Thread Number: 71374  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1962 Frost Guard Refrigerator Needs Repair
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Post# 944430   6/21/2017 at 00:07 (305 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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I just purchased a 1962 GE Frost Guard refrigerator about a month ago. It was working perfectly until we recently were hit with very high temperatures here in Denver. Now, the fan in the back does not work. I hear it try to switch on, but the fan does not start. Does anyone know of an appliance repair shop in the Denver, Colorado area that will repair a vintage refrigerator?

Post# 944471 , Reply# 1   6/21/2017 at 10:43 (305 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Which fan?  The one underneath that blows out through the bottom front grille or the one inside the freezer (I think your freezer may have one)? 


If it's the one underneath, are you sure it's just the fan (easy-ish fix) and not the whole compressor (maybe easy, maybe fatal)?

Post# 944476 , Reply# 2   6/21/2017 at 11:11 (305 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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Here is a picture of the fan I am referring to. It is at the very bottom, so it
might be for the freezer. I am not sure if it is the fan or not. It spins if I turn it manually. I do hear a clicking sound when it tries to start, but then nothing happens.

  View Full Size

This post was last edited 06/21/2017 at 11:28
Post# 944481 , Reply# 3   6/21/2017 at 11:44 (304 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Interesting!  Seeing three wires to that fan motor reminds me of the unusual wiring of the one in my '56 GE wall-mounted Combination...  Is there anything that looks like a resistor between the relay and the compressor??


Come to think of it, is the compressor still running and cooling?  When the resistor on the '56 fried, not only would the condensor fan not run, the compressor wasn't starting either...  

Post# 944498 , Reply# 4   6/21/2017 at 14:29 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Dead Compressor :(

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The repairman came out and says the compressor is dead. He does not know of anywhere to get the part. I am super sad. After spending a month cleaning it, I was really excited to get it in my kitchen this weekend. Anyway, thanks to everyone who responded to my thread. I appreciated you taking the time. cry

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 944500 , Reply# 5   6/21/2017 at 14:53 (304 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Well, I thought the compressor in my '56 was shot, too, but it was a 9-ohm resistor that was shot.  Once replaced, the fridge started right up and has been running steadily for 3 years now.  


Can you post the model number? Perhaps a service manual for it can be found...  I don't give up that easily... LOL  

Post# 944502 , Reply# 6   6/21/2017 at 15:19 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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Hey Paul, 


I have good news! I unplugged the fridge and turned on a fan to cool down the compressor and even put an icepack on it. I came back an hour later and plugged it in and the compressor and the fan on the fridge started back up and it is slowly getting cold again! I called the repairman back and left a message telling him that it restarted and if there was anything that he could replace to keep this from happening again to call me back. Maybe it is the resistor and it can be replaced? I am keeping my fingers crossed! smile


I forgot to add that the model number is T46-9WF (I think). It is kind of hard to read. 

  View Full Size
Post# 944505 , Reply# 7   6/21/2017 at 15:34 (304 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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This is good news!  Glad you gave it another try! 


I'm not sure there is a resistor in a unit like this, but that three-wire feed to the fan motor has me thinking there may be one...   I've had my wall-mounted unit stall on me in very hot weather (we go from one extreme to the other up here!) and I added an extra fan to the compressor compartment just to help with airflow in hot weather.  


The clicking you also described may also be due to the relay...  


I hope the local repair person can help you out!!


Here's a link to a video I shot of my '56 when I was trying to figure out what went wrong with it, just in case this may help!  




Post# 944506 , Reply# 8   6/21/2017 at 15:41 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Still needs repair

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I just went out to check on it again and the compressor was very hot and the fan was slowing down again, so I unplugged it. I will wait to hear from the repairman and see what he has to say. I will be sure to show him the video and see if that helps him figure the problem out. It was very kind of you to share it with me! I sure hope I can get this fixed so I can get it in my kitchen. 

Post# 944507 , Reply# 9   6/21/2017 at 16:00 (304 days old) by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

Did the repair man but an ohm meter on the compressor? Sounds like your start device is failing. That's the stuff hiding behind that black plastic cover on the side of the compressor

Post# 944508 , Reply# 10   6/21/2017 at 16:01 (304 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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The "dead compressor" is likely just a "It's old and I don't want to work on it" line. Sure the compressor could have failed or the unit may have lost charge but both aren't all that likely.

Odds are that condenser fan is just running slow or stopping and that is that. Replace the fan and you are back in business. There could also be a compressor starting problem due to a start relay issue, also easily fixed. Finally a problem with the defrost system is the other possible failure. All these are easily repairable, assuming that you can find a tech that isn't opposed to working on a unit that is older then they are!

Post# 944509 , Reply# 11   6/21/2017 at 16:04 (304 days old) by COLDSPOT66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

Try putting a small fan near the compressor with the airflow aimed at the compressor and see if it stays cold and maintains temperature.

Post# 944510 , Reply# 12   6/21/2017 at 16:04 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 944511 , Reply# 13   6/21/2017 at 16:13 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Hot Compressor

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I have kept the portable fan directed at the compressor the entire time, but the compressor still got very hot. I still have the fan directed at it and hope it cools down. The repairman did not check it with an ohm meter. The repairman did say that if it was not the compressor and only the fan he would install it for me. We will see if I hear back from him. 

Post# 944515 , Reply# 14   6/21/2017 at 17:04 (304 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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Bear in mind that a compressor will run quite warm, too hot to hold your hand against for any length of time. The heat you describe may well be normal, although elevated by the fan not running well (or at all).

There is usually a temperature sensing overload under that black plastic cover too. If the compressor is getting too hot it could cause a clicking noise as the compressor cycles on the thermal overload bimetal.

Hopefully it is just the fan!

Post# 944527 , Reply# 15   6/21/2017 at 18:54 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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Thanks for letting me know that about the compressor. I have plugged the fridge back in and left the portable fan on to help keep it cool. The interior is getting cold again. I have not heard back from the repairman. Hopefully, he calls back tomorrow and I can get him back out here to see if he can figure out what the problem is now that we know it is not the compressor. Otherwise, I may be taking a crash course on refrigerator repair. ;) 


Thanks for all your advice! 


Post# 944529 , Reply# 16   6/21/2017 at 19:13 (304 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Any tips on where to find parts?

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I may be having to find my own parts, so I was just wondering if any of you know of a place online to look? I have tried using my model number to search,,, without any luck. 

Post# 944533 , Reply# 17   6/21/2017 at 20:27 (304 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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The good news is that none of the parts outside of the sealed compressor are 'special' or no longer made.

You may have to do some research on your own, but every part which tells the compressor when to run, how to start, how to run the cooling fan (including the cooling fan motor), the overheat protection, a capacitor, etc. these are all easily replaced with similar parts.


Just keep asking questions and reading up on the matter. Lots of good YouTube videos on the general subject, too.



Post# 944558 , Reply# 18   6/22/2017 at 00:00 (304 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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If the fan or the above mentioned resistor is the problem, as Keven said, the parts should be available. 


My mom's fridge (not like your GE, but the same type of system) had that same fan fail and contents in the freezer started to thaw.  Without that fan drawing air over the condenser coils and past the compressor, the system can't adequately cool. 


It looks super clean underneath your fridge.  Just to make sure the condenser coil isn't covered with dust, lint, etc., remove the bottom front grille and take a look.  You need to keep the grille and those coils vacuumed -- once a year should be often enough -- so your fridge can operate at maximum efficiency.  They also make special brushes to use for this job instead of a vacuum cleaner.  The fan draws in air through the right front side of the grille and blows it out the left front.  You should feel warm air flowing out through the left front of the grille whenever the fridge is running.

Post# 944724 , Reply# 19   6/22/2017 at 19:31 (303 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Older GE Ref With Possable Compressor Problems.

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These older GE refs often had three winding's in the compressor rather than the regular two sets of winding's that are common on 99% of compressors ever built.


The things that need checking out are, the resistance of all three winding's to see if they are within specs, you also want to check if the winding's are grounded to the case at all. Also check the amps when the compressor is running, if they are too high the winding's may be shorted.


You could have a sticking or bad relay that could cause problems.


Keep in mind the compressor will run hot if you try and run it with the back panel removed.


It is very likley that this compressor is worn out, this can be easily tested by attaching a gauge to the low-side port on the compressor and seeing if the compressor can still draw a 30" vacuum, if not the compressor will never work well. The procedure for performing this test are in the GE service manuals.


A modern compressor can be fitted to these older refs but you need a skilled refrigeration tech to do it, and unless you find someone that wants to do this installation as a labor or love expect to pay $500-1500 to get this done properly.


John L.

Post# 944731 , Reply# 20   6/22/2017 at 19:54 (303 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Kelly, blowing air on the compressor is not what you want. Try directing the fan to blow through the 'condenser' , the coil near the compressor. You want that to be cool. It pulls the heat out of the system.

Post# 944847 , Reply# 21   6/23/2017 at 11:40 (302 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Compressor problems

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I got a second opinion yesterday from someone a little more experienced with an older refrigerator. He was able to simulate my problem by turning the temperature in the freezer up to get the compressor to turn off. Unfortunately, when he turned the temperature back down the compressor and fan would not restart after an hour. He and his boss felt that the compressor was failing. Cost is about $1000 to fix, which I can see why when he explained all the work that had to be done. I told him I had to speak with my husband before I could commit to the repair. 


After the repairman left, I did the same thing I did before, which was cool the compressor down with an extra fan, waited an hour or so and then plugged the fridge back in. It cooled off the interior and is working just fine, but I know I cannot keep a portable fan on it all the time, so I am not sure what to do now. I really want to fix it, but hubby is not a huge fan of vintage anything, so the chances of him forking over $1000 to get it fixed are slim to nil. 


John, I bought the fridge without a back panel. I too have been wondering if that was part of the problem and trying to figure out where I could get one as it seems unsafe to not have one. I am not sure if the repairman did everything you suggested, but I hope so. Thank you so much for the great advice.   


Post# 944853 , Reply# 22   6/23/2017 at 12:48 (302 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
One thing to keep in mind

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Modern refrigerators are built to die in less than 10 years.

Their plastic parts, their electronics - it's all built down, to a price point.

Regardless of how much you pay, it's going to be trash in a very short time.

This one, repaired, will last for decades more.

Part of what the back cover did was to channel the air flow for optimal cooling. They're not hard to make yourself.

Me - I'd go for it. It's already in the house, it's beautiful and the $1000 or so is money well spent compared to what you get for that new. Just have some reviews of current refrigerators bookmarked for your husband to read, first.

Post# 944856 , Reply# 23   6/23/2017 at 13:08 (302 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        
built to die in less than 10 years

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Post# 944857 , Reply# 24   6/23/2017 at 13:37 (302 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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Although most of our work is for private home owners, we do much of the clean-up and replacement work for insurance situations and two major property-managers in the area.

In short, I replace between 27 and 31 refrigerators every single year.

Life expectancy 1982 and earlier: (reference point because of gigantic rental build-up here in '81/82) 30+ years.

Life expectancy for units made after 1990 (major building boom of multiple unit buildings in this area): less than 15 years.

Life expectancy for units built in 2005-8 (last major building boom of multiple unit condos/townhouses): They all started failing in 2015 and we have precisely ONE (1) still currently in use in the 187 units we do the repairs/renovations on.


So, no, not BS. I'm sure the industry standard of 14-15 years applies to queens like us who vacuum regularly and read the instruction manuals. For the rest of the world, nope - the electronics are just plain junk. Followed by the plastic interior parts. And, though renters don't notice it, I know from having translated the white papers for B/S/H that the industry only allows eight years of full refrigerant supply after which enough has leaked that the unit is gradually becoming less and less efficient.


But, hey - why let reality get in the way of our discussions?

Post# 944862 , Reply# 25   6/23/2017 at 14:11 (302 days old) by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        

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Whether new appliances were built to last beyond 10 years or not, I absolutely prefer the aesthetics of this refrigerator over new refrigerators. That being said, I am more inclined to have the Frost Guard repaired. It may be that I have to leave it in the garage until I can save the money myself. My husband is adamant about it not being in our kitchen until it is repaired. I think it would be a good investment in a really beautiful refrigerator that will last a long time.

Post# 944863 , Reply# 26   6/23/2017 at 14:35 (302 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Let's hope John L. can provide specifics on the type of compressor that's best for a replacement.   The options may be limited.

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