Vintage Kelvinator freezer restoration

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89OctaneStang

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There is a pourable kind of foam insulation, it is a two part product, in other words, it has a separate activator. It's used in marine applications, this could be your best bet, it's also not as expanding as the spray cans so it's less likely to damage something in there.
Cool. That sounds like a good option. I will take a look...

I really like your gauge that you have in your picture. Where did you get that?
:mug:
 

89OctaneStang

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Ok. Looked into foam insulation and it is a great product. It has a higher R value rating than any loose fill insulation. It is a great product for marine use and other misc. uses. As for my project, it would work well in the install portion but I am afraid that when and if I need to work on any internal parts in the future that the foam will be a huge problem. With as difficult as the fiberglass batt insulation is to remove, I can't imagine how hard it would be to carve out the foam insulation. With that all determined, I will be using loose fill insulation. I have determined that I will probably use mineral wool based on the R value, cost, and probability of mildew. If anyone finds any different with loose fill, let me know.

Thanks! :mug:
 

bendavanza

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All modern freezers I've drilled into (don't ask me why) use a solid foam insulation around the coils. The coils should be a permanent fixture and the foam should prevent any damage to them. The things that wear out on freezers are capacitors and compressors.
That being said, I think the foam insulation can be dissolved with a solvent.
 

SweetSounds

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Just a thought..
Where I work, we use the 2 part foam chemical to pack odd shape stuff for shipping. We have a machine that takes a roll of plastic and makes a sort of bag on the fly. You punch in something like 18" and it spits out a custom bag with a measured amount of foam inside. You have to place it in the box with the product to be shipped, and seal the box as it expands.
You could slide some thin plastic sheet down the cavity, maybe using some broom handles or something to push the corners of the "bag" to the bottom. Think of it like a pool liner, or like pressing a single sheet of plastic into a cereal box. Then pour/spray the foam into that.
It won't make it any easier to remove, because as the foam expands, it'll press the plastic to the contours of the cavity (A good thing I think). However, it will prevent the foam from surrounding the coils, or contaminating other delicate parts in the walls.
 

89OctaneStang

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And that is why I love this site. You get tons of different views of how something can be done. Now, I didn't think about using some type of barrier for the foam insulation. That's a great idea!

I know the lines shouldn't need to be replaced but I am just afraid that by doing all this work to make this a great accessory to my man cave, Murphy's law will take place. Was just trying to look into the future of possibilities.. And removing this insulation seems to be my biggest fight as of yet. Wanted to try and avoid it being difficult in the future if ever needed. But the more that we talk about foam and ways to help restrain it, the more I like the idea.

Mildew is one other concern. Foam insulation does a pretty good job of minimizing mildew and mold. Plus, it is light! Not adding any more weight to this beast than necessary. Which is a great thing!
 

89OctaneStang

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Where I work, we use the 2 part foam chemical to pack odd shape stuff for shipping. We have a machine that takes a roll of plastic and makes a sort of bag on the fly. You punch in something like 18" and it spits out a custom bag with a measured amount of foam inside. You have to place it in the box with the product to be shipped, and seal the box as it expands.
When you close the box while its expanding, the box is able to contain it and keep it from expanding and busting through the sides?

I might have to experiment a little with this using a small built version of a wall cavity. I have never worked with foam insulation before. I always assumed the foam expansion was aggressive in its expansion process. I thought that if I used foam, an option would be to leave the top open and cut off any excess that expands beyond the top of the walls. Would I be correct in assuming that?
 

ajwillys

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I thought that if I used foam, an option would be to leave the top open and cut off any excess that expands beyond the top of the walls. Would I be correct in assuming that?
If you do that (not sure if you need to or not), make sure you use masking tape around any finished edges to make sure the overflow doesn't harm the finished surfaces. I used expanding foam in some doors once and taping off the area first made clean up alot easier.
 

SweetSounds

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89OctaneStang,
Mildew: Another great reason for foam in a bag - It's sealed from moisture! At least on 5 sides, and as long as nothing sharp in the wall punctures it...
The foam we use doesn't deform the boxes at all. This stuff expands A LOT! But with very little pressure. The last time I used it the machine spit out a 24" x 24" bag, with just about an inch of un-expanded foam at the bottom edge. When it was done, it was a 2x2 pillow about 4 inches thick. It uses "FOAMplus" foam. We get it in 55gal drums. I'm not sure if it would be available in smaller quantities.

ajwillys,
Good point on the cleanup! Foam is a b***h to get of of anything it touches. I'd just cut the plastic sheet big enough so it hangs out 2 or 3 feet on every side. When it's done expanding, just run a blade across the top edge of the wall to cut it off. Looks like it would work in my head anyway...
 

bendavanza

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Some foam spray, like what they sell at the hw stores, is capable of making a lot of pressure, and can deform windows and door jambs. Other kinds do their expanding before hardening, there are all kinds of formulas.
I would do a trial run for sure, and yes you would cut off the excess after it cures.
 

89OctaneStang

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Well, first test of foam insulation in my rolling portable kegerator project took a dissapointing turn. From the way the guy spoke at Home Depot that is a sales person for "Hilti CF 116", I was sure that I got a decent product for the projects. Not so much...

It sprays out like a thick version of silly string and is hard to cover all the areas. And I expected it to expand and close the voids that I accidentally created but it did not expand much at all. It is very difficult to get a good even coat of this into something like my projects require.

- Hilti CF 116 expanding foam insulation: Not Recommended
- $8.00/Can for one cubic foot of uneven coverage
 

89OctaneStang

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Just a thought..
Where I work, we use the 2 part foam chemical to pack odd shape stuff for shipping. We have a machine that takes a roll of plastic and makes a sort of bag on the fly. You punch in something like 18" and it spits out a custom bag with a measured amount of foam inside. You have to place it in the box with the product to be shipped, and seal the box as it expands.
You could slide some thin plastic sheet down the cavity, maybe using some broom handles or something to push the corners of the "bag" to the bottom. Think of it like a pool liner, or like pressing a single sheet of plastic into a cereal box. Then pour/spray the foam into that.
It won't make it any easier to remove, because as the foam expands, it'll press the plastic to the contours of the cavity (A good thing I think). However, it will prevent the foam from surrounding the coils, or contaminating other delicate parts in the walls.
Can you find out if they sell the product you use anywhere for consumer purchase?
 

SweetSounds

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You know, I can't find the stuff we use. We buy 55gal drums of the "FOAMplus" brand foam for the STOROpack system. However a quick search of McMaster Carr turned up these
It looks to be about the same thing, but pre-packaged, almost smack-pack type stuff.
Alternatively, you can get 550 Gallons of it here! :rockin:
High-level information is here

I'm having a hard time finding small quantity suppliers online, but I don't have the time to dig very deep right now. I'll try again later.

If you want to look, Google "foam-in-place" packaging. I know SOMEBODY has to sell this crap in gallon cans somewhere right?!?
 

bendavanza

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You want a pour in, not a silly string spray. Like this:
 
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SweetSounds

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That's the stuff!
Didn't even think about the boating industry...
Relatively cheap too, considering if the freezer wall has a 2x24x30" cavity, that's only about .8 cubic feet of space. Should cost less than $50.00
 

89OctaneStang

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Just to keep everyone informed on my progress...

Ordered the 2 part pour in foam insulation from Aero Marine Products Inc.
http://www.jgreer.com/boat-foam.htm

Will be pressure washing out the remainder of the isulation that is in the walls and cleaning it with bleach to kill off any bacteria that might be growing inside. Then when my insulation gets here, we will finish with that phase of the transformation.

I have also been working on my portable kegerator. Started that project to see what I was up against with foam insulation and found that the spray cans are crap for what we are intending to do. I went with just the Polystyrene Sheathing foam board insulation, 2 layers thick. Figured for as little use as it will get, that would be plenty. I will post pics of its progress this weekend as I get it further to completion.

Thanks guys for the suggestions on the pour in foam insulation! I think it will work out great.
:mug:
 

89OctaneStang

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Well... You guys will probably react like, WTF?? Cause this thread is back up again but between recent training, deployment overseas, and new orders to Ft Bragg, NC... I've been a bit busy. I do want to appologize for the distance between posts and the progress on my project. But WAIT, all that did was enhance me with some additional tools to make this project turn out a little better...

My new neighbor (and drinking buddy) here in Fayetteville has afforded me the opportunity to use his shop behind his home to continue my project. And not to mention, he has sand blasting, welding, and painting equipment with graphics design.. so this should turn out a little cooler than expected!

In between drinking good beer, we will be working on his 64 Ford and the Kelvinator! This thread should become alive once more!!

Thanks for all your patience! Progress and pics to come soon...
:tank:

Brian
 

89OctaneStang

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I spent a long time trying to figure out the best way to get the insulation out with out damaging any of the lines or structure of the freezer. I was then granted some wisdom from a friend, why not break it up with a crobar and suck it out with a shop vac? Worked very well and it all came out with ease.

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89OctaneStang

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Well, I have found out that using an old batch of AeroMarine 2 part foam insulation doesn't do much. I finally got around to that after almost two years and we mixed the two parts and poured them in with little to no expansion in the foam up the walls. I have a new batch of 2 part AeroMarine insulation on order to be shipped soon.

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89OctaneStang

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Be careful working with this product. It can be very messy and whatever it drips onto, it pretty much belongs there now.. lol

It is a very fast paced mix and pour. Be sure that you watch the how to videos online prior to using this product. They say that it starts activating about 30 seconds after mixing but I suggest mixing as fast as possible until it becomes like a pancake batter color. Once it starts to get the same consistancy of "pancake batter", it is very difficult to pour and control where you want it to go. It seemed a little easier pouring it just before it got to that point.

Again, this was almost a two year old product. So when the new stuff comes in, I may have different results.
 

89OctaneStang

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If you notice, the inside freezer compartment sits on what appears to be 1"x6" treated wood frame. The compartment is not screwed down to this and there is nothing other than the insulation holding the boards upright. This means that the inside compartment is freestanding and can shift on you during your work. All I did was have my neighbor hold the inside compartment exactly where we wanted it during the pour and expansion of the foam insulation. We will continue to do the same process when we finish with the new insulation.

I am not concerned with any movement after the insulation sets up and hardens because this stuff is hard as a rock when set.
 

89OctaneStang

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The goal is to complete this project within the next month and to keep the restoration cost under $200. Then I have figured about another $400 for the completion of the system to total $600 and about 48 man hours in time.
Well that goal was horribly off. Almost two years later... Oh and not to mention, I started pricing everything that I need for the draft system, restoration parts, sanding/painting supplies, etc... and I am going to be about 3 times the $600 total I was aiming for.

:mug:
 

89OctaneStang

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Just got off the phone with a tech at AeroMarine and found out that the reason the first attempt of foam insulation did not expand as much as it should have was due to the outside temperature. The day I did this, it was about 60 degrees outside and the bottles of polyurethane foam had been sitting in the garage at very low temps. Before I used them, I should have let them get up to atleast 70 degrees. This specific product expands to its fullest at 75 degrees.

I also found out that I am not the only person that has and or will be using this product in a freezer. The temperature ranges of a freezer are well within the limits that the polyurethane can handle. And working with such an old appliance, my other concern was how combustable it might be. When held to an open flame, the foam will simply just char and break down. So that eases the mind for fear of a possible electrical fire.

The 2# polyurethane foam yeilded an R-rating of 7, and the tech was unsure of the thickness of the foam when tested. She also went on to say that the 2# is more than enough for a freezer.
 

89OctaneStang

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Its amazing to see where this thing transferred from two years ago... I am finally at just a cosmetic stage. Here is a glimpse of where I am now:

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89OctaneStang

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So the pour in foam insulation was an experience. With little to no guidance/training on using this product, I have a lot to discuss...

As stated before, it is important that you use a fresh product and maintain temps between 70-75 degrees on both the product, equipment and air temperature. It expands a lot better and you get full utilization out of the entire product. Also, this product is a fast paced process, so do not think you have any extra time to do anything else but foam insulation. The following pics is of my process:

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89OctaneStang

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Mix Part A with Part B... It only takes a few seconds (maybe 15-30 seconds) to create a pancake like batter mix. Then its ready to pour. If you feel it begin to thicken up, move fast and get it where you want it because it has already started to activate:

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89OctaneStang

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It rises about 6-10" for every 1/4" pour. I really needed about two of the 1 gallon purchases from Aero Marine. I had to use spray foam insulation in the lid which turned out not so good...

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Gear101

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Nice work, is it going to be cobra looking
 

89OctaneStang

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With the insulation in, I was able to finally started scraping and stripping off the paint. I was afraid to put any pressure on the outside body of the freezer for a few reasons. I didn't want to warp or put any more dents in the surface than it already had and I also didnt want to disturb any of the inside coolant lines as they are obviously old...

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89OctaneStang

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Prior to the foam insulation, I had to ensure that all holes and prep work was complete because I did not want to guess where the coolant lines were located. With that, I prefit the tap tower:

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