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The compressor on my Kenmore 27 side-by-side refrigerator cycles on and off about every four minutes or so. The problem

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Old 01-16-2010, 05:04 PM
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Angry Compressor cycles on and off every few minutes
Model Number: 363.8597780   Brand: Kenmore   Age: 5 - 10 years   

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The compressor on my Kenmore 27 side-by-side refrigerator cycles on and off about every four minutes or so. The problem began right after the Sears technician installed a retrofit kit on the refrigerator. The problem started when the refrigerator defrosted itself or stopped working for about two days. Then all of a sudden it started working over the next several days as evidenced by ice in the ice maker, frozen liquids in the freezer and up until the Sears tech arrived. I called Sears and they sent someone over. The tech removed a panel in the back of the freezer and noticed that the evaporator coils were only 50% frosted over. He said that either the compressor is bad of the freon needs to be recharged. I asked him to recharge the freon since it was far less than replacing the compressor. He connected his recovery tank and recovered the R-12 freon. Unfortunately, he failed to realize that R-12 freon was no longer available. He had to install a retrofit kit to the refrigerator in order for the system to use the new R-134 freon. After the work was finished he turned on the refrigerator. He then felt the evaporator coil and noticed that it was getting cool. He told me that within the next twelve hours the refrigerator will be back to normal. A little less than an hour after he left the refrigerator stopped working completely. The only thing that was running was the fan inside the freezer. The compressor then began to cycle on and off every four minutes or so. I called Sears again but long story short, they refuse to do any more work on the refrigerator because, according to them, the refrigerator has a bad compressor. The last tech (tech 3 of 3) that came to look at the refrigerator refused to even check the pressure in the system to confirm whether or not the R-134 freon had leaked out due to a bad solder joint as a result of the work done to install the retrofit kit etc. I believe that if he had done so he could've said well, "since the freon charge is within limit/out of limits, then your compressor must be good/bad." I would have accepted that conclusion, however, the last two techs who came out just blew me off. I would appreciate any feedback or comments on my problem.

Thanks in advance,

Patrick


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Old 01-17-2010, 02:49 AM
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I never heard of a retrofit kit to charge a refrigerator, he probably just added a line tap to allow a re-charge with refrigerant.
In the process, he may have introduced air in the system that now has contaminated the capillary tube and clogged it up.
I would get a different servicer to look at it.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for your response. I looked at the repair work again and didn't see a new capillary tube, however, there's a copper gizmo that looks line a small cylinder about 3-3.5 inches long and about 3/4 inch in diameter. This unit has a cap installed on one end. I suppose it's a dust cap for a valve. He also installed a copper tube from the side of the compressor with the same arrangement as the copper cylinder. The second tech that looked at the refrigerator noted, "repair work incorrect," on the receipt he left behind. The third tech verbally said, "I would not have done the repair work like that." All three techs were from Sears. The impression I got from tech 2 and 3 is that they don't want to open a bucket of worms by attempting to undo what the first tech did. Question: Since the compressor OVERLOAD relay keeps cycling on and off, would replacing it make any difference? Thanks a lot. Patrick

UPDATE: 1/17/2010.

I was looking at a few post on this forum and found one that mentioned something about disconnecting the CAPACITOR and check to see if the refrigerator runs. I disconnected both wires to the capacitor (I made sure I didn't touch any of the terminals on the capacitor) and plugged the refrigerator back in the wall. The refrigerator began to run continuously and the freezer is already getting cold. Seems I have a bad Capacitor. Comments from anyone? Considering the importance of the capacitor to the motor, I will have to go source one ASAP.

Last edited by patrickmcglashan : 01-17-2010 at 11:41 AM. Reason: UPDATE
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:00 PM
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That is a run capacitor usually 12 to 15 microfarad, necesary to phase shift the stator current to add running torqe. Your compressor will slow down and eventually fail without it.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for your input. By the way, I removed the capacitor and it was totally discharged...totally dead. The fridge is still running and getting colder and colder. I'm going to go shut her down and crank he up after I replace the capacitor. Once again, thanks for all your help. This is an excellent forum for both nubies and experienced techs. You guys saved me just over $800! That's what Sears was going to charge me to replace the compressor...without even troubleshooting the system.
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:57 PM
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wow, cant believe he didn't even check that before he entered a sealed system. Now he has created another potential problem in the long run, by causing a freon leak....

800.00 ???? for a 175.00 compressor + some labor,,,wow again. Just make sure you get a run cap like rich said. Definitely need to be there. Glad you saved some bucks. good job.
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:48 PM
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Keep a thermometer in the freezer, back wall should be between zero and 5 degrees, fair check for purity of refrigeration, charge level and compressor condition. The problems with this might not be over.
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Last edited by richappy : 01-17-2010 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:04 PM
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Richappy. I can do the thermometer part with no problem. However, are you recommending I have a tech come over and check out the rest of the system? I will never call Sears again. Their truck had, "A&E" on the side. Do these guys just have a contract with Sears to do their service/warranty work?? I wouldn't recommend them to a good friend.

Patrick.
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Old 01-18-2010, 01:43 AM
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If you can't get good temperatures in the freezer, you will need to get a tech. to check refrigeration.
As far as prices, it's about $400-$600 to change a compressor here.It is $200-$300 for the compressor, and the rest labor plus a new dryer.
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