Author Topic: The amazing Dometic 182 Fridge  (Read 199 times)

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Offline kinggeorge13

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The amazing Dometic 182 Fridge
« on: February 22, 2019, 08:50:00 PM »
Ok, I'll admit I abused, ignored, scorned and ridiculed this poor little spare fridge I'd picked up with the plan of possibly using it one day.   Left outside last summer, it sat there on a cement block as the winter began.  Rained on.  Snowed on.  Pretty sure at least one bird crapped on it.   I walked by it yesterday and thought I may as well do a quick cleanup of it and maybe just sell it for parts.   So I dragged it into my shop and put it up on the workbench.  That blackish wet mess inside it on the bottom in the first photo was actually solid ice when I brought it in early in the morning.   

But I have a problem.  It's a problem I believe many of you share.   I get emotionally attached to inanimate objects: VW buses.  VW bugs.  VW fastbacks.   And.....apparently Westfalia fridges.   I've been very lucky with getting the last two running that I've worked on but this poor excuse for a fridge was a mess (although that was my fault if I was being candid).   

I cleaned it up and my attachment to this little fridge began.   They are pretty cute.   So after checking the wiring and most of the parts and cleaned out an amazing array of leaves, seedpods, webs, dirt, dead spiders, and at least a few things that were completely indistinguishable, I set the controls and plugged it into my bench outlet.    No smoke, no bang!   What I did hear after a while was an almost bubbling/sizzling as the glass wool insulation in the heater "tube" was (surprise!) quite soaking wet from being in the outdoor elements.  It eventually dried out and quieted down and yep within an hour the metal fin area inside the fridge was plenty cold and soon was covered in frost.   Since I had no door,  that led to the invention of a cardboard door just for fun so I could get my retro bottle of Fanta Orange cold before I drank it later.   

When I was done with the 110AC testing, I let the fridge return to regular room temperature.   Next I hooked it up to a fairly large deep cycle battery I had wintering on trickle charge beside the workbench for the winter and switched it to 12v DC.  My little alligator clip wires were not up to the current requirements and got hot quickly so I switched over to using much heavier wire cables.   Seems to pull between 7 and 8 amps.   But the fins inside the fridge got pretty cold within half an hour and then light frost within 60 minutes.   While a battery drain for sure, it certainly works (and would work great while bus running and alternator spinning.

The one thing that did not work was the little 12v fan down below the back that is meant to blow cooling air over the fins to keep it from overheating.  The thermal control device (thermistor?) gets warm enough on the top fins, it connects the circuit for that fan to get +12 on the yellow wire to the fan motor: for sure that is working fine.  The fan motor is pretty much dead.    I'm going to look for a replacement but others have written that  using a very small 12v cooling fan for computers will work just fine too.   I may try that.   

But meanwhile I have a functioning fridge on at least the 110vac and 12vdc so I'm pretty happy.   My bus has no propane system anymore anyway.   

1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: The amazing Dometic 182 Fridge
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 08:52:10 PM »
A couple more pix.   The amazing cardboard door and the retro Fanta Orange I cooled in it.   Yeah, not super interesting but kinda fun and any progress is still progress.
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline gsun

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Re: The amazing Dometic 182 Fridge
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2019, 11:26:05 PM »
interesting but what good is it without a door?
Seven years and counting....

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: The amazing Dometic 182 Fridge
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2019, 06:55:18 AM »
interesting but what good is it without a door?

Did you not see the photo of my amazing cardboard door? 

Ok, ok.  The interesting thing is that the early 1980s buses with the off-white cabinets (this fridge came from a 1983 bus) had the door not as part of the fridge but as part and attached to the front of the actual kitchen cabinety.   So the door for this fridge is on the cabinet that is still stored in a bus on my driveway for the winter.  The bottom of that cabinet is all rotted out and falling apart so I plan to rebuild that this spring along with redoing/replacing the plumbing.  Just nice to now know I have a working fridge for it (2 of the 3 power options testing and working).  I likely won't try installing a propane system from scratch so it will be electrical operation only.  Better than nothing.

I have toyed with the idea of retrofitting one of those Mobicool  12v coolers (i.e. the ones at Canadian Tire).   I bought a couple when they were on crazy-sale a while back and the model I got was designed to also operate "standing up" so the door operation would be more fridge-like.  It will fit behind the front cabinet bezel with minimal modifications of the Westy cabinets I tried (not the late bay cabinets though).   I know some people like these coolers and some people hate and trash them online.   We've had one that we use as cooler while camping and running off batteries (with solar) and it's never let us down so that's all I know.  If I do ever end up installing one, I'll put effort into making it look proper rather than a hack job.   They pull approximately 60% or so of the current needed for the original Dometic 182 fridge when running on 12vdc so that is certainly better.
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline bwaz

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Re: The amazing Dometic 182 Fridge
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2019, 09:11:59 AM »
I see parts and full units for sale on the samba, might be worth getting it working again!
brian waz

 

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