The 82L Evakool Fridge Freezer in the front of our Hybrid Camper has had a hard life. We’ve used it almost exclusively as a freezer for many months, with it rarely cycling off for days at a time and sweltering in the sweat box where its mounted, and so I was expecting something to go wrong at some stage.
Earlier on in our lap of Australia I heard it vibrate and make a few random grumbles, and then it went back to normal and I forgot about it. Nearly 6 months in though, and I pushed the freezer back into its travelling position in Cobaw State Forest, to hear a much worse vibration begin.
I slid it out, and could hear straight away something wasn’t right, and with a fair chunk of food inside, I began to wonder what sort of adventure we might have to deal with. Fortunately these are a very simple design, and undoing 6 screws gets you access to the entire compressor, where it became very obvious that the fan was on its way out, with a huge amount of axial play.
I removed the fan and took some measurements, knowing that I could probably pick up a PC fan to buy us some time, and sprayed it with WD40, which did nothing to begin with, and then seemed to help a few hours later.
Evakool were very helpful on the phone, and told me what fan I needed, and that I could buy it online. I did ring a fridge service agent that was closest to me, who said he didn’t have stock anyway, and was away on holidays, so we were on our own.
It will run without the fan
Now, I’m told that even if this fan fails, the fridge will continue to run, just the condenser gets hotter and won’t work as well. Given we were seeing cool days this was a big positive, but I was still interested in getting a fan should it all go wrong.
I put an order in through Evakool, for $65 for the fan, plus shipping, coming to about $81. Now, if you know fans, you’ll know you can buy them for less than $30 so this is expensive, but given that its run for this long going OEM seemed logical.
I did however, contact a PC repair bloke in a town that we drove through, who had 3 fans that would suit, and I grabbed one second hand one from him, for 3 bucks, and got it ready to install just in case.
Why did the fan fail?
I mentioned earlier on that this freezer lives a hard life. We do our best to keep it cool, and even sometimes leave it completely out at night, but if we leave camp on a warm day it is locked in a black sweat box that can get seriously hot, and I hate the design.
This freezer is run at -20, as that’s the temperature we need to get everything frozen (and funny enough we can no longer adjust it to be warmer!), and this means it cycles on probably 95% of the time, and after re-stocking meat it works hard for a few days before everything freezes and the temps go right down.
The fan failure can be attributed to a heap of different factors; the number of hours its done (full time use for probably about a year now, in smaller chunks), the environment that its in, and we were getting a small amount of dust into the hatch from a door seal that was damaged earlier on. Inevitably any dust going in got sucked into the fan, so it would have copped dust into the bearings that certainly wouldn’t have helped.
It’s a learning curve
Overall, I can’t say I’m disappointed. The fan is a wear and tear item, and its done really well so far. I was happy to learn something new, and not feel completely out of my depth. We’re still really happy with our Evakool Fridge, but you should know many of the Evakool Fridges have changed in their manufacturing process (parts used etc).