Thread Number: 54668
Trouble in refrigerator paradise...
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Post# 770534   7/13/2014 at 11:20 (1,441 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

As many of you know, we have a 1964 Frigidaire Deluxe bottom-freezer refrigerator in our kitchen.  It's been chugging along, keeping our foodthings cool since Robert found it back about 10 years ago.  It's a little noisy when it runs, but we don't fault it.  It's the perfect fridge for our kitchen, and we both absolutely love it...


Earlier this spring, we noticed that the freezer started to frost up on the bottom - stuff in the freezer was not freezing, or would start to thaw after a few days.  We knew we had a problem.  Thankfully we picked up a boring, forgettable, almond colored fridge a few years back when we had a wash-in.  We've kept it as a secondary/overflow fridge since. 


So we emptied the contents of the turquoise Frigidaire and unplugged it.  We let it sit for a day or so, and started scraping out the ice as it started to thaw (picture of Robert scraping is below).  When we could access the screws, we took out the floor and liner of the freezer.  We set a fan in front of the freezer to help circulate air and speed up the melting of ice that had built up on the coils (another picture below of the freezer floor removed).  Robert figured out that the drain plug was completely clogged, none of the melting ice was draining out into the drain pan.  So he took the plug out, cleaned it out, and reinstalled it.  We hoped this was our problem.  All of the ice melted, water started draining into the evaporator pan... we let the freezer dry out for a few days.  We plugged it back in, and tested the heating element; it was in fact getting warm/hot, as it should, when the defrost cycle kicked in.


So we reassembled everything, plugged it back in, let it cool for a few days and put our food back.   Everything was working fine for at least a month, when we started to notice frost on the bottom of the freezer again.  After another week or so, it was obvious that the food in fridge was not as cold as it should be, so we got a thermometer, and sure enough - temps were hitting nearly 40*F.  There are a few pictures of the frost below - you can see how frost is starting to form on everything - and we surmise that the buildup of frost is blocking/preventing air from properly flowing over the coils and up into the fridge (being cooled), which is why the fridge is warming up.


So once again, we took everything out and let it sit for a few days.  The ice in the freezer melted, and we emptied the drain tray a few times every day until it was bone dry.  Let it sit another few days, and plugged it back in... again, working as it should. 


So, here we go again, about two weeks later, we notice that frost is starting to build up on the bottom of the freezer.  Robert put the freezer into defrost this morning, and as far as we can tell, the defrost cycle is operating as it should, however we are unsure if the heating element is warming up, as the freezer is not disassembled.  No water appeared in the drip pan when the cycle ran this morning. 


We absolutely do not want to give up on this fridge, as I stated earlier -- it's just soooo perfect in our kitchen.  We would hate to have to... I can't even bring myself to say it. 


Any input as to what our problem may be would be greatly appreciated!!

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Post# 770544 , Reply# 1   7/13/2014 at 12:10 (1,441 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I think...

And Im NO refrigeration expert,,But its probably the defrost timer...

Post# 770545 , Reply# 2   7/13/2014 at 12:11 (1,441 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
And maybe..

Does the defrost heater have a limiting thermostat??? if it does, maybe its cutting off the heater too soon.

Post# 770546 , Reply# 3   7/13/2014 at 12:14 (1,441 days old) by redcarpetdrew (Concord, CA (But my heart will always be in sweet Nevada!))        

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Hi, Fred. Still happier than all out for you two!

It does appear that you have a defrost system malfunction. This can be traced down to three areas. One is that you have a defrost heater quitting which is not likely as they are like light bulbs. Either they're open or not.

Second is the defrost terminator bimetal thermostat which interrupts power to the heater when the evaporator is sufficiently thawed and also prevents activation of the element when the evap is already warm avoiding a heater runaway. This piece can get flaky over time and if jiggled (say during manually thawing a evaporator) might work again for a while.

Third on the 'most likely' list is the defrost timer. A clock like timer that switches from cooling mode to defrost mode and back again. They also get tired after a few millennia in service and can stick. Turning this control to manually activate the defrost cycle can cause it to free up and work again for a while.

I replace bimetals and timers frequently. Heaters not so much. The schematic should be glued to the back of the cabinet, if I remember Frigidaire SOP, so you can ohm the heater circuit out from the timer when the evaporator is cold or iced up. If open, you have a bad heater, bimetal or wiring. If you have good continuity then my money would be on the timer.

Hope this helps, guys. That's a beautiful refrigerator !


Post# 770565 , Reply# 4   7/13/2014 at 14:38 (1,441 days old) by dynaflow (rockingham nc)        

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come to NC and get mine it wont fit in my house

Post# 770566 , Reply# 5   7/13/2014 at 14:44 (1,441 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Fred, it's hard to tell anything without seeing it but first, is it running continuously except for the two daily defrost periods. If it does, I suggest that you run it without food for a while and then remove the freezer floor and see what's happening. Look at the frost pattern on the evaporator, it should be uniform. If it has the original defrost timer, you can advance it to the defrost cycle with a screwdriver inserted in the small slot that extends from it.

If the temperature around the defrost termination thermostat doesn't drop much below 32 degrees, it shouldn't even reset and should remain open and the heaters won't heat. And the compressor will kick in immediately after.

I'm writing on my phone, I'll write more when I'm back home.

Post# 770576 , Reply# 6   7/13/2014 at 15:18 (1,441 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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It's also possible the drain is freezing up, and causing the water to stay in the freezer section, and refreeze.

Post# 770638 , Reply# 7   7/13/2014 at 19:46 (1,440 days old) by epixstar128 (toledo,Oh)        
dont get stuck on one thing

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Could be many things.
Bad defrost
Bad airflow
Low refrigerant
Failing compressor.

Start simple check your airflow acrossed that coil. Lack of airflow can cause it to freeze up. It may be worth your time to call a local company if you really like this fridge.

Post# 770641 , Reply# 8   7/13/2014 at 19:48 (1,440 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I also

Knew of several earlier Frigidaires that overheated because of the limiter malfunctioning, melting the plastic in the freezer section, Mark Harman had a 62 that did this, as did the one my Aunt had.

Post# 770651 , Reply# 9   7/13/2014 at 20:21 (1,440 days old) by epixstar128 (toledo,Oh)        

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I would just change tge defrost timer at this point

Post# 770667 , Reply# 10   7/13/2014 at 21:18 (1,440 days old) by carmine (Detroit)        

Have a look at this thread...

..turned out to be an unusual problem, and the parts store people told me it was time to give up on it. I adapted something and $30 later it's still running, so never say never.

I thought of it because like yours, mine would run fine for a while then ice-over again. Thanks again to PhilR for the service notes, couldn't have done it without them.

Post# 770673 , Reply# 11   7/13/2014 at 21:31 (1,440 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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 Carmine, is it you who also posts on Curbside Classics? If it's you, I really enjoy reading your posts over there! I knew I had seen this name somewhere but I couldn't remember where!




I just read your post again (I was quite busy when I read it earlier on my phone and missed some things you said). 


Have you looked at the service manual? (I have already sent a scan of mine to Robert but I think he already had it!).  


Have you tested the resistance of the drain heater and the defrost heater to see if they still work? You can test them from the connectors located behind the left plastic trim in the refrigerator section between the cabinet and interior porcelain liner (see the pics 1 and 2, you have clearer and refer to your manual for clearer illustrations). They are both connected in series so if either fails, you get no defrost... But they can be tested separately from the connectors on the left (I think there's no illustration for the FPD-14B-64 but it must be similar to the FPI-14B-64 and FPI-16B-64 like the one I have.)


When you defrost it (just like you did by turning the shaft on the defrost timer manually), you can see the frost on the evaporator melt without removing the freezer floor if you look through the air intake grille in the plastic trim with a flashlight. Look at the holes at the left of the grille (not the first two that are fake but the first and second one that are opened picture 3), you should see the evaporator through them. On my 1961 and 1963 refrigerators, the freezer floor isn't insulated so you can feel the heat (feels more than just a bit warm!) from the defrost elements when it's energized (picture 4 shows my FPI-16B-63 refrigerator). On my 1964, there's a thin layer of foam insulation under the freezer floor so you don't feel it as much. Since the 14 cu-ft 1964 models are quite similar to the 1963, I can't tell if the floor is insulated or not on yours but since you removed it, you should know it. 


Last year, I had to replace the defrost heater in my FPI-16B-64 because I'd get shocks from the refrigerator if I touched the chrome trim on my range next to it!   The cabinets of 1964 refrigerators are still not grounded and the heater was shorted to the ground (picture 5). It was still working so I never had defrost issues with it.   The heater that I used to replace it (picture 6) was much shorter but it works just fine. I couldn't find the part number for it but it was in a lot of parts that I bought from a Frigidaire service center that closed a few years ago. Apparently, they could still get that part but I wasn't able to find it. 



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Post# 770684 , Reply# 12   7/13/2014 at 22:13 (1,440 days old) by carmine (Detroit)        
curbside classics


I don't post there and was surprised to find my "usual" user name taken. I do read the site and have thought about commenting or posting some local cars but I've come to notice the site is sort of a club among 5-6 know-it-alls. What's funny is that I've noticed them contradict themselves numerous times "XYZ always used cheap vinyl on their seats" and then a few weeks later "You can still find those XYZ's in junkyards with nice seats." etc. Feh... Not worth joining to school the same 5-6 guys. TTAC is an awful, slanted site and CC has some of the same writers.

...but anyways, I don't want to hijack. :}

Carry on and fix this fridge!

Post# 770687 , Reply# 13   7/13/2014 at 22:18 (1,440 days old) by hydralique (Los Angeles)        
My Experience . . .

I had a similar if less severe problem with my turquoise ‘67 shortly after I bought it 23 years ago. The freezer compartment and evaporator/fan assembly looked exactly like yours, right down to the little styrafoam baffle in the back left corner. It would work fine for awhile then eventually the evaporator would frost up and buldge the aluminum freezer bottom panel upwards with a corresponding drop in airflow.

When I opened it up the drain tube was iced up and the defrost heater was just laying on top of the coils; there didn’t appear to be any specific location for it. My guess was that it was not the original heater and either a generic replacement or something from another model Frigidaire. The problem was solved by experimenting with positioning the heater: I found it had to be close to the drain tube to prevent it icing up. It took some time to find the sweet spot but once I did that box worked for close to 20 years with no more defrost problems before the compressor died. The freezer compartment motor did require regular oiling so you might check yours as well.

Good luck with this!

Post# 770691 , Reply# 14   7/13/2014 at 22:32 (1,440 days old) by washer111 ()        

We just started having defrost problems with our 15yo F&P N388 upright freezer. The timer got stuck in defrost the other night...


I would advise keeping an eye on the timer, and seeing if the fridge is regularly defrosting or not. I'm not sure if models like these cycle the timer with the compressor so the defrosts occur every 6/12/24 hrs of compressor operation or 6/12/24hrs regardless of the compressor's state. Just keep an eye on it. 


Might be prudent to check your limiter switch too - put that in your other freezer, then check to see if the circuit is open or closed after a while. Then again as you come through to room temperature. 


Finally, check all the interior fans, and oil them. They may be working, but the bearings might have some drag in them that is preventing full-speed operation. Too-little airflow, coupled with a defrost cycle that is intermittent, and not "getting at" all the frost will eventually clog up the system with frost. 


Good luck with your refrigerator! I hope you can get it sorted out shortly :)

Post# 770733 , Reply# 15   7/14/2014 at 06:01 (1,440 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

This looks and sounds like the same problem Chuck and Rich had in mass. I seem to remember it was the timer for the defroster was bad. They finally found one changed it out and all seems to be working just fine now.

Post# 770736 , Reply# 16   7/14/2014 at 06:26 (1,440 days old) by A440 ()        

That light type of frost looks like an air leak.
Have you checked the gasket around the freezer / fridge door? Even the slightest air leak will cause this type of frost. And it would take about a month for everything to start freezing around the coils. You can visually inspect the gaskets around the door. There is also a test with a sheet of paper. You wedge it between the gasket and door frame and close. If you can pull out the paper without any resistance the gaskets are weak. Just continually move the paper around the edges of the door. You may notice some spots tighter than others. It is the time of the year with high humidity that causes coils to frost quite a bit even under normal operating use.
Also, has the refrigerant level been checked?
It is a beautiful refrigerator!

Post# 770765 , Reply# 17   7/14/2014 at 08:50 (1,440 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

Thanks for the input everyone, I knew I'd get some great advice!  We do have the service manual for the fridge, and we have done some troubleshooting with that.  I know that Robert has done some electrical testing, but don't recall exactly what the tests were or what the results of those tests were. I also think we replaced or unstuck the defrost timer a few years back, but I could be mistaken.

Ron - thanks for the offer! I wish there was an easy way to pop down to NC to pick it up!

We'll mull over these great suggestions and continue and see what we get. We're not planning on giving up on this fridge. :-)


Post# 771731 , Reply# 18   7/18/2014 at 17:40 (1,436 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Fred, did you or Robert find what's wrong with your fridge? 


Here are two styles that are similar to the defrost heaters used in our refrigerators. As I said earlier, they are much shorter than the original ones but they have similar wattage. 


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Post# 771741 , Reply# 19   7/18/2014 at 19:26 (1,435 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Non Defrosting Frigidaire Refrigerator

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Hi Guys

As Drew mentioned it is either the defrost limit thromostat or more likely the timer.

When the drain heaters go bad in this style FD the frost pattern is different and the whole freezer floor swells up.

It is NOT low freon, A Bad Compressor or a sealed system problem.

Let me know if you have any problems finding the needed replacement parts as I probably have what you need.

John L.

Post# 771875 , Reply# 20   7/19/2014 at 10:29 (1,435 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

Well, we're pretty sure that we figured out what the problem was.  We took the freezer apart again this week. 


Based on suggestions above and what we knew from reading the service manual, there were likely only 4 things that could be the problem here:

-Defrost Timer

-High Limit Thermostat

-Drain Heater

-Defrost Heater


Here's the freezer floor removed, you can see how nice and frosty it was getting...  Turned the fridge off, and let everything melt away.  We put the fridge into defrost and turned it back on for a few minutes to see if the heater was even heating up, which it was not.  We then disconnected the high limit thermostat to rule that out, ran the fridge in defrost again, and the heater still didn't heat.  The main heater and the drain heater are wired in a series, so if one isn't working, the other won't work. 

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Post# 771876 , Reply# 21   7/19/2014 at 10:34 (1,435 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

The first time we had this problem, we unclogged the drain plug.  In doing so, we had to move the drain heater around.  It has been fairly obvious that repairs had been done in the freezer at some point.  We are pretty sure that when we cleaned out the drain plug, and moved things around, the wiring job from the repair crumbled and ultimately failed.


Here's the 'electrical tape special' that we found when we took the drain heater out.  Upon closer investigation, the heating element itself for the drain heater had some cracks in the rubber.  Though, the failed wiring from a previous repair was likely our culprit - a break in the heater wiring series - and why nothing was heating at all.

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Post# 771879 , Reply# 22   7/19/2014 at 10:44 (1,435 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

Sure enough, we found the drain heater element on eBay and ordered one.  It arrived yesterday and we got to work installing it.  We took the side panel out of the fridge and sure enough found the terminal block.   It's such a cute terminal block!  We fished the wires up the side, plugged them in, gave it a test, and we had heat on both elements! 


Got everything re-situated, put the fridge and freezer back together, and we have cold.  Obviously the ultimate test will be over the long-run, but we're both very confident that this was our problem!



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Post# 771881 , Reply# 23   7/19/2014 at 11:17 (1,435 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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EDIT: I took so much time posting this and modifying a picture on Photoshop that I didn't see your two last posts!


I hope it works! 


OK, I supposed that you jumped the terminals that are connected to those of the hi-limit thermostat, you didn't just disconnect it. When this thermostat is open (once the temperature reached the high limit or before it has reached the low temperature to set it back to "closed" or if it's just defective), the heaters stop heating.


The system Frigidaire used is a bit confusing because of the 5th wire that goes to the defrost timer (most systems use only 4) that allows the compressor to restart before the 32 minutes of the defrost cycle is completed. To do so, the current still passes through the defrost heaters (drain and evaporator) to energize a relay in the defrost timer that allows the compressor to restart immediately after the defrost hi limit thermostat has opened. In this condition, there's not enough current passing through the heaters to make them heat.


That means, if the high limit thermostat is open or disconnected, the compressor should still work during the defrost cycle. If the compressor doesn't restart immediately when the defrost hi-limit thermostat is open or removed, that means that either the relay in the defrost timer is defective or that one of the heaters is bad. 


To test the heaters without damaging the wires in the freezer, you can have access to the connectors in the refrigerator section. You need to remove the left plastic trim between the cabinet and interior liner and the wires that go to both the drain heater and the defrost heater can be tested for continuity from there. Refer to the second page I posted here. On this one, I colored the wires for the drain heater in blue and for the defrost heater in green. These aren't the real colors but it helps to see where they connect. Your fridge is a Deluxe but the wiring should be very similar (I think the main differences in the wiring is the lack of a lamp and switch in the freezer and the lack of a butter conditioner!). 

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Post# 771882 , Reply# 24   7/19/2014 at 11:35 (1,435 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

Thanks for the effort Phil!  If nothing else, it's documented for the next person who may have this problem!  :-)

Post# 771884 , Reply# 25   7/19/2014 at 11:52 (1,435 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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That means, if the high limit thermostat is open or disconnected, the compressor should still work during the defrost cycle. If the compressor doesn't restart immediately when the defrost hi-limit thermostat is open or removed, that means that either the relay in the defrost timer is defective or that one of the heaters is bad.

Neither actually Phil in this situation, the replacement timer that is in there does not contain a lead for the the 5th wire (green), so the timer that is in there does not support that feature. Doesn't really matter, its a nice to have feature but not necessary for proper operation, at least it ran fine for 10 years without that.

Post# 771887 , Reply# 26   7/19/2014 at 12:08 (1,435 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Robert, do you know what kind of defrost timer was used for your fridge? Most of the time, they just install timers that defrost 4 times per day instead of two. And since they also lack the feature that allows the compressor to restart after the hi-limit thermostat cuts-off, it takes more time before the temperature drops back in the freezer. 


I had a fridge that had the wrong type defrost timer installed. I replaced it with the original type and it's much better like that! It uses less energy, there are less temperature variations in the freezer and less strain on both the refrigerating and defrost systems with just two defrosts per day. 



This is the replacement timer that used to be in my fridge... The main reason why I replaced it is because it was getting noisy I found other advantages in using the original type.

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Post# 771909 , Reply# 27   7/19/2014 at 15:08 (1,435 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Robert, do you know what kind of defrost timer was used for your fridge?
It is a Frigidaire replacement. It only runs the defrost cycle for about 15 minutes, not for 32 as the original was designed and it does it two times per day.

I do have a used original that I tested and it seems to work fine. We can try that one and see if we notice any difference in performance.

Post# 771914 , Reply# 28   7/19/2014 at 15:32 (1,435 days old) by redcarpetdrew (Concord, CA (But my heart will always be in sweet Nevada!))        
Yay for happy refrigerators!

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I was wondering about the heaters. Congrats on a successful repair. Ya know, you just might have a career as a appliance repairman if that pesky computer oriented job drives you crazy! Lol!

I saw a wedding ring!!! Did you two ever give us a picture of hands holding each other with the rings?


Post# 771939 , Reply# 29   7/19/2014 at 18:13 (1,435 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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If it defrosts twice a day, it's OK. 15 minutes can be a bit short however. Usually, that's about the time it takes with the original 12 hour / 32 minutes timers as the compressor restarts as soon as the hi-limit thermostat opens but if the system needs more time to defrost it could extent to 32 minutes. As these fridges get older, they sometimes have wet foam insulation below their evaporator and that can increase the time needed to trip the defrost thermostat. Probably not that much on 1964 models because their thermostat isn't sitting on the freezer floor like it was on some previous models. Many replacement defrost timers are set to defrost for 21 minutes every 6 hours. Some are set for 30 minutes every 8 hours. If you want to replace your defrost timer with the orogonal type, replacements with 5 terminals often show on eBay for cheap.

Post# 778951 , Reply# 30   8/23/2014 at 21:24 (1,399 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

So it's been a month now and we're happy to report that the fridge is running just perfectly! There's not a crystal of frost to be found in the freezer! It cycles twice a day, at 9:12 am and pm... Usually goes 11 or 12 minutes then kicks back in. For the first time in a while, the compressor has been cycling on and off multiple times a day, and we've been able to turn the dial in the fridge to the lowest "cold" setting -- by lowest, I mean warmest... And both the fridge and freezer have been holding temperature in the safe zones.


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Post# 778964 , Reply# 31   8/23/2014 at 22:53 (1,399 days old) by A440 ()        

Great News!
I know you guy's are happy!

Post# 778970 , Reply# 32   8/23/2014 at 23:32 (1,399 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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That's great!

Did you keep the aftermarket defrost timer or did you replace it? I assume you replaced it as it defrosts twice a day!

Now that you don't have issues with your defrost system, you can also do another test if you want:
First, see how cold the freezer and refrigerator sections are. At the actual warmest setting of the cold control, the temperature in the freezer should stay above 0 degrees F.

If the freezer is already near or at 0 degrees, then your cold control is probably a bit off as the temperature should be too warm in the freezer at this setting. As long as its working fine like that, you could leave it like that!

But the refrigerating system should be able to drop the temperature in the freezer much below 0 degrees too. If the temperature in the freezer is already at -5 degrees F at the warmest setting of the cold control, you don't want to move it to a colder position as the compressor probably won't cycle off. If it's already colder than that at the warmest setting, it's too cold! But if the temperature is at the expected 5 or 10 degrees F, you should move the control to a slightly colder setting.

In that situation:
Turn the cold control to a colder setting to see if the compressor still cycles on and off and monitor the temperature in the freezer. Do it gradually and wait for at least a day each time you move the control to monitor the changes.
If everything is fine with the refrigerating system and the insulation, the compressor will still cycle on and off (but with slightly longer "on" times) and the temperature in the freezer should drop much below 0 degrees F once the setting is too cold.
If there's a problem, the temperature probably won't drop at or much lower than 0 degrees in the freezer and the compressor won't cycle off.

In both cases, that would cause the temperature in the refrigerator to drop slightly too which is normal.

The bulb for the cold control in this model senses the temperature in the freezer, so setting it to a colder setting should drop the temperature mostly in the freezer. You should also notice that once the temperature gets cold in the refrigerator, the thermostatically-operated aiflow control should partially close the ventilation in the refrigerator automatically when the compressor and fan are working (you can feel the amount of air that circulates from the main air outlet above the cover for the light bulbs if you hold the light switch pushed as if the refrigerator door was closed). But even if that works fine, the temperture in the refrigerator section might get a bit too low if the compressor doesn't cycle off sometimes as there is still some restricted airflow when the control closes.

Post# 779058 , Reply# 33   8/24/2014 at 12:03 (1,399 days old) by HooverWheelAway ()        

Hi Phil,


I don't remember which timer we put back in offhand, either way it seems to be working just fine.


I should have actually looked at the dial in the fridge before I posted that last night.  It's on the "A" setting.  Seems sort of backwards the way Frigidaire did it:  (warm) 3 - 2 - 1 - A -B - C (cold).  In any case, we have it set at A.  The freezer is about 4*F and the fridge fluctuates between 30*F and 40*F, depending on where it is in the cycle and if the door's been opened, etc...


Thanks for all of the info!  I think for now though, we're just going to leave well-enough alone.  If it ain't broke... cool



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Post# 779140 , Reply# 34   8/24/2014 at 18:48 (1,399 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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That seems fine! It also means your cold control is OK!

Post# 932072 , Reply# 35   4/12/2017 at 19:28 (436 days old) by funktionalart (Phoenix, AZ)        
Sorry to reopen a 3-year old thread…!

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Just thought what I am going to post here should be included as my post relates to the same series of 60s Frigidaire refrigerator units. Mine is a 1963 FPI-16B-63--photos included here are of some wiring I unearthed today in my freezer compartment.

Here's my concern: The unit works just fine. I'm not trying to fix anything that isn't broken or mess with a good thing! BUT: this refrigerator has been running in a spare room all by itself. Nothing else near it or plugged in. I decided to finally install this in my kitchen and got one hell of a shock (literally) when I touched it today. I have NOT got a 3-prong grounded corset on it (am definitely going to remedy that ASAP). Cord is still original.

Because I had an old recollection of reading this thread years back, I decided to open up the freezer compartment and see if there was any loose/corroded wiring or other issues. It took some digging, but I managed to pull out the orange drain heater. It seems fine--nice and supple--no problems~however a grey wire showed up when I pulled this cluster of wires out. It has no cap on it and I don't know where or IF it should even be connected with any others.

As I say, this unit works just fine so can I presume that simply capping or electric taping this single grey wire (along with adding a 3-prong cordset)--my electric shock issue might probably go away? Pics of this are below, along with some other random ones I took while I was down on the floor!

BTW~PhilR…if you see this post, can you advise on replacement for that perished rubber "U" shaped mount I show in the last photo?

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Post# 932086 , Reply# 36   4/12/2017 at 21:01 (436 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

philr's profile picture
Allen, I also had to replace this mount on one of my fridges, I couldn't locate the original part so I used a piece of rubber to replace it.

The only gray wire I see in my plans is the one that goes from the refrigerator section's light switch to the freezer fan. Does your blower still stop when you open the refrigerator's door? Is the wire that's cut still live (check with the refrigerator door closed).

As for your electrical shock, If it's not related to the gray wire that has been cut, I can tell you it's often caused by defrost heater that's shorted to the ground. It might still work but it makes the whole cabinet live.

The first thing to check (assuming the fridge has been used recently and the freezer coil is still wet) is the conductivity between each of the two blade connectors of the plug (with the plug disconnected from the outlet of course!) and the cabinet with a multimeter on the "ohms" reading. If it's still shorted, you'll see some conductivity on one of the blades of the plug and metallic parts of the cabinet (the one you touched when you got a shock should work!). If you see that there's some conductivity, you have to figure what causes that condition. If there's no conductivity, you might have temporarily "fixed" the situation by moving something or letting the freezer compartment dry from not being used for some time.
But if there's still a short, the first thing to try is to disconnect the defrost heater to see if you still have conductivity between the plug and the cabinet.

Also, I see that your defrost timer has been replaced, probably with a 4 wire model. There is probably a green wire that has been disconnected somewhere. This green wire is NOT a ground and it shouldn't touch the cabinet. Since the compressor was replaced by another Frigidaire compressor and the defrost timer also seems to be a replacement from Frigidaire, there are good chances that the person who fixed it knew what he was doing so there might not be issues with the wires. But it's still good to have a look at that.

Here are a few pics of the pages of the service manual that might help you with the wiring. I can't send you the whole manual as I don't have an internet connection at home and I'm just relying on my limited data plan on my phone.

If you find that the defrost heater is shorted, the good news is that a similar replacement part is still available. It's a bit tricky to replace but I have done it on a few similar 1964 fridges (but not on my 1963 yet!).

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Post# 932094 , Reply# 37   4/12/2017 at 21:22 (436 days old) by funktionalart (Phoenix, AZ)        

funktionalart's profile picture
Phil~Thanks for this. I will have to do some work sorting this out…I just found it odd that this "shock" situation never happened before I moved the refrigerator into the kitchen to put it to use. It was in another room holding cold drinks and never did it shock me in there.

Yes, my fan works properly via the door light switch as it should. Open door, fan stops. Close door, it resumes. I'm just so reluctant to mess about with any wiring on this refrigerator--just because everything works perfectly on it. And that defrost heater heats up fast and nicely. But as you outline…full investigation
is definitely in order. Getting strong shock off the cabinet is really scary…!

Any ideas what the date/rating of the replacement compressor might be? When I first bought this a couple years back, you'd asked me about it and I really didn't know. I only knew it was replacement based on it being painted white vs. black. It seems to be an identical unit to the original, but I've no idea what the hp rating is. Pic of it is #6 up above…

As for that rubber mount--I'm sure I can craft my own--was just hoping that it was something that might be available already made. I shouldn't hope for anything like that for a 55 year old appliance though…!

Post# 932095 , Reply# 38   4/12/2017 at 21:29 (436 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Did you happen to touch something else than the fridge when you got the strong shock? Usually it happens when you touch something else that's conductive and grounded (a sink if there's one nearby or your kitchen range for example).

Post# 932100 , Reply# 39   4/12/2017 at 21:51 (436 days old) by funktionalart (Phoenix, AZ)        

funktionalart's profile picture
Well, I had on a steel watch, and the fridge is placed right next to a KitchenAid KDS23 dishwasher…the range is on the opposite wall. Also, the electric cord on the refrigerator is original, and not a 3-pin grounded type (I'm about to remedy that…).

Post# 932110 , Reply# 40   4/12/2017 at 22:42 (436 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

philr's profile picture
Wait until you fix the problem before you add a grounded cord!

I have looked at your compressor part numbers in my documents and couldn't find it.

Post# 932117 , Reply# 41   4/12/2017 at 23:37 (436 days old) by funktionalart (Phoenix, AZ)        

funktionalart's profile picture
Phil~ found and fixed the electrical shock problem. Two of the wires running along the lower left compartment floor had been a little bit too near the heating element so the wire insulation was cooked in a very, very small area. Doubtless it was touching metal somewhere. Repaired now…fridge running and NO electrical shocks or any of that mild "buzzy" feel on the outside of cabinet.

I've even touched the dishwasher and the fridge at the same time--no problem. Kept my steel wristwatch on the whole time, too. Nice to know this '63 isn't going to electrocute anybody now!

Post# 932122 , Reply# 42   4/13/2017 at 01:05 (436 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture



What if you carefully undid the wire nuts for the orange/blue leads and also for the orange/gray/gray leads to see if maybe there's an extra braid of wire that detached itself from the disconnected gray lead?  It sure looks like the detached gray wire is curved as if it used to be twisted with the orange & blue.

Post# 932128 , Reply# 43   4/13/2017 at 03:29 (436 days old) by funktionalart (Phoenix, AZ)        

funktionalart's profile picture
Ralph~ I did do that, actually…and found nothing. I'm going to try to not worry anymore past this point as it all seems to be fine now--but do have to wonder why this is cut in the first place--unless it has to do with the fact that the defrost timer is a replacement (I've not opened it up to see how it differs from the original one). I am just a little surprised that whoever cut this didn't at least cap/seal the wire end and tuck it out of sight..,

Post# 932199 , Reply# 44   4/13/2017 at 13:07 (436 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

philr's profile picture
The defrost timer looks like a 4 terminal model from the setting knob. Compare it with the one in the picture that I sent, there's 5 terminals on these and the advance shaft is made of metal instead of plastic.

Post# 932208 , Reply# 45   4/13/2017 at 14:15 (436 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

goatfarmer's profile picture

Glad you got it fixed!

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