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Amana ARB2217CW (PARB2217CW1) Fridge Cool, Freezer Freezes (But Not Everything)

Ponchoguy

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Oct 11, 2015
Messages
238
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Model Number
ARB2217CW
Brand
Amana
Age
More than 10 years
Jake:

We've been into this machine before. My sister's machine. Back in 2018, I put a in WLP OEM overload and a capacitor kit because it wasn't cooling at all, which solved that issue at the time. My sister now reports:

1) Fridge portion is working fine.
2) Freezer will freeze two plastic cups of water (two were placed in the freezer overnight as a test and they froze), however bagged frozen food (peas, veggies, etc.) as well as containers of sauce in Tupperware do not seem to freeze. Example: My sister put a Tupperware of sauce in at about 7PM last night as as of this writing, it's about 2:15PM and that container had not frozen over yet. Bagged frozen food doesn't seem to get frozen like it should.

Can you advise what/where to check? I believe she has the freezer setting on the highest it goes. For now, she has the bagged stuff in the chest freezer in the basement.

Thanks as always.
 

Dan O.

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There are lots of thins that could cause that. The most common ones are described at the link below.

LINK > My frost free refrigerator is not cooling properly. What might be the problem?


Make sure the inside evaporator fan and condenser fan motor by the compressor are running whenever the compressor is running. Make sure the condenser is not plugged with dust and dirt, etc.

If the compressor and fans are running but it is not cooling properly, someone might need to inspect the evaporator coil to check the frost pattern on it.


Dan O.
 
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Ponchoguy

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Dan, the coils were cleaned. The machine is 50 miles away so I'll have to check it when I go there for Thanksgiving to see what we have. Thanks.
 

Dan O.

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Some of the things needing to be checked need the fridge to be running for a while before hand. Don't defrost it prior to service. It needs to be inspected when the problem is present and still occurring.

JFYI

Dan O.
 

Ponchoguy

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Dan:

I will make sure that my sister has also cleaned the rear panel access area. The first thing I'll do is pull off the rear cover and make sure everything is working.
 

Ponchoguy

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I had my sister check a few things:

1) Yes, she hears the fan motor when she sticks her head in the freezer compartment.
2) Yes, she hears the fan motor running at the back of the machine.
3) The coils down below under the freezer compartment were cleaned with a vacuum.
4) The machine was cleaned at the back with the vacuum as well.

What would be the next steps and items to check? Thanks as always.
 

Dan O.

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Just vacuuming the coils may not be sufficient depending on their condition and especially if there are pets in the house.

If all fans are running and it is at least cooling somewhat, the next step would usually be disassembling the freezer and inspect the evaporator coils to see how the frost was forming on it.

Dan O.
 

Ponchoguy

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Dan:

I'll be there in a week or so, and I will check it out. I think I will start by verifying the fan operations for myself to be sure and then taking the rear panel off the freezer inside and having a look at the frost pattern. I can post some photos here for everyone to see. That might be the best next step. Only one pet, a small light shedding/non shedding Shihtzu Poodle mix.

How would you go about it? Leave the machine running and pull everything out? Or disconnect the power, pull the rear freezer wall out and then power it back on to check the frost pattern (with the back wall back on temporarily in place or off?

Thanks.
 
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Ponchoguy

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Jake and Dan:

I'd appreciate some further direction on how I should proceed from here and what I should be looking for.

Should I cut the power, take off the back wall of the freezer, then fire it up, let it run and observe the frost pattern? When I let it run, should the rear wall be bolted back on or just set in place? Or would you run it for a time without the back wall in place to verify the frost pattern? I'm guessing that verifying the frost pattern is the next step to see what may not be working correctly and what parts need to be tested.

How you would exactly proceed from here is how I will go. I'm going to verify for myself that both fans are running when the compressor is on (I know the compressor has to be on, since the fridge part seems to be cooling fine), even though I've been told that a fan is heard running.

Thanks again.
 

Dan O.

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To check the frost pattern on the evaporator, after the appliance has been plugged in and running, disconnect power, remove the evaporator cover and look at the frost pattern. Do NOT defrost before inspecting.

Typical frost patterns:

frost patterns.jpeg

Do not operate the refrigerator when disassembled except for the limited time during testing... if necessary.

Dan O.
 

Ponchoguy

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Thanks, Dan. I may have to "postpone" the repair until the fridge food stock is down a bit. As you can imagine, it will be pretty full after Thanksgiving. Right now the frozen items are in a separate chest freezer in the basement, so things are getting by.

Thanks again.
 

Ponchoguy

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Dan and Jake:

My sister confirmed that she definitely hears the evaporator fan motor going, but she shot these pictures of inside of the freezer. Does this get us any closer to what has to be checked? I'm thinking that it's not defrosting and the air flow is being blocked?

Thanks.
 

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Dan O.

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That second pic is bad, quite possibly the signs of a defrost problem. If that's the case a good defrosting will help... for a while. Maybe about a week. Allowing it to continue to run in that condition could cause more serious damage which you really don't want $$$+.

If it's a defrost issue I suggest a thorough defrosting. Turn the fridge off for 12-24 hours with the doors open to let it thoroughly defrost. Put down some towels as there will likely be a bit of a flood. Soak up any standing water inside the freezer before plugging in again.

You can speed the process using a hair dryer but keep in mind there's 2-3" of additional frost behind that panel. It might still need to be disassembled to manually defrost it all. Just melting the visible frost will do nothing to solve the problem.

Dan O.
 
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Ponchoguy

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OK, Dan, how do we permanently fix the problem? What should be checked and in what order?
 

Dan O.

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Ponchoguy

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Dan:

Ok thanks, I think we're getting somewhere here. I think this will be the way to go:

1) Turn off the power.
2) Take the back panel off.
3) Look at the limit stat, and see if it's "pushed up". I've read that does happen and you've got a bad one there if that's the case. Of course, it could fail the resistance test, but I'm not going to test it just yet because it seems like you have to cut it out of the unit to test it?.
4) Pull the connectors off the defrost heater and do a continuity check to be sure that's not the issue.
5) I guess check the defrost timer last and see if it appears stuck or not. I guess at this point, I can "force" it into defrost by turning the knob with a screwdriver and see if I get it to defrost or not.

I'm hoping that when I pop the back cover off, I'll see the limit stat with a "popped top" and then I think I have found my problem. I'm going to call the local places nearby and see what is stocked just to have an idea if I can get what I need (depending on what I need) locally or I have to order it online.

Let me know if you think this is a good way to approach it.

Thanks again.
 

Dan O.

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That sounds like a reasonable course of action. The limit thermostat might have connectors as well to enable easy testing. It however needs to be tested when it is below freezing in temperature.


Dan O.
 

Ponchoguy

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Thanks Dan. I have a limit stat on the way just as a backup course of action so if that points to the problem I'll have it on hand.
 

Ponchoguy

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Ok, Dan and Jake. I got a WLP OEM #12001937 limit stat installed. It came in today's UPS delivery.

1) I tested the defrost heater. I pulled both plugs off of the element on each side and with the digital multimeter, I get resistance. I checked it a few times. So, it appears the heater element is good.
2) Defrosted the whole thing with a hair dryer. There was a big block of ice as you saw in the previous photo. There was also a big chunk of ice around the right hand side of the evaporator as shown in the photo (I took this photo so I would know where the thermostat was clipped on to.
3) Didn't see a "popped top" on the limit stat, but this is what the top looks like. Feels a little sticky up top and discolored? Not sure if that's indicative of anything. Photo attached.

Right now, it's plugged in and running. I will probably put the stat in the freezer (either this one or the chest freezer downstairs) and then test it to see what readings if any I get.

There's some bagged veggies in the freezer now, so I guess I could report back about this time tomorrow night and see what we have as far as performance goes. I will say that the machine does seem quieter for some reason. Job was fairly straight forward for the most part. I had to refer to a video or two quickly for points of reference on a few things, but other than that, fingers crossed.

Any further input is welcomed.

Thanks again.
 

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Dan O.

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The photo of the ice doesn't help much without seeing it in relation to the rest of the evaporator. The stickiness likely doesn't mean too much. See how its testing goes once chilled to below freezing.

Make sure it's fully assembled again before running for any length of time. It needs to be together for it to cool properly.


Dan O.
 
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