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Kenmore Elite 106.55606400 Side-by-side Keeps Icing Up but all parts check OK


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#1 gribbled

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:10 PM

This is a recurring problem over the past 2 years, but seems to be happening more often now.  The Kenmore Elite gets warm on the fridge side, but stays cold in the freezer.   I've read and done all the FAQs.  I bought the fridge new in 2001.

The problem is due to an iceberg which forms on the coil behind the rear wall.  The first time this happened I got to pay Sears $300 to melt it out with my hair dryer.  He told me that the fridge was fine but the control board was "confused" and turning it off and on would solve the problem.  It worked about a year after that.

Now it's up to its old tricks again  It happened back in August.  I pulled the back wall, used the hair dryer to melt the ice and its been OK till 2 days ago.  We actually bought a full time fridge thermometer and adjusted the fridge to run at 34.  We've been enjoying nice cold milk ... until 4 days ago.

The fridge temp went up to 60 before it mysteriously healed itself and went back to 34.... Then it was fine for 4 days... but now tonight it is going back up again. (50 as I type).

I know for sure that there is no air blockage.. the diffuser is open and the return vent is free.  Both thermistors pass the self test, and both blower motors (and the compressor) run.  The coils have been cleaned.

I can put the fridge in "serivce diagnostics mode" and run the 6 tests listed on my sheet... and everything passes.  As I type this message I'm running the "defrost heater/bi metal" test, which forces the defrost heater on.  I can hear the ice melting.  I know the defrost heater works and the bi-metal switch works.  I did a lot of diagnosis the last time and everything works fine... but for some reason the fridge randomly freezes up.

Does anyone know why this is happening?  I'm wondering if the control board just isn't running the defrost heater?  Looks like it is a $230 dollar item and I'm not sure I want to spend that much on a guess.   Surely this problem has been fixed by someone else before?


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#2 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 02:40 AM

[user=62390]gribbled[/user] wrote:

... The problem is due to an iceberg which forms on the coil behind the rear wall... 

pictures ? 

somewhere ... http://www.imageshack.us

then post links here

.

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#3 gribbled

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 02:59 AM

I can post a pic the next time it freezes up, but it won't be very dramatic.  A frosty circle appears about 6" in diameter on the back wall of the freezer.  If you take the back wall off (which takes a while cuz of all the side brackets) you see an iced up evap. coil... looks like solid clearish ice.

Running the defrost test 2x last night seems to have  helped, the temp is down to 34 again.

This fridge is SO AGGRAVATING! :X


#4 BrntToast

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:06 AM

i believe your kenmore is a whirlpool, i have never seen a whirlpool do what i am about to describe, but i have seen it on frigidaires and it stumped multiple techs before i found the problem

its possible that a fridge with a control board may be running the compressor during defrost, if you are not observant you will miss this and all diagnostics for the defrost will pass

next time you force defrost the fridge go around back and place your hand on the top of the compressor to make sure it is not running

a fridge not defrosting will have solid frost(like hard snow) if you have clear ice then the fridge is partially melting the snow and it is refreezing into ice, another cause of partial defrost is the heater staying on durin compressor run



 

 



The only stupid question is the one not asked

hope i've been helpfull, if you wish to buy Brnt beer kick here


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feel free to prvt msg frigidaire questions my way

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#5 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 05:41 AM

I've not seen the condition you describe, Brnt, but it does offer an explanation for the weirdness here. Thanks for the tip!

#6 gribbled

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:41 AM

Thanks Brent - I think its a Whirlpool too.

I know the compressor isn't running during the force defrost mode... cause I checked it.  That is really a "service diagnostics mode" that you go into by pushing buttons.

What I don't know is if the compressor is running during a normal defrost.  In fact, I don't know if or how often the controller is actually doing defrosts.  I'm starting to think that is the real problem.

Talking myself into a new control board?


#7 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 08:48 AM

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote:

[user=62390]gribbled[/user] wrote:

... The problem is due to an iceberg which forms on the coil behind the rear wall... 

pictures ? 

somewhere ... http://www.imageshack.us

then post links here


.

one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

every day is Down Syndrome Awareness Day
"A Child Is Waiting" . Burt Lancaster . Judy Garland . 1962

RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#8 BrntToast

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 02:15 PM

somewhere we used to have a link to a 7 dollar usb temperature recorder

maybe another tech has or can find the link

you could place this near the rear wall and it will record the temp spikes during defrosts and show often they happen

however there is no set time for defrost once you have a control board, the board determines when to defrost based on run time of the compressor and the amount of times the door is opened

this brings up another point.... are the lights working properly when the doors are opened and closed?  you might think this was insignificant and not mentioned if they are not working, but a bad light switch will throw defrost out of wack and put the unit into vacation mode

 

The only stupid question is the one not asked

hope i've been helpfull, if you wish to buy Brnt beer kick here


http://brnttoast.googlepages.com/home


feel free to prvt msg frigidaire questions my way

(i dont log in every day)

#9 gribbled

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 03:56 PM

Good idea to check the lights, but they are working.

I found the link to the USB temp recorder - I may have to do something like that.

The fridge has cooled down to like 32 degrees (set for 34)... so I increased the temp one degree.  Could running it that low be making it freeze worse?


#10 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 03:59 PM

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote:

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote:

[user=62390]gribbled[/user] wrote:

... The problem is due to an iceberg which forms on the coil behind the rear wall... 

pictures ? 

somewhere ... http://www.imageshack.us

then post links here


.

one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

every day is Down Syndrome Awareness Day
"A Child Is Waiting" . Burt Lancaster . Judy Garland . 1962

RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#11 gribbled

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 05:26 PM

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote:

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote:

[user=3641]RegUS_PatOff[/user] wrote:

[user=62390]gribbled[/user] wrote:

... The problem is due to an iceberg which forms on the coil behind the rear wall... 

pictures ? 

somewhere ... http://www.imageshack.us

then post links here

The ice has melted - nothing to take pics of!!!  I PROMISE to take pics of the berg when it next forms!  For you I'll take a GIANT picture of it! :D

#12 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 05:47 PM

just take a picture of the Evaporator Coils after the Compressor has been running at least one hour ..

 

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one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

every day is Down Syndrome Awareness Day
"A Child Is Waiting" . Burt Lancaster . Judy Garland . 1962

RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#13 gribbled

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:50 AM

I am continuing to fight my stupid Kenmore / Whirlpool fridge. It seems to be freezing up more often. I have a good thermometer in there, permanently mounted so I can watch the temps. When it is working, the fridge is about 36 degrees. About once every 2 weeks now, I notice the temp creep up, first 40, then 45, then 50. By the time it gets that high, I can look into the freezer and see a circle of white frost on the back wall. The freezer temps are always good.

That circle is there because behind the thin aluminum wall is the evaporator coil which is frozen up. The ice blocks the airflow so none makes it from the fridge to the freezer. If I run the service defrost test a couple of times (about 20 mins each) the ice melts and the fridge starts working again. The service defrost test turns off everything but the defrost heater.

I very seldom hear the fridge defrost itself.

What I know so far is:
- coils are all clean
- all fans are working
- the diverter valve is working (because I can put a stick thru it from fridge into freezer)
- the defrost heater and its thermostat are working
- when not iced up, the fridge works great (nice cold milk)
- I hate my fridge

Can anyone offer a suggestion? I don't want to call Sears.. at this point I think I would rather replace it but I think all the new ones might be just as bad.




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