Thread Number: 65457  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1925? Frigidaire Built-in
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Post# 880549   5/13/2016 at 09:23 (710 days old) by Kwh191 (Michigan )        

Just moved in to a house built in 1925 with the original Frigidaire Built-in. Would love to get this to work. Any insight to manuals or vintage repair person in Michigan would be appreciated. Compressor is in basement. Power is currently cut but how do I power it up to see what it does after restoring electric?

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Post# 880550 , Reply# 1   5/13/2016 at 09:25 (710 days old) by Stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

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You may find help here on AW.
I have seen a website that specializes in antique refrigeration restoration. I will look for the link.
Okay found it. see what you can find from this, although it may only cover monitor tops.
Nonetheless the story linked directly below is insightful as to the process and problems one can encounter.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Stricklybojack's LINK

Post# 880552 , Reply# 2   5/13/2016 at 09:44 (710 days old) by mopar65 (Almont MI)        

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Were at in MI do you live?

Post# 880553 , Reply# 3   5/13/2016 at 09:49 (710 days old) by mopar65 (Almont MI)        

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DONT put power to it till you know it has oil in the compressor and all wiring and switches have been checked!

Post# 880592 , Reply# 4   5/13/2016 at 13:09 (710 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

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That unit is far beyond neat! I'm working on a 1934 GE Monitor Top for my kitchen right now. What refrigerant does yours use? With a remote compressor, that should be one quiet fridge.

I am looking forward to following your progress!


Post# 880614 , Reply# 5   5/13/2016 at 16:28 (710 days old) by Travis ()        

That belt drive unit would have used so2 as the refrigerant originally.  Depending on how long it was used, it could have been changed to R12.  The problem with belt drive units and so2 is that after they're not used, the shaft seal on the compressor gets dry and the refrigerant leaks out.  When so2 comes in contact with moisture, it becomes corrosive and eats the shaft seal.


Google monitor top forum and post this under the other refrigerator section near the bottom.


When you get power restored, it's safe to try it.  You would need to oil the motor.  You also should be prepared to leave the house for awhile in case it leaks all it has.  It's normal for these to leak a little as they get used to being run again.  Don't just flip it on and back off.  It's very possible that the compressor shaft is stuck.  You shouldn't try and turn it over unless you're ready to turn the motor on though.

Post# 880707 , Reply# 6   5/14/2016 at 07:24 (709 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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WOW !!!

I have never seen one of these ever. So cool.

Post# 880753 , Reply# 7   5/14/2016 at 14:17 (709 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Wow -- A Pass-through Fridge!

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Truly a unique arrangement -- at least with regard to it still being in place 90 or so years later -- and well worth reviving if feasible.


Makes me wonder what the rest of the house looks like. 

Post# 880817 , Reply# 8   5/14/2016 at 20:37 (709 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Very, very neat! I was gonna say cool but...

Post# 880864 , Reply# 9   5/15/2016 at 09:23 (708 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Cool Refrigerator

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We have seen a few Frigidaire Refs like this in the DC area, my brother Jeff has converted them to a modern refrigeration system by replacing the evaporator assembly and the complete compressor and condensing unit so the customer could keep the cool built-in box in the kitchen.


Unfortunately the odds of getting an SO2 system with a belt driven compressor to operate properly [ and safety ] are a pretty long shot. When we looked into converting to a safer refrigerants like R-12 it was not possible as the specs were just too different for the way these different refrigerants behave.

Post# 926564 , Reply# 10   3/13/2017 at 11:59 (406 days old) by kwh191 (Michigan )        

Have been busy with other projects and this had gone by the wayside. I decided to try the motor today... disconnected the belt and and it runs like new. That's as far as i can go.. upon trying to spin the compressor fan that would be turned by the belt, i found that it won't budge. No idea how to free it up.

Post# 926568 , Reply# 11   3/13/2017 at 12:14 (406 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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To get this operational, do you want the original cooling equipment, or do you just want a functioning built-in cold box?

I ask because if you are open to replacing the components, you should be able to put a modern compressor, evaporator, condenser and new lines in. You'd have to measure out the parts you need and depending how easy the lines are to access, it'd be simple to convert this to a modern setup. By modern setup, I mean self-defrost, air-flow control etc.

My Great-Uncle owns a refrigeration/welding shop. Growing up and still to this day, my grandparents have always had a walk-in cooler in their basement with remote refrigeration. I've been drawing and toying with the idea of building base and upper cabinets as homemade refrigeration and have been gathering parts from the shop to start the process. I've always loved the idea of something completely custom to a space and .. not just a box brought home to fill an opening.

I am so thankful pictures were posted, I am having a hard time trying to get people to imagine what I'm trying to do. If I may ask, what is the construction of this unit? Is it an insulated wood cabinet? How thick are the doors?

Post# 926742 , Reply# 12   3/14/2017 at 08:13 (405 days old) by kwh191 (Michigan )        

Its a built in wood cabinet and insulated metal interior. Looking for someone in the Detroit Michigan area who could tackle a modern conversion of it.

Post# 926772 , Reply# 13   3/14/2017 at 10:57 (405 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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Honestly, I would say any refrigeration place that has ever installed a walk-in cooler could manage it.

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