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106.51133210 Kenmore Refrigerator/freezer doesn’t get cold enough.

PeaceCheese

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
10
Location
Katy, Texas
Model Number
106.51133210
Brand
Sears Kenmore
Age
6-10 years
Kenmore Coldspot: 106.51133210 (side-by-side)

The refrigerator started getting warm so I moved almost all the food to garage fridge. Some things I moved from fridge to freezer because the freezer temperature was roughly what the fridge should be. After a day or two it got cold again and froze everything in the freezer but warmed up again.
  1. Cleaned coils underneath fridge from front - took baseplate off and vacuumed.
  2. The condenser fan works fine. The evaporator fan seems to be working fine.
  3. Changed the run capacitor and start relay. No change in function - will get cold for a bit after a few days then then warms again.
  4. Noticed buildup of ice along the back wall of freezer. Tested the defrost heater (ohm reading 32.4). Tested the thermostat - continuity tone / ohm reading .6.
  5. Thought it was possibly wire connectivity issue so removed the connectors for heater and thermostat and put 3” wire extension and used wire nuts to reconnect heater and thermostat. Turned on fridge - after 36 hrs the freezer is around 33 degrees and fridge is roughly 40. (Set to -3 / 37) At around the 24 hour timeframe the water in an ice tray froze but then thawed again.
  6. From my research there is no independent defrost timer - it's controlled by the circuit board. That’s at least $200. Don’t want to pay for that and then find out that the problem is with something else.
Any help would be appreciated.
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
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Messages
5,287
Location
Ontario, Canada
PeaceCheese said:
after a few days then then warms again.


At that time was the compressor and all fans running?


PeaceCheese said:
Noticed buildup of ice along the back wall of freezer. Tested the defrost heater (ohm reading 32.4). Tested the thermostat - continuity tone


What was the frost pattern on the evaporator like? That will be a key observation necessary to diagnose the possible cause.

image.jpeg


Dan O.
 

PeaceCheese

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
10
Location
Katy, Texas
Thanks for the quick answer.
The back of the freezer (area with coils behind) had about a half inch of ice buildup. I unplugged the fridge before I went to bed and when I woke all the ice was gone. Then I took the plate off to look at the coils and test heater and thermostat. So I never saw the ice buildup on the coils. Crap, wish I had that information.
 

PeaceCheese

Premium Member
Joined
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Messages
10
Location
Katy, Texas
As far as I can tell both fans run (and have always run) as they should. Yes, when there was ice buildup the fans were running normally.
 

PeaceCheese

Premium Member
Joined
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Messages
10
Location
Katy, Texas
Sorry for the multiple answers. I just want to be clear. I will try to make one reply going forward.

The fridge/freezer fans are working correctly now (from my knowledge about when they should run), and they were running during the times of freezing and warm. The freezer is about 33 now and fridge in the mid 40's.
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
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Messages
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Location
Ontario, Canada
PeaceCheese said:
I unplugged the fridge before I went to bed and when I woke all the ice was gone.


The next time it happens, take a picture of the coil before defrosting and take specific note if the fans and the compressor are running at that time.


PeaceCheese said:
The freezer is about 33 now


That's obviously too warm. Now might be a good time to see what happening on the evaporator.

Dan O.
 

PeaceCheese

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
10
Location
Katy, Texas
It's been running for well over 48 hours now and there isn't any ice buildup. It only got cold enough to freeze some ice at the 24 hour mark then warmed up again. Are you saying I should keep it running and remove the panel at the back of the freezer to see what the evaporator coils look like now?
 

Dan O.

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I am saying, when the fridge components (fans and compressor) are or have been running and it should be cooling but it isn't cooling properly, it should be turned off or disconnected from power, the freezer compartment opened up and someone inspect the evaporator coil's frosting.

That frosting will tell a great deal about what's going on. Post photos of the frosting if possible.

There's no use looking if it has stopped running, or has defrosted by itself or by you. The evaporator needs to be inspected when it should be cooling (ie. when the compressor is or has been running).

Did you look at the pictures I posted previously?


PS. It will probably make these messages more readable if you didn't quote my whole message each time you reply.


Dan O.
 
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PeaceCheese

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Aug 11, 2020
Messages
10
Location
Katy, Texas
Ok, thank you.
Sorry about the full quote.

Yes, I looked at the photos you sent previously. I unplugged it and let it defrost so I never saw frosting on the coils so I am not sure which one it looked like.

Tomorrow morning I will unplug and pull the back plate right away and take a picture. Curious if there will be any frosting as the freezer is around 30 degrees right now.

The evaporator fan and condenser fan and condenser have been running pretty much non-stop since I plugged it back in a couple of days ago after checking the heater and thermostat.

One other tidbit of info., not sure if it matters. The thermostat was stock and there was no temperature rating to be found on it. I put it into my garage freezer and checked it after a few hours and got a continuity tone and .6 ohms (same ohms as touching the two leads together).
 

Dan O.

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PeaceCheese said:
Tomorrow morning I will unplug and pull the back plate right away and take a picture.


Yes, do that.


Curious if there will be any frosting as the freezer is around 30 degrees right now.


You'd better hope there is!


Dan O.
 

Dan O.

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Nice picture but unfortunately as shown in the example pic above, that frost pattern indicates a sealed refrigeration problem which will need a professional to look into further. It could be short of refrigerant or the compressor defective and need to be replaced. You're likely looking at a minimum of $150+ to repair. If a compressor is required, it could be $400-$500+.

But do check your warranty (which might be listed in its owner's manual). Parts of the sealed refrigeration system may have an extended warranty. It's usually up to 5-years but some models could have 10 year sealed system warranty.

If not, it might be time to look for sales on a new refrigerator.

Dan O.
 

Dan O.

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Most technicians here recommend Whirlpool products under any of their brand names (see the following link). Your Kenmore model was made by them as well... but don't hold it against them. ;)

LINK > Appliance411: Who makes what?


Dan O.
 

Boatbuilder

Premium Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Maine
May be too late to compare problems here: but I have a similar issue to Peace. Only I'm certain that the frost pattern is indicative of failed defrosting - packed right full of ice. And looking over the fridge, I found a broken white wire at the bottom of the freezer door. The heater and thermistor checked out similar - no obvious issues. Right now I'm wondering if the wire resulted in failed auto defrosting. Going to put everything back together now that I fixed the wire & re-protected it. I believe it was a wear issue and wonder if others have experienced the same?
 

Dan O.

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Messages
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I found a broken white wire at the bottom of the freezer door. Right now I'm wondering if the wire resulted in failed auto defrosting

No.

If you need any additional help please start your own message and be sure to include the refrigerator’s exact model number.

You can find tips for locating the model and serial number identification tag on your appliances at the following link:

LINK > Model Number Tag Location Guide

Dan O
 

Boatbuilder

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Nov 1, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Maine
Sorry, should have been more specific: it is the exact same Kenmore unit as Peace - 106.51133210. That is why I continued here thinking it may be a unit issue.

When you say "No", are you suggesting a broken wire (that I admittedly haven't been able to track in the unit) would not cause a failure of auto defrosting? Or does "No" refer to the wire in some other manner?

 

Dan O.

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Messages
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Location
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Boatbuilder said:
I'm wondering if the wire resulted in failed auto defrosting.


No, a problem with wiring to the door would not cause a defrosting issue.


Boatbuilder said:
it is the exact same Kenmore unit as Peace - 106.51133210. That is why I continued here thinking it may be a unit issue.

Except you have the exact opposite symptoms. You have too much frost buildup, the OP had too little.

Please start a separate message with your specific problem if you need further assistance. That way all the discussion on similar symptoms will be together and not just be a bunch of unrelated problems that might occur on a similar (or exact) model.


Dan O.
 
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