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Jrik

Kitchenaid Refrigerator Problem

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Jrik

I have a 22 year old Kitchenaid  side by side... model number KSSS42MDX0... and have decided to keep it as it seems better built than the newer refrigerators. My original problem was that the evaporator fins frosted over causing the refrigerator to not get cold. Every ten days or so I would defrost those fins and it would work great until they over frosted again. The freezer now goes to just above freezing. I have since replaced the bi metal thermostat and the freezer timer. I also checked the evaporator heater element and it is at 22 ohms. The timer however does not rotate and when I manually turn it, I can hear the relay click, shutting the  evap fan off,  however the heater element does not get hot. Short of replacing the control panel, what else should I be looking for?

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Jedi Appliance Guy

When you replaced the timer, were you given a choice of where to put the little black wire on the timer? It is possible you chose wrong. That might explain your timer advancement issue. 

Your defrost heater won't come on if the defrost thermostat/terminator is open because of less than freezing temperature. A non-contact voltage indicator is helpful in this situation. 

It's a good fridge, and very expensive to replace. Definitely worth resolving a defrost issue. 

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Jrik
10 hours ago, Jedi Appliance Guy said:

When you replaced the timer, were you given a choice of where to put the little black wire on the timer? It is possible you chose wrong. That might explain your timer advancement issue. 

Your defrost heater won't come on if the defrost thermostat/terminator is open because of less than freezing temperature. A non-contact voltage indicator is helpful in this situation. 

It's a good fridge, and very expensive to replace. Definitely worth resolving a defrost issue. 

Exactly why I want to fix and keep it... and thank you for your help.

The new timer was an exact OEM replacement ( I think from Whirlpool ) so I just plugged it in. Same with the freezer thermostat ( bi metal ) located  next to the evaporator fan.

Unfortunately, I don't have a block diagram showing the signal paths throughout the unit so I did not know which of the four wires on the timer plug to check to see if voltage is going into it. Until I figure it out, I don't have a problem manually rotating it to shut the evap fan off but the heating element does not go on even though it reads resistance.

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Jedi Appliance Guy

I took some time to look up your timer. I was mistaken about the little black wire on yours. There isn't one.

You said your freezer goes to just above freezing. This makes me want to see the frost pattern on your evaporator coil. This might be serious. Some of my colleagues here might just want the temperature of your condenser coil. 

I would say leave the refrigerator plugged in and running and removed the 45 or so philips screws in the evaporator cover and post us a picture of your evaporator coil so that we may gaze upon it and read the frost much like the old school auto mechanics could read a sparkplug. 

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Jrik
18 hours ago, Jedi Appliance Guy said:

I took some time to look up your timer. I was mistaken about the little black wire on yours. There isn't one.

You said your freezer goes to just above freezing. This makes me want to see the frost pattern on your evaporator coil. This might be serious. Some of my colleagues here might just want the temperature of your condenser coil. 

I would say leave the refrigerator plugged in and running and removed the 45 or so philips screws in the evaporator cover and post us a picture of your evaporator coil so that we may gaze upon it and read the frost much like the old school auto mechanics could read a sparkplug. 

I have been doing this every week to 10 days to manually defrost. Usually after the 10 day period the coil and fins are completely caked over with frost to where one can barely detect the fins. ( I will post the pic next time I defrost it ) 

The encouraging news is that the timer worked for the first time this morning, shutting the compressor and fans down for 30 minutes after which everything kicked on again... however I have no way of confirming if the defrost heater assembly is working without pulling everything out of the freezer again and removing the panel which I will do in a couple of days. Meanwhile, the freezer is now getting down to 32 degrees in some areas but not in others.

The other part of this project is to remove the drain pan below the freezer as I think it overflowed when I last defrosted it and the stench throughout the kitchen and adjoining rooms is pretty bad. I looked underneath the freezer to remove it but while it looks simple to do, it turns out that is it is not. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

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certified tech group 51

find the wire diagram, put unit into forced defrost, put a clamp on amp meter around the defrost circuit wire....measure the current draw..............Evaporator fan motor operating ? Powered from the control board in the fresh food section.......Is the defrost drain pan heater in the water in the pan???....I concur with JEDI on getting some pictures of the frost pattern, if there is not a fully frosted evap coil, the drain heater will not be hot enough to help evaporate the drain water...( and get down to 0 degs in the freezer)..............................

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Jrik

Guy's,

I have a pic of the evaporator fins. This is the first time ( after one week between defrosts ) that the fins were not thickly frosted from top to bottom with the fins barely visible. As the pic shows ( at least when I figure out how to paste it ) most of it is clear with the frost at the top. Not sure if it is the thermostat or timer as I replaced both at the same time.

The refrigerator is now cooling perfectly but the freezer is still not freezing everything. Vegetables will freeze but liquids and the blue ice bag will not.

The pics are not tied to a url so if anyone can advise me how to attache them, it would be appreciated.

 

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Slav
5 hours ago, Jrik said:

The pics are not tied to a url so if anyone can advise me how to attache them, it would be appreciated.

We typically just drag-n-drop pictures into the reply, or can choose a file to attach, but I'm not sure if DIYers are allowed to post pictures as well... try it.

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Jedi Appliance Guy
18 hours ago, Jrik said:

Guy's,

most of it is clear with the frost at the top. 

The refrigerator is now cooling perfectly but the freezer is still not freezing everything. Vegetables will freeze but liquids and the blue ice bag will not.

This is not good news. Without actually seeing the coil, your description makes me think you may have a sealed system issue. You can try cleaning the condenser coil if it's dirty but I wouldn't get my hopes up. 

There is a procedure I've heard of on this site called "the works".  (Evaporator, compressor, condenser) I don't recommend you attempt this on your own. Perhaps one of my colleagues here who performs this on a somewhat regular basis can tell you about how much it should cost you. Something else to consider is sooner or later, if they haven't already, they're going to stop making/selling key replacement parts such as the defrost heater. 

Try to get us that picture. If you can't upload it directly, post it on another media site and link to it. 

 

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Jrik
2 minutes ago, Jedi Appliance Guy said:

This is not good news. Without actually seeing the coil, your description makes me think you may have a sealed system issue. You can try cleaning the condenser coil if it's dirty but I wouldn't get my hopes up. 

There is a procedure I've heard of on this site called "the works".  (Evaporator, compressor, condenser) I don't recommend you attempt this on your own. Perhaps one of my colleagues here who performs this on a somewhat regular basis can tell you about how much it should cost you. Something else to consider is sooner or later, if they haven't already, they're going to stop making/selling key replacement parts such as the defrost heater. 

Try to get us that picture. If you can't upload it directly, post it on another media site and link to it. 

 

I have already ordered some of the parts in the event they are needed in the future. I also was lucky enough to locate a completely rebuilt control panel for the same purpose. The only part I have not been able to locate is an original thermistor. I have no problem hiring a colleague of yours from the board, if I can't ultimately resolve the issue. I'll figure out how to get the pic posted.

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Jedi Appliance Guy
10 minutes ago, Jrik said:

Until I figure out how to post the pic, it can be accessed at

https://ibb.co/5hdjzxC

Yup, classic partial frost pattern. 

Reminds me of this 

But in your case a new fridge will run you in excess of 10k. Hopefully you can find someone locally to you to bring it back to life.

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