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How to Fix Chest Cooler Hinges

How much did you spend for your decent-sized cooler chest? If I remember correctly, I spent close to $50+ after taxes on this sweet 70qt Coleman and that was almost 10 years ago. There is nothing really that impressive about this “Walmart special,” but it does have good handles, multiple cup holders, and a whole lot of sentimental value. Plus, who likes to go out a spend money on a new cooler just because the hinges are broken, the lid will not stay on, and your food is spoiling? The kids love to see a travel sized swimming pool filled with melted ice water and what they think is cottage cheese pouring from the gallon of milk. Hey! Don’t eat that!

Repair Cooler Hinges

I argue that Urban Dictionary is wrong stating… “Off The Hinge” is “Awesome, unbelievably good.” Even if it is a cousin to “off the hook” and “off the chain”; these cheap hinge designs are not cool! Here is how to fix chest cooler hinges for less than a couple of bucks.

As long as I can remember, I have always liked finding solutions to weird problems like these. I am convinced that I inherited this trait from my dad, who undoubtedly inherited it from his dad. We are troubleshooters by nature. It’s not that I can’t afford to go out and replace broken things, that I don’t like shopping, or that I support anti-consumerism; it’s that I believe I should live with this in mind first; “Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without.”

Anyway, back to the clever idea on how to repair cooler hinges. Even though Coleman ice boxes are made in the good ol’ USA, they have a serious design problem. The plastic hinges are screwed into a virtually hollow plastic lid using metal screws. The lid is not light, it is filled with a Styrofoam-like insulation and hard plastic. The more you open the lid, the more likely those short metal screws are going to strip the thread on the chest and pop right out. 

My first attempt at fixing the hinges was a failure. I took Gorilla glue, which I completely love, and filled the stripped holes with it. After it sat for a few minutes, I screwed in hex washer screws that were much wider than the original stripped hole. The screws seemed to perfectly re-thread the plastic on the lid, but after several uses the lid stripped again.

After digging in my garage for something better, I found 8 metal drywall anchors. These molly anchors fit perfectly and when screwed in tight can hold up to 50 lbs each. My guess is that the hinge will split down the bend in the plastic before the holes strip-out again. If that happens I plan to get an old leather belt and cut out some new fancy leather hinges and use molly anchors. 

If I can make this cooler last long enough, I can take it to the grave with me! Wait, could it be my grave?!

What items of yours needs fixing?

 

 

 

 

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