Thread Number: 81301  /  Tag: Refrigerators
how to seal rear fridge opening
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Post# 1053152   12/4/2019 at 14:13 (212 days old) by dlb (BC, Canada)        

I'm working on a 70's Moffat fridge that generally works well but whatever used to seal around where the cooling lines enter and exit the rear of the fridge is gone. This acts the same way as a bad door seal, allowing moisture inside unit, and ice builds up and ends up coming out that rear hole.

Our current fridge is nothing interesting, just some run of the mill early 90's thing that works well, so I looked at its back side and found that its rear hole is sealed with something really hard but I have no idea what it is.

Does anyone know what is used, or what I should use to seal this hole?

Thanks in advance.

Post# 1053154 , Reply# 1   12/4/2019 at 14:21 (212 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
"Cork Insulation Tape" ....

is the old school solution that was used. It will get hard as a brick with age but works well for the first 30 years! LOL

Sticky black rubber tape with bits of cork in it that is used to insulate refrigeration lines that get cold and sweat. Also used on automotive a/c expansion valves to keep them from sweating and freezing over.

Still easily found on fleabay or amazon.

Post# 1053163 , Reply# 2   12/4/2019 at 15:26 (212 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

goatfarmer's profile picture

Why couldn't you use a clear silicone type caulk?

Post# 1053215 , Reply# 3   12/5/2019 at 08:27 (212 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Hi David.  The cork tape (also called tar-tape) is very useful for this. It is much easier to deal with in the future; as opposed to a sealant such as silicone. Also it looks like what they would have used originally.  I have some bought from an auto supply shop, since (as Bud explained) it's used for auto A/C duct and evaporator case sealing as well. Will try to remember to get the part number for this. You can probably get it at a local professional parts shop.




Post# 1053228 , Reply# 4   12/5/2019 at 11:41 (212 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
There is ......

an insulating foam tape that Homer's sells that I've tried in the past. It is sold in the window and door weatherstripping aisle and is light gray in color with a foil backer. It worked well initially and had similar characteristics as the cork insulation tape, but ..... after a few weeks it was found to unstick itself and not stay put. Leaving a mess of its clear gooy glue. The foam tape part delaminates itself from its glue and not worth the headache.

Post# 1053260 , Reply# 5   12/5/2019 at 18:45 (211 days old) by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

bradfordwhite's profile picture

I've seen this on frigs, too.


Plus, if you have other weather stripping to do around your house, it's well spent $3

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Post# 1053276 , Reply# 6   12/5/2019 at 20:41 (211 days old) by dlb (BC, Canada)        

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I found an appliance repair place nearby and asked them about this. They said they use a grey putty-type stuff called "sealing gum slug" or something like that. Here's a pic of what I'm talking about.

I bought a box of the stuff from them and used it today. I had thought about using spray foam but once that stuff is in a tight spot, it's hard as hell to get out, which is why I went with the slug stuff.

In other fridge sealing news, I don't have a heat gun but managed to use a blow dryer to get the freezer door seal back into shape. The fridge is almost ready to come inside! I'm so excited. I'll post pics once it's in.

Post# 1053377 , Reply# 7   12/6/2019 at 19:12 (210 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Aka .....

plumbers putty.

Basically clay, limestone and linseed oil. No insulating value with this stuff so if the suction line coming out of the back of the fridge gets cold enough, you could still get condensation to develop on top of this. But it will keep moisture from getting in.

Post# 1053389 , Reply# 8   12/6/2019 at 21:21 (210 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Permagum is the most common name for the product used for sealing refrigerator parts.

Post# 1053392 , Reply# 9   12/6/2019 at 22:17 (210 days old) by dlb (BC, Canada)        

Took some pics of the stuff I used. Is this Plumber's Putty? They seem similar but it says this stuff is specifically for refrigeration and A/C purposes. Maybe it's just Plumber's Putty that is formulated to stay supple when cold? Anyway, I'm testing the fridge out in the garage now so we'll see how it goes.

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Post# 1053406 , Reply# 10   12/7/2019 at 05:30 (210 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Interesting .....

perhaps this stuff has an insulating component in it like cork dust since it advertises itself as "insulation". It said non toxic in the first picture you posted, so I assumed it to be a form of plumbers putty.

Are there 2 lines coming out the back of your fridge?

Post# 1053719 , Reply# 11   12/9/2019 at 19:42 (207 days old) by dlb (BC, Canada)        

Yup, there are two lines encased in one rubber hose that enter/exit the back of the fridge.

I think I'm pretty much done with the cleaning and repairs now so my wife helped me haul the beast up the stairs this afternoon. It's now sitting in the living room. If all goes well tomorrow, we will finally swap it with the current fridge. I'll post pics once it's in place.

Post# 1053725 , Reply# 12   12/9/2019 at 20:58 (207 days old) by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

Iíve always used the permagum stuff. Everybody refers to it as thumb gum. Itís a Hvac product and itís purpose is sealing holes like that.

Post# 1053891 , Reply# 13   12/10/2019 at 23:14 (206 days old) by dlb (BC, Canada)        

Finally got the old Moffat in and set up tonight. This was my first time putting all the interior pieces together, and I found some stuff is missing and damaged so it was a bit of a puzzle. I need to get a piece of glass made for one of the shelves, as you'll see in the pics.

It seems that there used to be some kind of support between the two lower shelves and drawers but I can't find any pics online of what it might have been so I took some measurements and just cut a piece of plywood into shape. It basically looks like a an open end wrench on the top and a rounded end on the bottom. The edges of the shelves lock together in the wrench end, and the rounded end sits in an indentation on the floor of the fridge. Obviously not ideal but it works well and it's not too visible, plus the most important thing is to make it work so my wife doesn't divorce me for making her put up with broken old appliances, haha.

All of the door shelves were broken too but they were easy to repair with screws.

I've seen that some people on this forum loathe the faux wood highlights but I adore it, and this fridge has it in spades. It's even inside on both the fridge and freezer. I also love the frozen juice tin storage compartment. These details really speak to the time when this thing was made, which incidentally seems to be 1976 -- I found that on the stove clock which looks like it was bought with this fridge as a set. I was given the stove too but it was in even worse shape than the fridge, plus I already had a harvest gold stove of the same make and vintage so I just took the clock and stove top (which had 2 large burners and 2 small, vs the 1 large and 3 small my stove had) and transplanted those things onto my stove.

This has been a fun and relatively painless little adventure, and I'm pleased to have learned a bit about both stoves and fridges in the process. This is a neat forum and I've been grateful for the help from everyone here. I'll be sure to check back in if I run into any hiccups with this thing in the next few days.

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Post# 1055938 , Reply# 14   12/30/2019 at 00:05 (187 days old) by dlb (BC, Canada)        

Update: the fridge worked great at first but over the course of a week, it got worse and worse. It was running constantly but the fridge temp wouldn't get below 8* C or so. I looked it up online and worked through the most common causes of those problems: the radiator was clean so no problem there; the defrost element in the cooling fins measured 25 ohms so that was fine; the defrost thermostat ohm reading was a little inconsistent when it was cooled down so I replaced it. The problem remained though, and I was out of ideas and tired of messing around so I called the local appliance repair place. The guy on the phone asked how old the fridge was, I said 1976, and he said I needed a new fridge. I didn't like that response but we talked some more and he eventually said that it still might be just be a defrost problem. They sent a tech out, and he said it was the defrost timer. He didn't have one with him so he told me to use a blow dryer on the cooling fins to get the frost buildup off and that should fix it until he could come back in a few days. I did, and he was right, it worked great again.

He came back on the Monday, threw a new defrost timer in ($30), and that was that. So cool that it was such an easy fix. The total repair bill was $165, which I thought was really reasonable. And that's it, the fridge is groovy now. Long live old junk.

Post# 1055959 , Reply# 15   12/30/2019 at 10:01 (187 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

This is great that the fix was simple.  Very happy the technician helped you and didn't give up when he saw it was older.




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