GE Refrigerator/Freezer is not cooling properly?

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Old 12-11-09, 02:55 PM
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GE Refrigerator/Freezer is not cooling properly?

GE TFX22RJB (GV222883)
I can't believe I'm having trouble the thing is only 22 years old!
The FREEZER is holding at about 25 - 30 degrees and the other section is staying around 45 degrees? Before running out and buying a new one I'd like to try and repair this one. With your help a couple years back I completely rebuilt the door dispensing unit. I have tools and am fairly competent at repair. I just do not know how to troubleshoot a REFRIGERATION unit?

The ONLY things I have done so far is turn the unit off for 2 hours, turn it back on again on the highest settings and waited 24 hours to check the temperature in both sides. The numbers above are the numbers before and after the test. The refrigerated side of the unit has a damaged seal on the bottom. We thought that might be the problem but I made sure it wasn't leaking before I did the 'Test'?

This seal is just over a $100.00 to replace, which we will do if the other problem can be found and corrected for a reasonably small cost? Otherwise we'll have to buy a new unit!

Could anyone direct me from here? Also is there any one or two 'Probable' causes for this type problem?

Thanks in advance for any and ALL help!!!
 
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Old 12-11-09, 04:54 PM
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Is the compressor running continously trying to make cool?

Are both the freezer and fan under the fridge running when the compressor does?

Often, quite damaged and scrunched up door seals can sometimes be salvaged if cause is from the door seal shifting, then gathering up in a corner. You can expose under the seal and find the hex-head screws, loosen the ones along the bottom and maybe one up the sides on each side, pull the gasket back into true position and retighten. I have done several successfully. The last one I did looked like a hopeless case, but I got it pretty good. Yes, new ones are pricey.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 12-11-09 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:02 PM
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Only 22 years?!?!? You are doing pretty good then.

Things to check:

Take a look at the lower half of the back wall of the freezer section. Is it frosted up? If so, you have a defrost problem, most likely the defrost heater has failed.

Make sure the evaporator fan is running in the freezer section.
 
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Old 12-11-09, 07:10 PM
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Thanks to you guy's !!

I happened to notice that ICE was formed on the lower back wall of the freezer unit the first time I recognized we had a problem!

There are several 'Defrost' heater items listed in the drawing? can you tell me which ones are critical? Here's the list I've been looking at on the drawing: 1. Heater ASM Defrost 2. Shield DEF HTR End 3. Cover Heater And several other, what looks like, support brackets that I doubt I'll need.

I'm heading to check the Gasket Now!

Again "THANKS" a lot! Ron
 
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Old 12-11-09, 07:50 PM
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The last defrost issue I had, on a call, was the defrost thermostat went out. Defrost timers can go bad also.

If the gasket is tore, you can cobble repair with Goop or silicone caulk mending plus wrap in place with duct tape til dry, then remove duct tape. Or use white duct tape neatly and inconspicously and leave it over the mend repair. I have done it both ways. Rental properties have given me the chance at lots of interesting cobble job experiments.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 01:40 PM
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The compressor does come on and runs continuously. The fan is running in the freezer section and the freezer is indeed freezing. It is about 18 to 22 degrees. The ice maker is making ice!

Opening the refrigerator door, the fan is running but still the temp is around 45 degrees.

I have checked the seal and while it is torn there is NO leak of air. I guess the seal is sealing properly and is not at fault? OR could I be wrong thinking that it is sealing because I feel no air flow? If so replacing it could, I assume, correct the problem?

I still can't get past the fact that I saw frost forming on the back side of the freezer section when I recognized that I had a problem but the freezer is working properly.

Is it at all possible that the seal is the root cause of the problem and if replaced (Or repaired as suggested) would solve the problem?

Otherwise, the expense of almost any other major component would cause me to NOT put that much into it and just buy a new one?

I guess I would ask what you guy's would do at this point if me?

I really do appreciate the help. Come visit us on the DIY Outdoor Power Equipment site where I am a bit more at home!
 
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Old 12-13-09, 03:47 PM
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All the cooling is generated in the freezer section. Some of the air from the freezer section is ducted into the refrigerator section by the fan in the freezer. If the evaporator is frosted up, due to a defrost problem,this prevents air flow from going into the refrigerator section causing it to go warm.

You need a volt/ohm meter to measure the resistance of the defrost heater. It looks like your unit has two glass tube type defrost heaters. Usually these are wired in series so if one burns out the other doesn't work. Follow the wiring until you find a connector where you can measure the resistance through both heaters. If open circuit, the defrost heater is bad and needs replaced. The defrost heater you need is a part number WR49X391. There is also a defrost thermostat that if it isn't "closed circuit" when it is tested at freezer temperature it could be bad. Defrost timers rarely fail but that is the only other possible suspect. Most likely it is the defrost heater.

The door seal is a minor issue but I don't think it is the root cause of the problem.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 06:51 PM
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GREAT INFO From everybody! I'm going to give it a try! I can get all these parts locally.

I have drawings from the Sears site but they were created with crayons as all lines are thick and there is no reference between parts in the back vs. parts in the front of the unit?

I'll check this site and a couple more I've found and try to get a better drawing. I'll ask a few questions just in case I can't find reasonable drawings!

My questions are these:
1. It looks like I'll need to open the door and go through the the front of the freezer section itself by removing the back panel? Is this correct?
2. If the answer is YES then I simply ask if there are any tricks of the trade I should know? Otherwise, it looks like I will need to completely remove the Ice maker and then just remove the perimeter screws?
3. Finally, there are decorative strips running from bottom to top in both back corners of the freezer unit. Do I need to pry them out or will they come out easily with the removal of the screws?
 
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Old 12-14-09, 02:49 PM
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O.K., I know more than I did about how a 22 year old refrigerator works! I was able to just logically start at the bottom and work up. I didn't have any major problems getting into the unit. I hope I can say the same when I have it all back together!

I was surprised but both Heaters were operable, at least their was continuity...they were indeed in series and I checked from the point of power entry into the first heater to the exit point after the second?

I have the unit running now and am waiting another 30 minutes or so to get it cold enough to check the Defrost Thermostat. I am assuming it is the round gray device with just two wires from it. It just clips on to the top pipe and comes off easy. There was NO continuity when I checked it at room temp. I guess, since it's a relatively inexpensive part, that I am hoping that it still has NO continuity when the temp reaches 22 to 18 degrees? If so and if I read the post correctly, I will have found A problem and can easily replace it. I just hope it is THE one and only problem!

I'll post back after the test. I sure hope this is it so I can wrap this one up! Imagine how much trouble it is for the wife, children and Grandchildren to have to be inconvenienced this way? Having to walk another 30 steps to the garage where, luckily I have another refrigerator! I won't get into my speeches to them about having to walk 10 miles by myself in the snow just to get to school! Ha!

I can't thank you guy's enough for the help!!!!
 
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Old 12-14-09, 04:42 PM
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Test Report

Now I'm stumped! The coils are frosted, it is 20 degrees in the freezer and the defrost thermostat is now closed...it has continuity? It had NO continuity when it was at room temperature.

I was simply using the audio setting on my Volt/Ohm meter. I either have continuity (Buzzer going) or I don't (Buzzer is making NO sound). Was that wrong in any way? I've always looked for continuity this way without a problem?

The compressor is obviously running and the fan is also. The heaters tested good and now the defrost thermostat? The refrigerator section remains warm to cool.

What should I do next...any ideas?

As always I really appreciate all your help!
 
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Old 12-14-09, 04:42 PM
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Yes, that would be the defrost thermostat. You can always pack some ground up ice around it, for testing purposes. Yes, it be 'open' as it should be, when warm (no sense defrosting already warm coils, right?), and should be closed when ice-cold. Different mfg.'ers have variances in their settings, but I think they all open and close in the ballpark of about 35-55F(close/open).
 
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Old 12-14-09, 04:48 PM
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Okay, the stat is working as it should. Now I can't remember what this thread is about/symptoms. Did you say if you had coils and a fan under the unit, or do you have coils at the rear? If coils under, a fan has to running down there also. Rear coils need no fan.

Briefly again, what is your freezer section fridge section doing? And have you actually taken temp readings for each? I am in a real hurry and behind on things since I missed yesterday.
 
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Old 12-15-09, 07:54 PM
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Sorry to be so long getting back!

O.K. the coil lays flat underneath and has a fan and it is running. I found that there were more dust bunnies than coils...all that is cleaned up now!

The temp in the freezer ranges around 18 to 22 degrees, in the refrig section the temp is almost always 54 or higher?

The 2 heaters are in series and have continuity! The defrost thermostat is also good, showing no continuity while warm and does close to continuity when cold.

Earlier in this thread it was suggested that there could really only be three things causing the problem if all the fans are running. The defrost heater, thermostat or the defrost timer.

I haven't looked for the timer and have no idea how to test it? For the life of me I just can't understand why the refrig section will not cool?

Could the problem have been an anomaly? I had the refrig section turned to the highest number as well as the freezer. Over time just trying to keep the temp down in the refrig section. Should I have had both sections dialed back a bit? Could that have caused this? If the answer is yes then I just need to put it back together, set the numbers lower, fill the refrig side with plenty of stuff and just lay back and watch it all wok perfectly...I know that can't be the answer so I guess I'm back to the only other thing that has been suggested as the only other possible problem..."The Defrost Timer"???? OR is there something else?

That is about the best I can tell you? I've decided we will have no refrigerator if I can't make this one work! I have pride! I'm not sure how long that will hold with the wife and younguns? Help! Thanks guys!
 
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Old 12-16-09, 06:34 PM
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If you start all over from square one and let the unit defrost, then run the unit, we hope you achieve better than 18-22 F in the freezer. No sense moving on if you cannot cause the unit to get colder, as this could be serious. No sense throwing defrost parts at a unit that can't cool.

If the unit is thawed out, and the compressor stays running, trying to achieve a set point of say 0 degrees F in the freezer, yet never gets there, then you likely have a leak and are low on refrigerant, irregardless of what the defrost action is doing. That would be a separate issue that would not influence the ability of the freezer to get to 0.

Freezer-fridge combo units are made so that the fridge temp is what has to be satisfied. The temp in the fridge becomes a given based on where the stat is set to. But the freezer temp can be changed up or down depending on how a baffle control in the freezer is set.

Units come set at factory so that both fridge and freezer settings are mid way, to achieve about 0 in freezer and about 35 in fridge. If you set the fridge temp to a higher number (so it gets colder) then the freezer will be also (without even touching freezer setting). If you set just the freezer setting to be more cool, this baffles the vent so more of the cold air goes to the freezer, and less to the fridge. But remeber that the fridge will always wind up having a temperature that the fridge temp control number indicates, regardless of what you set the freezer setting to.

If you want the fridge section to get colder, nothing you do, other than change the setting of the fridge thermostat (the cold control) will influence that temperature. Like I said, if the compressor runs and runs and you have the fridge turned up all the way to coldest setting, and you can't make 0, you have a bad problem....not anything to do with the defrost (if it has been defrosted first).

!If your unit cannot achieve say 0F freezer/35F fridge section, your compressor will keep running fruitlessly, costing you lots of money!

But - If the compressor shuts off, well before set temp is reached, as the reason it does not get colder (no matter how long or how many cycles it has been running for), then the cold control is bad or terribly out of callibration.
 
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Old 12-16-09, 07:50 PM
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Now I believe I understand.

The unit is defrosted. I don't know if it is necessary but I guess for the test to be conducted properly, I should reassemble the back of the freezer? I'll turn it on with both settings in the mid range. You didn't say how long I should run the unit but I read somewhere it should be given at least 24 hours to settle out?

If I reach those numbers, 0 in freezer and 35 in refrig, AND the compressor is not running continuously then I guess it is good to go.

Thanks for bearing with me! My wife and I have decided to get a new refrigerator HOWEVER, we would like for a needy family to have this one so it remains important that I fix it, if it can be fixed! Your help is really appreciated and will come to the aid of a family who could really use a refrigerator.

I'm pretty sure this ought to wrap it up...I hope! Maybe I won't have to take too much more of your time, if any!

We really do sincerely appreciate all your time and help!!!
 
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Old 12-17-09, 06:46 PM
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Doing the prescribed procedure though will not wrap up what caused it to not work right. What the test run will do is simply find out if the fridge has a serious issue with a refrigerant leak or a weak compressor. If by chance it now cools as it should, the same problem may resurface, and then you have to open it up to see if coils are iced up.
 
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Old 12-17-09, 11:38 PM
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I hear what you are saying. It is my intention to work on it tomorrow and I'll post back and let you help me understand the results.

I am hoping I made a mistake when I tested the Heating elements so maybe one or both is bad and I will have 'Hopefully' found the problem! My son said I have to have at least one end of the 'In Series heaters' disconnected. I must have missed that part? I should have known it myself? Welcome to old Age!

I'll report back as soon as I "Get 'er' Done"!!

Thanks again, Ron
 
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Old 12-19-09, 12:14 AM
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Final Report -- I Believe

I have tested each element of the defrost system and found NO PROBLEM!

After running the unit several hours, the freezer DID NOT
get below 18 degrees!

Therefore, the problem is probably a problem with the compressor and it would not be smart to repair such an expensive part of a 22 or 23 year old refrigerator.

Unless you tell me otherwise we are buying a new one and unfortunately having them haul this one off to the junk pile!

We do indeed appreciate everyone who has helped us come to this conclusion! Thanks again, Ron!
 
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Old 12-19-09, 01:25 PM
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IF the fridge/freezer was thawed out......

...... and IF the compressor stayed running....

...... and IF both freezer fan and hot coils fan under the fridge unit are going......

.......and the front and back grills are in place and clean.......

.......and the hot coils under the unit are not all clogged up with dust.....

......then it be compressor problems or low on refrigerant. But all those IFs I mentioned have to be answered yes to, first.
 
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Old 12-21-09, 05:50 PM
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I am relieved to say that indeed the answer to every single question was 'Yes'! We went on and purchased a new one. I won't mention the name of the company as I don't want to run uh-muck of the forum rules. I do, however, have to say "did we evermore get a deal"! We had picked one out we liked and could afford and it was basically $1,200. When all was said and done we purchased it for $645 plus tax. Yes it was brand new but it was out of the box and had been used as a floor model. Not a problem for that kind of discount!

There are still some good people out there. The salesman who was a retired HVAC guy spent a ton of time giving me tips to try to get mine running. He really didn't have as much direction as I've received here but I enjoyed listening to him anyway. He wouldn't have receive a commission if I could get it running! He helped anyway! He also told us to wait and not buy when we were first looking at then. He said the week before Christmas the company always drops the prices significantly.

Anyway, it all turned out great and I have to thank you again Ed (Just a guess) ecman51! I really do appreciate all you guys who threw in early and helped so much!

Come visit us on the 'Outdoor Power' forum! There are a lot of us ready to repay your help should you need us! I'm over and out, Ron
 
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Old 12-21-09, 06:07 PM
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Well, all"s well that ends well. Sounds like you are a happy camper. What is going to become of the one with the problem? There is some refrigeration tech woman here in town that takes in old ones and reconditions them. Maybe you have someone like that around where you are, and they'll just come and get it without charging you anything?

Ecman stands for eclair man. I luv eclairs. Actually it is short for Eau Claire man, where I am from, in this nice part of the state of western Wisconsin. Recently listed 3rd best place to live amongst towns in the size range, in the U.S. The 51 was the age at the time, but has come and gone by some more years.
 
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