Introduction: Freezer Drawer Repair

About: Lecturer in engineering management. Not enough time to make things.

Our freezer’s drawers started to fall off their slideways. The plastic runners moulded on the sides of the drawers broke off.

These drawers seem to be going for around £20-£30 each on line.  To me that seems a lot, so a fix is required.

These have been working fine for a couple of weeks, so here’s how.

Ours is a Hotpoint Ultima, but I expect this will work for anything similar.

Step 1: Broken Runner

Here’s the damage.  The plastic angles that run in slots in the freezer’s interior moulding have broken away.  This leaves one drawer resting on the contents of the one below, very awkward, but it seems a pity to waste the whole freezer or pay the money for another one that will be just as fragile......

Step 2: An Unbroken Runner

This shows how it started.  The runner is an inverted u-channel with webs to strengthen it.  The outer edge rests on a ledge moulded into the inner skin of the freezer.  The runner sticks out about 16mm from the outside of the drawer.

Step 3: Measuring Up

First I used an unbroken runner to measure the correct position for a new runner.  I measured from the bottom to the underside of the runner.  On this drawer it was 125mm, but they are not all the same.  Next I marked a line across the broken side at 125mm up from the bottom.  This shows where the bottom edge of the new runner should be.  Sorry the picture is awful.  In fact the broken edges of the strengthening webs also provide an indication of where to work to, which is near enough.

Step 4: Aluminium Channel

I used aluminium angle section for the new runner. The size I used was 15mm x 15mm.  I had some left from a previous project but it only costs a few pounds for 2 metre lengths.  For this drawer I used a 250mm length.

Step 5: Fixing the New Runner

I was thinking about riveting, but the plastic is rather thick for small rivets, and large ones would be overkill.  So I tried an adhesive.  I don’t have any link with the company, but I had “Serious Glue” from another project and decided to try it.  Actually I found it was great.  Be sure to use something that will not melt the plastic.  I think these drawers are polystyrene, which is attacked by lots of solvents.  Obviously you also need something that will stick to metal.  I de-greased the aluminium and the plastic by washing in warm soapy water and then drying with a clean towel.  I didn’t abrade either surface. 

I spread the glue in one line along the channel, so that as it was squeezed it would cover the whole surface.  (I don’t like loops or patterns or using spreaders because each loop traps a bubble of air, which as it is squeezed flat pushes the adhesive out.)  If all is well, a trace of adhesive should show at each edge once it is clamped up.

I clamped the channel in place using some straight pieces of wood.  It was a bit tricky to assemble the drawer, the channel, and the two bits of wood and at the same time tighten the clamps.  You might find a willing helper useful for this step. 

Make sure you allow plenty of time for the adhesive to cure before putting this into use.  Any glue that is not fully set is not likely to set properly in a freezer.

Step 6: Finished

This is what it looks like in action.