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KitchenAid KSSS42QJT00 - Weird Low-Side Service Port


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#1 cb20777

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 03:51 PM

I have a puzzling problem on my refrigerator (a KitchenAid built-in).  The high-side service port looks like I expect, and I can connect my manifold gauge to it just fine.  But the low-side service port (on the compressor process tube) is of some different type.

 

It’s hard to tell exactly, but the low-side connector appears to contain some sort of recessed structure inside the open cylinder: perhaps a half-circle on the left side, and maybe a point or pin on the right side.  But its very hard to tell.

 

Anyway – Is this some sort of well-known connector?  Is there some adapter I can use for both (a) charging and (B) low-side vacuum pressure check?

 

Oh yeah - R134a refrigerant.

\

 

Thanks!

-- Charlie

 

 

 



I tried to post a picture, and it seems to show up in the editor, but just showed up as "\" in my post.  Is there any way to post a picture?  Any size limits, or other guidance?



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#2 DurhamAppliance

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:09 PM

does it look like this? :

 

 DSCN5017_zpsf9399b30.jpg


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#3 cb20777

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:11 PM

Maybe a pinterest URL? http://media-cache-a...b443bd67294.jpg


Dear Durham Appliance./GrandMasterFunk/ShoNufChosen - whew!.  Yes it does look like what you posted.  Also I just posted a pinterest link.



#4 DurhamAppliance

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:17 PM

From Master Certified Tech Group 51's sealed system class (and I bet he didn't  think I was paying attention):

 

 

DSCN5017_zpsf9399b30.jpg

 

 

 

 

O.K......Pencils down, pass your answers to the front................The words  "line tap"..."Bullet Tap".......will work..........They only have one use and one use only ( did I say one use only??)   and that is to remove refrigerant............................It is only a 'temporary access port'...If you install it to measure  P.S.I. / inches of HG..... How are you going to seal the hole you just pierced......it has a full charge............They will leak, it is a know fact..........If you have to know the P.S.I./ inches of HG.   in a fully charged system,      install a braze on self piercing access valve..............If you installed it correctly, it will not leak.................DSCN5019_zpsb0c1725c.jpg.........The system now has a process port on the "high side" and the "low side"...You can install an access port on the low side  if recharging a system but,  I install a filter dryer with an access port on it..............It will allow you to test if there is a problem with the system,      I.E. high side restriction...........Installing and leaving a "bullet tap"  " for future use"    should be grounds to be fired..............You do not see one on a system from the factory for " future use" do you................They are not 'techs., they are refrigeration parts changing monkeys.....................If it was installed to 'top off' a 'low charge' system, the P.C.M.  is a good guesser.....( possibly the noise of the compressor came from the P.C.M. slugging the compressor..I.E. liquid refrigerant entering the pump, It is a vapor pump ).........Your P/T chart is close but not close enough for a 17 OZ. charge.............End of rant........Now I feel better............ .

 

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#5 cb20777

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:54 PM

Here is some more background.  First, as you might expect, there is a problem with the frige - I came back from a week vacation and found the freezer melted - stinky frige, etc.  Yuck.  This is a 13 year old KitchAid KSSS42QJT00.  This is the second major failure.  The first occurred in 2007 and the entire sealed system was replaced  under warranty.  Now the warranty is over, sigh.

 

So I scheduled a diagnostic visit with the provision that they would also bring refrigerant for a short term recharge if that was the problem.  The first guy was useless, but eventually a two-man crew came out and was able to check the pressure (low), see the iceball on the line to/from the evaporator coils, and sniff the leaking refrigerant with a sniffer (heated diode).  So we got some good info - a leak of some magnitude.

 

However the $1100 bill to repair plus 7 business days until fixed plus no recharge today led me to decline their offer in the short term, pay the modest diagnosis fee and try my own hand at a short term fix while I pondered how fast the leak really was.  So I ordered a 20 oz bottle of R134a with the "normal" connector, and a manifold gauge to boot so I could see how fast I was loosing refrigerant.  But of course neither of these connect to the low-side port.

 

It sounds like either these guys added the "bullet tap", or simply reused it (if it was installed back in 2007).  So, is there some way I can re-use it in the short term (perhaps with an adapter) to connect my can of R134a?

 

Also, what is the proper term for the "normal" R134a connector?  And is it correct that the high and low side are supposed to use the same connector style?  My shiny new manifold gauge sure looks that way.



#6 cb20777

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 05:19 PM

Hmmm, I saw a video reference to installing a Supco Bullet Piercing Valve (it looks like what I have) that made an off-hand allusion to backing off the center hex key that drives the piercing value.  That was a big aha for me.  It seems like I should connect my recharger or gauge, then back-out the hex key a bit to open up the value.  Seems pretty lame, but perhaps its better than the "normal" (Shrader ?) value.  I'll try that next.



#7 kdog

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 05:49 PM

Personally, I would invest all that money you are spending on freon/guages etc toward a new fridge


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#8 cb20777

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:01 PM

Well, now that I know the secret, I got the "bullet tap" to work (as designed) for me.  Now I get to see how bad the leak is, and also try to localize it so I don't have to replace EVERY item in the sealed system loop.  So now I have 3 new follow-on questions:

  • Proper amount of refrigerant -- The label on the frige says "Design Pressure - 140 PSI low, 330 PSI high".  So when the compressor is running, what would be an "adequate" value at which I should stop (slowly) adding refrigerant?  And secondly, are they referring to just the high side, or the difference between the high and low (which is a bit higher due to the low side partial vacuum)?  I'm hoping I can just ignore the low side, or if its important, just assume another 14 PSI as the best the pump could possibly do, to avoid constantly diddling with what is connected to the low side (by recharge bottle or the manifold gauge).
  • Leak Patch -- I'm reasonably certain that the leak is occuring a bit after the capillary tube expands into the evaporator.  I think we go from what looks like copper to what looks like aluminum.  If I can locate a pinhole in the aluminum, is there any patch goop that could be applied with a reasonable chance of success (and longevity)?
  • Partial Replacement -- The diagnosis suggested replacing both the evaporator, the nearby heat exchanger and the high-side drier.  Does that sound like overkill, or just simple prudence.  Is there any likelyhood I could do it myself with some suitable tool acquistion?


#9 cb20777

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:14 PM

Dear Kdog -- Sadly, its a built-in.  The list price of a replacement is $8,800, and the lowest online price is around $6,600.  That is betore the cost of installation.  Quite a pretty penny.

 

So, in fact I would pay the $1,100 if I had no better option.  But it just struck me as annoyingly pricey and furthermore I was pissed that the guys wouldn't charge it up right then without commiting to the whole $1,100 and seven business days.  So I figured maybe I could do something on my own.  And apparently the unit is now cooling down so maybe I'll be really lucky.  Or maybe not.  But at least I got some cool tools to show they guys in the neighborhood.



#10 jumptrout

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:34 PM

Fact is, the bullet valve may be the source of your leak.

The original repair should have included a brazed schraeder valve.

This is amateur work here.



#11 certified tech group 51

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:37 PM

I hate to say it , but if you do not have ALL the correct equipment,  ( you will make matters worse ) you will be letting in AIR ( a contaminant) and moisture ( another contaminant ).......To do even a good system recharge you will need to replace the bullet tap,...............PLUS  a vacuum pump, a four way manifold, brazing / welding equipment, charge scale......ETC...  I only charge $220 clam$ for a recharge.............500.00 clam$ for the evaporator replacement........... You charge by weight of the refrigerant .................If you are good , and I mean a decent tech, you can add by watching the frost pattern.......You do not  just " recharge it right then"...............From arrive to leave, I take about  2 hours ......................from install ports, to replace front grill.............If I remember, this has a piece of tubing ( after the condenser )  that runs thru the defrost drain pan, a lot of leaks have been known to show up there............., 



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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:47 PM

After rereading your post,  The refrigerant is added to the low side( suction )...........If you add to quickly you will  ' slug the compressor'..........The condenser is made of steel, never seen a condenser leak.......most leaks are in the evaporator coils, aluminum ...........and remember you are adding contaminants to your system, not good for a "Sealed System"........



#13 cb20777

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 03:03 PM

Status Summary - I added R134a through the low-side (process port) bullet tap.  I did it in small bursts over the course of roughly one hour.  At the end of this process the max high-side pressure was between 145 and 150 PSI.

 

After maybe 8 hours I was unimpressed by the cooling, when I realized that I had NOT replaced the rear sheet metal that helps form the ductwork for the evaporator fan to pull air over the evaporator coil and thence on to the top of the freezer and also to the non-freezer side.  After replacing that sheet metal, things started working better.  This morming, the freezer was frozen, the cool side was cool, I can make ice and the family is happy.  Yah!  But the gauge I left to monitor the pressure was deemed "ugly".

 

I peeled back the sheet metal to take a picture of the evap coils.  There was frost at the top, decreasing towards the bottom which had only a very thin layer of frost.  No side of the iceball.

 

Short Term Plan -- I'll going to monitor the high-side pressure a couple of times each day and see what sort of downward trend there is.  Also try to improve my understanding of the practical options (periodic recharge, patch leak, replace items, DYI vs professional, etc).  After some study, I hope to have a more focussed set of questions, that some folks may find interesting (or not).

 

Oh yeah -- I've been looking for an excuse to use that MAP torch I bought a few years ago (it ended up unused on that project).  Sounds like braze on Schrader saddle value would be a good excuse - maybe something like the C&D CD5514.



#14 kdog

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 06:27 PM

For most of us, it is illegal to keep filling a knowingly leaking sealed system - filling it for testing purposes may or may not be. I normally use high pressure dry nitrogen with bubble solution to locate such a leak. 

Monitoring the high side pressure will be kinda useless and will add to the leak by providing another likely path. Usually low side pressure is monitered during testing purposes along with visual frost pattern - using a pierce valve is NEVER recommended, and the mapp gas will not heat quick enogh for the easy flow or silver solder that is required.

Bottom line is that there is a good chance there is a leak in the evaporator (seems common with those) and the compressor may now have damage from operating full of atmoshphere. Since this is the second such repair that may indicate a leak in some of the unexposed inner cabinet tubing - repairs of such issues are iffy at best even for well seasoned and equipped specialists.

Comes a time when you need to cut loose from these - cabinet modification to fit a different unit is much simpler/cheaper/more reliable.


Edited by kdog, 23 June 2013 - 06:28 PM.

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#15 cb20777

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:06 PM

Well its been two weeks now and the frige is working pretty well.  A particularly good sign is that the ice-cream in the freezer section is rock-hard - YEAH!  I do NOT consider the job complete.  Here are the remaining tasks, which I think I will post as discrete new topics to avoid this post being a big ball of various topics (if this is bad etiquette, I apologize in advance, let me know)

 

My assorted questions and tasks (that I'll be posting next)

  • Compressor Temp - what is normal?
  • Proper Refrigerant Charge - How to verify/measure?
  • Evac and Refill -- Verify steps, esp the mystery of refrigerant oil
  • Leak Patch -- what is viable?


#16 cb20777

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 03:46 PM

Just posted the following as a separate posts

 



#17 Spannerwrench

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:30 PM

Do you actually have a cooling challenge?

"Suds are not good"
"They write directions for a reason"
"Make sure you're using it right before you say it's not working correctly"
"If if has a Diagnostic Test Cycle, Run it before and after you fix it!"
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#18 cb20777

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:56 PM

Nope, currently the temp seems fine using my best current metric, namely "is the ice-cream hard"?



#19 certified tech group 51

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 09:19 AM

Do not know which post to answer cuz you are posting the same refer in different places..........The compressor is about the correct temp...But in one of your posts you had a condenser motor problem..........In another post, you said you had  high Pressure on the high side..and..as mentioned in this post, you have been adding contaminants to the system............Moisture that is in the system could freeze and block the cap. tube and /or freeze the moisture in the filter dryer...........One of your other posts you mentioned that some oily stuff came out of the low? side pressure tap ( bullet tap)......that is the pump lubrication.......it moves thru the system with the refrigerant...................I think I will repeat myself......Remove the refrigerant, replace the bullet tap with the correct fitting............. do a system sweep   ( to remove all of the contaminants that you have put in the system ).......and recharge with the correct oz. of refrigerant..........................................  Why is there always  enough time to work on it the second time , BUT never enough time to do it right the first time????.



#20 cb20777

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:34 PM

Thanks for you suggestion.  I have the following questions about it.

 

NOTE: My original thinking was to use my vacuum pump (Robinair 15500) to suck out as much moisture as possible, then refill with R134a based on either weight or pressure measuring.

  • You mention a "system sweep".  I'm not sure what precisely that entails.  Is it preferrable to the vacuum approach?
  • If preferrable, is there a good step-by-step guide that you can suggest?
  • Lastly, in either case, is there any need to get some oil back into the system?  In particular, is it needed for proper compressor operation, or is just stuff that has slowly leaked into the sealed system from the compressor and serves no useful purpose in the sealed system?
  • If I need to add oil, I'm puzzled as to what the proper procedure would be (and where on earth to get it).

I'm sure these are all pretty obvious to somebody with practical experience, but I'm a curious newbie and lack that experience :sad:






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