Appliance Repair Questions? Ask a Technician for Answers ASAP
Is the compressor vibrating and hot?
You will need to remove the cover on the back of the refrigerator that covers the fan and the compressor. Put your hand on the compressor and feel for heat and vibration. If it is hot but not vibrating, wait a couple of minutes and listen for a clicking noise. The clicking noise is the start relay on the side of the compressor trying to make the compressor run. If it is doing this and the compressor is not running, you will need to replace the relays on the compressor.
The model number is XXXXX inside the refrigerator side on a sticker in the top of the unit.
Open the freezer and check the back panel towards the bottom for frost.
Hold the door switch closed and listen for the fan to come on.
Let me know what you find.
The fan should engage when the switch is pushed in to disperse the air. You will need to replace the fan motor in the freezer compartment. It is midway up the back panel and you have to remove all of the shelves and the back panel to reach it. The part number you will need is W10189703. If this motor is not running the unit will not cool properly. The fact that the compressor is running and the fan by the compressor is running lets me know that it is functioning properly. When you change the motor out you will need to defrost the coils because they will be frosted over like a block of ice and will not allow airflow accross the coils.
Well then, that changes things. That is why I asked about the frost on the back wall. Your unit had passed the frost phase and melted so it wasn't visible until you removed the back cover. Leave it plugged in with the panel off and go back around to the compressor area. There will be defrost timer(#1541 in the picture below). Take a flat head screw driver and turn the gear slowly until the compressor turns off. Go back around front and open the freezer door but hold(or tape) the switch closed. Watch the element to see if it turns red and tries to defrost. If it does turn red and starts defrosting you will need to replace the defrost timer. If it does not turn red you will need to replace the element and terminator that are on the coils on the inside of the freezer.
Thanks for the diagram, that helps.
If I turn the knob on the defrost timer to the proper position, the the fan turns off. If I turn it some more the fan turns on again. When the fan turns on, I think the compresson is turning on as well.
The heating element at the bottom burned my finger and I have a blister. I will prefer to use another method to see if the element is getting hot in the future. Now I understand what you mean by the "element" getting red hot. At any rate, we know it is heating up.
The coils, which is what I was checking by the way, are warm at the bottom and cold at the top. There is little or no air flow across them. It appears as though the coolant is not circulating through the coils.
Can I temporarily jumper across the defrost timer to see if I can get it working? That way I will know for sure. If you can't tell me that, maybe you can tell me which terminals are the timer contacts, or perhaps I can try to google the defrost timer for function and pinout as well.
Sorry. It got a little late last night and I had to hit the sack so I wouldn't be worthless today. Sorry about the finger. I didn't think you would touch it when I said to look at it and see if it is getting red hot. That blister hurts, I know from experience.
As far as the timer goes, when you turn it and the fans come on, the unit is in the proper position to cool. That is where you need to set it to test for cooling. When in the defrost mode(no fans running, heater on) no freon is running through the coils and it will feel warmish on the bottom and cold on top. If you have defrosted all of the ice off of the coils and set it to the run position then let it run for awhile(2-3 hours) and see if it cools off correctly. You will have to reassemble the back panel to test it. If it does cool properly, replace the defrost timer because it is getting stuck. If it does not cool properly, you may be low on freon OR the victim of a small blockage in the line. Let me know what you discover.
Just to let you know, you are my eyes and ears in this situation and you have done a great job testing and relaying information. It is people like you that make our job a little easier to do because you are very descriptive. It has been a pleasure working with you.
thanks for the compliment, I used to be responsible for maintaining some manufacturing equipment. When I received specific details about the problem, I could usually fix it over the phone, otherwise it meant a trip down to the factory floor to analyze the equipment.
I replaced the timer. It seemed like it was working because the water that had dripped inside the freezer had frozen. However, later in the day the coils in the back of the freezer compartment became all frozen up.
I thought perhaps it needed to run a defrost cycle so I manually turned the timer until the fan turned off and I assume the elements started heating up. I dropped some ice on it and it seemed to melt and dry "quickly". So I thought must be hot, better not touch it.
I checked back a few hours later and the timer had moved about 100 degrees (8 hour timer?) The coils were frozen at the top but not at the bottom. How do I know for sure that the coolant is flowing. It seems like it is not, because of the great variation in temperature from the top of the coil section in the freezer to the bottom of the coil section in the freezer. At this point in time it seems as though the only thing cold is the frozen coils at the top of the coolant coil section.
Most timers are 8 hour but some are 12 hour units. The box or bag should tell you which one you bought.
Now, the coils freezing at the top is a sure sign of a freon problem. The only way to test for freon levels is to have a line tap valve put on and use a set of gauges to see what the levels are. Most of the time it will take a small amount of freon to recharge your system. The could also be a small restriciton in the line that would need to evacuated but, from everything you have told me, it sounds like it is a little low on freon levels.
The service manager at the appliance store told me it would be about $1000 to replace the freon, because they would want to replace all of the plumbing to make sure they got the leak.
Unfortunately, I don't have $1000 for this fridge, but I do have some freon from Autozone with StopLeak in it (no gauges). Are the adaptors the same? Where are the adaptors located?
It would not be expensive to put freon in whether or not I need it. So, I am inclined to put this freon in the coolant tubes. If it ruins the fridge, it does not matter because it was ruined anyways.
At this point, if what the service manager said is true, the fridge is trash anyways. I really don't care if I am at factory specification. I just want the fridge/freezer to throw some cold air out. As long as I can keep the cold air sealed, it meets my requirements.
1000 dollars? Holy crap. That is crazy and way out of any sane price range a regular servicer should charge you. I would call a couple of local service companies and ask them how much they would charge you to add freon to the system. I am thinking that the price will be more around 100 - 150. The fittings for automotive freon and home use are different. You will need a set of gauges and you never want to use the stop leak variety on a refrigerator.
You could buy the gauges, freon and the fitting for less than half the price that guy quoted you.