Repairing a rusted swamp cooler

I have an 8,500 CFM side draft swamp cooler that is rusting out. The bottom pan has a few rust holes through the sides under the pad frames. I'm going to try to get a few more years out of it. Any suggestions on what to do with the pan?
Al
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i actually don't know anything about this item, they are not generally used in apartments buffalo ny, but: these thoughts: depending on your climate and construction of course: set up a drip collector pan with a drain outside the unit in the event of a leak to avoid future water damage. like a hot water heater plastic pan or washing machine plastic pan. find a plastic window box or planter for inside it? inside it maybe spray some convert spray that is used on rust, read all of its requirements for use, to give you a starting place. if the metal pan is removable maybe a sheet metal shop or auto body shop can patch it or replate it. can the new self adhesive roofing membrane be used inside the pan somehow? [i need to lern more about that too!] -bill
Big Al wrote:

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At least put an anode in there to help slow it down. They are available for around seven bucks from any cooler supplier.
Steve

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Is the container in good shape everywhere except in the bottom pan? Have you considered using something like pop-rivets for a repair? Cut the pan off, make a replacement pan, attach with pop-rivets to the existing framework. Do it this fall after the cooler is no longer in service.
Steve B wrote:

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The cooler on my mother's house in AZ had the same problem. I advised her to have her handyman dry it, wire brush/scotchbright it to remove loose rust and paint, spray it with rust converter to inhibit further rusting, and then line the entire inside of the pan with fiberglass mat soaked in resin. There were some smaller rust spots on one of the panels, and he used the same approach but with spot putty. After he did all that he repainted it.

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I did the fiberglass repair to a cooler about 10 years ago. Water from the pad frames got under the fiberglass and made the problem worse. The lower edge of the pad frames fit on the upper lip of the pan. If I try to bring the mat up to the edge the frames will not fit. If I leave the mat 1/4 inch under the lip of the pan water gets under it. I'm going to try the rust converter, if I can find it. Home Depot, Lowe's and Ace all have it but only in aerosol cans. Would be a lot better if I could brush it on. Then I may try some kind of roof coating with membrane. Or ??? That stuff they sell to coat coolers, think it's called "Submarine Coat" is a disappointment too.
Thanks for the replies,
Al
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Al,
As far as I know the converter only comes in aerosol form. Strange stuff, but it works. Rather than elastomerized roof coating, I'd use an epoxy based sealer and/or paint. I think most marine sealants are epoxy based, not sure about the cooler coatings. Be aware that epoxy is nearly indestructible, meaning overspray from epoxy-based paint is there to stay.
Perhaps you could also just use the present pan as a form for a fiberglass mat replacement, covering it with waxed paper to prevent adhesion, or perhaps fabricate a new pan from some combination of sheet metal, rigid plastic, etc. and fiberglass.

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snipped-for-privacy@HotPOP.com wrote:

Nope, it comes in liquid (brush on) form as well. A NAPA or a body shop is a good source. There are several brands, Loctite, 3M, Rustoleum as well as the NAPA-branded product come to mind. For best results use one that indicates it is a tannic acid (rather than phosphoric acid).
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wrote:

Phosphoric acid?? That's used in rust removers like Naval Jelly, right? That would eat up the rest of the cooler:)
Poured some rust converter inside the tailgate of an old truck I had. Shook it up and dumped out the excess. Worked like champ:)
Thanks for all the help. One of my friends suggested I make a pan out of sheet metal and put it under the cooler. I'm going to try to seal it up first.
Al
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Big Al wrote:

I didn't say _use_ phosphoric acid, I said some rust converters contain phosphoric acid as an ingredient. The phosphoric acid reacts with iron and rust (iron oxide) to form a phosphate coating--a corrosion retarder. In my experience, they're not as effective as the tannic acid formulations in which the tannic acid reacts with the iron oxide to convert it to iron tannate (with the blue/black-looking end result).
I don't recall a particular one at the moment but I did run into a case a number of years ago where a converter didn't last long after use and did some digging into it. The above is what I found then.
HTH...
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These have been some great suggestions. Here's mine:
In some cases you can actually replace the bottom pan. To replace the pan (bottom), it has to be a replacable pan. To determine if it is, see if it is bolted to the upright supports. If there are no screws or bolts it is not replaceable. If there are, then try to find out who the manufacturer isand contact them for the replacement pan.
If you can't replace the pan you might be able to use a "drop-in" pan liner. If you can't find a drop-in pan liner from a local store (they are getting harder to find), try a piece of sheetmetal or rigid fiberglass. Seal around the edges with a "plumbers epoxy" putty (dries in about 15 minutes). If you put the patch on the inside you will have to clean the pan where patch edges will be so the epoxy will stick. To cut a hole for the overflow tube, use a hammer and chisel or screwdriver and punch around the area where the hole needs to be. Seal this hole with epoxy putty.
You can use the putty for holes in other areas as well. Always clean as much of the rust away as possable.
Anytime you have rust present, USE AN ANODE!!!! Anodes stop or aleast slows rust.
To learn more service and repair information on evaporative coolers, visit: www.easycoolercare.com
Larry Galpin The Cooler Doctor
Service, Repair & Enhance the Performance of Your Cooler Yourself and Save $100s Every Year!
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My cooler is rusted through on the sides just under the pad frame. It's a 9,000 CFM and I'm going to try to fix it with fiberglass and submarine sealer. Have you actually used "plumbers epoxy" putty? Over the last 30+ years I've tried all kinds of stuff from roof coatings to water tank sealer. Nothing seems to last very long.
Al
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