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Fix 1987 Kitchen Aid Refrigerator or buy new?

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First post, thank you all, richappy especially. For eight months, clicking, clicking; thought it was wife's new coffeemaker. Refrigerator always

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Old 09-06-2011, 03:12 PM
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Default Fix 1987 Kitchen Aid Refrigerator or buy new?
Model Number: KTRF22MSALY0   Brand: Kitchen Aid   Age: More than 10 years   

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First post, thank you all, richappy especially. For eight months, clicking, clicking; thought it was wife's new coffeemaker. Refrigerator always running. In hottest August, cooling capacity greatly diminished, nearly quit. Occasionally sharp unfamiliar smells in kitchen, guessed to be hydrocarbon. When weather cooled, refrigerator operated better. Then last Friday, at breakfast we noticed nothing, by dinner everything was soup. Fan blowing ambient air.

Investigate as I should have long before, the condenser coils were completely
insulated in fur from our cats [who could fix it if they just had the thumbs].
I guess I'd last vacuumed them a year ago, as well as a shop-vac could. Way not enough. The vents on the back panel furred as well.

Conclude then that due to lack of maintenance I ruined the heat dissipation capacity. Clicking clicking was the overload protector. Smells were a sealed system leak? None apparent. Or the deterioration of the affected switches by heat. A few times on the day it quit it made a sharp, loud china-breaking crack. The capacitor?

So my operating assumption is the overload/relay, overtaxed, burned out. The sealed system is still intact. Getting close to this majestic relic, and having seen the new sports in the marketplace, I'm midway into saving it. HAve found the parts. But also Richappy's post that it's power usage still will be twice [prob more] that of a new. Certainly the condenser array and compressor are twice as large. Can it be saved and should it be.

As far as new, a simple top freezer, 22 cu. ft., no ice, no water. Best quality, efficiency, reliability, most elegant design. Top contender seems to be the Kenmore made by LG. We'll pay for quality. And quiet.

Gentlemen? Thanks.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-07-2011, 12:06 AM
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Default Step 2

So I got to the overload protector: It's a bimetal disc like a drumhead or actually a cymbal; one pole in the center, the second on the perimeter. Enough heat, the bimetal bends, switch makes. With all the making, and scant cooling, the perimeter pole vaporized a bite from the disc.

No I don't quite get it but it seems evident, replace this overload protector for a start.

Is it worth spending the $50. for the part to make the repair. Have never isolated the KitchenAid to measure electricity consumption, but bill-figuring
guesses $30/month. Cleaning the condenser will improve some of that. But the 424 KwH/year consumption of the 22cf Kenmore [as given on the yellow card], at Central Hudson rates, figures to $7/month. Is that true?

Is there a 22cf top-freezer superior to the Kenmore.

OK. Before asking so many Q's, learning from these forums got me resolved. Thanks.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:36 AM
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I do not like LG refrigerators. Parts hard to get and little technical info. If you still want to buy one ask if the schematic and technical info are supplied with the unit.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:13 AM
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Thank you, sir. But this LG refrigerator is branded Kenmore, sold by Sears. [Identified as LG by the source code in the Sears model number. More importantly, by the 22 cuft LG at the Home Depot, identical except for a plug on the front header where the Kenmore has a vent through for "door cooling".]

A left-hand door top freezer is by far the best design for our kitchen layout. What I've seen comes down to the
Whirlpool 21.1, the Frigidaire 20.6, and the Kenmore.

Both the Whirlpool and the Frigidaire have Embraco compressors. The condensers are horizontal under the front compartment, with no chassis floor beneath. The back cover is fiberboard.

The Kenmore, seen from the back, has the compressor on the left and the condenser mounted vertically at the back, on the right, in front of the exhaust fan. There is a chassis floor underneath the cabinet at the front, none at the back.

I thought we might have a cleaner shot with the floor in front and the coils in back, slightly elevated, more accessible, though nearer the compressor and behind it in the airflow.

The customer reports on Whirlpool, and those on this site, including your own, keep me away from this brand. We have a Frigidaire upright freezer, frost-free. Without a strong supporting report, I'd stay away from another.

GE Profile and GE report a sealed "never clean" condenser. Is this worth looking into?

If there is a model you'd recommend, I am grateful. Thanks
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:26 AM
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A no maintenance refrigerator has the condensing coils in the back exposed and visible. Some people object to them, landlords love them.
I recommend Whirlpool if you use a 1000 joule surge protector in the wall outlet, they have start devices that burn out from power surges, acting like a fuse protecting the compressor.
Might want to check prices, GE is the best, but priced a lot higher.
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Last edited by richappy : 09-12-2011 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:56 PM
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Thank you, sir. I have not yet looked closely at the GE, but I have noticed their prices. Quality has value, which puts integrity really at a premium. I'd note that the Whirlpool Gold refrigerator is the LG.

I bought the overload protector from APP. Arrived next day. None of the connectors provided fit the leads on the relay. I disassembled the leads from the relay. The inside ceramic insulating disc was all crumbled and burned. The inside tension vanes on the leads that hold the disc in place, the set on one lead were melted and blackened, and the plastic case of the relay was bubbled, scorched and blackened. The hydrocarbons we smelled.

Learning has integrity. Thank you. So, I'm thinking another $55 for the relay, on a machine that's always gonna cost minimum $15 more per month to run is a bridge too far. Particularly as who knows the effects upon the capacitor. I'd needed a triple meter, and I bought one, but those cracks scared me, and I haven't yet taken the leads off the capacitor. [I don't need the power on to test it, just take the leads off, short the leads or discharge with a resistor, then set the meter to capacitance and measure?] Hard to reach as it is.

OK, some questions. Why do they even need the relay. What's the function of those spring feelers between the leads and the ceramic disc they hold. You couldn't just straight-line connect line, capacitance and overload to the compressor leads? [I am sensible, safety-minded, risking nothing I don't understand]

Now, the overload pole on the perimeter that melted the bimetal was the line pole. Assume the relay pole that melted was line as well. I can chew this for the next hours, but I gotta go look at refrigerators.

Remember we had a condenser with cooling impeded by fur and dust. What was the functional route of this breakdown. What happened and how. There were some metal residues and blackening on the shards of the ceramic disc.

On first thought I'd assume the overload bimetal releases contact with heat. But somehow it seems that it did make contact and stay in contact unto melting, and then the heat built up in the line terminal on the relay, and melting.

I am ignorant; can't think about this , gotta go out. I'm not asking that you go beyond your job. I'm grateful for the help you've given me. Look forward to coming back and learning. Thanks.
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