driver's side rear passenger door.

The mounting location also allows for the custom platform and drawer system that I have fabricated, which mounts behind the passenger seat.

Vehicle Expeditions West: 2004 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD
Vendor

 

Engel USA
1555 Jupiter Park Drive, Unit 5
Jupiter, FL 33458
   
Payload Impact (1,395 for stock vehicle) 4%. Weight of fridge and mounts= 52.9 lbs. for fridge, 3.6 for mounts. There is a payload bonus of 54 lbs. by removing the factory rear seat.
Installation Time : Custom installation, several hours
Difficulty: (easy, moderate, difficult) Moderate
Specialty Tools Required: Welder, metal saw, grinder
Process
The first step was to remove the rear seat and cup holder from the rear passenger compartment. This is an easy job, with 6 bolts for the seat and 4 bolts for the cup holder. There is an impressive amount of room available once the seat is removed. In addition, by removing the rear seat, 54lbs. of payload capacity is regained.



Rear seat removed

It was necessary to fabricate custom brackets to mount the fridge securely and level to the floor. In addition, I felt it important to utilize the existing seat holes to prevent additional drilling into the body. The weight of the fridge dictates it being firmly secured while in the passenger compartment. A fridge should never by traveled with off-highway unsecured. These images shows detail of the rearward bracket.

These images shows the forward brackets with the turnbuckle extensions in place for securing the front of the fridge.
Here is the rearward bracket installed using the factory seat holes. Rubber isolators were also installed to provide additional support for the fridge and to prevent rattles.
This shows the front mount installed, using the forward seat mounting hole and one of the cup holder mounting points. The two legs pointing to the front seats are used to secure the turnbuckles.
This shows both brackets installed, ready to mount the fridge. I also used shrink tubing on the ends of the turnbuckles to prevent damage to the fridges paint and to prevent rattles.
The rubber feet of the fridge rest on the 2" wide section of the mounts. Four turnbuckles firmly mount the fridge to the brackets. The fridge does not rattle or move at all.

Within the last year, Engel has released a few innovative solutions for mounting the fridge line:

Transit Slide Lock: This is a great solution for applications like shown above, and would not require the extensive fabrication

Engel Slide: This is a heavy duty slide solution, which provides significant benefit to wagon owners and fridges mounted in compartments. I have seen this slide in person at SEMA, and there is no rattles. It uses heavy duty sealed roller bearing to bear the load.

 

Impressions The goal was to make a solid mount for our engel fridge that was also light weight. We used the existing structure that the fridge provides to make the entire mount ridged, and it works. After thousands of miles on our recent expedition into the Sierra Madre of Mexico the mount and fridge are still solid.