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HOW TO: ARB DC compressor fridge in the tow vehicle

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I have received a couple of Messages asking about this, so I guess I should post some pics. This is an older ARB Classic 50 quart cooler, I picked it because it is tall and narrow and that makes it accessible from the rear passenger window of a tow vehicle, I remove the left rear seat of my Land Cruiser and anchor it solidly to home made tie down points. It would not be at all good for it to launch forward during a collision. NOTE: You can't effectively anchor this to an installed seat, the soft foam allows too much motion, and the leather or cloth fabric could be damaged.

Door OPEN:


Door CLOSED, window  down:


Because the hinge is on the far side, the lid opens easily. Or it can be removed entirely by "popping" the hinge which has tow little spring loaded ball detents (twist the lid to one side):


Tied down hard to the center seat attach point:


And in front it is strapped to a length of big chain that is bolted to the two front seat mounts, using 3/8" stainless carabiners for the two ratchet straps to pass through. It is ROCK solid and will not shift on bumpy roads:


***** There are air vents at the two back corners (below the hinges) down low, it is imperative that these be kept open, don't allow cargo or a loose jacket to go down there and block them, or the unit can't cool.*****

Note, on a Land Cruiser 200 the AIRBAG warning light will illuminate if you take out a rear seat, so the fix is to install a small resistor in the warning harness connector, the white one at the bottom of the above picture, to fool the computer into thinking that there is a seat installed there. There are instructions at a number of different LC forums, this is very common.

Power comes from the center console round 12 volt socket when towing, and from the trailer when parked: ... https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/3247-how-to-external-solar-dc-power-cable-using-factory-furrion-port/

The compressor uses about 1 amp and cycles on and off, depending on the heat load, if you reduce that "delta T", the temperature difference between the cabin and the fridge, it will use less power. Add sunshields to south facing glass, park in shade, pop open the sunroof, etc. I normally use it as a freezer and keep stuff really cold, so it can be turned off for a few hours in the daytime or overnight and the contents will not thaw. Highly recommended for long trips, especially to places where food costs are high, or grocery stores are infrequent, like Alaska!


John Davies

Spokane WA




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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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