Commercial SS Fridge Build: My First Try

Discussion in 'Fridge/Freezer Builds' started by mneeley490, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well gentlemen, I think it's time to post a few pics of my build, since it is very close to completion

    I started this in June when I bought a large, single door, Viking commercial SS fridge for $200. Sitting on its wheeled stand, it is over 6' tall. Seemed like bargain to me, compared to what some manufacturers want for their little units. My plan was to have it gutted, refitted with an electrical element, and up and running within a month. Ha, ha, yeah, right. Should've come to this site first, instead of when I ran into trouble.

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    First thing I discovered was the bane of blown-in polyurethane foam. It took me all summer to separate the inside liner from the outside shell. I have posted elsewhere that I had to poke a hole all the way down the side with a steel rod, about 5', and thread a length of chainsaw chain through it. My son and I then used it like a bucksaw to go around all three sides. That took about 1-1/2 hours of sawing.  After that, I had about 4-5 large black trash bags filled with the junk. What a mess!!! I painstakingly scraped off all I could, and then took a blow torch to the residue.

    View of top

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    After scraping out 4"+ from the top and sides

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    Finally apart.

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    The door was easier. Removed the plastic inner side and cut it into squares, like rice crispy cookies.

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    More to come.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  2. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice work! I have the same unit and understand your one month comment! I went propane powered with auto ignite pilot and a thermostat.
     
  3. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

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    After the polyurethane was finally behind me, I re-insulated with Roxul, a fireplace insulation, and then re-assembled the unit. I bought and installed a 1500w Brinkman replacement element and Auber PID controler. My bro-in-law was kind enough to manufacture the pieces I needed for a guiderail around the element and a house-shaped, sheet metal smoker box, similar to those used by Cookshack, Smokin' Tex, and Smokin' It units, to slide over the guiderail. I drilled and assembled the smokebox, and it fit like a glove.

    I apologize for the wierd lines in the pics. It was cold in my garage when I took them, and I think it may have done something weird to my digital camera.

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    Installed

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    PID thermostat installed in back, about midway up.

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    Another sheet of metal on the bottom, angled down to the left front corner. That is where I drilled a 1-1/4" drain hole, and slid in a 6" length of thin, stainless sink pipe with a slight flange on top. This also doubles as my air intake. You can also see the doorjam strips I replaced for the original plastic ones.

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    I took advantage of a 1-1/2" hole in the top and back, where the refrigerator tubing originally came in, to put in another stainless piece of pipe for the smokestack, secure by two huge washers. Everything is sealed with aluminum-colored, high temp, food grade silicon.

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    To the smokestack I am attaching a short elbow, and improvising a raincap with a small, replacement charbroil drip bucket. Pics of that to follow.
     
  4. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is very nice professional looking work you have done on the interior.
     
  5. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks. I was basically making this up as I went along, but I really appreciate everything I can glean from this forum.

    My second problem came last week. I insulated and buttoned up the door, then used fireplace gasket cement to adhere 3/4" stove rope around the edge. I waited in anticipation for two whole days for it to dry.

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    Then when I re-hung the door, I discovered it was still short of a good seal. There were gaps I could shine a light all the way through and out the other side. Well, that was no good, so I ripped off the 3/4", chipped off the cement, and purchased some 1" yesterday. I'm still waiting for another tube of cement from Ace hardware. They say it should be in on Thursday.

    Hopefully I will get this completed by this weekend, and start my first test run and seasoning.
     
  6. smokingohiobutcher

    smokingohiobutcher Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man sweet looking build!  Great job!  It will be worth all the extra work in the end.

    SOB
     
  7. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've used Rutlands High Heat silicone sealant for mounting stove rope to fridge doors. I have never used the cement you are using, so I can not compare; but will say the silicone sealant holds well and is flexible when dry. It comes in either a dispensable tube or caulking style tube.
     
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great build so far!

    You do very nice work!
     
  9. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    MossyMo, I've gone through about 1-1/2 tubes of silicone (10 oz calking gun style) in covering all the holes and so forth. Most of that was on the inside door jam. And to go all the way around the door used about 3/4 of a tube of Rutland cement, and I'm happy with it. It doesn't peel away like silicone would. It hardens like mortar.

    So either way, I'd have to wait for my little, local Ace to get it in. They don't normally carry such stuff in those sizes, and none of the big box stores do. Man, as far as that goes, I can't say enough about Ace Hardware. 80% of the stuff I needed came from them. Lowes and Home Depot were absolutely useless.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  10. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So I put the new 1" gasket on the door and hung it. Doing the test run right now. Once I got the PID programming figured out (that took over 2 hours; that manual could really be better) , it seems to be running like a champ! About another hour to go, and then I'll shut it down. Got it up as high as 298 degrees, then the PID started complaining, so back down to 230 for 4 hours. Sprayed down the inside with Pam, and put about 6-8 oz of hickory chunks in the smokebox for this test. So far it appears to be smoking and seasoning nicely.

    Drain hole/air inlet

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    PID A-OK!

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    Fired up!

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    Improvised a raincap and damper on the smokestack. The cap is an upsidedown drain cup. The damper flapper is a washer that was slightly smaller in diameter than the pipe, and fastened to some #6 threaded rod, with a wingnut to indicate position. Just had to cut a couple slots in the pipe to drop the damper down into, and O-ring the cap supports on.

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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  11. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very nice - man that sure is a quality build - congrats 
     
  12. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very nice ! ! ! !
     
  13. That's going to be a really nice smoker! I recently got a double door aluminum fridge and I am going to convert it. I am going to try and do it without removing the insulation though. Man that looks like a lot of work....
     
  14. gersus

    gersus Smoking Fanatic

    Nice! A lot of work but a real nice smoker thats gonna provide some awesome food!
     
  15. driedstick

    driedstick Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    sweeeeet
     
  16. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well the seasoning went well. But when I tried my very first smoke in it, my Auberin PID unit blew a fuse before I was even finished programing it. Contacted the company, and they said it was probably a defective fuse, but when they blow, the fuse box is probably damaged as well. They want me to send it back for repairs.

    Not a good start, and I'm very disappointed. Especially since I have friends coming in from abroad next week, and I wanted to show it off.

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    Has anyone else had this problem with Auberin units?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  17. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I often feel in circumstances like this customer service should offer to send out a new unit and to have the customer return the defective model in the box the new one arrived in with pre-paid shipping. Hope you get this obstacle resolved quickly...
     
  18. How hard was it to remove that foam insulation? I have been on a search for a fridge like yours, but all I can find is the foam insulation too
     
  19. dpeart

    dpeart Smoke Blower


    I agree with MossyMO.  Auberins has been good in the past at helping get people working.  I'd call them up, explain the situation and see if they would cross ship you a replacement unit.

    dave
     
  20. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Mossymo, yeah that's what I kinda thought too. They didn't even offer to cover the shipping.

    Big Casino, it depends on how easy it is to get to the foam. Mine was a b**** because the exterior panels could not be taken off from the outside. If you can find one that can, it will be much easier to remove the foam. Just remember, there is no solvent that will melt the stuff. You have to remove it all by hand.

    If I were to do another one, I'd look for a vintage fridge.
     

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