Vintage 1940s GE fridge running too cold

slatevalley

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Joined
Aug 1, 2022
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4
Location
Granville, ny
Model Number
superfreezer
Hi everyone, I recently purchased what I believe to be a 1940s (1930s?) GE Fridge. We replaced the power cord as it was broken.

The first week we had it, the fridge was running a good temp although the freezer wouldn't keep things frozen, (that was okay with us). Now a few weeks later the fridge is on overdrive and is freezing everything we put in it. The super freezer is also coated with ice crystals. I think it's the thermostat, but I'm not sure about how to go about the repair, or what to look for. Could it be that the knob just needs some WD-40? (It's been stiffer to turn, and won't turn off now)

There was also a note in the fridge from the previous owner that said to keep the thermostat on D or else everything gets too cold, so I figure this is / has been maybe a longer term problem.

I've been reaching out locally, but am into DIY and if I could find the part would be up for trying to fix it. Where would the model number be located?
I'm attaching some pics incase anyone has experience specifically with this kind of fridge.

We really love it and want to keep it if possible! Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.
 

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slatevalley

Premium Member
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Location
Granville, ny
Hi there, I'm back because with more information and I am still looking for help with this fridge.
GE Type PJB7-A
Model number 41-641-253

A repair man came and replaced the thermostat with a new ranco thermostat, as we thought that was the issue. We had replaced the original power cord because it was frayed and old, but in doing that the start / relay are not working properly. The repair person is looking for an electrical wiring diagram from the original photos of the wiring (Last pic). Basically the start / relay won't turn on or off and won't allow for the fridge to know when it has reached the temperature.

Does anyone know where I could find a wiring diagram and the correct replacement start / relay?
We tried to get this start / relay but wasn't the right kind: https://store.antiqueappliances.com/StartRun-Relay_p_16.html

Any help would be much appreciated!
I am determined to fix this fridge.

-R
 

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Dan O.

Appliance Tech
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slatevalley said:
A repair man came and replaced the thermostat with a new ranco thermostat,

Which Ranco thermostat? Ranco makes hundreds (if not thousands) of different thermostats. Each act upon different temperatures.

Basically the start / relay won't turn on or off and won't allow for the fridge to know when it has reached the temperature.

The relay has nothing to do with sensing the refrigerator temperature. That is the job of the thermostat alone. That's all the thermostat does, switch on or stop power to the compressor depending on the temperature it (the thermostat) senses. All the relay/overload does is start the compressor when the thermostat switches power to it.

You said the compressor was running previously so that should tell you the relay is Ok. IMO Someone needs to rethink the problem.

Does anyone know where I could find a wiring diagram

I have no idea, sorry.


Dan O.
 

slatevalley

Premium Member
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Granville, ny
Which Ranco thermostat? Ranco makes hundreds (if not thousands) of different thermostats. Each act upon different temperatures.
Hi Dan, thanks for your response.
This was the ranco thermostat from antique appliances : https://store.antiqueappliances.com/Ranco-Replacement-Thermostat_p_15.html


The relay has nothing to do with sensing the refrigerator temperature. That is the job of the thermostat alone. That's all the thermostat does, switch on or stop power to the compressor depending on the temperature it (the thermostat) senses. All the relay/overload does is start the compressor when the thermostat switches power to it.

What's happening now that the thermostat has been replaced the compressor won't turn the fridge off if it's set to the off position on the thermostat.
The compressor just keeps running, the repair person said it wasn't safe to keep it on till the wiring was replaced.

You said the compressor was running previously so that should tell you the relay is Ok. IMO Someone needs to rethink the problem.

The compressor was working but the appliance repair person that came said we wired it incorrectly since the machine had no ground but we incorrectly hooked that up.

I have no idea, sorry.
Is there any way to figure out the wiring diagram based on the components and age of the machine? Or is there a way to rewire it so it may work?
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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This was the ranco thermostat from antique appliances :

I have no idea of the temperature specifications of an ART-180 and AFAIK that isn't a Ranco part number that I can trace. What was the actual numbering on the box you received?

What's happening now that the thermostat has been replaced the compressor won't turn the fridge off if it's set to the off position on the thermostat.

Either the thermostat isn't the right temperatures for the application, it wasn't installed correctly, its capillary tube was damaged during installation or maybe the fridge isn't wired properly, bypassing the thermostat operation altogether.

If the thermostat knob is rotated all the way counter-clockwise, will the compressor shut off? That would usually be the OFF setting of most controls which could eliminate improper wiring as a possibility.

Is there any way to figure out the wiring diagram based on the components and age of the machine?

I am not familiar enough with that or any other fridge of that vintage, to suggest its wiring. Maybe see if you can locate a vintage GE fridge service manual to see some other model's diagrams.

Or is there a way to rewire it so it may work?

I found a diagram in a previous forum message (1946 GE top mount fridge) which might be similar to yours? Follow it cautiously.

Wiring Diagram Hotwire Relay.jpeg


Dan O.
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
5,981
Location
Ontario, Canada
I found a diagram in a previous forum message

Here's a simplistic wiring graphic from another forum message (Leonard Refrigerator Model LC-R) dealing with just the compressor wiring part only, no lights, etc. The wiring colours from the relay to the compressor may not correspond exactly to your GE model.

vintage ref hot wire relay.jpg

I don't know if either diagram will help you.


Dan O.
 
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