The old 3 way Finch fridge

goanywhere

Member
I know the majority of people these days go the way of the Engel or Waeco, or other 12v fridges. But back some years ago when I wanted a camping fridge but money was tight and I didn't have the dough to get one of those and all of the extra gear needed (2nd battery and wiring setup, slide etc.). I was able to get a 30lt 3 way Finch fridge from the Chescold rep at wholesale at the time so I jumped at it. I paid $150 for it, and with a gas bottle and regulator brought it up to under $200.

I have taken that fridge everywhere since then. I can go 2 weeks on a 4lt gas bottle running 24/7 at medium setting, and it'll freeze on the highest setting in moderate temps. It does suck alot of power on 12v, so I only run that when mobile. I use it as a beer fridge at home on 240v and it runs all year round with no noise and a few cents worth of power.

I reckon it's the best camping gear investment I've ever made. After about 7 years it still runs like new.

I know that there are lots of me-too versions out now that are probably just as good, but for rugged reliability, value for money, and simplicity you can't go past the old 3way Finch.
 

bluehilux

Banned
they're good old fridges ! Dad has had his for years and it still goes good.. don't make things like those anymore :D
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
I was in a similar situation about 8yrs ago.
After many yrs of using the old esky when camping/4wding we were fed up with running out of ice,wet snags and cheese so we went all out and bought a primus 3 way cooler.
Thinking this was the ducks nuts after so many yrs with the esky,could run it on gas when at camp or 12 v when in the 4b,loved it.
Can make ice on mild days but struggles abit when temps get over 25° being a cooler,so only good for winter camping.
Then about 4 yrs ago on a great ocen rd to phillip isl trip it died on the way home at Ballarat,still having a week of our trip left at the grampians it was decided to bite the bullet and we bought a 40 arb/engel from arb in ballarat,never looked back since then.
Suprisingly when we got home the cooler started working again,so now it sits in the shed acting as a beer fridge when we have barby's and friends over,only in winter tho.

cheers ,
Brian.
 

profoto

Active Member
Still got one, bought it about 30 years ago and still works well although the 240v carked it quite some time ago, never use the 12v.
I saw Aldi had one similar a while ago for about $200.
Must pull it open one day and fix the 240v, SWMBO spilt some orange juice in it and I think it got into the thermostat.
 

goanywhere

Member
I was in a similar situation about 8yrs ago.
After many yrs of using the old esky when camping/4wding we were fed up with running out of ice,wet snags and cheese so we went all out and bought a primus 3 way cooler.
Thinking this was the ducks nuts after so many yrs with the esky,could run it on gas when at camp or 12 v when in the 4b,loved it.
Can make ice on mild days but struggles abit when temps get over 25° being a cooler,so only good for winter camping.
Then about 4 yrs ago on a great ocen rd to phillip isl trip it died on the way home at Ballarat,still having a week of our trip left at the grampians it was decided to bite the bullet and we bought a 40 arb/engel from arb in ballarat,never looked back since then.
Suprisingly when we got home the cooler started working again,so now it sits in the shed acting as a beer fridge when we have barby's and friends over,only in winter tho.

cheers ,
Brian.

Yes you're right, they do struggle in high temps. Altough if you don't want to keep things frozen and don't open it too much on hot days it will manage to keep things cool. One trip a couple of years ago to Smoky Bay around Christmas it got to 43 degrees for 3 days. I had to cover the fridge with a wet towell so it would keep things cool, but it managed, and at night it got everything pretty cold again.

By the way, I notice you're from M/Vale. We have a few guys from this forum from the southern subs who are planning a few get-togethers and trips from time to time. I'll keep you informed if you're interested. :)
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
Yes you're right, they do struggle in high temps. Altough if you don't want to keep things frozen and don't open it too much on hot days it will manage to keep things cool. One trip a couple of years ago to Smoky Bay around Christmas it got to 43 degrees for 3 days. I had to cover the fridge with a wet towell so it would keep things cool, but it managed, and at night it got everything pretty cold again.

By the way, I notice you're from M/Vale. We have a few guys from this forum from the southern subs who are planning a few get-togethers and trips from time to time. I'll keep you informed if you're interested. :)

Im always interested mate.
Going on the day trip tomorra to the murry mouth,then out to Callington next week,also got Willangi at the end of the mth
Iv organised the day trip to yankalilla in oct and im organising a vic high country trip for chrissy so I try to stay activly involved with the forum.
Would be good to catch up with ya on some future trips for a yarn and a few bevies.

cheers,
Brian.
 

mitschal02

5th Annual Victorian Gathering member
We use a Finch three way and love it :D
Works well on 240 volt, But on 12 volt and gas it is simply awesome. On day trips in the back of the 4BY we have to turn it down or the drinks start freeze :eek: lol

Only time it struggled was a couple years ago camping at a caravan park where we had a powered site and was running it on 240 volt. Was a 39 degree day and inside a tent but chucked half a bag of ice in it and it was fine :)
 

steve80

Member
Yep I also have a Finch fridge ""Good ol Orange color"". It was our main camp fridge until a couple of years ago when I got a second hand waeco. I dont use it much these days but would'nt part with it. I had it serviced and gas cleaned out a few years back and the technition said they literally dont make them like that any more with the good parts in them and was very keen to buy it off me. I ran it on gas for 14 days off a small 3kg I think it was to test how long it would last. But that was only opening it once a day to see it it was still running.
Great fridge that will probably still be around in another 20 years.
Storageunit1.jpg

Storageunit.jpg
 

oncedisturbed

New Member
I had a 3 way dometic 38lt 3 way and it worked a treat until some twat stole it. have a 50lt ironman and 80lt waeco now instead
 

spinyeel

New Member
A friend of mine fishes the Far West Coast beaches during the middle of summer,when temperatures get into the high 40s. He sets up a Dometic RC1180 on a 9kg gas bottle and places it in a shady place. He swears that it's the best investment he's ever made.;):)
 

Swaggie

Moderator
I have an old Electrolux fridge freezer,Haven't used it in donkeys years.Never use the gas side of things in enclosed areas...If your going to stay in one area for a long period in time you cant beat the gas side of things...
 

billolga

Well-Known Member
Our old Trailer has a 3 way Fridge - It's going on 14 years old & going strong.
The 240 Volt heater quit a few years ago & it was simple to install a new element I bought over the Net.

The secret to these fridges is that they MUST be kept level for best results.

All these fridges need is a "Fire under them" - When I was a Kid (100 years ago) the House Fridges were run on Kero.
 

BUSHNUT

4x4 Earth Contributer
Our old Trailer has a 3 way Fridge - It's going on 14 years old & going strong.
The 240 Volt heater quit a few years ago & it was simple to install a new element I bought over the Net.

The secret to these fridges is that they MUST be kept level for best results.

All these fridges need is a "Fire under them" - When I was a Kid (100 years ago) the House Fridges were run on Kero.

Was that when Noah had pubescent stubble Bill ?
 

bmurray2250

4x4 Earth Contributer
A friend of mine fishes the Far West Coast beaches during the middle of summer,when temperatures get into the high 40s. He sets up a Dometic RC1180 on a 9kg gas bottle and places it in a shady place. He swears that it's the best investment he's ever made.;):)

I have the Rc1180 and it is the best when you are camping. Put it on gas unless I have a powered site and set and forget.

Sent from my GT-I9300T using Tapatalk 2
 

goanywhere

Member
Never use the gas side of things in enclosed areas...QUOTE]

I wouldn't worry about that. The amount of gas these things use you would have to be in an hermetically sealed room for weeks for it to cause any problems. That's good advice for people cooking indoors with LPG though. :)
 

TassieSheDevil

New Member
Help with old Finch 3 way Fridge?

Hi there,
new to this forum, hoping I can get some help with an old Finch fridge in my 1977 Pop top camper. (possible new when the camper was made in 1977)So purchased this little old pop up camper a few months back and as the gas lines looked dodgy, just spent the last week testing it all and making sure there werent any leaks. Everything so far so good, but the rain started so we had to do a rush pack up in the middle of trying to get the gas fridge to work. It looks to be the orginal fridge when the camper was made. A Finch, I noted a model number on the back, just before we had to pack up, being D533T. I ran it on 240V a couple of weeks ago and it was cold but not brialliantly so (granted it was empty, but I ran it on MAX) Does any one have this same fridge and able to to tell me how to work the gas? Seems to be two seperate knobs, obviously one for electric and the other for gas. The knob, I think is for the gas,has 3 settings min and max with a setting in the middle showing two squares one orange one white . The button you pushed down to fire seems to stick after one press and you need to pull it up to press it again, but might have the settings wrong in the first place. Didn't get an awefull long time to play with it before rain started in, and there seems to be no user manuals or info of any kind on the web (that I can find) about this fridge, I couldnt see a pilot light either. Attaching a photo of the fridge below. Any help would be greatly appreciated - Also if it turns out to be dead, what type of fridge does anyone reccomend, they all seem to be very expensive, but I hear a lot of horror stories with expensive parts that need to be replaced, and expensive paper weights, after only a very few years of ownership. I dont mind spening the money on a decent fridge, but not if it needs constant repairs.
Thanks guys,

Felicity
IMG_20130830_004549.jpg
 

billolga

Well-Known Member
I was in a similar situation about 8yrs ago.
After many yrs of using the old esky when camping/4wding we were fed up with running out of ice,wet snags and cheese so we went all out and bought a primus 3 way cooler.
Thinking this was the ducks nuts after so many yrs with the esky,could run it on gas when at camp or 12 v when in the 4b,loved it.
Can make ice on mild days but struggles abit when temps get over 25° being a cooler,so only good for winter camping.
Then about 4 yrs ago on a great ocen rd to phillip isl trip it died on the way home at Ballarat,still having a week of our trip left at the grampians it was decided to bite the bullet and we bought a 40 arb/engel from arb in ballarat,never looked back since then.
Suprisingly when we got home the cooler started working again,so now it sits in the shed acting as a beer fridge when we have barby's and friends over,only in winter tho.

cheers ,
Brian.

They have there limitations but there still great. I have one in my camper trailer & if you keep them level they work fine.(12 Volt is not connected to the temp control BTW)

In the OLD DAYS;) we had Kero Fridges (Same thing - all you need is heat) & away they go.

I took mine in for a service once & the guy told me if I have a problem to turn them upside down for a while -
electrolux 3 way fridge, repair tips - YouTube

He said they used to take the old Kero ones out on a bumpy ride in the Bush for a while & then let them settle down.
 
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billolga

Well-Known Member
Still got one, bought it about 30 years ago and still works well although the 240v carked it quite some time ago, never use the 12v.
I saw Aldi had one similar a while ago for about $200.
Must pull it open one day and fix the 240v, SWMBO spilt some orange juice in it and I think it got into the thermostat.

The elements are easy to change (I have changed one) - here is one source I found.

Elements - Chescold Dometic Electrolux
 
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