Product Review No. 2 - Engel 75Lt Combo fridge/freezer & the Platinum Drop Slide (update Jan 2019)

Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010 at 07:04


As I purchased and used so many different products and components in the build of the 79 series ute, I thought I would provide some assessment and review of those products from a users point of view.

As Of November, 2012, the vehicle has more than 60,000 kilometres on the clock and 3 years use. The initial shakedown trip covered a total of 14,000 km over a three month period of June through to late August. There have been several long and intermediate term expeditions since then during which the vehicle was fully loaded and was often towing a trailer and Arctic Cat Quad (say 1100kgs all up). Roughly broken down the various trvael elements equated to;

18,000 km bitumen
39,200 km dirt/gravel/sand tracks and outback roads
3,800 km Off track (no track - deserts and Pilbara rock country).

Temperatures for the period ranged from -3C thru to 39C. We also encountered several periods of extreme thunderstorms and water.

I make the clear distinction here and now that while I have some experience as an outback traveller, I am not a technical expert by any stretch of the imagination. It's my personal experience upon which I base my reviews. I will on occasion compare these products against a similar product that I am familiar with through personal experience. This is factual based and not anecdotal (someone telling me about it) experience.

The prices I have quoted are purely a retail range of current prices.

Engel 75 Litre Combo (35 litre freezer and 40 litre fridge)

$2000 plus $170 for the thermal transit bag. You can normally get 20% off at Rays or Anaconda during their numerous sales throughout the year.
I purchased a new 75 Litre fridge freezer for this years three month extravaganza. I got that is a bloody good price so that was an incentive but it saved me from running the two 40 litre fridges that I normally do when travelling.

The Combo worked well. The fridge area utilises a spill over effect from the freezer. Considering how tightly packed the freezer was with 7 weeks meat and veg, the fridge section had no trouble in maintaining a cold environment. Once deeply frozen, I was able to run the fridge between 3-4 on the dial which maintained a temperature of -9C to -12C in the freezer and between 0C and 4C in the fridge section. The freezer was chockers and I believe air spill-over would be more efficient with less food or more loosely packed contents. Either way, in really hot conditions I turned the freezer up fractionally until the fridge temperature had dropped. I didn’t inadvertently freeze any of the vegetables or drinks stored there which is what can inadvertently happen with a 2 zone arrangement. Draw was consistently around the 3.4 to 3.7 amps but cycled well. With the new battery system and increased capacity of 280 A/H, I didn’t need to be as conscious of fridge management as I have had to be in the past.

My only criticism lies in the temperature guage. It is freezer based and the unit could benefit greatly from a guage within the fridge as well. I solved the problem with a $12 digital temperature guage from Jaycar which the probe was left in the fridge. Also with the transit bag on, the lid chain had a tendency to get in the way when closing and fall between the lid and fridge top. Small potatoes but could do damage to seals and plastic inserts if forced down enough times.
In summary, the quality you’d expect from Engel. Handled the load OK and kept the food frozen and beverages cold.

Platinum Drop Slide (More than $600)

A great inovation this. I have purchased the larger of the two models (Model DS60) available capable of handling 60,80 and some 110 litre fridges . The mechanism operates on a set of 100+ kg bearing runners (think heavy duty drawer runners) to move the fridge outside the confines of the vehicle. The weight of the unit will then allow the fridge to drop down a fell 30 cm with the handle moving backwards and upwards to a position above the last third of the fridge. The cross piece of the handle then folds back to allow unimpeded opening for the lid. To raise, you place the handle back and pull forward making sure you keep pressure towards you so the fridge doesn’t swing upwards into the vehicle. Once it’s at full retraction (assisted by two 100nm gas struts), the fridge slides in over two additional roller bearings to its resting place. The slide then locks into place with side bars operated by a central knob.

This is a great invention and certainly makes it a lot easier to access your fridge, particularly big fridges. It’s a boon to the vertically challenged such as Queen Vikk and even makes it a lot easier to access your fridge contents for talls as well.

The unit is certainly robust although I did find that the locking arms which are in three pieces, managed to vibrate apart a couple of times. The main bearing rollers underneath are held in place by circlips and these two vibrated apart once or twice. Thankfully I was able to locate all the various pins and clips and reassemble.


Solid construction
Ease of use - Allows much easier access to your fridge and contents


Weight of the unit at 50 kgs is very heavy.
Price – Pretty expensive piece of kit

A disclaimer of sorts;

These reviews are not designed to influence you towards any particular product. I’m not receiving any financial advantage in doing this, rather I am providing my personal opinion on the quality and suitability of the products I have purchased and used. Any decision about purchasing a product should be made on a thorough analysis of your own needs and budget and supported by your own research (as were mine). Any questions, please ask it in the comments section below and I'll do my best to answer them for you.

Update January 2019

Well it’s now 9 years down the track since I built this vehicle and what a journey it’s been. From deserts to the sea, Tassie to the Cape and every desert this country has to offer in between. On track and off, the Fridge and Slide are still in the vehicle and have performed faultlessly over all that time.

I have around 130,000 km on the clock now and while this may not seem a lot, it represents the best and worst of outback conditions. Only 30,000 km of these (or less), have been on bitumen.

The fridge has performed faultlessly and with the addition of 300W of solar power on the roof in 2012 removed almost all need for manual regulation of the fridge’s power consumption.

The Fridge slide is still working well but is a lot looser than it used to be. Given the absolute pounding both have taken, I’m pleased to report that I am mightily impressed with both. One day Engel will incorporate a light but until them, the overhead LED strips on the bin doors work perfectly.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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