Thursday, August 7, 2008

I made a cooler usable again

Sometimes when I'm scooting around on the ugly scootling I come across things I can't pass up. A few days ago I found a large dirty, and broken Igloo cooler. My dad has a couple of these and they're great for long trips or parties. While I can use his when I need one, as I passed this one waiting for garbage pickup I decided I could use one for myself. It's probably one of the largest coolers Igloo makes, and with the lid trying to fall off, I loaded it onto the passenger seat, threw and arm over it and putted unsteadily back to the house, gathering more than a couple funny looks for having a cooler as long as the scooter itself with me.

Once I got it back to the house I cleaned it up some. Dried fish goo and dirt were caked inside and out so I scoured it with Comet after taking all the hardware off. Next was to find a way to fix the broken parts on it.

When I looked on Igloo's website they wanted 15 dollars for a "cooler repair kit". This includes a set of plastic hinges, clasps for the front, and some other odds and ends. The problem with these are the same as why this cooler was in the trash. They break reliably within a year or two since the hinging is just flexing plastic. I decided to use some chrome steel hinges for 99c a pack from the local hardware store. There was also the problem of keeping it closed but I decided to simply forgoe the clasps since the lid is heavy enough to hold itself shut mostly. The handle areas were cracked, and looked like they might not hold up too well under weight, so I used some 2 part epoxy and JB Weld (JB Quik actually) to reinforce those areas and to keep water out of the foam inside. I may have sealed in some sugar ants as well. Since the drain cap was MIA I went looking for a plug for the hole. A cork from a bottle of Hana Sake did the trick nicely. The last problem was the strap inside that keeps the lid from flopping back. That was an easy fix. Cut off the broken part and put a new hole in it. Good as new.

There were a couple things that I tried that didn't work like I wanted. I tried to use a window clasp where the normal clasp was, but the plastic is soft enough that a good pull would pop it open. I also tried to replace the strap inside with a piece of bike inner tube, but the rubber was too stretchy and didn't work.

After that, I stenciled on my name the lid since my dad's cooler is so similar to mine. Wouldn't want him to accidently lay claim to it. ;) I'm gonna take it out today with some friends to a dirt bike track and give it a good test.

Update 1:

Took the cooler out, it works as expected, except the handles were both on the virge of coming off the whole time. I replaced the screws with some bolts going clean through to the inside. It's not the prettiest solution, but I'd rather not have a heavy cooler fall on my toe again....

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