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Barry G.
Barry G., Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 6073
Experience:  27 years in home appliance repair. EPA refrigerant transition and recovery certification type I & II.
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My eight year old Hotpoint, top-freezer refrigerator stopped

Customer Question

My eight year old Hotpoint, top-freezer refrigerator stopped running when we were away from home.
I removed the cardboard panel at the bottom rear of the refrigerator and observed that the little fan on the right was running but there was no hum of a motor and the refrigerator is not cooling. There is a 12 inch diameter tank on the left but I didn't see anything that looked like a motor or compressor.
What do you think could be wrong with the refrigerator? I'm pretty handy; can I fix it myself?
The Sears people want $109 to come to my house with the parts extra. If I need a new motor it will cost me $180 over the $109.
Even if it's fixed the refrigerator will still be a little dirty and smelly from the decayed food that had been in it.
What should I do? Should I call the Sears people, try to fix it myself or get a new refrigerator?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX you for choosing our service.

Look in the fresh food section up near the top for model/serial sticker and post the model number. I need the model to be able to see the diagrams.

The compressor you have will resemble the one arrowed red in the picture below, is that hot on the top?

Do you have an ohm meter?

Thanks,
Barry
CLICK TO ENLARGE
graphic
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Model No. CTX16BABNRAA


 


Serial No MV833782

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Harry,

I recognise that model. Was the compressor warm and vibrating? And is the freezer fan operating?

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I indicated in my question that I didn't see anything resembling a compressor so I can only guess. Is the compressor the little box attached to the 10 inch diameter tank?


It seems like the 10 inch diameter tank is vibrating a little. I just plugged in the refrigerator so maybe there wasn't enough time but nothing is really warm.


I assume that the freezer fan will blow into the freezer. There is no air movement in the freezer so I guess the freezer fan is not working.

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Yes the round black tank is the compressor.

Unplug the refrigerator and inside the freezer remove the 2 screws in the floor right in front of the vent. Lift up and that part will come off. Check and see if the fan blade is stuck. Also can you see the coils through the hole where the fan blade is? Are those lightly frosted white?





CLICK TO ENLARGE
graphic
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


When I removed the screws in the floor panel of the freezer I did not see the fan. What I did see was a quarter inch covering of smelly stuff of the consistency of chocolate pudding. Very disgusting. Probably the residue of decayed food.


The fan, I think, is behind a piece of the rear panel which I can easily remove except that it is blocked by the shelf which I can't get out without breaking either the steel shelf or the rear panel. How do I get the steel shelf out?


I've left the refrigerator on long enough to see that the compressor is definately warm and vibrating.


I need to take a break. Can I turn the computer off and cintinue this tommorrow without losing all of this?

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Yes Harry save this page to your favorites/bookmarks and when you post I will see it.

I will take a look at the shelf but at the rear wall of the freezer is where the fan is. That plastc panel about 10 inches tall and 5 or 6 inches wide has 2 screws in the floor holding it. That is the fan cover.

Barry

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Barry


Do you work on Memorial day.? Are you there? Are you one person or a number of people?


Anyway, I've got the shelf off and I've taken off the plastic cover at the rear of the freezer.


The fan is not stuck. It's simply not working.


So I took off the metal panel that surrounds the fan area and now the whole fan mechanism is exposed.


What do I do now? Do I order a new fan motor? The part number that I have for the Evaporator Fan Motor is WR60X0203. This is from a sheet that was taped to the back of the refrigerator.


Can you order the part for me at a reasonable price?



I have another question. Is the refrigerator safe to use with all that smelly chocolate pudding like substance under the bottom panel of the freezer? Of course I'll try to clean it but I'm sure a small residue will remain. Will all be OK health wise?


Harry


Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
I am one person Harry, there are other techs here as well. Give me a few minutes to re-read everything.

Thanks,
Barry
Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Yes sir replace that motor. WR60X203 is the factory part number. I cannot order the part but if you will click the link just below you can order it there.

www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Evaporator-Fan-Motor/WR60X203/305540?RCAID=1000064

I am not sure what the black stuff is. I would imagine its probably stuff left from the food that was in the freezer. It is my understanding that once frozen you should be able to use your fridge ok. Avoid any open containers because bacteria can still live in a cold environment but they are not as active. It should be fine as long as you clean it the best you can and let it get cold first.

If you have questions about my answer please click the "Reply To Link" arrowed in the picture below. I will be happy to explain anything that is not clear.

Also if you decide to give me a rating and have a problem doing that please let me know.

Thanks,
Barry
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Barry


I will be happy to give you the highest rating (I guess that's a 1) but I was hoping I could keep you around in case, when the motor arrives and I try to install it, there are more problems or maybe the refrigerator still doesn't run.


But this may be asking too much so if you want me to rate you right now I will.


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harry, you can return to this page for the next 30 days. My normal hours are 8 to 8 eastern time and I take a break as close to the middle of the day as I can. All you need to do is keep track of where the page is so you can post. Followup questions are ok for 30 days and I always respond.

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Barry. I'm going to save this in my Favorites for a little while.


Harry-

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome, you have a nice evening Harry.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Barry


As we corresponded a couple of days ago, you said that I could keep this file active for 30 days.


When I rate you your rating will be excellent. However, I don't want to lose the file. I want to keep it active until I install the freezer fan motor which should have already arrived.


If I rate you will the file disappear or will we stay active?


 


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Yes Harry you can return. The reason I missed you today is because I take a break in the middle of the day. But yes as long as you post something I will see it and reply.

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry


I haven't had a
chance to get back to my refrigerator. My freezer fan motor has
arrived.


I'm figuring that I
have thirty days which is about two more weeks to get bust installing yhe
motor and still have your advice. I'm working now but will get at
things as soon as I get a chance.



Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
I understand. Thanks for letting me know Harry. Don't forget I work 8 to 8 eastern time with a break during the middle of the day as I can get it. Have a really nice Sunday.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry


I don't have too much time today so I will turn off my computer after sending you this question.


I disconnected the freezer fan motor and fan from it's bracket yesterday evening and I have a couple of questions.


It seems like I just pull the fan offof the motor to install the new motor. It's just that the fan doesn't slide off that easily and I don't want to break anything. I guess I should just pull harder, right?


Frankly, I'm also a little scared that the refrigerator still won't work after I install the new freezer motor. What do you think?

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
This is a followup question in which my service to you has not been rated. I can do followup questions no problem but a rating is required.

Thanks,
Barry
Barry G., Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 6073
Experience: 27 years in home appliance repair. EPA refrigerant transition and recovery certification type I & II.
Barry G. and 2 other Appliance Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Barry


I just rated you as excellent but I thought I had 30 days to keep you on this until the thirty days were up or until my refrigerator was running.


Anyway, I'd like answers to my 2 followup questions.



You've been very helpful. When I started this I had a day or so to play with my refrigerator. But now I'm working and have a lot of other things to do so I'm treating this as a kind of hobby.


I would like to keep you involved beyond the thirty days until my refrigerator either runs or I junk the thing.


Harry


Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harry, I am in and out today, someone here is not well but I will try to watch for any questions you have.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry


Sorry someone is not well. Hope that person gets better soon.


 


Anyway, when you have a chance, maybe you can tell me if it's OK to pull the propeller off of the old motor and maybe just shove it onto the new motor. It seems pretty tightly on the old motor and I don't want to damage it pulling it off. Also, I'd like your opinion as to whether the refrigerator will run after the new motor is installed.


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Harry I appreciate that.

Yes you can pull the fan blade off, thats how it comes off and goes on. Yes I think its going to cool.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Barry


I'll give it a try when I get home.


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Your welcome Harry. Let me know how it goes when you can. I am getting ready to take a break for a while but I will be back this evening.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi again Barry


I've got bad news. After letting the refrigerator sit for 5 months I finally put the new freezer fan in and it works fine. ie. the freezer fan works fine.


However, the refrigerator still doesn't cool.


 


So I went back over all of the steps and they all check out. The compressor is vibrating. The fan at the bottom is working and the freerzer fan is working but the fridge still doesn't cool.


 


What do I do now?? Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harry, how long has the refrigerator been operating consecutively?

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry


 


I've only had the refrigerator on for about two hours and I think it may be cooling a little. It feels lile the air blowing near the freezer fan is a little cool and since the compressor is hot now that heat must be coming from somewhere. I'm also thinking that refrigerators cool very slowly. Is that true?


In any event I'm going to tighten the screws on the plastic pieces and leave the fridge on overnight.


Thanks.


Harry


PS I may need you for my washing machine. Also, do you do Canon printers.


Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome Harry.

24 hours is how long it needs to run. Then check it, be sure to put the panels in the freezer up to direct the air.

I can help you with the washer however I cannot help with the printer. We have a printer category for that and they will be much more qualified than I will be to help you with it.

http://www.justanswer.com/expert/question-list.aspx?FID=125

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry


 


It's been running for 18 hours and it's still not cooling.


 


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Harry remove the lower rear inside wall of the freezer. Are the coils behind that wall lightly coated white from top to bottom? Or are they shiny?

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Barry


 


They are lightly coated white.



Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Thats good then Harry its not major. Are you sure the freezer fan is running and did you put the cover back up?


Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi Barry


 


I'll put the back cover up right now. The freezer fan has been running but I'll check it as I replace back cover.


Harry


 



 


 

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Yes I think Harry thats all it needs. If those coils are white it should be getting cold.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


OK Barry but I did have it on for 18 hours with no sign of imminent cooling. Anyway, I did put the back cover on and did note that when I plugged refrigerator on freezer fan went on.



I will plug refrigerator back on after I replace vertical air flow director.


 


A probably irrelivant observation is that the pipe leading to the coils on the upper right hand side is green. Also. the push on electrical connectors to the old freezer fan were corroded to the point that one of the push-on connectors was not making contact. I replaced the connector when I replaced the fan.


Harry


 



 


Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Harry, the green on the pipe is ok. Its normal to see that. If those coils are white and the fan is running and the covers are up there is nothing to keep it from cooling.

Leave it shut up a while then open the doors one at a time. Check the light bulbs to see if you find any that are hot. Maybe a light is staying on. Those will heat one up.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi Barry


 


I think I figured out something else all by myself. The big thing that I failed to do is replace the bottom back cover. This cover is probably necessary to direct the cooling air from the bottom fan around the compressor.


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Harry that is right, but still if those coils are white and the freezer fan is operating it should be cooling.

Did you check the lights? They really will heat up a fridge.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry


 


It's not the light. I peeked in just before the door finally closed and I could see the light going out.


In the meantime I left the fridge on for almost three days and it's still not cool.


 


We had been away from the house for some time (maybe as long as six months) before we returned and noticed that the refrigerator had died. That was what the chocolate pudding like stuff was about. It was the decayed food that we had left in the freezer,


 


Maybe whatever makes the coils white died but everything else kept running until corrosion caused one of the push-on contacts at the freezer motor to rot off.


Harry


Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Harry, the coils were lightly coated white, is that true?

Thanks,
Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Yes they were Barry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
Can you tell if maybe the fan it running backward? I have seen that happen once.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

When I remove the vertical back plastic I can feel that the fan is blowing air into the freezer compartment away from the coils.


Harry

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
That is the strangest thing Harry. Reach in and check the lights, are any of those staying on? Are they hot?

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Barry


I checked that earlier when I peeled just before the door closed and saw the light going out. I'll check if it is hot if you want next time I'm home.


 


But are you sure that the fan direction is correct? I'm thinking that maybe the fan should be directing the air toward the coils.From there the air would flow to all parts or the refrigerator.


The air would be sucked from the freezer but would flow back to the freezer through the pathway under the bottom plastic piece in the freezer after passing over the coils.


 


But shouldn't I be checking if the coils are getting cold?


 


Also, I don't understand the significance of the whitish color of the coils. Why does this mean there is no serious problem?


 


Maybe the refrigerator is out of freon or whatever refrigerant is being used??


Harry


 



 


 


 


 

Expert:  Barry G. replied 1 year ago.
The coils normally turn white after about 15 minutes of operation. They should be white from top to bottom, white from the cold frost.

The direction of airflow is upwards. The air damper that allows air over to the fresh food section is up there and then the air goes across to the fresh food section. From there the heavier cold air falls down to the bottom of the fresh food section where the fan pulls it back over into the freezer section to be re-cooled.

Barry
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Barry


 


I gather from the air flow answer that i've got the fan blowing in the correct direction.


 


But your answer about the coils turning white makes no sence as far as explaining anything.


My coils were white from top to bottom when this whole investigation started. But my refrigerator had been dead for six months.


In the very beginning of all this you stated that the fact that the coils were coated with a whitish substanse meant that nothing serious was wrong.


Forget about the white coating. Don't the coils have to become cold before the circulation of the air matters? Why didn't you ask me to put my hand on the coils and see if they become cold when you turn on the refrigerator? They don't.



So what's wrong with my refrigerator? The compressor is warm and vibrating. I've replaced the freezer fan so both fans work . The coils are coated with a white substance but they don't become cold.


 


Is my refrigerator out of refrigerant? Can I replace the refrigerant easily? Should I replace the refrigerator? You must know.


 


Please respond. Harry



Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. I will be glad to assist you in your answer. Think about safety when doing repairs, electric, water, gas, ect.

It looks like Barry opted out. I just want to verify, that the unit has been running for a while, and the coils behind the freezer inner back panel are not frosting over? You can feel them, and not cooling. The compressor and fans are running, but coils are not frosting.....correct?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Correct


 


Harry

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.
If the compressor runs, but no frost line, the unit either has a freon issue, or a faulty compressor. In either case, this would have to be repair by a certified technician. Refer to your owners manual to see if the sealed system is still in warranty. If so, call the repair# in the manual to get the repair. If not, you can expect the cost to be $500+. I know this is not the kind of information that you were wanting to here, and I am sorry to have to give it to you. If I was able to assist you, please give me a great rating for answering your question.....Thank you

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