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1951 Vintage Fridge status and question

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I recently restarted by parents 1951 HotPoint refrigerator after it had been idle for about 20 years. It had power

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Old 03-22-2018, 10:02 AM
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Default 1951 Vintage Fridge status and question
Model Number: AF-82-AA16   Brand: Hotpoint   Age: More than 10 years   

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I recently restarted by parents 1951 HotPoint refrigerator after it had been idle for about 20 years. It had power (interior light) but was not working. I bypassed the thermostat and within an hour the freezer was -5F. I disassembled the thermostat and found it was sticking open. I cleaned and lubricated it with WD40 and it seems to be working fine. I believe the fridge is a 1951 because the GE thermostat was dated January of 1951. After cleaning the interior is like new and the original outside paint is in good condition.

Here is the problem: while cleaning after running it a day and then shutting if off again I found a small puddle oil in the bottom. I believe it dripped down from the tubing behind the freezer box. I am guessing it is compressor oil though I didn't think it would travel up the tubes like that. The fact that is cooled makes me think it hadn't leaked the R12 when sitting but maybe the seals started leaking when again subjected to the compressor pressure.

I don't know how to disassemble to get at things without making things worse. Any suggestions? I believe the leak is behind the freezer box. The tubing on the back is attached to a large metal plate as part of the heat sink. I can unscrew this from the fridge but don't know how this attaches to the compressor and think I would damage the tubing. Thanks for any and all ideas on how I might learn to fix this family heirloom. Rob

PS: many people think these old units are energy hogs. Maybe that started with frost free but I have a "Kill-a-Watt" meter and it says this will cost only $14 per year to run compared to $35 for my 1994 20 cu.ft. fridge and about $64 for my 2010 27 cu.Ft. fridge. I am guessing that is because it is smaller, not frost free, and the door is opened less.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2018, 07:30 PM
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Do not mess with the tubing or evaporator coils. If it gets as cold as you said, it's not leaking freon or oil.

There is no drain line on these. When the evaporator gets frost on it and you shut it down, it will thaw and water will drip. Some of these had a shelf below the evaporator that acted as a pan and caught the drips. Some did not.

Putting food in both areas adds mass and keeps the temperatures more even, so the evaporator doesn't drip when you open the door. These refrigerators need to be defrosted every month at least .

Don't use anything to chip away the frost. Melt it with a hair dryer or use a pan of hot water set under the coils on a shelf. That's the way my mom used to do it.
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Old 03-23-2018, 08:51 AM
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Thanks ThatGuy. It was getting cold before I turned it off and then found the oil while cleaning. It really feels like oil but I will start it up again. If it gets cold it clearly hasn't leaked the R12 and compressor lubricant and maybe this was something older that came off the back of the freezer box with the condensation. By the way, this does have the drip shelf. I removed it to get at the thermostat for repair. When I went to put the bracket for the shelf back on there was nothing to thread the 10-32 screw into. Apparently that moved and is between the interior of the fridge and the insulation. I need ot fix that to get the bracket and shelf back in.
Rob
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