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Sub Zero 550, Automotive R134a with UV dye, ok for frig?

Sub Zero 550

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20 replies to this topic

#1 johnd393

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 02:37 PM

My Sub Zero 550 has a leak that takes about a year to leak down.
I bought a 12.3oz can of Automotive R134a with UV leak detector in hopes that in another year I'll be able to locate the leak.
The can is labeled to have just the UV leak detector. I didn't want any sealers or other additives meant for automotive systems. Had to go to several stores to find it.
Is there any reason not to use this in my frig?

The frig is still cold but it's running continuously and frost is building up over the evaporator.

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#2 Scottthewolf

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 06:14 PM

Your leak is in the evaporator. You will have to have a professional appliance repair technician who specializes in Sub Zero repairs replace the evaporator and the filter drier. If you just add R134A to the system you are doing something that is against the law.

Get me the serial number of your refrigerator and I will see if your unit is still under a sealed system part warranty.

Also, I would like to know where you live so I can reccommend an authorized Sub Zero repair company in your area. All I nned is your city and state where you live.
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#3 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 07:05 PM

If you just add R134A to the system you are doing something that is against the law.


Not to mention you're killin' off all them poor leetle orzos floating around way high up in the sky... or so the party line goes ==> http://fixitnow.com/...g-corporations/

#4 johnd393

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:44 AM

My frig was manufactured Oct 96. I'm pretty sure all warranties are expired. I checked it out a year ago. I've read here in other threads that the Sub Zero 550 evaporators are often the leaking part. Still, I want to try to identify the leak. If it's at a brazed coupling I may try some epoxy patch.
I am Automotive and Universal EPA certified.
I just want to know if UV dye can be used to find a leak in my frig.

#5 kdog

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:58 AM

Yes it can, but you may be sorry you put it in there when it continues to make a mess - look for oil which will already be around the leak. You gotta discharge it anyway to add the dye. just use some nitrogen to pressure and some bubble solution
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#6 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:22 AM

may not see "oil" near the leak if it's that slow...
also, depending on Fridge serial number, may be an R12 system
.

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#7 johnd393

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 03:18 AM

You might assume that I read the manufacturers model number tag and the tag on the compressor where it plainly says R134a.
I've never had the back off so I could see any oil if it's there. I need a light bulb for it before I start taking the insides apart. A dial lamp is out.
I wonder if the defrost water washes away any accumulation of oil from a 1 year leak.
Found a note with the date 7/7/2010 for the first time it got low on r134. For all I knew at the time it may have taken 10 years to leak down.

#8 certified tech group 51

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 10:48 AM

Low side leak.................98% chance it is the evaporator.................98% it will be in the fins of the coil.................... charge the system with dry nitrogen and use a 'sniffer', it will get you close................bubble solution to pin-point leak, you may need to spray it on if in the fins............Any way, much easier to replace if the leak is in the finned areas................If it took a year to leak out 7? oz. of R 134A , it is a small hole may not even show up with all the searching...................... If looking for oil leaks, the hole has to be large enough for the oil molecules to leak out.....

#9 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:11 AM

You might assume that I read the manufacturers model number tag and the tag on the compressor

... I don't assume anything
can't give advice on assumptions
.

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#10 johnd393

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 07:43 PM

I remember when tv stations would display that indian test pattern when they signed off late at night.

#11 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 07:50 PM

... indian test pattern when they signed off late at night.

... yes...
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(National Television System Committee)
OR more commonalty known as
Never Twice the Same Color :whistling:
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#12 johnd393

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 01:57 PM

The SN is M1275769
What's the correct part number for the replacement evaporator?
There's a part number in the parts list and a different number can be found online.

#13 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 03:49 PM

looks like yours is R134a

MODEL 550 R12
Prior To Serial # M1204990 / P1214590
except between # M / P1184141 to # M / P1184239

MODEL 550 R134a
Starting with Serial # M1204990 / P1214590
and between # M / P1184141 to # M / P1184239

3130270 Evaporator Coil, Fridge
Replacement Fridge Evaporator 4204400 Kit
Service Evap (550/650) 550 Use Regardless of Serial Number.
650 Use Prior to Serial #2128097.
Starting with Serial #2128097, see 3130630

3130120 Evaporator Coil, Freezer
Replacement Freezer Evaporator 3130120
Evaporator Coil, Freezer (550, 2711, 2811)
M550 Prior to #M681166.
Starting with #M681166 see 3130300 P550
Starting with #P612941 see 3130300 2711 Use regardless of number
2811 Use regardless of number
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#14 johnd393

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 07:30 PM

Thank you

#15 johnd393

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 12:48 AM

I think this is the forth time the 550 needed some r134 added. It's been 18 months sinse the last time. I bet a leak that slow can not be identified. Previously some r134 with leak detect die was added.  Later I had to replace the frig and freezer cold controls. When I had it apart for that I used a UV light to try to identify any leaks around the evaporator. There seemed to be a slight response th the UV light everywhere but nothing I could identify as a leak.

I'm not sure if I want to replace the evaporator if i can't confirm that it's the leak. I don't have a legal way to evacuate the system. It would be a difficult job for me to do and an expensive one to have done.

We're thinking of replacing it with a french door frig in the $1100 to $2000 range. The $1100  one was at a Sears Outlet but we couldn't find one that wasn't dented. It's $1700 or $1800 new from a couple places. We're still looking to see if we can find with a little more cu ft.

John



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Posted 08 May 2014 - 09:48 AM

As stated way back in Oct. '11..................... The leak is small as it took 18 months to leak out enough for you to notice................550 Clam$ for this repair in this neck of the woods...........What brand of French door refer are you looking for????................Replacing a " Built In " refer with a free standing unit will add some more moola cuzz of the added work to fix the area around the removed unit................Also,  getting the old Sub-O unit out of the house........Yup, replace that old pesky  Sub-O with that new fangled Samsung / L.G.  and you will meet new technitions ..............P.S.   You will not need to worry about evecuating the system, cuz there is not too much R-134A left in the system.............P.P.S..  Are you doing the refrigeration work????...... .



#17 johnd393

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 12:39 PM

Thank you for your reply

What I have done myself is replaced the cold control (thermostats), installed a anti icying kit for the frig floor an drain tube.

The frig thermostat was replaced cus the deferential was too high. The freezer thermostat was replaced cus it would occasionally stick and let the freezer get warm. I have only added refrigerant. I have never vented,recovered, evacuated or opened the sealed system.

 

The 550 has never leaked down to zero pressure. Refrigerant has allready been added so I would have to have someone with proper equipment recover the refrigerant so I could work on it. Because I couldn't do the job quickly I would have to acquier another frig for temporary use. I am univeral certified and had a couple classes in HVAC/refrigeration.

 

Are you saying I might get the evap replaced for $550?

I'm near Merrillville indiana 46410 if you wanna refer a pro. Thats like far S.E. Chicago area.

 

The frig was never built in properly. I just removed a upper cabinet and slid it in place. It would be easy to reinstall the upper cabinet and silde in a normal refrigerator.

 

We're are looking at a Kitchenaid KBFS20EVMS which we have seen. A Frigidair FGHG2366PF we've not seen but specs show more cu ft. With the upper cabinet back in there is a height limit of about 68 5/8". I might be able to get another 3/8" by raising the cabinet.

John



#18 johnd393

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 06:18 PM

We bought the Frigidair FGHG2366PF.  I could have saved $370 by buying online, accepting delivery to the driveway, and not paying sales tax, but we went local.

The Sub goes on craigslist.

Thanks to all who have read or responded.

John



#19 johnd393

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:58 AM

Frigidair FGHG2366PF has been delivered. It sure doesn't seem to be cooling much. After an hour and a half the frig was only a couple degrees below room temp and freezer was 59 degrees. No food in it yet. I'll still give it at least 12 hours and see. I can hear the compressor running, I think, but I can't feel any air circulation.

I've requested a service manual. I don't intend to repair this new frig, but I want to make sure its not somthing like a piece of packing stuck somewhere or something very trivial.

With the Sub Zero 550 when powered on from room temp, cooling is almost immediatly apparent



#20 johnd393

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 08:20 PM

Frigidair FGHG2366PF has been replaced by the store that sold it. This one works.






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