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Old 06-08-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Vintage 1954 Frigidaire Kegerator Build

OK, I found this 1954 Frigidaire Imperial Cyclamatic (gotta love the name) on Craigslist for $100. It followed me home. As you can see from the pics, it's in great shape, with only a few missing interior items, which has had me feeling guilty for about a week for considering cutting holes in it. But I think I'm over that now, and I'm ready (?) to start making this into my first kegerator.
I've slowly found and followed several other threads on peoples' vintage builds, and have found them helpful and inspiring. So now I open it up to my fellow homebrewers for thoughts and a few questions specifically:

1) I'm wanting to capture the feel of the era with the paint and chrome, like the cars of the time. Repaint entirely or just the accents as shown (little insets of envisioned final looks in the first pic)? The exterior is in pretty good shape, with some discoloration but overall really nice.

2) CO2 tank inside or out? THis may wind up being a moot question, but it looks like I can fit 2 kegs and possibly the tank inside. If I go outside, what's the best way to pass the line through--a flange, shank, etc.?

3) If you've pulled all the chrome off for a total re-paint, what's the best way to get it off without damaging it (especially the lettering)?

4) As you can see from the inside pics, there'a a lot of cool stuff in the door; I'd like to be able to keep as much as possible intace, but I think the location of my taps will necessitate the removal of the warmed butter compartment. I suppose taking the whole interior shell off initially would be the best way to go? Then make whatever mods are necessary before putting them back on?

5) Drip tray--drain or not? Where would I run it and still have the 'sleek' look?

I will start posting pics of my progress once I finally get the guts to start pulling things apart. Maybe this weekend. Thanks for any input!

fridge-options.jpg   img_0587.jpg   img_0592.jpg   img_0593.jpg  
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Vintage 1954 Frigidaire Kegerator Build

ON TAP!: Vanilla Porter, Hoppy Wheat
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Secondary:
Bottled:
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Kegged:
--Saison
Drinking:
--Beer: Rye IPA, Irish Ale, Saison, Doppelbock, Winter Warmer, Bavarian Dunkel, Honey Brown Ale
--Wine: Spanish Rioja, Chocolate Raspberry Port, NZ Sauvignon Blanc
Up next: Winter Warmer, English Ale, and maybe DFH 90 Clone
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:52 PM   #2
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I really like the insets in your photo showing the blue or green w/white paint job. I think that looks great.

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Old 06-08-2012, 08:35 PM   #3
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That's a great starting point! I really like those inset paint accents. You could get a really great period feel without going through all the hassle I had to.

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Originally Posted by schmidty65 View Post
1)...Repaint entirely or just the accents as shown...
It depends on the quality of the existing paint. My fridge's paint had a lot of discoloration that was really set into the paint. I went to down with a few different cleaners, but didn't have much luck. Also, it had a few scratches, so I just said "oh well" and painted the whole thing.

If you can get by without the base coat, just do accenting. Painting from scratch was a huge pain.

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2) CO2 tank inside or out? ... If I go outside, what's the best way to pass the line through...
Depending on how the condensor is set up on back, you might be stuck with inside (unless you want a tank sticking out the side).

I've toyed with the idea of finding some 50's style standing bar to put next to the thing. As long as it's close enough, I could hide the CO2 tank in it and run a high pressure flexible hose to the fridge and through the back.

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3) ... what's the best way to get it off without damaging it...?
If you remove the inside facing part of the door and move the insulation to the side, there should be some kind of clips that hold the chrome on. Remove these and the chrome should come right off.

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4) As you can see from the inside pics, there'a a lot of cool stuff in the door; I'd like to be able to keep as much as possible intace, but I think the location of my taps will necessitate the removal of the warmed butter compartment. I suppose taking the whole interior shell off initially would be the best way to go? Then make whatever mods are necessary before putting them back on?
I agree that taking it off might give you the best idea. On my fridge, the internal components (evaporator coils) really played a large part in deciding where my taps were going to go.

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5) Drip tray--drain or not? Where would I run it and still have the 'sleek' look?
I wouldn't do a drain on it initially. If you were going to, you could run the drain back into the fridge and have it collect in a bottle sitting in the bottom door shelf.

As is, I still can't find a tray I like the look of. They are all so... square. I might end up having to cut a stainless mixing bowl in half to fabricate a drip tray. If you have any luck finding something that looks good, please share!
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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Thanks; great thoughts to get me started. I've been thinking the same thing on the drip tray--something chrome and curved; I'm going to keep looking at motorcycle/car accessories to maybe find something that might work, then modify it. As for the canister, I'm thinking if I do go outside, I may paint it to match! :-)
(as a side note, how do you get your links to just show up as the title and not the whole hyperlink?)

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My Projects:
Vintage 1954 Frigidaire Kegerator Build

ON TAP!: Vanilla Porter, Hoppy Wheat
Primary:
Secondary:
Bottled:
--Beer:
--Wine:
Kegged:
--Saison
Drinking:
--Beer: Rye IPA, Irish Ale, Saison, Doppelbock, Winter Warmer, Bavarian Dunkel, Honey Brown Ale
--Wine: Spanish Rioja, Chocolate Raspberry Port, NZ Sauvignon Blanc
Up next: Winter Warmer, English Ale, and maybe DFH 90 Clone
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidty65 View Post
Thanks; great thoughts to get me started. I've been thinking the same thing on the drip tray--something chrome and curved; I'm going to keep looking at motorcycle/car accessories to maybe find something that might work, then modify it. As for the canister, I'm thinking if I do go outside, I may paint it to match! :-)
(as a side note, how do you get your links to just show up as the title and not the whole hyperlink?)
Can you use the drawer or butter and cheese door to fab something?
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:55 PM   #6
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Hi

I would tear it down as far as you practically can. It looks to be in fine shape, but you never know what may be going on inside. A little fix here or there might be the difference between it running for another 50 years and it rusting out later this summer.

I also would check into a new gasket. I'm not saying *buy* one, just be sure you know how to get one and what it costs. They can be crazy expensive or dirt cheap. It all depends on what you find and who you talk to...

Bob

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Old 06-09-2012, 01:28 AM   #7
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I can't wait to see how this turns out.

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Old 06-09-2012, 02:53 AM   #8
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I want that fridge SO bad!

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Old 06-09-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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If the lettering is attached with double sided tape you can use a heat gun (or hair dryer) and dental floss to remove. Heat it up and slide the floss under it.

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Old 06-09-2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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Default Let the carnage begin!

And it begins. (I'm also going to test whether I'm doing this right to insert images between text).
First, the bottom panel inside the door:


After many screws, the inner panel is off!:


Here's the front of the inner panel (intact!!):


And the back of the inner panel with wire to butter conditioner still attached:


I think the cleanup should be pretty quick with this panel; the butter conditioner is held in by some screws; now it's not:


This should now give me pretty easy access where the shanks need to pass through the door. I think I can replace the metal screws with some small bolts and re-install the butter door once everything's in place. Unless I take off that whole 'protruberance' from the door panel; it would give me an additional couple of inches; maybe enough to fit the full 20# CO2 tank I have in there...

Here's the insulation as it was removed from the door:


Overall in good shape, but I did notice a little wetness on the top piece, the part by the freezer. I'm considering alternatives to this stuff. Maybe that pink foamboard insulation with spray foam to fill in the gaps? the outer parts are thicker than the two center pieces; that's where the door panel inset is. Thoughts on substitutes?

Here's part of the reason; clearly, there's been condensation run-off that's occurred inside the door in the past. This is the only bad section of the door. This is the bottom part of the interior of the door. It's not the physical bottom of the door, but it IS the boundary between the cooled space and the outside air; the bottom gasket attaches to the outer edge of this piece. You can see where it's then dripped a little down to the actual bottom of the door.


I went at it with the shop vac a bit and pulled some good sized rust chunks out. I can also see pinholes of light through it. I have some rust neutralizer that I'll coat it up with, but I'm wondering how hard to go with any brushing, etc. If I just do that to dislodge any remaining chunks, then neutralize the rust, then add a new surface to that? I'm thinking cut something out of some metal sheeting that would fit in on top of that, bond it to the existing plate, prime and rubberize it? Thoughts?

As you can see, the rest of the door looks pretty much in factory-fresh condition:


And finally, in this pic you can see some rubbery stuff as well. Looks like a sealer of some sort that they put behind the places where screws and pins penetrate the outer door. The one mid-door is where the 'Frigidaire' logo is. Think I could pull those out and get the lettering off, then reuse them and spray some new rubberized stuff (like on the bottom area) back over it?
Here's a close-up of the back of the logo area:


Well, that's it so far for this morning. While you're contemplating my rust questions, I'll hit some cleanup on the back of the door insert and maybe throw the whole gasket in some degreaser; it's in good shape, but looks like some old weatherstripping stuck inside it turned to goo all over it. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

__________________
My Projects:
Vintage 1954 Frigidaire Kegerator Build

ON TAP!: Vanilla Porter, Hoppy Wheat
Primary:
Secondary:
Bottled:
--Beer:
--Wine:
Kegged:
--Saison
Drinking:
--Beer: Rye IPA, Irish Ale, Saison, Doppelbock, Winter Warmer, Bavarian Dunkel, Honey Brown Ale
--Wine: Spanish Rioja, Chocolate Raspberry Port, NZ Sauvignon Blanc
Up next: Winter Warmer, English Ale, and maybe DFH 90 Clone

Last edited by schmidty65; 06-09-2012 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Add more images and text
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