Thursday, October 1, 2009

Now she ain't so vintage no more

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I love the gas only RM50 Dometic refrigerator that Anna came with. It has worked fairly well over the years even with it's quirks . Once I light it and set the temperature it has always cooled well right to that temperature then shuts off. On my last trip it failed to ever light again. I spent many hours trying to find someone to work on it with out any success. After calling the sixth antique refrigerator repairman I decided to heed his words..." there is no way, no how to fix it. No parts, no where. Go shop for a new one."

I felt really bad having to let the old Dometic go. It actually took a few days of subtle morning to come to grips with such traumatic news. But life goes on and I like my food to stay cold.

This is the scoop that channel the combustion gasses up the vent in the wall. When I removed it, I was surprised to find this...

This is the exit hole into the skin and judging by the carbon deposits on the wall it was not getting much of it out. I am not sure why they did not make the hole larger. It could be three times larger.

The fridge is out and thankfully there is no rot under it. I often read that under the fridge is a rot prone spot, but I got real lucky this time. It is a good thing the project did not expand, because I have a rally this weekend.

I needed to make a surround for the new fridge. I made everything the same as original except I used fiddle back maple and ambrosia maple. That is a copy of the magazine rack for the side.

The counter top did get re used. Laminates of the 1960's were much thicker than they are today. I like the earth color of it and chose to re use. The counter top is in such good shape because back in Jan 3 1962 Roy Moore took great pride in fabricating it. Thanks Roy.

I did need to make a few changes. I made a frame for the side to keep everything rigid. I made this out of super light weight Sitka spruce. This is what early planes were built from. The other change was to fabricate a chimney to connect the combustion gasses to the wall vent. As I said earlier, the hole was made larger and now more gasses should get out.

So there she sits. A brand new Dometic RM 2551. Not as nice to look at as the old one, but the wood makes up for it. I thought changing out the fridge would be a quick easy task. Instead it took a lot of creativity and three times as many hours as I thought it would. All together I spent 17 hours of labor from start to finish. All in all I am very happy with the results. So today when I load the fridge everything will be nice and cold. I can also throw gallon jugs in there. Shame I don't have a gallon of moonshine to test that aspect out.

See you all up the road. Next post:WDCU Installation Rally.


nmbosa said...

Boy am I with you on this one Frank. Thanks for the tips on fridge repair this morning. I hope I can get mine up and running. I forgot to mention that these old RM50s are literally bullet proof. Seriously, mine has a ding in the side of it where it appears to have been shot at. I can just picture a couple of guys at the factory sitting around joking about how heavy these things are:
Joe: "the damn thing is armor plated, I bet it would stop a bullet."
Jack: "hey, I got a .45 in the truck, lets see!"

TomW said...

I'm really sorry to hear that no one is willing to fix original fridges anymore. There will be a similar tale of woe in my future.

Your installation looks great!

By the way, you mentioned in a past post about showing pictures from your porch project next(something I really want to see). Now I read that the next post will be about a WDCU rally.

Rally pix are great too, but don't forget about the porch.


Brad Norgaard said...

Nice work Frank, as usual. Yes, I know what you mean about having to put in a newer style fridge. Just doesn't have the charm of the old style Lucy fridge.

Sugarfoot said...

Frank, the new fridge looks nice, good job. But I feel your pain. I know I'll feel the same way when my old Dometic bites the dust.

crowldawg said...

Any thing salvageable for another old Dometic?:-)

Brad said...

I recall seeing one of Craig Dorsey's restorations on his site years ago - the caption indicated he'd married an old 50's door (rounded, white porcelain and chrome handle) onto a new fridge.

Sounds like an extremely difficult task, but certainly a dream solution if you could get it to work.