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Thread: Kenmore S/S: Freezer warm - Refrigerator normal

  1. #1
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    Default Kenmore S/S: Freezer warm - Refrigerator normal

    Model Number: 106.8594610
    Brand: Sears Kenmore

    Have a 1989 Sears Kenmore Side by Side Refrigerator (106.8594610) that has worked w/o any problems for the past 21 years. (Yes, I know I should replace it and reap the benefits of energy star low power consumption models).

    [It has been dripping a lot of water from the refrigerator ceiling during the summer months for the past 4 years]

    The Problem:

    I returned home one day to find that everything in the freezer compartment had melted.

    After clearing out all the food from both sides - discovered that the refrigerator compartment is reading 42 degrees, while the freezer section is reading 38 degrees.

    While the compressor runs and cycles - it seems to be running more often than normal.

    What would be the cause of a warm freezer and a cool refrigerator in this model?

    1) Stuck in defrost cycle?
    2) Blower fan inoperative?
    3) Stuck vent door?
    4) Low Freon?
    5) Other?

    Door seals do not appear to be bad.
    There is no food in the unit to block vents.

    Hope that someone can point me in the right direction so that I might attempt a home repair b4 I resort to purchasing a new unit.

  2. #2
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    Default

    open your freezer door and stick your ear in there, do you hear a fan running?

  3. #3
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    Yes, I can hear a fan blower running. {Don't know how many there should be}

    I can feel cold air blowing into the freezer from a vent in the back panel - behind the ice bin area.

    Placed a thermometer in the freezer for the past few hours - it is reading 34. Cold, but not anywhere near the target of zero.

    There is some sort of vent in the bottom of the freezer on the rear panel - which I assume is for recirculation. When I place my hand down in that area, I don't feel any air flow.

  4. #4
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    Take the lower back panel off from inside the freezer, and look at your evaporator coils. Normal would be a thin layer of frost on them ALL.

    If you can barely see the coils, then thats too much frost.

    Pull your refrigerator out from the wall , take off the lower back access panel and see if your condenser fan is running while your compressor is running.

    Let us know what you find.

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

    Look-Up & Order Parts

  5. #5
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    Removed the bottom panel from inside the freezer to expose the coils - cool to the touch, but not COLD. No noticeable frost at all.

    Removed the rear bottom panel - the fan is not running when the compressor is on.

  6. #6
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    I'm not at home right now, otherwise I'd have already tried this.

    But assuming that the non-functioning condensor fan is the problem - can I position a desk-top fan on the floor and point the air flow in toward the condensor?

    I was thinking that if it worked, the new source of air flow could confirm that nothing else is wrong and the the unit will be able to drop temperatures back to the normal range (before I invest in a new condensor fan assembly).

    If the condensor fan had been having performance problems the past few years (prior to complete failure), would it have been the cause of the large amount of condensation I had in the refrigerator compartment during the warm, summer months?

    And finally - are there any fans / motors / vent flaps that are used to circulate air inside the unit between the freezer and the refrigerator? Wondering if I should check those as well to see if they are functioning properly...

    (Already know the the blower behind the ice bin is working)

    Thanks -

  7. #7
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    But assuming that the non-functioning condensor fan is the problem - can I position a desk-top fan on the floor and point the air flow in toward the condensor?
    Yes, you can.

    If after doing that, and if your refrigerator starts cooling normally again, then yes, its your condenser fan motor thats bad.

    If the condensor fan had been having performance problems the past few years (prior to complete failure), would it have been the cause of the large amount of condensation I had in the refrigerator compartment during the warm, summer months?
    Yes, correct.

    And finally - are there any fans / motors / vent flaps that are used to circulate air inside the unit between the freezer and the refrigerator? Wondering if I should check those as well to see if they are functioning properly...
    No, other fans, just the one in the freezer.

    Here's the condenser fan motor for your model you can order:
    Manufacturer's Number: 833697

    833697

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

    Look-Up & Order Parts

  8. #8
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    Thank you -

    I positioned the desk fan on the floor and aimed it toward the coils. The temperature in the freezer immediately began to drop and soon reached -5.

    When I first checked the condensor fan, it was hard to turn and would stop rotating as soon as I removed my hand.

    With the desktop fan in the vicinity, the condensor fan started rotating - helped along by the additional wind velocity. When I turned off the desktop fan, the condensor fan continued to run. In fact, it has been cycling off and off with the compressor ever since. Temperature has remained constant overnight.

    So all appears well. At this point, I am left to believe that the fan blades or motor shaft must have been bound with dirt that was eventually blown clear with the introduction of the desktop fan.

    *************

    I do note that there is approx. 3/8" play on the fan shaft (in / out), but assume that is normal and that I do not need to perform a preventative replacement of the condenser motor.

    *************

    When I removed the inside rear panel of the freezer compartment to check the coils for frost, I noticed that the gasket on the removable panel was not flush, but had slipped, creating numerous bumps (and presumably air leaks). Am I correct in assuming that I do not need to replace the gasket and completely seal off the panel in as much as there are openings in the top and bottom to circulate air in the compartment.

    *********

    Thanks for your excellence guidance!

  9. #9
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    When I first checked the condenser fan, it was hard to turn and would stop rotating as soon as I removed my hand.
    Yes, but there is a very good chance it will seize up again if it did it once. I'd still order the condenser motor.

    I do note that there is approx. 3/8" play on the fan shaft (in / out), but assume that is normal and that I do not need to perform a preventative replacement of the condenser motor.
    Yes, thats normal.

    When I removed the inside rear panel of the freezer compartment to check the coils for frost, I noticed that the gasket on the removable panel was not flush, but had slipped, creating numerous bumps (and presumably air leaks). Am I correct in assuming that I do not need to replace the gasket and completely seal off the panel in as much as there are openings in the top and bottom to circulate air in the compartment.
    Yes, its not absolutely necessary.

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

    Look-Up & Order Parts

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