Warm Maytag Fridge


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Old 02-06-09, 06:29 AM
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Question Warm Maytag Fridge

We inherited an old Maytag fridge when we bought our house. I suspect it is as old as the house which is about 22/23 years old. Freezer part seems to work fine. Right now set to mid. Fridge part is set as cold as it can and only gets to 40 degrees lowest and sometime runs mid 40's. I pulled the fridge out and did a thorough cleaning of the bottom where the compressor is and it appeared to help initially but within a few days was back to warm temps. Does this sound like a compressor problem? If so, how much is it going to cost to fix and is it even worth sinking those $$$ into a 22 year old fridge? We are inclined to buy a new one and just stick this one in the garage as a beer/soda cooler and for overflow for parties. Also, would moving the setting for the freezer to colder help the fridge section run a little cooler? This is a side by side. Model# MSB2354ARA.

PS I did search some other posts here before creating a new thread. Still wanted to post though in case there is a known issue with this model of Maytag. Some of the other posts mentioned clogs causing warming issues.

Thanks for your replies!
 
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Old 02-06-09, 06:26 PM
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What is the actual temperature in the freezer section? Do you have an icemaker? is it working? Set the chill section back to the midrange or slightly colder, setting it colder doesn't help it just feels like it might. Is the fan underneath the fridge running? No issues that I know of, the older Maytag/Magic Chef boxes were pretty good. What knd of shape are the door gaskets in? How about the sealing of the doors? moving a fridge to a COLD garage could be a problem, because the operating environment is too cold for the thermostst to work properly.
 
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Old 02-07-09, 02:43 PM
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If fridge compartment is 40, but you have it set to lowest temp, then the compressor should be running every waking moment until it overloads, or goes into defrost mode, which ever happens first, and get so hot that you could almost fry an egg on it. Is that what is happening?, or is the compressor not all that hot and simply not coming on like it should?

I agree we need actual temp readings for freezer.

And is the freezer fan running when compressor runs?

Make sure light inside, if it has one, shuts off when door is almost closed.
 
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Old 02-07-09, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
If fridge compartment is 40, but you have it set to lowest temp, then the compressor should be running every waking moment until it overloads, or goes into defrost mode, which ever happens first, and get so hot that you could almost fry an egg on it. Is that what is happening?, or is the compressor not all that hot and simply not coming on like it should?

I agree we need actual temp readings for freezer.

And is the freezer fan running when compressor runs?

Make sure light inside, if it has one, shuts off when door is almost closed.
Thanks for the replies. The freezer is currently set between 3 and 4 (9 being the coldest) and is running at 10 degrees. I will check the light and also if the freezer fan coincides with the compressor running. The compressor is not running all the time. I'll have to pull the fridge out again and see if it's getting hot but I suspect not if it's not running all the time.
 
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Old 02-08-09, 10:18 AM
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In order for ther whole unit, including freezer, to get colder, it has to run, obviously. So check out if it is hot and maybe shutting down. IF that is not it, and IF both fans are running, you may have some stat issue.

No matter what else may be possibly wrong with the unit -if the stat temp is not being met, the unit should be trying to run and run -period. Unless of course it has been and shuts off to cool down the compressor. So check out and see if the compressor is still off when it is simply just warm or cool - or if indeed it is still pretty hot. Let us know.

Regarding the last sentence of your post - you can't assume that. As I said, it may have shut off recently, on thermal overload, because it got too hot from previously running and running and not being able to meet set temperature.
 
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Old 02-10-09, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
In order for ther whole unit, including freezer, to get colder, it has to run, obviously. So check out if it is hot and maybe shutting down. IF that is not it, and IF both fans are running, you may have some stat issue.

No matter what else may be possibly wrong with the unit -if the stat temp is not being met, the unit should be trying to run and run -period. Unless of course it has been and shuts off to cool down the compressor. So check out and see if the compressor is still off when it is simply just warm or cool - or if indeed it is still pretty hot. Let us know.

Regarding the last sentence of your post - you can't assume that. As I said, it may have shut off recently, on thermal overload, because it got too hot from previously running and running and not being able to meet set temperature.
Ok so I have the fridge pulled out and the compressor has just started. It has been running for about 10 mins so far. It is warm to the touch but not hot enough that I can't leave my hand on it. The fan next to the compressor is operating too. I opened the freezer compartment and it's fan is going. I opened the fridge and while I don't hear a fan, I removed the plastic housing that has the adjustment sliders and feel pretty cool air coming into the compartment in two locations. I have just placed my thermometer by it to capture the air temp blowing in. I'll see if I can see a pattern of the compressor cycle times. Ok so the thermometer only got to about 44 degrees or so. The compressor probably ran about 30 mins.....I am going to try and track this a little. So if the compressor is not running hot and not constantly running by any means and the fans seem to be running properly....I have these 2 questions. You mention about a stat problem. Are there 2 separate thermostats for the freezer and fridge? Also could there be a clog between the freezer and fridge that would be causing the fridge not to get enough cold air? I'm not too informed about how the refridgeration process works.....Is the fridge temp maintained just by blowing in cold air from the freezer section?

Thanks again for your reply.
 
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Old 02-10-09, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by try2diy View Post
. Ok so the thermometer only got to about 44 degrees or so. The compressor probably ran about 30 mins.....I am going to try and track this a little.
It can take a while for a freezer and fridge section to cool after you have had the unit say warm up to room temperature, when testing. That's because you are circulating warm air through the evaporator. But as the air starts cooling, then it becomes even more cool, etc.

ThereforeSo if the compressor is not running hot and not constantly running by any means and the fans seem to be running properly....
That be a good sign, if true.

I have these 2 questions. You mention about a stat problem. Are there 2 separate thermostats for the freezer and fridge?
Only one is necessary. Located on ceiling of fridge compartment. This is how it works: The below-zero cooling occurs behind the rear panel of the freezer. The freezer fan blows it out both into the freezer and down into the fridge at the same time, (into fridge section through that rear-of-fridge ceiling vent). Once in the fridge section, it cools the stat to whatever your set temp is and then shuts off. The freezer gets way colder based on fact most the cold air enters the freezer and the freezer is smaller.

Also could there be a clog between the freezer and fridge that would be causing the fridge not to get enough cold air?
Yes. In that fridge section ceiling vent. But if that were happening, the unit would run and run and not shut off, because the stat could not get cold, and also the freezer would get super cold.

A bad stat in the fridge could cause the unit to shut off at wrong time. Something is making the compressor shut off (-IF- it is not shutting off due to going into defrost cycle, or compressor thermal overload.) That only something, besides either a thermal overload of the compressor, or the defrost cycle, would be the stat itself. For continoius testing of compressor, if you are not sure, you could readvance the defrost and then see if the compressor continues to either run, or if it shuts off.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 07:41 AM
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Warm Maytag Fridge

I just looked at the fridge now. The compressor/fans are not running and the fridge temp is 40 degrees which is really the upper limit of what the temp should be.

Here's what we know.

1. Compressor/fans seem to work properly based on the fact that they do come on periodically and the compressor is not overheating. They are NOT running continously or excessively from what I have observed over the last day or two.

2. Freezer section is nice and cold even on a lower setting.

3. I did get cooler air into the fridge compartment when the compressor/fans are running. Since the unit is not running all the time, can we rule out a clog between freezer and fridge?

4. Based on your comments and what we know or think we know, does this sound like a bad thermostat or issue with the compressor itself....do fridge compressors get low on refrigerant...maybe this is ruled out since freezer appears to be fine??

5. In your opinion, is this still worth having an appliance guy try to repair considering the age of the unit? I suppose even if it cost me $300, that's still way cheaper than a new fridge.

Not sure what you meant by advance the defrost. I have not unplugged this unit at all during the last day or 2. Yes the fridge did get a little warmer when I pulled the plastic housing off the thermostat area but never above high 40's.

Appreciate your time on this situation!!
 
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Old 02-11-09, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by try2diy View Post
I just looked at the fridge now. The compressor/fans are not running and the fridge temp is 40 degrees which is really the upper limit of what the temp should be.

Here's what we know.

1. Compressor/fans seem to work properly based on the fact that they do come on periodically and the compressor is not overheating. They are NOT running continously or excessively from what I have observed over the last day or two.
A good sign that not low on freon.

2. Freezer section is nice and cold even on a lower setting.
Please do not do this to me. I need actual temps. Not how it feels. Please. We can get through this faster.

3. I did get cooler air into the fridge compartment when the compressor/fans are running. Since the unit is not running all the time, can we rule out a clog between freezer and fridge?
HOW cool? It depends on how much of a possible clog and if the stat really is getting shut off or not.

4. Based on your comments and what we know or think we know, does this sound like a bad thermostat or issue with the compressor itself....do fridge compressors get low on refrigerant...maybe this is ruled out since freezer appears to be fine??
It MAY be the stat, depending how you answer all the questions, especially temp readings. If the freion was low, the compressor would run and run until compressor got hot and shut off on thermal overload.

5. In your opinion, is this still worth having an appliance guy try to repair considering the age of the unit? I suppose even if it cost me $300, that's still way cheaper than a new fridge.
You may be able to fix it yourself.

Not sure what you meant by advance the defrost.
You can advance them by hand by turning the dial that turns like a clock.

I have not unplugged this unit at all during the last day or 2. Yes the fridge did get a little warmer when I pulled the plastic housing off the thermostat area but never above high 40's.
You may want to try that. If fridge is good -if you start out with freezer defrosted and you have the back off and see the coils are just metal, no frost. And then you run the unit and the coils then uniformly frost over, the unit is good.

Appreciate your time on this situation!!
You are welcome.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 02-11-09 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 02-11-09, 08:48 AM
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A refrigerator or freezer that doesn't cool well enough may have a problem with its evaporator coils, condenser, or condenser fan motor. Frost build-up on evaporator coils, or condenser coils that are covered with dirt, dust, or lint can reduce how well a refrigerator can cool. If you notice ice getting thicker on the inside walls, inside bottom, or inside ceiling of the freezer, you have what is called a frost build-up. The problem is either with warm, moist air getting in through an old inefficient door gasket or the defrost system.

Self-defrosting refrigerators have coils and a cooling fan that need to be cleaned regularly. If the coils get coated with any contaminants, they may not cool the refrigerator properly. The coils are usually thin and black and they go through fins that dissipate heat, just like a car's radiator. They are located behind the lower kick-panel or on the back of the refrigerator. To clean them, turn the power off and use thiscondenser coil cleaning brush, or this condenser coil cleaning brush , and your vacuum cleaner. Even if your coils are below the refrigerator, you won't be able to get to all the condenser coils from the front, so it's a good idea to pull the refrigerator out and clean the coils from the front and the rear of the refrigerator. Give the fan a dusting as well. Sometimes other things can be the reason behind poor cooling, like the condenser fan motor. Anytime the freezer fan is running, the condenser fan should also be running.

A frost build-up inside the refrigerator usually means that there is a problem in the self-defrost system. You may even have damaged door gaskets. When you open the refrigerator door, you also let in a blast of warm, often humid air. This moisture usually freezes onto the evaporator coils immediately. Self-defrost refrigerators are supposed to self-defrost between two and four times out of every 24 hour time-frame. They basically turn off for a few minutes several times a day. A defrost heater kicks on to melt any frost build-up on these coils, which allows the frost and ice to melt, then it drains off to the pan underneath most refrigerators. Unfortunately, when a defrost component fails, too much frost builds up on the evaporator coils. When this happens, the circulating fan can't draw air over these coils. With no air flow over the evaporator coils, the refrigerator compartment will lose its cool.

To determine if the self defrost system is faulty, it's best to remove all the food from the refrigerator and freezer, turn your thermostat to the Off setting, and just leave the doors open for 24 to 48 hours, and let the refrigerator defrost. Keep an eye out for an overflow of water from the drip pan on the bottom of the refrigerator.

After everything has completely melted away, set the thermostat back to a regular setting. If your refrigerator starts operating properly, the symptoms lead to there being a problem with one of three other components in the self-defrosting system, the defrost heater, the defrost timer, or the defrost thermostat.

If, after testing these components, the refrigerator still doesn't get your foods cool, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level and you will need to contact a professional appliance repair person.

Diagram of your compressor
http://www.apwagner.com/images/diagr...079/i92903.GIF
 
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Old 02-11-09, 04:34 PM
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apwagner,

Keep in mind that his compressor shuts off - is not getting hot - and shuts off before set temp is reached.

Try2diy,

The stat probably has an adustment screw. These are the size of eyeglass screw slots. The screw may be hidden by the temp dial. Remove that dial and look up in there. You either need one of those sets of mini-screw drivers, or hammer the tip of a paper clip to make your own. There will be an arrow next to the slotted screw telling you which way is for colder.

If your fridge is above 40 and stat is set all the way to max at say #9, and the comptressor is NOT (and you have told us it is not) continually running, trying to overcome some coil or fan or freon problem, AND the compressor is not getting quite hot (and you say it is not) - I stick with my opinion that it is likely stat related. With those other things I mention, the compressor should stay running all the time, TRYING to reach the set temp.

OR, you have something very strange, that replicates that symptom. The only other thing I can think of is if say your fridge had a board in it that was bad, or you had an electrical glitch disruption during the runtime of the compressor. But I'd start to see if adjusting the stat to colder helps. If you do this, make sure you keep track and count every 1/2 revolution, so you can return it to original position if you have to.
 
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Old 02-14-09, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by apwagner View Post
A refrigerator or freezer that doesn't cool well enough may have a problem with its evaporator coils, condenser, or condenser fan motor. Frost build-up on evaporator coils, or condenser coils that are covered with dirt, dust, or lint can reduce how well a refrigerator can cool. If you notice ice getting thicker on the inside walls, inside bottom, or inside ceiling of the freezer, you have what is called a frost build-up. The problem is either with warm, moist air getting in through an old inefficient door gasket or the defrost system.

Self-defrosting refrigerators have coils and a cooling fan that need to be cleaned regularly. If the coils get coated with any contaminants, they may not cool the refrigerator properly. The coils are usually thin and black and they go through fins that dissipate heat, just like a car's radiator. They are located behind the lower kick-panel or on the back of the refrigerator. To clean them, turn the power off and use thiscondenser coil cleaning brush, or this condenser coil cleaning brush , and your vacuum cleaner. Even if your coils are below the refrigerator, you won't be able to get to all the condenser coils from the front, so it's a good idea to pull the refrigerator out and clean the coils from the front and the rear of the refrigerator. Give the fan a dusting as well. Sometimes other things can be the reason behind poor cooling, like the condenser fan motor. Anytime the freezer fan is running, the condenser fan should also be running.

A frost build-up inside the refrigerator usually means that there is a problem in the self-defrost system. You may even have damaged door gaskets. When you open the refrigerator door, you also let in a blast of warm, often humid air. This moisture usually freezes onto the evaporator coils immediately. Self-defrost refrigerators are supposed to self-defrost between two and four times out of every 24 hour time-frame. They basically turn off for a few minutes several times a day. A defrost heater kicks on to melt any frost build-up on these coils, which allows the frost and ice to melt, then it drains off to the pan underneath most refrigerators. Unfortunately, when a defrost component fails, too much frost builds up on the evaporator coils. When this happens, the circulating fan can't draw air over these coils. With no air flow over the evaporator coils, the refrigerator compartment will lose its cool.

To determine if the self defrost system is faulty, it's best to remove all the food from the refrigerator and freezer, turn your thermostat to the Off setting, and just leave the doors open for 24 to 48 hours, and let the refrigerator defrost. Keep an eye out for an overflow of water from the drip pan on the bottom of the refrigerator.

After everything has completely melted away, set the thermostat back to a regular setting. If your refrigerator starts operating properly, the symptoms lead to there being a problem with one of three other components in the self-defrosting system, the defrost heater, the defrost timer, or the defrost thermostat.

If, after testing these components, the refrigerator still doesn't get your foods cool, there may be a problem with the refrigerant level and you will need to contact a professional appliance repair person.

Diagram of your compressor
http://www.apwagner.com/images/diagr...079/i92903.GIF
Apwagner...thanks for your post. I have no frost buildups in this unit. This is a "frost-free" fridge. I have taken the time to clean the coils very well recently when I first noticed the problem. Issue here is fridge temp not going below 40 and most of the time it's in the mid 40's. I currently have it set to 9. My freezer is set to 4 or 5 and runs at -8. It appears to work well. Compressor and fans cycle on from time to time and will have run times of 30 mins plus. That's been a little difficult to document because it means staying in the kitchen for extended times. It "appears" to me to be normal cycling but I am not expert at refridgeration. Based on symptoms described would I really need to go through an exercise of shutting the unit off for an extended period of time (figuring out what to do with all my contents in the interim) and then firing it back up again?
 
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Old 02-14-09, 10:01 AM
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ecman51

Quote:
2. Freezer section is nice and cold even on a lower setting.

Please do not do this to me. I need actual temps. Not how it feels. Please. We can get through this faster.

Ans: Freezer is set to 5 and is running at -8 degrees. Temp in fridge fluctuates between 40-48 degrees.


Quote:
3. I did get cooler air into the fridge compartment when the compressor/fans are running. Since the unit is not running all the time, can we rule out a clog between freezer and fridge?

HOW cool? It depends on how much of a possible clog and if the stat really is getting shut off or not.

Ans: Hard to say how cool. It is hard to get a thermometer directly in the path
of the blowing air unless holding it there which means the door to the fridge would
be open. It's not cold enough if I can't get below 40....most of the time it's above 40 and approaching 48 if we are in and out of it a bit. Right now it's 44 degs.

I see you have posted again. I will look for this stat adjustment screw and be mindful of
the turns if I can adjust it at all and post again.

Appreciate your time on this...
 
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Old 02-14-09, 12:11 PM
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A -8 freezer read, and say a 40-45 fridge read is too much disparity. It is about 10 degrees or so too warm compared to the freezer read you have.

This sounds to me now like you simply have an adjustment problem between freezer and fridge sections. You do not have issue with compressor or freon, since you achieve -8!

I think you have some blockage between freezer and fridge ,or else you are mistaken on what the temp actually is in the fridge section.

Make sure that the freezer to fridge section vent is clear and adjusted so more air can get to fridge section. Turn freezer control (simply a baffle inside) setting to LESS cold. That will funnel more cold to the fridge section in hopes that can shut off the stat.

But before adjusting, remove that plastic baffle cover that has the temp dial and the cover over the freezer fan, off, and make sure no ice or any other junk is blocking the ability of air to pass out the bottom and into the fridge section.

Make sure the fridge section light shuts off when you close the fridge door, also!
 
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Old 02-15-09, 07:48 AM
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Still investigating the blockage possibilities. On this unit, air blows in from the top in the fridge compartment. I believe I found the stat adjustment but do to it's placement (rear ceiling of the fridge) I cannot see a directional arrow to know what way to turn it. I am trying clockwise to start. I'll spare you a rant on that design of having it's placement way back that I would need to take EVERYTHING out and crawl in there to have a chance of reading any words on it.

And yes those 2 lights bulbs do go out when I close the fridge door. They definitely generate some heat while the door is open.

I'll report later on the blockage findings.
 
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Old 02-15-09, 12:40 PM
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You have a freezer over fridge, right? If so, you may want to approach it from the freezer, by removing that cover over the fan, which also would have your freezer temp control on it, to make sure the baffle is not clogged or somehow a goodly closed compared to what your setting says. And put the **freezer** setting mid-range or even warmer, to see what happens, so that MORE air gets to the fridge section. Then make sure that the vent hole between fridge and freezer is clear.
 
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Old 02-15-09, 04:31 PM
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No, it's a side by side. I thought I had mentioned it earlier in the thread but maybe not...
 
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Old 02-16-09, 08:56 AM
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I can't keep track of everything all the time when responding to so many different things in different forums.

Anyway, the same principles still apply. Check venting between the 2 compartments thoroughly. And check out the stat. There are a couple issues at hand here: The fact you can reach 8 below means you have no refrigerant or compressor problem. The fact it only gets to 40 or higher in the fridge section leads me to believe a clog in venting. OR, perhaps a freezer fan that is slipping on it's shaft, obstructed, or spinning slow. But secondly - that does not explain the other part of this problem -that the compressor shuts off. If the freezer really were not reaching set temp, then the compressor, by rights way, should keep on running. But since you say it is not, and since you say it it is not getting hot, it likely would not be shutting off on overload. That only leaves the stat itself as being the guilty party. And THAT assumption is based on hopes that your thermometer you are putting in the fridge section is accurate. Since it is a side x side, have you tried to see what the actual temp is in the upper section of the fridge compartment and then see what the actual temp is in the lower section (since cold sinks)? Post that result also. Along with what the freezer temp was at those other readings.
 
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Old 02-17-09, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
I can't keep track of everything all the time when responding to so many different things in different forums.

Anyway, the same principles still apply. Check venting between the 2 compartments thoroughly. And check out the stat. There are a couple issues at hand here: The fact you can reach 8 below means you have no refrigerant or compressor problem. The fact it only gets to 40 or higher in the fridge section leads me to believe a clog in venting. OR, perhaps a freezer fan that is slipping on it's shaft, obstructed, or spinning slow. But secondly - that does not explain the other part of this problem -that the compressor shuts off. If the freezer really were not reaching set temp, then the compressor, by rights way, should keep on running. But since you say it is not, and since you say it it is not getting hot, it likely would not be shutting off on overload. That only leaves the stat itself as being the guilty party. And THAT assumption is based on hopes that your thermometer you are putting in the fridge section is accurate. Since it is a side x side, have you tried to see what the actual temp is in the upper section of the fridge compartment and then see what the actual temp is in the lower section (since cold sinks)? Post that result also. Along with what the freezer temp was at those other readings.
ecman51.....hey, no worries. My comment about already posting information or thinking I had was no ding to you. I understand you are posting a lot and I can't keep track of my own thread here! I must commend you for your "sticktoitness" on this issue. That has been my only gripe with this forum is that I don't get consistent responses on an issue like I do with tractorbynet.com or scubaboard. So thank you! Going through this troubleshooting with you has given me a better understanding of the refrigeration process for sure. I believe that although our fridge is 20+ years old, it basically still runs fairly well. The biggest light bulb going on for me was that the fridge compartment temp is really a result of what goes on in the freezer and not really separate cooling as I had believed. Maybe the newer models are different? I think by adjusting the freezer slider, I can better control the fridge temp. What I did find was that the temp in a lower section of the fridge was about the same 41/42 degrees or slightly lower than the top of the fridge compartment. That led me to pull the 2 crisper drawers out and find another cooling vent that only had a very low volume of cool air being forced in when the fridge is running. I suspect a clog there or maybe the fan system in the freezer is not running full capacity? I think ultimately I may need to pull all the contents of the fridge/freezer out, pull the plug, opens the doors and let the thing thoroughly warm up and "defrost" so to speak. Then go at the passages or venting areas between the 2 compartments and look for evidence of an obstructed flow. And by the way, I am on my 2nd portable thermometer getting similar readings to the first one so I suspect it is reasonably accurate.

I think you have steered me in the right direction and I think I can put this issue to sleep with a little more troubleshooting on my own. Thanks again for all your time, concise posting and great spelling. I hate spelling errors!!

Best regards!
 
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Old 02-17-09, 03:21 PM
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But yet you say the compressor shuts off on regular intervals, without getting hot, right? If it was ONLY a venting issue, then you'd think the compressor and fans would keep running, trying to satisfy the stat.

I can't recall if you said you found and tried accessing where the thermostat control is.

Since you have -8 in the freezer, have you tried to set the freezer slider to even a warmer setting, so that more freezer air gets diverted into the fridge section? If there are letters, it be a letter closer to the "A" direction, and if numbers,it be a number closer to the "1" direction.

It seems to me that due to the spread between -8 and about 42 degrees, that you both need to open the vents (or if no obstruction, and no fan issue, to adjust the freezer slider to get more freezer air into fridge section, as mentioned) - AND adjust the fridge stat (adjustment screw turned in the colder direction), so it does not shut the compressor off at 42.
 
 

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