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Old 09-07-2014, 10:45 PM   #1
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Interior Restoration of old yellowed Dometic fridge in airstream trailers or motorhom

So this weekend I finally got around to painting my Agosy's end caps after doing the yellowed bathroom fixtures 5 years back. I used Krylon fusion on both the caps and the bathroom. I did a step by step how to thread on the end cap restoration as I have been thrilled with how well the bathroom has held up and I figured that with how easy it is to do, no one should have to live with the hideous yellow of aged plastic. Here is the link to the cap restoration if interested. I'm restoring my 1970s end caps finally :-) - Airstream Forums
Anyway while doing the cap I was thinking to myself, hey I wonder if the marvelous krylon fusion stuff will work to fix my disgustingly grotesque looking fridge interior. Here's the fridge, I took it at night so that hides some of the grossness 😉
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:13 PM   #2
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
The first thing you need to do before painting anything is a test patch to ensure you have a good surface bondage. You would not want to go through a lot of work to have it fail.
I first do a scratch test, what that means is give your test area a good scratching with your fingernails or a coin or something like that, ensure nothing comes off. Then do a tape test, that means use really sticky tape, scrape it firmly onto your test area and rip it off quickly. If ANY paint comes up do not proceed with whatever product you have, try some thing different. Mine held up well on both tests even though I did not clean or prep the surface for paint at all. I am sure some people may have concerns with paint taste contaminating their food. I can say that with all the Kylon I have chucked around my trailer this weekend I can barely smell anything, but if you are concerned about VOCs just paint it at the end of your camping season and leave your fridge open till spring. I am more concerned with my fridge is so gross it makes me lose my appetite. Before we repaired it a few years back the previous owner said it have not run in over ten years, close the door on that 10 years and imagine what I got when I bought it 😨 I've bleached it, Mr Clean Magic Erasered it.. it was still discolored rusty, yellowed and just down right un-appealing
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:30 PM   #3
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
First things first...the mold stained rusty fridge seal has to come off, honestly that was the part that was the most disgusting to me. I had cleaned it in place many, many times never to satisfying results. It's hard to get in to a the folds and flutes in a seal. I had no idea you could remove the darn things. I had accidently stumbled upon a how to repair a fridge site recently and went holy cr*p is it really that easy. I ran outside and mine came off the same way...so excited... you lift up the inside edge of the seal and remove screws. It's that freakin easy, I had no idea.

In the post I had found it instructs you to remove the two screws in each corner and just loosen of the edge ones... well let me tell you what happens when you decide, ya know, these screws are really yucky I'm gonna just take 'em all out and wash them. Kerplunk.... The whole freaking door falls apart. 6 pieces on the floor, not so bad I broke the breakable ones fall. No harm no foul...and hey, way easier to paint the door panel now.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:42 PM   #4
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
I cannot express how yucky I felt touching the bottom of the seal when I had to pry it back to get to the lower screws, anything that had ever oozed out of the fridge in the last 40 years left it's mark in there, including the eggs that scrambled themselves in there on the logging road while boondocking last week, ick...😲 hence to reason I wanted to wash those screws. I had to exacto knife the screw heads clear to undo them. Well into the tub with the seal. First I just straight out hosed the seal off and let the chunky bits run down the drain, more ick... Then I filled the tub with hot water with pine sol to degrease it and take the gunk back a layer. After a very thorough rinsing to ensure I did not have a chemical reaction I filled the tub with hot water with a bucket load of bleach and a whole lot of Oxi clean powder and left them to soak overnight. Oh my, it was so much better. I left out the before pic, but trust me, yucky. More rust visible than white.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:47 PM   #5
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Next I gave it another big rinse to ensure all the bleach was gone and then tackled that thing with a Mr Clean magic sponge, a stiff bristled brush and CLR rust remover. Several times. It helped take a bunch off, but honestly I think the rust is holding the bottom of the seal together at this point in time. I will call it good enough for now. Although later when it has dried thoughly I will do a small test area with Krylon and see what happens.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:57 PM   #6
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Next it was the plastic fridge door parts turn for a bath. In the molded shelf parts in the back it is stuffed with insulation, the upper and side ones were ok, but that bottom piece... well can we say 40 year old sponge everybody. More eww... chiseled it out and carefully placed it in the shower for a scrub. It is very, very flimsy and likely very brittle so I handled it carefully. It is in suprisingly good condition, only one real crack so I need advice on what to fix that with..
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:05 AM   #7
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Well the door panel was drying I worked on refreshing the freezer area. I make sense to me to work from the top down, saves cleaning get the same area twice.

I used 000 steel wool and it polished up really well. And I learned that the screws in the back are not supposed to be furry and the washers are actually stainless under there, who knew. I used an exacto knives to scrape the gunk from the corners. This pic is when only the right side was done. What you see in the bottom on the left is just the debris from the steel wool.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:18 AM   #8
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Back to the door panel, I carefully placed it on an outside work station and gave it a thorough scrub with a fine Scotch Brite pad and 000 steel wool. I followed that up with several washings with a Mr Clean Magic eraser and pine sol to degrease and de-grime. I then repeatedly used a series of micro fiber clothes to rinse it clean. Pay special attention to the corner of the shelves to get all the steel wool debris and sponge bits out.

Note, I gave the paint test area a really good scour with the steel wool and scotch Brite pads, real good... As you can see I scoured a wee bit off, but more like a sanding than a failing so I still give it a very good pass in my books considering there was no prior prep to the area.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:44 AM   #9
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
While the panel dried I went back to work on the fridge. First I removed the metal shelves which are very corroded and have left an aweful lot of rust stains on the fridge interior. Then I removed all the hardware I could, at this point I realized I had a lotta little itsy bits to lose so I started a baggy to keep them safe. I found I could remove the screw from the shelf stoppers but not actually get the clips out. They seem to be a pressure clip as well as the screw and I was worried that I would shatter the fragile plastics if I pried so I left them be, but keep the stainless screw out to keep them paint free the polish up later.
Then I started in with the pine sol and Mr Clean Magic eraser, (side note, if you have never used these sponges you are missing out, they rock but they must be wet to work, they do absolutely nothing when dry) It didn't really change the appearance because most of the issue was aging and stains but at least it was clean.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:57 AM   #10
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Next round CLR rust remover, so I gave the fridge a thorough rinse before starting so as to not have a possible chemical reaction with the pine sol. I doused that thing with the rust remover and rubbed the heck out of it with a magic sponge soaked in the CLR, minor change. I was kind of disappointed in the product. Oh well, out comes the steel wool, when in a jam just take a layer off. I needed to scuff it for the paint to have a proper bonding surface anyway ☺ I used a paint scraper to work the magic sponges and the steel wool into the hard to reach areas, it looked way better after. Maybe okay enough for some to call it a day but it's still stained and dingy so I am still painting it.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:20 AM   #11
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
The bottom of the fridge has a faded away sticker that if you look at the right angle you can see it used to say keep this area clear. I work at a sign shop so I am just going to remove and reproduce this decal. To remove it gently heat it up with a blow dryer to soften up the adhesive then use your fingernails to pick it off. If it is a particularly stubborn one use a straight razor to carefully scrape it taking off small pieces with each pass.
I usually have a commercial glue remover but I was out of it at home. I soaked the area in 90% isopropyl alcohol and let it soak in a couple minute then used my putty knife to get the bulk of the glue reside off, then a little more alcohol on a paper towel and a little more elbow grease to get the rest off. The sticker that is on the fridge door is in good condition so I masked it off to protect it while painting.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-08-2014, 01:29 AM   #12
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Almost time to paint, just need to protect all that I don't want to get paint on. I was particularly concerned with protecting the grill and temp sensor. First I located the sensor and padded all around it with tissue paper just in case any over spray got in the area I am going to seal off.
Then I sealed up the whole area around the grill and sensor with some of my handy dandy pre mask tape from the sign shop. This stuff was 6 inches wide so it only took two pieces to cover the whole unit. While I was at it I used the same stuff to seal the ice box
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:41 AM   #13
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
First coat of Krylon Fusion on the door panel and it already looks way better, after it dried an hour I gave it a scrub down with the Scotch Brite pad then steel wool. Considering how much spillage a camper fridge sees it is very important that my final finish be perfectly smooth. The color of Krylon I used is called Dover White.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:54 AM   #14
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Second coat, same sanding, cleaning, drying and applying another coat when using Krylon (and most other spray paints) your consecutive coats must be applied within 24 hours, within 4 if using the metallic Krylon Fusion like I used on my tambour doors. Otherwise you must wait 7 days before you can apply the next coat.

I remember painting a toddler chair I found on the side of the road for my son years ago. I did not follow these directions and it turned in to a crinkly mess, and that would really bite to wash a fridge that textured so I highly recommend you follow the rules on your can.
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