April 9th, 2011, 07:49 PM
The thermistor that is located behind the fresh food coils is the one that will cause the coil to frost over. It is not hard to replace but it is a job to access it. You have to access the coils by removing the custom cool drawer, the water line coil and the tubing cover. Once you have accessed the coils you will have to take out (loosen) the top screws in the evaporator then lift and carefully pull the evaporator forward to access the thermistor.
The thermistor isn’t the only thing that can cause this but like I said before you cannot definitively check this thermistor without accessing it. Since the thermistor is relatively cheap I would never go so far as to access the thermistor without replacing it.
With all that being said the digital display saying one thing and the actual temperature being different can indicate that the upper thermistor in the fresh food section is bad. If I were you I would replace both thermistors and if that doesn’t work you will be looking at a bad main board or three-way valve. Three way valves rarely fail but if it does you will have to have a professional to replace it.
When you explained how the ice looked like I couldn’t help but think that it seemed more like water was leaking onto the evaporator and freezing so check to make sure the water reservoir isn’t leaking water. Once you access the water reservoir (before you access the evaporator) have someone run water through the water dispenser and check for leaks.
The part number for all GE refrigerator thermistors is WR55X10025.
Testing A Refrigerator Thermistor On A GE Refrigerator
Last edited by shawn111; April 9th, 2011 at 07:55 PM.
April 10th, 2011, 12:25 AM
Originally Posted by shawn111
Thank you very much for replying. I'm getting smarter.
How do you replace the upper thermistor? Same way as the lower?
Clarification: when I described what I saw when I removed the cooling fan shroud (what looked to me like short-stranded, silver Christmas tinsel), this is what I saw AFTER we defrosted the fridge. I saw the pix on the link you sent (thanks) and after defrosting, our coils looked like the one in the pix in which there was no ice present. (though there is ice building up again on the coils now). In other words, I don't know if water is leaking on to the evaporator coils and freezing but I will check for that. Where exactly is the water reservoir?
Found the thermistor on e-Bay and guess I'll replace both the lower and upper and if that doesn't fix it then according to you that should narrow it down to a bad mother board or bad 3-way valve.
Your help is invaluable, particularly because the Sears technician was clueless the first time and the second time he didn't even show even though Sears called and confirmed the 2nd appointment the night before he was supposed to come.
Last edited by Twister; April 10th, 2011 at 12:36 AM.
April 10th, 2011, 08:44 AM
The water reservoir is a coil of water line that holds water in the fresh food section so that you get cold water when you use the dispenser. It should be located between the custom cool drawers and the evaporator cover. You will have to move it out of the way to access the evaporator so you should check this before you go further and if you see a leak remove all the ice, repair the leak and your problem may be solved. If you donít see a leak, go ahead and replace the thermistors and hopefully you will not have the problem again.
The upper thermistor should be located behind a cover that looks like the picture I posted.
April 10th, 2011, 08:51 AM
On the thermistors page I posted a link to above there is a video that shows how to test the thermistors. With the issues you are having I suggest replacing the thermistors and you donít even have to test them unless you want to of course. However at the end of the video I show the correct way to splice the new thermistors so moisture cannot get to the connection and cause problems down the road.
Here is the page agian Testing A Refrigerator Thermistor On A GE Refrigerator
April 14th, 2011, 08:19 AM
A Sears technician came to look at the fridge again. After showing him your posts he said he'd never worked on this kind of regrigerator/freezer and called a Sears hot-line for appliance technicians. After talking to them he said we have 3 options:
1 - Replace the thermistors (as you said above)....he said this 'might' solve the problem.
2 - Sears said they have a 'defroster kit' (Part# WR49X10180) for this kind of fridge so apparently Sears acknowledges they have defrosting issues with my model of fridge. The kit apparently does not include thermistors and costs $264.58.
3 - If the first 2 attempts don't solve the problem he said we might need a new motherboard, which would cost around $500.
Question: have you ever heard of this WR49X10180 defroster kit? If so, does that price sound about right and, last, is this anything that I could install?
(Update: I found the WR49X10180 kit on repairclinic.com for $144.90.)
Unless you say otherwise, or I don't hear from you, since Sears is at least somewhat aware of over-freezing issues with this fridge and their kit doesn't have thermistors I guess I'll bypass installing new thermistors and start with the defroster kit???
Since we manually defrosted the FF side the over-freezing is not as bad (milk doesn't freeze anymore) so we're not in crisis mode but it is still a problem I'd like to get fully resolved.
Many thanks for all your help! If I don't have the Sears guy fix this, at least I've got your valuable posts to steer me in the right direction.
Many thanks! - Dan
Last edited by Twister; April 14th, 2011 at 09:05 AM.
April 18th, 2011, 11:31 AM
I have heard of the kit and yes you may need this kit. To be honest it hasn’t crossed my mind when answering you on this thread. As to which part you need the thermistor or the kit all depends on where the ice is located and how it is forming.
The thermistor will cause the evaporator to form a uniform coat of ice on the evaporator. If the refrigerator needs the kit installed there will be a ball of ice in the bottom left corner above the custom cool air handler. There are certain serial number refrigerators that need the kit. Can you post the serial number?
The thing that is odd about the ice ball kit thing is typically when you have this type of problem it shows up during the warranty period because it is not like something has broken it has been like this from the first day you had the refrigerator. I know some refrigerators could have slipped through the cracks so to speak. It could have just showing a problem because of change humidity in the ambient or different things. What I am trying to say is 99% of the time when you have a problem like this it rears it ugly head with in the first year or so.
With all this being said the thermistor is much cheaper but if you need the kit it will not repair the problem. Post your serial number and I will look at the service bulletin to see if it is one of the effected models.
April 19th, 2011, 08:09 PM
Originally Posted by shawn111
Serial # is: RL440264
According to my wife the evaporator coils never did become covered/clogged with ice (the very far left side of the evaoporator coils did a little where the blob of ice built up but not the entire coil(s)). Instead, we had a blob of very thick ice form over the lower left portion of the fridge immediately behind the "Fresh Produce" bin (the second bin from the very bottom)....this was on top of a large protruding plastic cover that protects the evaporator coils.
I agree, based on the fact that the GE hot-line that the Sears technician called knew of over-freezing problems and recommended a de-ice kit that did NOT include thermistors, makes me think new thermistors likely will not solve the problem.
What ticks me off is that the Sears guy says that 'their' defroster kit costs $120 more than repairclinic.com's defroster kit and the fact they claim that they will not install any part they did not provide. Is that normal for Sears? Do all private companies that repair appliances do this? I can see not providing a warranty if they didn't provide the part but when it's the same part with the same part # in an identical bag that's unopened? That seems like legalized robbery to me. Because of that I am considering installing the defroster kit myself.
I confirmed the kit does come with instructions. What skill level is required to change it out? I am moderately mechanically inclined but time is scarce so I may just have to bite the bullet and have Sears do it.
Again, thank you very much for your help and I look forward to your info.
Regards - Dan
Last edited by Twister; April 19th, 2011 at 08:36 PM.
April 20th, 2011, 06:54 AM
If the ice were only on one corner then I wouldn’t replace the thermistor. This whole time I was thinking the evaporator coils were completely covered with ice. It sounds like you need the kit.
I agree with the sears guy, I wouldn’t install the part unless I provided it because of a couple reasons. One thing is a lot of my profit comes from parts sales. But the main reason is that if the part fails I can handle it as far as parts warranty or in this case if the kit doesn’t repair the problem.
With that being said that part should be less than $200 from anyone. I could sell you it for less than $150 if I were doing the repair job.
I don’t see why this kit cost so much to start with because there is about $25 worth of parts in the kit. I think GE is ripping us off with this kit in the first place. The few times I had to install this kit the appliance was under warranty so the price of the parts didn’t matter.
The part comes with good instructions and it is not very hard however you do have to take out a lot of parts to install this kit. If you are good at taking things apart and putting them back together then you shouldn’t have a problem.
April 20th, 2011, 08:22 AM
Originally Posted by shawn111
I probably confused you when I asked you earlier about what looked to me like Christmas tree 'tinsel'. Plus, I re-read my April 10th post and it definitely was poorly worded. What I was talking about were the hundreds and hundreds of small metal strips/fins that protrude outward from the evaporator coil itself. The coil and tinsel were never covered in ice. The reason I asked about the 'tinsel' was because at the time I wasn't sure the tinsel strips covered the evaporator coil, i.e., I wasn't sure what/where the evaporator coil was. Sorry about the confusion.
I agree that GE is charging waaaaaay too much for this defroster kit. I do appreciate your perspective on this guy saying he won't install what he didn't provide. However, I think my wife and I will order the part ourselves and try doing it on our own. I'll let you know how it goes!
(BTW, do you think installing the defroster kit will solve our issue with the digital readout reading much warmer than it really is on the FF side?)
Last edited by Twister; April 20th, 2011 at 08:36 AM.
April 20th, 2011, 08:57 AM
I donít think the kit is going to have an effect on the digital read out. However install the kit and see how it does.
If the refrigerator werenít so old I would say you could get GE to make the repair for free because like I said it has been like this from day one. Which is why I wouldnít have guessed that this was your problem. You might want to give them a call (just for the heck of it) to see what they say.
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