1955 Vintage GE fridge cooling issues.


Oct 18, 2020
Hi everyone! This is my first posting on this blog. I have read a few threads on here already that have proved quite helpful, so I thought I would try to get some more specific help. Here's the thread that has helped me the most and is the most related to my issue:

I have a 1955 GE refrigerator model #LH-12 that will not cool down properly in the freezer and the compressor constantly runs. The backstory on this thing is that it had a somewhat rough ride from Ohio to Kentucky on a car trailer. Previous owner claims that there were no issues before I purchased. When I initially plugged it up it started up fine but took a long time to cool down to the proper temperatures, especially the freezer. Each fridge evaporator coil gradually got cold from right to left until it reached temperature, at that point the freezer coils started getting cold. It was like the refrigerant had to slowly travel through all of the fridge before it got to the freezer. I froze ice in there the first night and thought all was well. Then I noticed that the compressor never stopped running. I fooled with the thermostat inside and I felt a click when I passed setting 1 or 2 and it shut off. It would come back on in an hour and continue to run non-stop. I unplugged to assess the situation for a few days. I plugged it back in and monitored how long it took to cool and took temperatures. The fridge took about 45min to cool to 40 degrees. After 2 hours the freezer was still at 40 degrees. Not ideal. I measured temperatures at the compressor and condenser coils with a laser thermometer at the 4-hour mark. Some parts of the compressor were up to 164 degrees. The line leading from the compressor (see picture for specifics) was also at a burning 164 degrees. At first, I thought the compressor paint looked like it had got super hot before. It looks like it bubbled. But a member in another forum said that he owns the same fridges and the compressors look the same.

This is where the other thread linked above comes in. One of the members on there was very helpful and I'm hoping he will chime in on this thread as well. He linked a diagram that may explain the problem that I have with my fridge. I will also attach this diagram. I can't decide if my problem based on the diagram is low refrigerant or a restriction in the line. Since the diagram doesn't give specific temperatures I can't decide if the compressor is very hot or just hot. Can someone enlighten me on the specifics of this diagram (hopefully the poster who made it)? The condenser coils on the back of the fridge only got warm about a quarter of the way down. The bottom 3/4 were still room temp. I linked a picture of this as well.

I have a post in another forum called Automatic Washer and some of those guys think that I have a restriction issue. I think either way I'll need a recharge, but I'm curious if I have a restriction or not. I'm thinking about installing a filter drier on this fridge. This model does not have one already and that might be the reason for a restriction. From what I've gathered a restriction can be caused by moisture in the lines freezing and causing a blockage. Or it could be some debris from over the years. Does anyone know if a filter drier will solve a restriction issue if installed? This is what I'm thinking about doing:

  1. install a T style charging port on one of the lines
  2. clear the lines with nitrogen. I need to do more research on this--it is suppose to clear the restriction if there is one.
  3. install a filter drier somewhere in the lines
  4. recharge the fridge according to the plate we found under the drip pan.
What do y'all think about this? The compressor has a port already installed but I think you have to have a special tool to access it. That's why I'm thinking about installing my own.

Thanks in advance!


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