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Old 02-02-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
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Default 1950 International Harvester kegerator

Yes, they made refrigerators.... thought I would get that out of the way.

So, a few weeks ago, I picked up a 1950 International Harvester for $100. I have been keeping my eyes open for an old fridge that "spoke to me", and this one did. It's simple, but with a nice design aesthetic that reminded me of the side of a Ford Mustang.






Definitely not in perfect shape, but that's ok. I don't like customizing something that is all original and pristine that is old. If it needs work, that gives me the opportunity to chop it and make it what I want. So the handle needs work, and the door jam area has broken bits. Other than that, it's pretty solid.




I brought it home and let it warm up in the garage for a while, and double checked that it got cold (it was really cold the day I bought it). Temp in the freezer went from low 40's (garage temp) to the teens very quickly.

Then I set to tearing the thing completely apart.









Once I had all the guts out, I took all the old insulation out. I was worried this might be asbestos containing, but a little searching online told me that it was very unlikely that they bothered putting asbestos in refrigerators. Just fiberglass. So I bagged it all up and tossed it. Then I took the shell and the door to the body shop. There was a small dent in the door, and two screw holes for the giant handle that I had them fix/fill. I am having a friend cut the handle down, since it was HUGE, and I want it much smaller.

More later

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Old 02-02-2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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So it getting IH Red paint on it? You can pick that up at Tractor Supply probably...

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Old 02-02-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Huaco View Post
So it getting IH Red paint on it? You can pick that up at Tractor Supply probably...
I debated on what color to go with quite a bit. The problem I have with red, even dark(ish) IH red, is where I live. Lincoln, NE. If it's red, it will be assumed to be a "Husker" fridge. I don't hate the local team, but I'm a Notre Dame fan...and would prefer my kegerator to not be sports related. So, I went a totally different direction, and that would be a direction that I felt was attention grabbing focal point for the garage.

Ford Grabber Blue!

The Door after paint:


The shell:



I started the task of putting things back together. I just used the R-13 Pink insulation. I was going to glue on the pink foam board stuff, but I just figured I would keep cost low and do it this way. The energy loss during the hot summer months will be off set by the winter months when it almost never runs.

Door with insulation and taped off holes for the shanks:


Going back together:


Double checking keg fitment and deciding where to run CO2 lines/cut hole for CO2.... I ended up drilling a hole in the top left corner of the internal tub. I will run one CO2 line in from the bottle and regulator. I will have a 2way manifold with a second regulator off the end. This way I can run a higher pressure to two kegs, and a lower pressure to the third. I need to order a longer CO2 line for the feed, and break apart my regulator setup. kegconnection really put those regulators together well.... I will most likely need to put them in a vice with wood, or something!



As it currently sits:





I am waiting on the handle. My buddy has it cut down and welded up to the size I wanted. He just needs to make an insert for the middle, and polish it up. He was bitching at me on the phone yesterday about it. It apparently is made of pot aluminum. He said it was a real PITA to weld, and he had to use some special stuff for it. I told him I owed him big for it, and he said, "Nah, just give me some beers." Good dude!!
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:59 PM   #4
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I also really wanted to post all this to encourage others that think these old refrigerators are cool, to get one and fix it up. You could go a much cheaper route than I did, and just take your time sanding it, taping it off, and painting it with a rattle can. It really is not difficult to take these apart. The whole refrigeration unit comes off as one piece (it's tricky, but not difficult). Just find one that doesn't have broken parts that need replaced, and it gets nice and cold. I understand the drawbacks, with possible higher energy use, small internal space and the likelihood that this unit may quit working much sooner than a new fridge or freezer....but the old one's just look SO much better than the new uninspired stuff. Even going with a high dollar body shop paint job, I will be in this thing for well under $1000. Seems like a lot, but I also considered just waiting a bit, saving some cash here and there, and buying a Northstar kegerator. Looked at them online, and decided there was just no way I was going to spend several thousand on one, when I could DIY a classic.

It's like old cars and motorcycles...some people like the old ones, some don't.

Now, stop looking at my junk, and go search your local craigslist and freecycle for an old ass refrigerator!!!

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Old 02-02-2013, 03:42 PM   #5
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Hah! I never heard of a International Harvester fridge - that's neat (especially if you're an "All-Grain" brewer)!

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Old 02-02-2013, 05:57 PM   #6
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That is a beautiful color, and really compliments the contours of the fridge. Very nicely done.

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Old 02-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #7
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Nice job so far. Keep us up-dated. Love the color.

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Old 02-02-2013, 06:29 PM   #8
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Nice build, lookinng really good so far.
CHEERS

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Old 02-02-2013, 07:18 PM   #9
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Cool idea, nice build. Can't wait to see it finished.

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Old 02-02-2013, 07:25 PM   #10
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Absolutely beautiful Although.....as the owner of an John Deere garden tractor, and a restored 1950 M.....I might be temped to paint it green and yellow.....sort of poetic justic if you will

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