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ET8CHMXKQ04 Whirlpool fridge cooling (actually overcooling), but then cycling on/off constantly.

PTracey

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
5
Location
WA
Model Number
ET8CHMXKQ04
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
More than 10 years
Replaced thermostat, start relay and overload, defrost timer, checked defrost thermostat (I believe it's ok), checked wire harness continuity from thermostat to defrost timer. The rapid on/off cycling behavior every few seconds, I think wore out the previous start relay. One symptom is having to continue to set the cold control to a warmer setting or the fridge overcools to below freezing. Now setting is between 1 and 2 to stay above 32 in fridge. Freezer air damper (not sure what's that called, is set to 1 to achieve about 5 degrees. On recommended setting (3) it cools to -15 (and I had trouble with the water drain freezing up).

Condenser coils clean, defrost cycle works. Door gaskets seem good, no gaps. I'd like the fridge to reach temp, then remain OFF until the temp in the fridge increases by at least 4 or 5 degrees. For this type of thermostat, what is this typical temperature delta for it to open/close? Current behavior seems like it's trying to keep it within 1-2 degrees which seems ridiculous. One last question, could a door switch or light bulb circuit problem cause any of these issues. One burned out and the other now needs a turn in the socket to turn on...I think it's coincidental and they are both just close to burning out.

Thank you for any help! I hate to buy a new fridge when this one still cools great (compressor seems fine).

p.s. I removed the ice maker (never hooked up to water) to make more room in the freezer. I *think* I turned it off (pulled the lever up) before I unplugged the harness, but I don't think that should matter! I ask because somewhere I heard an ice maker (on I assume) can call for the compressor to run even though the thermostat isn't.
 

PTracey

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
5
Location
WA
One additional symptom, maybe this helps. Often while it's running; 5-15 seconds before turning off I hear what sounds like the start relay loudly clicking. It sometimes clicks just once, sometimes a few times in succession. There doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern. I am certain the compressor is running during this time, not just the evaporator fan. Before I replaced the start relay, I noticed this clicking only on startup, when just the evaporator fan would start, and the compressor would not.

The clicking was more frequent and rapid and would result in either the compressor starting or the evaporator fan turning off. I haven't noticed only the evaporator fan turning on (and subsequent clicking during and just after startup since I installed the new relay and thermostat (cold control).

Seems like this could be a clue to what errant input might be trying to start the compressor or fan, while it's still running. (I'll google this symptom and post any info that really seems helpful.) Thanks for any ideas you may have, sorry for the long posts.

I should add that I also replaced the overload at the same time as the start relay, and read before that a single loud click and the fridge shutting down then might be the overload operating vs. the thermostat. So could this be the new overload attempting to cut the power and failing to?

One last point, after opening both doors for a few min, causing the fridge to run a long time to reach temperature, there are no clicks. Which seems to indicate the compressor is not drawing too many amps after a long run to reach the set cooling temp.

On the other hand, perhaps after shutting down for some minutes, pressures *against* the compressor increase, so starting and running again after being off for 5-15min. can actually draw more amps, vs. near the end of a 30-40min run to temperature?? I wish I knew more about how this operates.
 
Last edited:

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
122,535
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Hi,

We're going to need to see a video of this problem happening to see what's going on. Normally if its short cycing its going to be impossible for the compressor to stay on long enough for it to freezer items in the refrigerator section. You see what I mean?

Upload the video here, if its too big--->you can upload the video to Youtube and post the Youtube link here. Or share the video per Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive and post the share link here.

Jake
 

PTracey

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
5
Location
WA
Thanks for the response Jake. I'll work on getting a good video of what's happening later this afternoon.

I understand your point, and before I replaced the thermostat and now have that set it to nearly the warmest setting, the fridge temperature was getting too high on occasion, especially before replacing the start relay. Now, with those new parts, it's maintaining the cold temperature but I am concerned the clicking behavior I hear from the relay/overload will cause those new parts to fail (if the overload hasn't failed already), and greatly shorten the remaining lifespan of the compressor.

The desired behavior I'm hoping to get back to is this fridge reaching temperature, shutting down gracefully, remaining off for a longer amount of time until the temp rises by at least 5 or 6 degree's, then normally starting and repeating that cycle.
 

PTracey

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
5
Location
WA
Ugh! (Left early for a quick overnight vacation before I had time to make a video). First night back was half asleep and heard louder than usual clicks and bangs. Mistakenly thought the noises were something in the dishwasher. Hours later found the fridge was off and tripped the breaker (not the first time). Turned it on, but only fans running. Checked ohms of start relay and overload (both ok). Sad to report that compressor's C to S and C to R pins read 0.L. Read this could be an internal thermal overload...but it's been many hours now, compressor is cool to the touch, I even lightly banged on it with a rubber mallet - no change. (S to R ohms were close to what I remember 14.6). Unless it's a stuck internal thermal overload that will eventually unstick, I read this usually means the compressor is done. Very bummed because I just spent money on so many parts I thought could be the problem, and just before leaving town yesterday I found the wiring diagram folded up in the bottom grill, which answered a number of dumb questions I asked here. Wish I had found that earlier and I'd have saved $ on unnecessary parts. Also wish I had made the video before we left...you might have warned me the compressor was going on and I'd have a day's advance warning.

Do you agree having a new compressor installed for a fridge this old isn't worth the cost compared to a new fridge? I'd love any recommendations you have on new inexpensive but reliable top freezer fridges? Read LG and perhaps GE are good, Whirlpool ok but the recommended models are unavailable for many weeks. Frigidaire is in our price range and good sizes, but don't know how reliable and inexpensive to repair they are.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
122,535
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Yes, your compressor is shot, time to go refrigerator shopping.

Jake
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
122,535
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Read LG and perhaps GE are good,
LOL, You think so? Don't believe everything you read my friend. LG is prone to compressor failures and GE is prone to control board failures.

We recommend Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Amana for the best reliability.

I'd say Frigidaire is fine, much better than LG, GE and Samsung.

Jake
 

PTracey

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Messages
5
Location
WA
Thanks Jake. After letting it cool down completely still no joy, it's a goner.

It is hard to sift through the all the fake reviews and marketing hype to try and figure out what are honest reviews and what's advertising.

Re: compressor failures: LG is the only one I see advertising a 10yr warranty on their compressor, I'm sure to counter their past bad reputation which you pointed out. I really wish Whirlpool or Frigidaire had a compressor warranty and it would be a no brainer to go with them - because I see many reviews and stories of their compressors failing in the first 3 years. Because of this problem it's very tempting to buy an LG just for the 10yr compressor warranty.

Do you think that 10yr LG compressor warranty isn't worth the hassle and trouble?
 

paulhl

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
Messages
74
Location
Flemington NJ
Not pushing it but Sub Zero has had a 12 year sealed system parts warranty, 5 year sealed system labor and 2 year full warranty for years. But $$$$$$$$$$$ pricey
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
122,535
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Do you think that 10yr LG compressor warranty isn't worth the hassle and trouble?
If you want a LG tech at your house every 3 years TO CHANGE IT for FREE. Then get a LG.:)

Some Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Amana's have a 5 yr. warranty on the compressor.

But to tell you the truth, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Amana's compressors are build so strong its extremely rare to ever see one go out.

I have owned Maytag and Whirlpool refrigerators for 30 years and never once did the compressor go out.

Jake
 
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