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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone know the difference between these 3 brands of vehicle fridges:

http://www.norcold.com/acdc_mrft440.cfm

http://www.engel-usa.com/engel/Engel45main.htm

http://www.arbusa.com/freezer_fridges.htm

They all seem pretty much the same. Seems all the motors/compressor equipment is made in Japan, just the designs of the fridge themselves are slightly different. I am especially curious as to the Norcold as there are a bunch of older, used Norcolds (older models, etc) on ebay all the time for sale. Typically selling for quite a bit less than a brand new one. But there are hardly ever any used ARB or Engels on there. Wanted to see if anyone knew if the Norcolds were crap or if they are just a different brand. Thanks. -Robbie
 

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Have you researched the Waeco brand? I found out about them through Australian 4x4 online vendors. They have a lot more selection than the ones you mentioned and are apparently quite known in the marine and boating industry and that they've been aroound since the 1974. German made and uses Danfoss compressors. Check them out just so you have another alternative. http://waecousa.com/page.aspx?p=proportref

And here's where I found them cheap. A 50 quart capacity ref/freezer for a little over $600. http://www.boatandrvaccessories.com/CF-50.htm
 

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I have an Engel 45 and it rocks. It takes up a lot of space, but when you compare how much stuff fits in it compared to the size cooler you have to have to fit all that PLUS the ice... it actually saves space. Nothing more annoying than trying to find ice and making everyone stop and wait while you drain the water and get ice for a cooler.
I wouldn't get anything with a traditional compressor (like the one I have in my RV) for offroad use because traditional compressors take a lot of power, make a lot of noise and don't handle vibration well.
Engels are what they use on organ donor cross country flights... if they trust them for that, they must be OK... :D
 

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But the point is to avoid having to stop for ice every day... and when the bag leaks that has your sammiches in it and you then don't have anything for lunch... that sucks. I always pre-cool everything the day before in the house fridge so the Engel doesn't have to bring everything down in temp- just maintain it. Something cool about having ice cream on a 103 degree day out on the trail, too. :buttrock:
 

· Former LR tech, Albany NY
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Ice cream on the trail.

that sounds so I dont know.

If you conquer a trail you need to have cold drinks or beer or chilled champagne to share with everyone.
 

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I wheel with kids quite often, don't drink on the trail- and if you don't like ice cream on a hot day... well, you need to do some soul searching and find your inner child. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i've heard of the danfoss german made fridges and i have also read that they are more susceptible to issues since they have more moving parts then the simple swing arm motor of the japanese fujisawa brand that engel, arb and norcold use. what i really want to know is if there is any difference between these three. looking at everything online, it appears they are all the same. just packaged slightly different. you can find 10-20 year old norcolds, great working condition, for between $50-$200 online. if these are the same as the new one's then it is a very viable option for those who can't afford to spend $600+ on a new fridge, but who still want flexibility and ease of use of in car fridge.
 

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I remember reading somewhere that Engel made the ones sold by ARB and that the only difference is color of the exterior. Apparently, Engel has the patent on the swing compressor so I'm not sure if Norcold uses the same compressor.

PS
I just found a seller on Ebay selling the cooling unit for a Norcold ref. which shows the compressor and it appears to be the same swing compressor used by Engel. At least from the outside.
 
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