Kegerator: GE WMR04GAVBB 4.5 Cu. Ft. Compact Fridge




This instructable will show you, step by step, how to build a kegerator using an inexpensive compact refrigerator.  It's a fairly short project if you have all the right tools.

After scanning Craigslist for a couple of weeks and not finding anything suitable, I decided to pick up the GE 4.5 cu. ft. compact refrigerator, model WMR04GAVBB from Walmart ($125.00).  This fridge does have the 3/4 width freezer unit at the top.  I didn't want to spend loads of money on a fridge with no freezer so this was my best option.

There were no problematic road blocks during the construction of this kegerator.  However, you do have to take your time and be diligent to not damage any internal and external parts.  You don't want a 70-pound paper weight.  After all, as soon as you make your first modification to a new fridge, the warranty immediately packs its bags and runs out your door.

Good luck, have fun, and enjoy your kegerator!

Step 1: Remove From Box

This is easy.  After removing the nylon straps the box slides up over the top.  I left the bottom part of the box underneath the fridge to hamper slippage of the unit.

Step 2: Remove Shelving

The shelving was already in place from the factory so they have to be removed.  Apparently, the factory forgot to secure the right side of the freezer.

Step 3: Relocate Thermostat Wire

Underneath the freezer is the thermostat wire.  Straighten the wire so that you can free it from its housing.  Move the wire so that it's out of you way.  It will be replaced in another location later.

Step 4: Detatch Freezer From Mounts

Firmly grasp the freezer and pull forward to release it from the mounts.  As you can see in the second picture once the mount reaches the larger portion of the hole the freezer will hang free.  Attention: You may have to use some force to release the freezer from the mounts.  If you don't feel safe pulling on the freezer fearing you might damage the coolant line, you could try unscrewing the 4 mounts and doing it that way.  I didn't have to pull too hard but it didn't want to go easy.

Step 5: Move Freezer Out of the Way

This was the most nerve racking part of the project.  EXTREME caution has to be observed while moving the freezer down and to the back.  Too much force and the line can kink, break, or crack.  Too much movement overall can damage the line.  And moving the freezer too far back can also kink or damage the line.  Because of the placement of the coolant line I found that it would have been too risky to attempt to completely flatten the freezer along the back of the fridge.  Notice how it wraps around to the right side.  No problem as it will not be in the way.  So with ease, bend the freezer downward until it looks like the first picture.  Then carefully bend the edges flat against the walls.

Step 6: Remove Inner Door Panel

Break out the big guns!  I needed a reciprocating saw to get the panel off.  It had been glued on at the factory.  There are NO screws holding the panel on.  I had no consistant method of taking the panel off.  I just started cutting around the edges pulling little pieces off at a time.  Careful here.  The plastic is sharp and it may tear the weather strip around the door and/or cut you.

Step 7: Tower Placement

Of all the kegerators I've seen, all have the tower towards the rear of the fridge.  I used painters tape to help get a general idea of where the tower will go.  Use a tape measure or a square to get your lines straight.

Step 8: Make a Hole!

I found the exact center of my drilling area, made a mark and began drilling.  Since the fridge has a metal top, you'll need a metal hole bit.  I used a 2.5" bit here.  I found this size perfect.  By the way, the bit will cost you $18 at Lowe's or Home Depot.  Attention:  Go easy on the drilling.  It's not necessary to push hard.  As soon as you get through the metal, STOP!  You'll see why in the next step.

Step 9: Watch Out!

I've read other DIY kegerator projects and they all talk about internal wiring and their locations.  I knew the fridge only had one wire running through it for the thermostat.  No one, including GE knew where it was.  I found it!  Right down the middle of my hole.  I used a utility knife to gently cut away the insulation to expose the wire and the top of the fridge interior.

Step 10: Break Through to the Other Side

I used a regular drill bit, no size in particular, to punch a guide hole through the plastic from above.  I just eyeballed where I thought the center was.  Watch the wire!  The first picture shows the guide hole from the inside.  Go back to your 2.5" hole bit, get inside the fridge and complete the hole.  Again, watch the wire!  Slow and steady wins this race.

Step 11: Predrill Tower Mounts

Clean off the top of the fridge. There will be metal shavings from drilling.  You don't want to scratch your fridge, do you?  Now place the tower over the hole and center it so that it looks good to you.  Use a visible marker and mark through the screw holes on the tower.  The bolts I used to secure the tower down are 3/16th x 3" bolts.  Use a drill bit slightly less than 3/16th to do your pre-drilling.  Drill all the way through on three of the holes.  On the fourth (note the picture), only drill until you get through the metal.

Step 12: Weatherize the Hole

I used aluminum tape to seal the hole and prevent moisture from seeping into the foam insulation.  I taped the wire, too.

Step 13: Secure Freezer to Walls

The freezer at this point is now basically the cold plate for the fridge.  It needs to be secured to the walls or it will just bounce around and probably break.  I marked where I thought the screws should go, pre-drilled the three holes, then used 3/4" long screws and washers to secure the plate down.

Step 14: Insulate Beer Line

I read somewhere that it helps to use copper pipe to aid in keeping the beer cold on the way to your glass.  My beer lines are 3/8" so I got 1/2" pipe and cut two 16" to 18" pieces.  I then cut two pieces of pipe insulation to roughly the length of the tower.  I cut the peices in half, lengthwise, wrapped it around the pipes, taped it together, and slid the insulated side into the tower.  Notice how I left the copper inside fridge exposed.  Just to get it over with, secure the thermostat wire as shown in the picture.

Step 15: Secure the Tower

The screws that came with my tower won't cut it.  I need something to go all the way through.  I got 3/16 x 3" bolts.  They worked out perfectly.  In fact, I didn't see a need to place nuts on the inside.  The tower is quite secure without them.  For the hole where the wire is, take one of the bolts and cut it down to about a half of an inch and screw it in.  The bolt will catch on the metal and secure fine.  Plus, the screw heads match.

Step 16: Drill for the CO2 (optional)

Since my CO2 tank is too big to fit in the fridge, I had to run the line in.  I chose to run the line through the back.  Why?  If I ever get a 5lb. tank to fit inside the fridge, I can insulate and cover the hole and it will be where no one can see it.  My gas line is 1/2" but I had to use a 5/8" bit.  I don't know why.

Step 17: Just a Picture

Here's what it looked like before the keg went it.  Pretty, huh?

Step 18: Another Picture

Two kegs fit in just fine.  I'm sure a 5lb. CO2 tank will fit on the back ledge as well.

Step 19: Attach Your Beverage

With the kegerator in its new place, attach your keg and your CO2 line and give it a go.

Step 20: Done!

I hope you found this instructable educating and worth while.  If you see something I may have left out, leave a reply.  Good luck and have fun!



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      33 Discussions


      1 year ago

      Hi. Great Post. Thank you. I did the same thing with another refrigerator and went great. The only problem is that if I put some small corny at the back (touching the freezer) and the beer was frozen in 24 hours. Any idea of what can I do to avoid this?

      1 reply

      1 year ago

      Any tips on bending the freezer into place flush against the back wall? I'm so nervous!

      1 reply

      Reply 1 year ago

      Slow and steady. Make sure not to kink the line at the bends. Good luck!


      2 years ago

      Did you use pin lock or ball lock corny kegs in your setup? Do you think either would fit?


      8 years ago on Introduction

      I built a kegerator using your instructions with a fridge I bought on Criagslist (which, ironically enough, happened to be the exact same model as the one you used....which was complete coincidence).

      First, let me thank you for putting this Instructable together. It was excellent, and really helped me be successful.

      Second, let me share a couple of things I did differently which you, or others, may be interested in:
      I was replacing an existing (full sized) keg fridge I had in my garage which was too large to justify the use (I live in a northern climate and parking two cars in the garage during the cold winters is a must, and the keg fridge was taking up too much space). So, one of my goals was to reuse all the existing hardware and materials I already had (tap, CO2 canister, regulator, etc).

      I built a tap tower out of 1x8 pine boards (1x8's were chosen because the threaded tap mount piece was about 5-6" long, and I needed enough space inside the tap tower to get my hands in there and connect the tap tubes to the tap mount piece), painted it black to match the fridge, and installed a drip tray.

      I also mounted the thermostat line to the freezer cold plate thing, had the same issue you were having with the fridge running too cold, and I readjusted the thermostat wire to make sure that the metal contacts of the thermostat wire were directly touching one of the bulbous tubular areas on the freezer cold plate where the coolant runs through. After doing that my fridge was running at a reasonable temp (a bit too warm actually, so I got to utilize the thermostat knob to turn it up one notch past the lowest/warmest setting).

      My next step is to mount large wheels on the bottom of the fridge so I have the option of rolling the fridge around easily, and maybe even taking it with me to the family cabin this summer or some other outdoor event.

      In summary: Tap beer rules.

      2 replies

      Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

      Hey can you tell me where and how exactly you mounted the thermostat line or post a picture? I tried making sure it touched a tube, but it still runs cold. Is there a particular part of the line that needs to touch it? Thanks.


      Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

      There are 'bulges' in the freezer cooling section which transport the coolant, and I mounted the thermostat to one of those 'bulges'. I would say the trial and error method would be the best route I can recommend.

      I no longer have the fridge, however, and can't take a picture of what I did. I sold it to a co-worker after I found it overly difficult to find my favorite beers in 5 gallon kegs.


      4 years ago

      Hi Tauby! This is beautiful!! Great job! I bought a GE model so similar to this that every time I tried finding something on my model this came up.

      Anyway, my main question is do you have the approximate measurement from the back of the fridge to where you drilled for the tower? I know it's centered but I'm having trouble judging the distance from the pictures.

      I'm going to build a cabinet around it so I don't think I need to go with a hole saw but just enough for the lines to fit through. Thanks again!

      2 replies

      Reply 4 years ago

      Thanks for the compliment!

      I just used some painter's tape and a tape measure to box out what I thought would be a good place for the tower. No rhyme or reason, to be honest....whatever pleased the eye. In your case, make sure the hoses that pass through your cabinet are in a spot that jives with where they'll pass through the top of the fridge. Also, drill with caution as the power wire may be similarly positioned on your fridge. Good luck!


      Reply 4 years ago

      Thanks a lot! Its not going to be for a little while longer because currently my house in complete demolition but I'm planning ahead so it doesn't take longer than needed. Thanks again!

      Hello. I have the same fridge as you and wanting to drill a hole through the back for a power cable for a "sidebar". I was just wondering... How did you know there was nothing in the back? What is the measurement where you drilled for the CO2 line?

      Thanks so much for any help you can give!

      2 replies

      Just like with the top of the fridge I didn't know where any wires were. I had to drill out the metal exterior first, then gently remove the foam insulation (that's how I found the power cable in the top). So when I made an opening for the CO2 line, the procedure was the same...slow and calculated.

      Do you happen to know the measurements of where you drilled? Like, how many inches from the top and how many inches from the side?

      Thanks for your help!


      4 years ago

      Did you use anything to mount the tap tower on other than the fridge? I've seen many people place a board under the top to mount the tap tower. Suposedly, for more stability of the tower. If you did not, do you wish you had?

      1 reply

      Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

      No. The top was very sturdy. I suspect this was done by design since people tend to place heavy items (microwaves, etc.) on top. The tap tower has held well over the years.


      5 years ago on Introduction

      Nice - i'm going to give this a try. I'll let you know how I get on!


      7 years ago on Step 20

      This is a very helpful write up. I've just got back into home brewing and this is the way I want to go. GREAT heads up about the thermostat wiring. I would have drilling right on in and hit it. I guess there is still a slight chance of that with the center bit on the hole saw but if you go slow and pay attention it looks like you can save yourself a lot of worries. Thanks for sharing!


      Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

      Unfortunately, no. The compressor sits on the bottom, rear of the fridge preventing anyting but 2 corny kegs from fitting snugly inside.