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GE Monogram Wine Cooler not Cooling

zimm0who0net

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
5
Location
United States
Model Number
ZDWR240PBBS
Brand
GE
Age
1-5 years
So this unit stopped cooling about 6 weeks ago. Compressor runs and fan motor spins just fine. I called a local A/C shop and they came out and put a freon charging port into the line and put in some R-134a. The unit started cooling again.

Flash forward to yesterday. It no longer cools. Ugh. I call the A/C guy and he tells me that the leak is probably in the evaporator and you simply cannot get at the evaporator in these units (it's integrated into the case), so it's best to just scrap the whole fridge and buy a new one.

So I'd like to try and see if the leak is in a part other than the evaporator before I scrap this thing, but I'm not sure what the best method is. I've serviced my car A/C numerous times and have always used the can of compressed UV dye / R134a you get at the auto parts store. (e.g. Interdynamics RLS3 - R-134a Refrigerant Treatment | O'Reilly Auto Parts)

Question 1: Is this a reasonable way to find my leak?
Question 1a: I'm a bit concerned about the "stop leak" stuff in the auto A/C cans. I imagine that the orifice in these little wine fridges are WAAAY smaller than a car A/C and I'm worried that the stop leak will just plug that sucker up. Should I be concerned?

As for charging, the guy told me to use my manifold gauge set and keep adding coolant until the low pressure line sits at about 0psi after running for a while. If it settles into a vacuum range, add some more and repeat.

Question 2: Does this seem like to right way to fill the system?
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
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Aug 24, 2004
Messages
113,026
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Yes, you could use that UV DYE, but when you find the leak you can't use that stop leak stuff, you'd need to use a turbo torch to repair the leak with solder. That's not really a repair a normal consumer can do anyway.

And since the evaporator is integrated into the inside liner it would be impossible to do as well.

As for charging, the guy told me to use my manifold gauge set and keep adding coolant until the low pressure line sits at about 0psi after running for a while. If it settles into a vacuum range, add some more and repeat.

Question 2: Does this seem like to right way to fill the system?
Yes, that sounds about right, but your low side can be between 0-3 psi depending on the ambient temperature.

Jake
 

zimm0who0net

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
5
Location
United States
Thanks Jake!
So I guess from your answer I should stay far away from the R-134a with stop-leak included?

I will probably use the dye to determine if I have a leak in the serviceable portion of the unit, and if so call a real repair guy to come out and do the work. Incidentally, why would I need a turbo torch rather than my normal plumbers butane based setup for sweating copper water fittings? Is there a lot of technique to using a turbo torch? (in other words, it seems that the cost of one would be about the same as calling a repair guy to come over and do the work, but if it's not something I can pick up quickly it won't be worth it.)

A friend of mine actually suggested that if the leak was in the evaporator I could simply buy an evaporator and hang it in the back of the unit and completely bypass the leaking one. However, I have no idea how to size an apt replacement or where to buy something like that.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
113,026
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Incidentally, why would I need a turbo torch rather than my normal plumbers butane based setup for sweating copper water fittings?
I don't know what you mean by normal plumbers butane, I've spent 30 years using a acetylene turbo torch for refrigeration, I myself know of no other way to do it other than a turbo torch.

Is there a lot of technique to using a turbo torch? (in other words, it seems that the cost of one would be about the same as calling a repair guy to come over and do the work, but if it's not something I can pick up quickly it won't be worth it.)
The cost of this whole repair will far exceed that. This is a very difficult job and extremely time consuming.

A friend of mine actually suggested that if the leak was in the evaporator I could simply buy an evaporator and hang it in the back of the unit and completely bypass the leaking one. However, I have no idea how to size an apt replacement or where to buy something like that.
That may work, but then again your inner cavity is plastic and the heat from a turbo torch or any other welding device will melt that plastic in a heartbeat.

Jake
 

zimm0who0net

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
5
Location
United States
I don't know what you mean by normal plumbers butane, I've spent 30 years using a acetylene turbo torch for refrigeration, I myself know of no other way to do it other than a turbo torch.

Sorry, not butane. I meant propane. (got my carbon chains mixed up!) e.g. something like this:


The cost of this whole repair will far exceed that. This is a very difficult job and extremely time consuming.
OK. So do you think I should even waste my time here, or try buying the turbo torch and give it a shot?

That may work, but then again your inner cavity is plastic and the heat from a turbo torch or any other welding device will melt that plastic in a heartbeat.
I'd probably solder on some lines before mounting it in the back of the unit, but I still don't have any idea where to even start with finding an evap that would work properly in this application.

Thanks again for all your help!
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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This forum is a very simple appliance repair forum, meaning most all parts that go bad in appliances are very simple to replace, when you start getting into sealed system repair that's a whole different story.

I'd probably solder on some lines before mounting it in the back of the unit, but I still don't have any idea where to even start with finding an evap that would work properly in this application.
That's the problem, since the evaporator is Not Available, you'd have to rig one up that would work, meaning modifying your wine cooler and we aren't here as techs to help people with that.

And I doubt any appliance repair forum would help you with that, I may be wrong but you can search google to see.

The turbo torch kit I use looks like this:
turbotorchkit.jpg

Jake
 

zimm0who0net

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
5
Location
United States
Hate to bug you Jake, but there's been a bit of a development. I decided to rip all the foam insulation out of the back of the unit so I could get to the evaporator. It's one of those stamped aluminum things like you see in a mini-fridge. I was able to identify a pinhole leak in the evaporator and I'd love a quick bit of advice on the best (or maybe most reasonable) way to repair it. Is a turbo torch and brazing the only real answer for aluminum, or could i use normal plumber's solder (or maybe even some JB Weld?).

Searching around I found this stuff: Aluminum-Filled Epoxies Ideal For HVAC Repairs, Devcon Don't know what you think of it.
 
Last edited:

Jake

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I've never had to repair the evaporator coil before, I've replaced many.

I think they have come out with a super easy way to repair it now, let me ask Rick, I think he knows.

Jake
 

rickgburton

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39,716
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Murray, Utah 84107, United States
On a pin hole leak like that, I've used JB Weld before with good results but there's a trick to it. If you have access to a vacuum pump and gauges you're set. Mix your two part epoxy first with slightly more hardener than the 50/50 mix. Mix it good and let it sit for 45-minutes to an hour before you apply it. While it's hardening connect the vacuum pump and start it. Clean around the pin hole really good, first with a fine (300 grit or higher) sand paper or steel wool then with rubbing alcohol. 24 hour cure time, vacuum and recharge. You can also use the automobile stop leak sealant. Add small amounts at a time. If it doesn't work you're not out much.
 

zimm0who0net

Premium Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2014
Messages
5
Location
United States
You guys are fantastic! I thought of pulling a vacuum to suck some of the JB Weld into the hole, but was worried about getting too much in and sealing off a passage in the evap. The "let it sit" method is a great fix for that.

One last item. I had to cut out the back inside plastic liner to get to the evaporator. Any suggestions on the best way to seal that back up? I was thinking of some silicone caulk, but I've seen people mention some sort of epoxy for that job. It's a wine fridge, so it's not particularly visible, nor does it touch food, so it doesn't need to be food-safe nor particularly pretty, but it does need to be water tight because the condensate drains across the back.
 
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