Thread Number: 72153  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
1956 GE Oven Help Needed
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Post# 954195   8/23/2017 at 11:18 (298 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        


I've got this beautiful 1956 GE Stove in my cabin. We've owned it for 43 years since we bought our first cabin. My Mother loved it so much she had it moved over to the next cabin that we built 40 years ago and it has worked very reliably since.

I'm 400 miles away from the cabin right now and the renters who are in there tell me that the oven is no longer working. The lower element gets a bit warm but does not get hot. It was working well and everything on the entire appliance was working perfectly just a few weeks ago when I was there but now something in the oven has gone on the fritz.

I can't be there to troubleshoot but I'm wondering if some knowledgeable people here can tell me what the range (no pun intended) of possibilities are for the cause of the problem and/or how to troubleshoot the problem.

If it's only a few things that might have gone wrong then maybe I can get those parts and have everything I need with me to fix it the next time I'm out there.

Thanks in advance.

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Post# 954206 , Reply# 1   8/23/2017 at 11:41 (298 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

turquoisedude's profile picture

Is it just the oven that is only getting warm or are the surface units also not heating fully or just getting warm? How about the broiler?  Is that heating fully or only just getting warm?   


The first thing to check, especially as this in a cabin, would be the electrical supply to the range.  If the wiring system is older, there could be a bad cartridge fuse on the fuse block that supplies the range (take no chances - replace them both if there are cartridge fuses).  Another possibility could be a bad connection - the range may be hard-wired and a connection may have come loose.  


Start with that, and if this turns up nothing, it may be an internal wiring issue. 

Post# 954281 , Reply# 2   8/23/2017 at 20:29 (298 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

The stove elements all work fine. I don't know if it works on broil mode but I'll ask them to try that setting and report back.

Post# 954309 , Reply# 3   8/24/2017 at 06:42 (297 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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OK, if the burners are all working, that's a good sign.   If the broiler is working, I'd suggest you check the element.  If the broiler is also just getting warm, there's possibly an internal wiring or thermostat issue.  

I have a spare oven control or two, possibly also the oven element if you wind up needing one.  Hopefully not!!

Post# 954316 , Reply# 4   8/24/2017 at 08:02 (297 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Lots of possibilities.

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Paul is right, it probably is the oven control. However, a wire could have come loose and that 'warm' is the result of only one side of the line being hooked up.

Post# 954928 , Reply# 5   8/27/2017 at 22:28 (294 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

Okay, the report is back from the renters. The elements barely get warm on either bake or broil settings. I guess that likely rules out the elements and points to either the oven control or wiring. At this point, I want to purchase an oven control for it because even if it's not the problem right now, I'll need it someday and I'd like to have it on hand for when that day comes. I already have new NOS stove burners on hand for the day one of them goes. I'd like to have the control with me the next time I go out there so I can fix it if it is the control.

I don't know the model number of that oven/stove/whatever you call it but if anyone can help me identify the part number for that control I would certainly appreciate it. I have my doubts as to whether one can be acquired locally so I may have to go further afield to find one.

Post# 954930 , Reply# 6   8/27/2017 at 22:33 (294 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

In reading tuquoisedude's comments I see that the thermostat may also be the issue. I should get one of those too so I also need a part number for that as well. I seem to recall the oven ran either hot or cold so a new thermostat may be in order no matter what.

Post# 955146 , Reply# 7   8/29/2017 at 07:11 (292 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Don't rule out a bad connection somewhere - it is possible that one of the 'hot' leads to the thermostat or oven control switch has come undone.  On the other hand, it may have burnt off, which means there may be a bigger wiring issue...  


The good thing is that the wiring of a range like this is accessible and reasonably easy to trace - you'll have to pull the range out and take off the back panel and all should be revealed.  


I have a few diagrams and service bulletins for the Canadian-built GE ranges of this era but I will only be able to get to them on the weekend.   Is there any way you could get a picture of the model plate (that should be somewhere on the frame around the master oven)?


The oven controls look a lot like spares I have from in ovens I have salvaged if worst comes to worst!

Post# 955375 , Reply# 8   8/31/2017 at 00:34 (291 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

I should have a pic of the ID plate tomorrow. I'm aware it may just be a wiring problem but the cabin is a long way from me and I can't get out there very often. I want to be prepared for any eventuality and have any parts I might need with me when I next go out there so I can almost be assured that I'll be able to fix whatever is wrong when I do go out there. Any parts I don't need to use will be kept as spares that I will probably need at some point in the future. I intend to keep that oven in service for many more decades to come! It is the centerpiece of that kitchen!

Post# 955519 , Reply# 9   8/31/2017 at 20:53 (290 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

It looks like the model number is CJ405NA1. Does that sound right?

Post# 955520 , Reply# 10   8/31/2017 at 21:10 (290 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

Just received a new report from the renters who are in there now. They report that the oven is now working but now is way too hot. First the elements were barely heating up and now they're working but the temperature is way too high. I admit I'm no expert on oven repair but based on laymen's intuition, I'm guessing a faulty thermostat here. What do the experts think?

Post# 955592 , Reply# 11   9/1/2017 at 11:34 (289 days old) by customline (pennsylvania)        

It's the thermostats.

Post# 955599 , Reply# 12   9/1/2017 at 12:07 (289 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

Okay, what I've been able to determine is the thermostats are part number WB20K10184. Is that correct?

I've also determined the part is NLA and there is nothing available that supersedes it. Looks like I'm searching for good used or NOS. Anybody got these or know where I can find them?

Post# 955606 , Reply# 13   9/1/2017 at 13:09 (289 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

I just did some searching on eBay and Google and can't find a WB20K10184. As a matter of fact, a search on Google for WB20K10184 returns exactly zero hits. Not very encouraging...

I can, however, find other WB20K10 thermostats but with different numbers after the 10. They all must be similar to one another but what would be the main basic difference between the WB20K10 variants?

Can anyone tell me if the WB20K10184 was superseded by a newer part number that maybe I could find? Thanks.

Post# 955676 , Reply# 14   9/1/2017 at 23:05 (289 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
It's either the thermostat or wiring.

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Unless I'm missing something here, a universal Robert Shaw replacement thermostat should be quite adequate for this, no?

Post# 955970 , Reply# 15   9/3/2017 at 19:52 (287 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

I have no idea. This unit has the separate temperature and Bake/Broil/Pre-heat dials/controllers. Most modern ovens don't have this type of set-up so I don't know if a generic thermostat that works with that kind of system can work with this sort of system.

Someone at Atlas appliances looked up the thermostat on their Microfiche system (that's how I got the part no. for the thermostats). Their system showed no replacement or superseding part numbers for that part.

Post# 955975 , Reply# 16   9/3/2017 at 20:07 (287 days old) by Xraytech (S.W. Pennsylvania, near Pittsb)        

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My 1959 GE has a generic universal replacement thermostat, so the seperate bake, broil, off knob won't affect being able to use the universal replacement

Post# 956457 , Reply# 17   9/6/2017 at 19:47 (284 days old) by DangerBoy (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)        

... My 1959 GE has a generic universal replacement thermostat, so the seperate bake, broil, off knob won't affect being able to use the universal replacement...

Does that mean that I could use the universal thermostat replacement and still be able to use the bake/broil/pre-heat/off knob and original temperature knob as well?

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