• Please note, some of the links on our site are affiliate links (Learn More)

106.51183113 Kenmore side by side defroster not working

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
Model Number
106.51183113
Brand
Sears Kenmore
Age
More than 10 years
This fridge freezes up every 10 months and I have pulled the evaporator compartment apart and defrost it with a hair drier.
This is the 3rd time.
First time the drain was clogged up with rust, so I assumed that was the reason.
Next time junk was packed in so tight, I assumed airflow or something was causing it.

Now, I believe the defroster isn't working. The entire evaporator inside and out was full of ice. Even the fan above the evaporator was full of ice.

But this fridge doesn't look like any I've seen diagrams for and even the parts diagram looks different when I search the model #.

For the life of me, I can't see a defrost heater. Also, I don't see the defrost thermostat I see in other refrigerators. The only sensor is a thermistor which I didn't test yet because I have to pull the whole rig out from the wall to get to the connectors.
Also, the evaporator is in the fridge side of the unit. Opposite of all the refrigerators I've seen on youtube etc.

How does this thing defrost without a heater? Reverse the compressor?

And could the thermistor be the problem or am I looking at the circuit board? I don't even know where the circuit board is located. I assume in the freezer door with the other controls.

fridge2.jpg
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon
Hi,

The refrigerator section evaporator coil does not have a defrost heater, the evaporator fan that mounts above it should be running to keep it defrosted. Is that fan running?

Here's that refrigerator section evaporator fan motor for your model: W10451901 Motor-Evap

You can test the voltage to it from the control board.

P7-9(gray wire) to P7-10(red wire) should be 14 volts DC. Use your multimeter to see if you get 14 volts DC, if so and that fan is not running, then that fan motor is bad.

Here's that evaporator thermistor:
Temperature Sensor W10316760


At 32 degrees that thermistor should read about 8.7k ohms, leave the thermistor in a glass of ice water for at least 5 minutes and see if it reads about 8.7k ohms.

Jake
 

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
The refrigerator section evaporator coil does not have a defrost heater, the evaporator fan that mounts above it should be running to keep it defrosted. Is that fan running?

Yes. It was completely encapsulated in ice. When I thawed everything, I powered the fridge back on and saw the fan was running. The fan sits in the styrofoam surrounding the evaporator and blows up into the cabinet channel.

How does the fan defrost it?

What else could be causing this to freeze up (total block of ice)? It's my mom's refrigerator and she is notorious for packing the thing and blocking airflow.

At 32 degrees that thermistor should read about 8.7k ohms, leave the thermistor in a glass of ice water for at least 5 minutes and see if it reads about 8.7k ohms.

The thermistor doesn't detach. The wire runs through the back of the compartment and I presume out the back someplace. I can pull the fridge out, find the leads, and test it there.

I'm confused about how this defrosts and the thermistor's purpose if there is no heater. I've watched plenty of videos explaining how the defrost cycle works with a heater and sensors.


There was a steel plate under the evaporator. It rusted so bad, that chunks of rust blocked up the drain. I eventually removed it because it was so bad. I kind of assumed it was a heat shield for the heater. Now I see there is no heater. I could cut a piece of aluminum to replace the steel plate that was rusted out.


So....this model has 2 evaporators? Her ice maker stopped working once. No water in the door. So I assumed the line was frozen and turned temp down and rebooted it. Next day water was flowing again.
This thing has been nothing but trouble.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon
How does the fan defrost it?
You also have a reverse flow valve solenoid:
Solenoid WPW10364560

The flow is normally from the compressor to the condenser (because the compressed gas is hot) then to the evaporator. The reverse flow valve solenoid makes it flow so the hot liquid is pumped into the evaporator first. That releases the frost from the evaporator coil in the defrost cycle.

This how it works:
If the refrigerator compartment is calling for cooling the control determines if the refrigerator evaporator coil temperature has been above a predetermined temperature (approximately 35°F) for 15 minutes. This is to assure the evaporator coil is defrosted. The evaporator thermistor monitors the temperature of that evaporator coil.
- If the evaporator coil is below the predetermined temperature the refrigerator fan turns on to circulate air over the evaporator coil to defrost it. The fan will operate until the evaporator coil is above the predetermined temperature for 15 minutes.
- If the evaporator coil is above the predetermined temperature but for less than 15 minutes the refrigerator fan turns on to circulate air over the evaporator coil to defrost it. This continues until the 15 minute time is met.
• When the evaporator coil is above the predetermined temperature for 15 minutes or more the reversing valve moves to the closed position. At the same time the compressor, condenser fan, refrigerator evaporator fan turn on.
• With the reversing valve still in the closed position the compressor evacuates the refrigerant from the low side of the system and pumps it into the high side of the refrigerant system.
• After a predetermined time (approximately 2 minutes) the reversing valve changes position allowing refrigerant to flow from the high side, through a capillary tube, and into the refrigerator evaporator coil allowing cooling of the refrigerator compartment.
The refrigerator evaporator fan also turns on and circulates air across the evaporator coil. Heat is removed from the air and recirculated back to the compartment.

The thermistor doesn't detach. The wire runs through the back of the compartment and I presume out the back someplace.
Correct, you have to cut the old one out and splice the new one in.

this model has 2 evaporators?
Correct, the freezer evaporator coil does have a defrost heater.

Jake
 

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
Thanks for the explanation. I was thinking it somehow reversed direction and the evap would heat.

So.... I guess I could test the thermistor if I can locate the connections on the back of the fridge.
Is that a likely failure point?

Or is that reverse flow valve a possible culprit? And how would I test the flow valve?

And of course the main control board could still be a problem.

I really don't want to replace things piece at a time if not necessary. And the price of the control board is 1/3 the way to buying a new fridge and this fridge is getting tired. My mom will balk at spending a lot of money which is why I'm trying to save her the labor on a repair company. She's on a fixed income and all that. At some point, I may have to just tell her to call someone because this is over my head.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon
The evaporator thermistor is more prone to fail than the reverse flow valve solenoid.

I'm attaching your tech. data sheet below. On the main control board the refrigerator evaporator thermistor connects to P6-4 Orange/Tan wire to P6-9 Brown/Orange wire, just remove that connector and ohm test it at that connector. Make sure you unplug the refrigerator first!

Also you can see if it PASSES in STEP 39 under the SERVICE DIAGNOSTICS MODE.

Or is that reverse flow valve a possible culprit? And how would I test the flow valve?
Looks like its STEP 4

Jake
 

Attachments

  • 106.51183113 Service and Wiring Sheet - W10336426 - Rev E.pdf
    747.4 KB · Views: 41

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
I'll test the thermistor as it would be the easiest to check.

Stupid question... where is the control board? I assume in the freezer door? Inside?

And.....I saw a post where the wiring from the freezer door into the cabinet can break. So, I'll inspect those also.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon
where is the control board?
Its the very back of the refrigerator, once you pull the refrigerator out from the wall, you will see a cover over it, just remove that cover.

Here's the control board for your model:
whirlpool-cntl-elek-gf-wpw10235503-ap6017476_01_m.jpg



I saw a post where the wiring from the freezer door into the cabinet can break. So, I'll inspect those also.
Yes for sure!

Jake
 

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
So I pulled the refrigerator and tested the evaporator thermistor while it was still attached and very cold. I was getting 11.8k and then as it "warmed" up I was getting 12.8k and 13.4k before I plugged it back in.

This seems a bit high but not necessarily out of range of the 8.7k ohms it should be. And it was covered in ice.

So...I'm now thinking we are looking at a bad solenoid or main board.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon
--->At 32 degrees that thermistor should read about 8.7k ohms, leave the thermistor in a glass of ice water for at least 5 minutes and see if it reads about 8.7k ohms.

It should be right at 8.7k ohms in a glass of ice water, waiting 5 minutes, if not that is the bad part.

Jake
 

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
The thermister has no disconnect. To pull it out would require cutting the wires.

When I tested it (from the connector in the rear on the board), the thing was full of ice/frost as the defroster isn't working. So I figured that would put it around 32 degrees or colder.
As time went on and the fridge was off (unplugged) the readings kept climbing from 11.8k to 13.4k before I put the cover back on the board.

SO, I'm guessing that the thermistor should read LESS with more cold. And it was COLD and reading 11.8k

It's the cheapest part in the defrost system to replace. I'm thinking of replacing it and see what happens. All the other parts get pricy and this fridge is 14 years old and showing age in other places.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon

bzncrew

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2022
Messages
17
Location
Bozeman, Montana
Replaced Thermister. No joy. Froze up in a few weeks.
At this point I'm throwing in the towel. Fridge is 10 years old, rusting and a new circuit board is 1/3 the $ way to a new fridge.

Thanks for the help Jake.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
134,025
Location
Redmond, Oregon
Sorry to hear that, seemed the thermistor was the problem being off 8.7k ohms that much.

Yes, I agree its best to save the control board repair money for a new refrigerator since its 14 years old.

Jake
 
If you feel that you have benefited from this site, and would like to show your appreciation.
Top