I found a good deal on CraigsList for a small GE fridge that I have been able to convert into a 2 corny kegerator. It is GE model WMR04BAPBB.
I have not added a tower to it yet, but do plan on adding that in the future. There is a diagram on the back of the fridge that says there is just a single line running on the top of the fridge right near the front, so adding a tower should not be a problem. The fridge did require quite a bit of modification, but none of it was too difficult to accomplish. I followed many different how-to’s out there for converting a mini-fridge and tried to combine bits and pieces from all of them to get a result that worked for me. So here’s a big thank you to all the other how-to’s out there for helping me out.
Removing the door shelves
The first thing that I had to accomplish was removing the shelving from the door to make room for even a single keg in the fridge. The shelving comes off quite easily by removing all of the screws from under the rubber seal. There are a lot of screws, so an electric screwdriver is quite handy here.
Cutting the shelves out of the door
Once all the screws are removed, the rubber gasket and door panel insert will come right off. The rubber gasket fits tightly around the door panel insert, I removed it so I could cut up the insert without messing up the gasket. Using a Sharpie, I made a mark around the insert where I intended to cut it out. I made the cut at the point where the insert makes a 90 degree bend to start forming the shelves. This gave me a little bit of the insert to work with for securing the rubber gasket as well as adding a new panel to cover up the bare fridge door. The 90 degree bend also made it very easy to draw a straight line. Using a utility knife, I was able to cut all the way around the door panel insert until all I had left was the outside ring that fits into the rubber gasket.
Add new door insert
I originally tried to use plexiglass to replace the door insert, but had a very difficult time working with it. I found that the rubber gasket was meant for thin plastic that has a groove in it so the plexi did not fit well into the gasket. The door also has a little bit of contour to it, so when I tightened the screws to hold the rubber gasket and plexi in place the plexi cracked around the holes I had drilled in it. I decided that I was going to need to cut the door insert and use the edge of that to hold the rubber gasket. I still wanted to cover the cardboard on the inside of the door, so I used corrugated plastic cut to fit inside the plastic that I had remaining after cutting the door insert. I taped the plastic pieces together, put the rubber gasket back on and attached the whole thing to the door with the original screws.
Bend the freezer down
Preparing the freezer to be bent down was the hardest part of the build due to the way it is shaped and held in place. There are no screws to remove, but the inside of the fridge is molded specifically to hold the freezer in place. I first removed the thermostat so there was enough space for the freezer to bend down. Getting the left side of the freezer out of the molding was not too difficult, bending the middle of the freezer down a little in the middle allowed enough space for the left side to come out of the molding. The right side was much more difficult. I used a screwdriver to pry the top part out of the molding and then bent the whole side a little more than 90 degrees to allow enough space for it to fold down. Once the 2 sides were free I was able to slowly bend the whole thing down to the back of the fridge. I was not able to get it completely flat, but I have enough space for a 5 lb CO2 bottle. Bending the freon pipes was not hard (I was in my 100+ degree garage so everything was nicely warm and flexible) but I was nervous about kinking it. Everything still seems to be working, so I must have done all right.
Securing the CO2
The shelf in the back of the fridge is just barely big enough to hold a 5 lb CO2 bottle, but it likes to tip forward, so I have secured it with an old backpack strap. I cut a piece of 1×4 long enough to go all the way across the back of the fridge and used gorilla glue to glue it directly below the freezer plate. I used 2 screws and attached the strap directly behind where the bottle will go. I found that a strap that had a large buckle would not work because it would not stay tight. The bottle was too small around for the big buckle but luckily I had a second strap with a smaller buckle lying around.
Getting 2 kegs to fit
Unfortunately the ridges used to hold the shelves up made the fridge just a bit too narrow for 2 kegs side by side so i had to cut them off. I probably could have just cut them off on one side, but since I was already cutting them off on one side I decided to do both to get as much room as possible. The plastic is pretty thin, so I was able to cut them pretty easily with a utility knife. The hard part was to not cut the insulation too deep.
Relocate the thermostat
I moved the thermostat up and back to get it out of the way of the kegs. I didn’t want to screw it in place for fear of hitting a coolant line in the side of the fridge. For now I have just used duct tape to hold it in place. We’ll see if that holds over the long term. I did have to extend the wires a little bit, but was able to get some 90 degree flag connectors at Radio Shack to make the connection easily.
A couple of you have asked about the inside dimensions of the fridge so I have finally remembered to take measurements when I had the kegs out last night. After shaving off the shelf rails, it is just over 17″ wide (maybe 17 1/8″ at the most). At the tallest point it is 28 1/4″ tall, and 20 3/8″ of space above the compressor shelf. From the door back to the compressor shelf is 10 3/4″ and the shelf is 6″ deep. Hopefully this describes it well enough for you to get a good picture of the space. Let me know in the comments if it is confusing. Unfortunately I don’t think you will be able to ferment in this fridge unless you ferment in a corny keg. Sorry it took me so long to get these details.
The finished product and more pictures
Here are a few extra pics I took throughout the process, including a couple of the finished product – finished for now anyway. I will try to write up my experience of adding a tower once I’m able to get one.
I have finally added a post with a little bit of information about installing a tower on this fridge. I did not document the process, so all the information is from memory and pics taken after I was finished. Sorry I took so long to get this done. You can find the post here.
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Thanks for your AWESOME directions!!! I got the GE fridge on Craigslist..$75 (probably paid too much but it was clean and hardly used) and installed my keg conversion kit. I was very concerned about cracking the freon cable (I cracked my old one) but the fridge was really warm and I worked very slowly. I’ve got my eye on the temperature and have a Johnsons temp. control to install if necessary. Anyway I followed your directions step by step and tonight…I’m drinking beer!! Thanks again!!
I’ve got pictures but can’t figure out how to import them…
Great site. I was able to find this same model of fridge on craigslist locally for $50, and I’m in the process of converting it so two corny ball lock kegs will fit inside (they should arrive tomorrow). Thanks for documenting your conversion and doing this write up on how you did it (with pics even!). Otherwise I would not have had the balls to get this fridge and try it myself.
I have a question about how you moved the thermostat. When you spliced on the new wires so it would reach to the back of the fridge what kind of wire did you use and have you had any issues with it since you did it? The wires that are coming out of the side of fridge are labeled as AWG18 but I can’t find that gauge wire anywhere (HD, Ace hardware, even Target). Did you use that same gauge wire or is it OK to use another gauge? I haven’t done a lot of electrical work as you can tell. Thanks for the help and, again, great write up on your conversion. I plan to do one too, and I will definitely cite your page as my main inspiration. 🙂
Take it easy,
Thanks for letting me know it helped. I’ve followed a lot of how-to’s on the internet for many years and never really had a good way to give back, so I’m glad to hear it has helped someone.
As for the thermostat, I did use 18 gauge wire. I believe I picked up a small spool from Radio Shack. I’m definitely not an electrician either, but I believe you can use a higher gauge wire (smaller number) and be ok. You just don’t want to go with a smaller gauge. However, I would definitely double check that with someone who knows more about wiring than I do.
I also just finished putting a two tap tower on top of this fridge, but I haven’t had a chance to write it up yet. Unfortunately once I got going on the project I forgot to take any pictures, but I’ll try to get it written up in the next few days. Just wanted to let you know it is possible (and not difficult) if you are interested in doing the same. I got tired of the picnic taps inside the fridge very quickly. They are rather messy.
Good luck with the build,
Thanks for getting back to me so fast. That’s what I kinda figured about the wire. That using a smaller gauge would be OK. I will double check with my wife’s friend’s husband who’s a master electrician. Don’t know why I didn’t think to ask him earlier. Oh well. I may check out Radio Shack too. I would prefer to use the same gauge wire, just for safety’s sake.
Yeah, I have plans for a two tap tower eventually too. Although at this point it’s just in my head since I just dropped almost $300 on the keg system and fridge. So my wife doesn’t need to know about the tower plan until later. 😉 Glad to know it’s possible but I figured it was after looking at the plan of the cooling system on the back of the fridge. Looks like there is only one line over the top and it’s way in the front. I will definitely check with the corn starch/alcohol trick. Can you post a pic of your fridge with the tower on it? I’d like to see what it looks like.
Thanks again, Ryan. Have a great day.
FYI for anyone reading these comments, my friend who is a master electrician said it is fine to use 16 or even 14 gauge wire to splice onto the 18 gauge. Just thought I would pass it on to anyone doing this same conversion.
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Nice build. Have the opportunity to purchase this same model for $50. Things look tight, was wondering how pin locks would fit. It looks like the narrower pin locks would work without having to cut the shelf brackets, but how would height work? What clear height do you have?
There is about 2″ of clearance to the gas/beer lines going into the keg, and about 3″ to the top of the keg. I’m not sure what the size difference of the pin-lock keg is, so hopefully this helps.
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Thanks for the clear instructions and great photos!
Any tips about how to bend down the freezer so I don’t rupture a freon line?
Gow much clearance do you have from the back of the fridge to the door at the bottom were the compressor shelf is? I’m looking to purchase this model and use it for fermentation and lagerig. Is there enough room for a 1 foot wide fermentation bucket or Carboy? With the door being able to shit? How about the distance from the compressor shelf to the top? How much clearance do you have there?
I’m sure you have purchased something by now, but I did update the post with the dimensions. Sorry it took me so long to do this.
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Whats the inside dimensions of ur fridge if u don’t mind.
I’ve updated the post above with the dimensions. Hopefully this helps.
Pics of the Tower build? Where’d you put your hole for it?
I just want to say Thank You! I have the same refrigerator (except mine is white). I followed your instructions and pictures. now I have an perfect little frequenterportable Kegerator (with picnic taps).
Jack of all beers, master of none.
Hi Ryan. I am considering buying one of these for a fermentation chamber. With little modification could the fridge my speidel 30L fermenter which is rougly 15″ in diameter and 24″ tall?
I happen to have an extra fridge of this model, and am about to keg my homebrew for the first time (one batch with bottles was too many). This tutorial takes most of the guesswork out of it. Thanks!
Have you found/did you find the fridge after bending the freezer down has caused the temperature to be too low? I’m awaiting my leg to arrive and have placed some bottled and canned varieties in the fridge in the mean time, and have found them frozen, even on the warmest temp setting.
I haven’t had any issues with the temperature after making the modification.