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Appliance Guru
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Category: Appliance
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Experience:  Over 15 yrs. experience with 10,000+ in home repairs.
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Hello, I could use some help with an old Kenmore Refrigerator

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Hello, I could use some help with an old Kenmore Refrigerator model #(NNN) NNN-NNNNwhich looks brand new and was working fine until it started to make a clicking noise and then shut itself off. I need to figure out what part I should be ordering to repair the symptom.
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Ok either the compressor relay or the compressor is bad. Remove the rear panel behind the unit. Make sure the fan next to the compressor is running. If it does not have a fan next to it see if the compressor is warm or hot to the touch. If the relay keeps clicking on then shuts off it is cutting out on the relay overload protector. You would have to try a new relay if that were the case. Sometimes it is a bad relay other times it is a bad compressor. There is really no way to test te relay or the compressor without and analyzer, which you will not have. That is pretty common so hopefully it is just the relay otherwise it will likely be junk due to the high cost to repair if the compressor is bad.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK so I "guessed"and ordered a relay/themostat and defrost timer, fuguring it was the relay. So would the relay make a clicking sound like that? The part that Sears sent me is a black relay, a cover and a wire connector unlike anything on mine. The original relay looks like it is inside a sealed housing ( I can see the 2 prongs of the relay, but it looks like it is sealed with the relay and overload inside it? It is the sealed piece that is held on with a wire which plugs into the compressor. I just powered it on again and the freezer gets to 5 degrees in and hour and 10 min, refrigerator made it to 42 degrees and then 25 min. later it shut off. Refrigerator stayed on longer as I didn't close up the back, thus compressor didn't overheat and shut off as soon? This is a symptom of the relay or would it be the overload?

The relay and overload are one unit so to speak so you should have recieved the relay overload kit. Here is a video to show you how to put it on.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Unfortunately the part Sears sent is not the unit pictured in my original schematic and actual part. I received a black cover, a seperate black relay switch and a wire that is not compatable as it looks like the opposite end goes to the fan actually. This part totally confused me as I was expecting a one piece unit like I removed. I was thinking I should try to order an overload/relay/start capacitor from PartSelect instead and see if I get a plug and play unit altogether for this? I really don't want to buy a new refrigerator, I just want this one to work again and was willing to try the relay as compresor turns on but seems as though it overheats and shuts off once it gets unit up to temp range. I figured since the repair person was a waste of time I would give it a try myself. I have fixed a washer and a dishwasher before, so not afraid of trying just not sure how to troubleshoot at this point.

You likely recieved a new replacement kit. You will get that kit almost anywhere you go. You need to slip the old relay off so you see 3 prongs in a triangle formation. The white single overload slips on the single top or bottom post(whichever way the triangle is facing. The black relay then slips over the other two posts.One wire goes on the overload and the other will go to the right post on the black relay.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I guess that means that I will need to somehow disasseble this original unit so that I can see and access this white overload piece, then reassemble it with the new black relay and put in this cover over the 2 pieces so that I have plug holes in the shape of a triangle. I can't visualize, so this should be fun. Truly, the original looks like the 3 holes in the triangle you refer to, are actually molded into this original housing piece. Ok so you opinion is that since it all comes up to temp and shuts off that the compressor is overheating and therefore it is the relay/overload/start or the compressor itself? And the compressor is too costly for a unit this old if the relay start/overload doesn't resolve the issue.

All compressors are the same. There are 3 terminals on it. The relay and overload just slides off the posts of the compressor. Just rember the overload goes on first on the single top post. Now based on your symptoms it seems that the either one of two things is bad. The relay or possibly the operating thermostat. If the contact inside the operating thermostat is bad. It may get down to temperature then the contact may not be making good connection causing the realy to click on and off. If you can slide off the thermostat knob and look inside under it. See if you see any brownish fine powder under the thermostat. If you do it is bad. I believe it will be one of the two things as normally if the relay is bad it normally would not run down to temp everytime.
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