FIXED 253.70413414 Fridge not cooling, freezer fine

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agt24

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Model Number
253.70413414
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Sears Kenmore
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Our problem (cold freezer, warm fridge, see attached pics) seems to be common with Kenmore fridges. This thread seemed very relevant to my problem:

https://www.applianceblog.com/mainforums/threads/8049-Kenmore-Elite-freezer-OK-food-section-too-warm-air-damper-is-open

But I just realized it's a very old thread for a much older model. Is the solution the same?

I can't find much info on the diagnostics for this model. Can someone tell me how to get into the diagnostic mode? And how to trigger a manual defrost? Or do I just need to test things manually?

Screenshot 2018-09-04 22.19.05.pngScreenshot 2018-09-04 22.19.15.jpg
 

Jake

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Terry McGillicutty

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Jake, my fridge has a very similar model number: 253.70413411, bought in 2015. Does the tech sheet you posted above apply to my fridge too, or is there a more specific one? I ask because my problem is similar: 38-40 deg near the top of the fridge compartment, 36 deg at the bottom of the fridge, but a solid 0 degrees in the freezer. Fridge setpoint is 34 deg, freezer setpoint is 0 deg. Weird thing is this has been going on for about 6 months (long story), with no further degradation of freezing or cooling.
 

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Jake

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Yes Terry, the tech. data sheet I posted in post #2 is the exact same one your model uses.

For yours do TEST 29 FF(FRESH FOOD) THERMISTOR

Let us know the results.

Jake
 

Terry McGillicutty

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Jake, test 29 showed an immediate, valid temperature. As I type this I'm in the process of emptying the freezer to get a look at the coils. I'm trying to get the freezer door off. Looks like the icemaker may be in the way of the evaporator cover.

Should I focus on something else?
 

Terry McGillicutty

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I got the freezer door off, then the evaporator fan cover, so I can see its blades. I ran test #15, and the fan goes from lo to hi to off no problem. Cold air comes from it.

Now I'm going to see if the damper is stuck/broken, and not allowing enough cold air up into the fridge. Gotta find it.

The unit is powered, so with high temps in both the freezer and the fridge, shouldn't the evap fan be running? Could the control of that fan be broken?

UPDATE: while removing the panel covering the evap coils, the evap fan came on. So that control is working. Here are some pics of the evap coils. There are some unavoidable shadows, and the unit has been open for almost an hour, so some of the fine frost has dissipated. However there were no ice/frost chunks or pooling of thawed ice, so it looks like the evap coils are OK. Cold air is blowing right now.
 

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Terry McGillicutty

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UPDATE: got to the damper. Ran test #22 and watched the damper go fully open and fully closed when running the test by hand. I didn't think ahead and get a look at the damper before trying to move it, though. So I don't know if it was closed, and thus perhaps not being controlled properly by the main board.

I went to the condenser coils and found them pretty dirty. Dunno if this would explain the cold freezer but warm(ish) fridge, though.
 

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Jake

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Ok, set the refrigerator temperature control 1 notch higher(colder), the more it runs the more even cooling you will get in the refrigerator section Terry.

During the HOT SUMMER months it needs to run a lot more.

Clean your condenser coil too.:)

Jake
 

Terry McGillicutty

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10-4 Jake! In the process today I removed all the shelving, trays, and such. I completely cleaned the condenser coil, it's spotless now.

Then I reattached the freezer door and let the unit begin to cool at 4:25pm. I have a dual thermometer system on the unit. I also have another digital thermometer inside the fridge. Then there's the local reading of the unit's thermistors. Somehow after all the button pressing today, the unit's digital LED readouts are actual tempertures, not setpoints.

I didn't get all temps recorded each time though.

Here's the progress of cooling, with no food or shelving inside, so absolutely no load. Setpoints are 34 degF for fridge, 0 degF for freezer.

time fridge (sensor 1) fridge (sensor 2) fridge (thermistor) freezer (sensor3) freezer (thermistor)
4:25p 71 -- -- 70 --
5:50p 51 -- -- 16 --
6:00p 49 47 52 13 15
6:30p 42 38 44 4 7
6:45p 39 36 40 1 2
7:00p 37 34 36 0 0
7:15p 35 33 34 1 0
7:30p 34 32 34 2 0

This is with no load, but still, maybe in the end the issue was the dirty condenser coil? Thoughts?
 

Terry McGillicutty

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One last update for today. During the initial cooldown starting at 4:25p, the unit's LED temp readouts were actual degF. But once down to setpoint they seem to have reverted to displaying setpoint. For the last set of thermistor values at 11:00p, I went into diagnostic mode and had it read the actual temps. The fridge thermistor temp seems weirdly high, but I have 2 other sensors in the fridge showing very cold temps. Apparently the controller assumes an offset between the fridge thermistor value and the fridge setpoint.

time fridge (sensor 1) fridge (sensor 2) fridge (thermistor) freezer (sensor3) freezer (thermistor)
9:15p 32 29 -- 3 --
11:00p 31 28 37 (?) 3 -2

I forgot to say in the beginning of all this that for the last couple months, the lowest fridge temps I got from sensor1 and sensor2 were 39 and 36, respectively, located at the bottom of the fridge like they are now. So I'm now getting a solid 8 degF cooler fridge temp.
 

Jake

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Ok Terry, its best to manually ohm test the fresh food thermistor, the control board could be sending a false reading saying its good, when its not.

Place the thermistor is a small glass and fill it with crushed ice. Add enough water to cover the thermistor. This should bring the temperature of the thermistor very close to 32*F-33*F. At 33*F the thermistor should measure 31,658 ohms. At 32*F the thermistor should measure 32,566 ohms (+ or - 2%). Your thermistor should be between 31.6K and 32.5K ohms.

Here's the thermistor for your model you can order, if yours ohm tests bad:
Thermistor 240597203


Here's the video to access/replace both of them:

Jake
 

Terry McGillicutty

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Yep, I suspect the fridge thermistor may be getting flaky. Late last night we loaded up the freezer, but only put a couple things in the fridge. This morning I checked the temperatures. The freezer is doing well (1 deg at sensor 3, and -4 deg thermistor) but the fridge is way too cold for a setpoint of 34 deg:

Fridge sensor 1: 21 deg
Fridge sensor 2: 25 deg
Fridge thermistor (diagnostic mode readout): 35 deg

So it looks like the controller thinks it is doing well with a 34 deg setpoint and a 35 deg actual temp. But in reality it is cooling too much.

I will test the fridge thermistor today. Looking at the repair video for the thermistor, it looks like a known good digital thermometer placed on a shelf at the same height as the fridge thermistor should read pretty close.

I really appreciate your help Jake! I will update the thread soon.
 

Terry McGillicutty

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Update: my wireless temp sensors were sitting on the bottom of the empty fridge, with all drawers and shelving removed. So I put them in a mesh bag and hung them up higher, level with the fridge thermistor. The sensors warmed up to around 32 degF. This makes sense since the small carton of milk in there did not freeze overnight.

With my sensors at the level of the fridge thermistor, they read 32 and 33 degF, compared to the diagnostic thermistor temp of 39 degF. That's still a lot of difference with the thermistor, which should be accurate to within a couple degrees F. As usual, the freezer very cold and steady around 0 degF, +/- a degree or two back and forth.

I checked the fridge thermistor's resistance. After 5 minutes in a crushed ice water bath, the resistance was 31,100 ohms. This is outside the +/-2% tolerance. However my multimeter is a very cheap junky one, so who knows how accurate it's resistance measurement is.

Jake do you think its worth it to change out the fridge thermistor? Or are these values close enough to not bother spending $20+ dollars?
 

Jake

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It's outside the tolerance but NOT by much Terry, so I don't know if replacing the thermistor will fix it.

The only other part that would cause this is the main control board:
Main Control Board 5304504032


Jake
 

Terry McGillicutty

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Late last night I loaded the shelves, drawers, and food back into the fridge. Setpoints are 34 deg in the fridge and 0 deg in the freezer. This morning my wireless sensors reported 33 degF in the fridge, and the fridge thermistor in diagnostic mode read 37 degF. Those temps have stayed steady all day and into this evening. The freezer has stayed between 0 and 2 degF.

Since the unit is cooling well, and much better than before I cleaned the condenser coil, I'm going to leave it alone and see how it does before spending money on parts.
 

Jake

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(y) That's what I would do myself Terry.

Thanks for the update!

Jake
 

Terry McGillicutty

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I meant to mention that I read the following in the tech sheet, regarding the thermistor readings:

"UI shows temperature sensed by FF thermistor; pass if within 10°F of temperature measured with gauge at FF thermistor location. “OP” if open; “SH” if short"

My wireless sensors are within 1 inch of the FF thermistor. Since they're only 4 deg different from the thermistor's reading, technically that's in-spec. So in the end, I think it was the dirty condenser coil that was hampering the fridge. If the performance goes down I'll update the this thread.

Really appreciate Jake's site and help.
 

Jake

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Sounds good Terry, thanks for the update!

Jake
 
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