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MrBill
MrBill, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
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Experience:  Electrolux Authorized Servicer, 7 Years of in home experience
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I have an old (17) side by side GE refrigerator. The ...

Customer Question

I have an old (17) side by side GE refrigerator. The freezer works fine, but the refrigerator is not working at all. We have cleaned the coils beneath the appliance. What is the likely problem?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

I will be happy to help you out. Can I get the model number to your machine?

Thanks for using JustAnswer.com!

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to MrBill's Post: Model TFX24EHE. The manual is NOT on-line at the GE web-site
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Check the back wall of the freezer. Look for any frost build up.

I am talking about inside the freezer compartment on the lower half of the rear freezer wall.

Let me know what you find.

Thanks Again,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to MrBill's Post: I checked the back wall of the freezer; there is a tiny bit of frost on the lower back wall, but nothing very significant.
Brian
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

It sounds like you have the start of a defrost issue. Remove the back panel and check the frost pattern on the evaporator. Let me know what the frost looks like in the best words you can describe. If you could post a picture that would be perfect.

Let me know what you find.

Thanks Again,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Bill
I am not sure what you mean about removing the back panel. The top 5/6th of the rear of the entire appliance seems to be on solid piece of metal that can not be removed. On the bottome 1/6 of the rear, there is a card board piece. The piece (after removal) covers the motor and many other parts.

I am also not sure what the evaporator is and what it looks like.

Sorry about the dumb response.

Brian
P.S. Is there an on-line diagram of a side-by-side that is similar to this (old) model where I could see what you are talking about?
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Here is a diagram for you. The evaporator is on the inside of the freezer. It sits behind panel labeled as 215 on the diagram below. The evaporator is the coiled lines behind that panel(228 in the diagram).

Let me how you make out.

No question is dumb question. Hang in there.

Bill

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Bill
I took off the back panel inside the freezer (thanks for the diagram) and found the evaporator coils are totally encrusted with frost.
Brian
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Well, you have a defrost issue. The air is not able to circulate through the coils and reach the fridge side. One of three components have failed.

Either your defrost timer, which is number 257 on the diagram below.

Defrost thermostat, this allows the heater to come on and clear the frost off the coils(so there is not excess build up)

Defrost heater

There is a dial on the timer. Every eight hours the timer will shut off the fans and compressor and turn on the heater. The heater will only stay on long enough to get rid of the frost then is shut off by the thermostat(on the coils, has two wires) The entire defrost cycle is 30 minutes. The heater will not stay on the entire time.

Spin the dial on the timer clockwise until the fans shut off. Then wait. The heater on the coils should come on. If the heater comes on, you have a bad timer.

If the heater doesn't come on, you should replace the defrost thermostat and heater.

Let me know if you have anymore questions about this. I will be happy to help you out further.

Thanks Again,

Bill

MrBill, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 409
Experience: Electrolux Authorized Servicer, 7 Years of in home experience
MrBill and 4 other Appliance Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Bill
I can not seem to find the defrost timer - #257 - on the diagram you sent earlier. I also do not see anything wiht a dial (except on the refrigerators side). Any tips for finding it would be appreciated.
Brian
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Look behind the grille under the doors on the front. You will have to take off the lower grille. I'm pretty sure the timer is on the left hand side. You should see a hole with a little dial in it, about the hole is about the size of a dime.

Let me know how you make out.

Thanks Again,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Bill

I found the defrost timer (not an easy job - it was/is hidden by a set of wires). I turned it clockwise and the fan shut off. [There does not seem to be a stop however on the dial, i.e. I can keep turning it. If I do, then the fan comes back on.]

How do I tell if the heater on the coils come on? When I turned the fan off, I waitred several minutes and felt the coisl, and there did not seem to be any heat on them.

If should have been able to feel heat on the coils and the was (is) none, then I would guess I have to replace the defrost thermostat and heater.
1.   Is replacing this a job I can or should do myself, or should I call in my local repair guy?
2.   If I can/should do this myself, where do I get parts [particularly for a 17 year old refrigerator]?

Brian
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

This is a job I believe you can do yourself. You have done an excellent job so far.

Go to www.partselect.com this is a site where you can order your parts you need.

Here are the part numbers for that web site.

Defrost heater PS303265

Defrost thermostat PS 303545

Both of these parts are where the coils are where all the frost is. Just to double check what you have done. When the fans stopped, when you were turning the dial, that's where you need to leave the timer go.(fans off) Wait at least ten minutes, you should see the heater come on that is near the coils. Should be a long heater that runs the length of the coils and sits under them. The thermostat is on top of the coils, left hand side.

When you get the new parts you will be able to identify them better. To get your machine running temporary again. Use a hair dryer and melt all the frost and ice on those coils. Once those coils and the surrounding area is clear of frost and ice, the machine will circulate the air normally again when its put back together. It will run fine for up to a week or so.

Then you will be right back to where you are now.

If you have anymore questions please ask. Thanks Again, for using JustAnswer.com!

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This is great! - thank you very much - excellent, cogent, concise and timely assistance.
Brian

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MrBill
MrBill
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Electrolux Authorized Servicer, 7 Years of in home experience