Thread Number: 72310  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1962 Frigidaire Imperial Fridge Problems... help!
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Post# 955815   9/3/2017 at 03:04 (265 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        

Hello! I am new here and I am into old appliances (I have quite a few now). My issue right now is my 62 Imperial fridge. It looks great and works fine..... except that it seems to get too cold in the fridge section. I have it set on the B setting, and it gets cold enough to freeze any produce I have in the hyderators. The fridge does shut off from time to time... but I am not sure why it is doing this. I don't have enough experience with this stuff yet so I figured I would ask what I need to do to fix this. Is it the thermostat? Is it something else? All I know is, I have heard this was a problem for these fridges.

Other than that... the butter warmer doesn't work (not a huge deal but wanted to see if I could fix it), and I am missing one of the slip on hinge/wiring covers on the door. Not a bad buy for 50 bucks. I just want to fix it from freezing my stuff before I totally replace the newer 90s fridge we are using now. I prefer the old stuff a lot more!! I have cleaned up the fridge since I took these pictures..its just full of stuff now. I have thermometers in both the fridge and freezer section so I know how cold it is actually getting.

Does anyone have a copy of the orig instruction manual? I am also looking for an example of the original ice cube tray that worked with the handle in the freezer section. Thanks in advance!!

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Post# 955882 , Reply# 1   9/3/2017 at 10:30 (264 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Congratulations and Welcome!

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If you go to the library section of this website, you will find several technical bulletins and manuals from around the time this beautiful refrigerator was built. The exact year may not be there, however I don't recollect such massive changes in that time-period that one which is a bit older or newer won't hit the problems.

The butter warmer was a rolling disaster and not having a working one is no loss. Personally, I'd do what my parents did: Disconnect the dratted thing at the wiring block and be done with it. However, if it matters to you, there are references to it's many, many problems in the literature stretching through the late 1960's.

The problem you are having with a too cold crisper section can be caused by a number of things and people here who know more than I do will no doubt be along - there's also extensive problem/solution lists in the Frigidaire tech support literature.


1) The cold control (the thermostat) may be faulty. I bought one for our '67 Frigidaire not too long ago, they do show up on Ebay and it is possible to configure a generic to work.

2) If anything has gone wrong with the defrost system (and careful, here, Frigidaire used non-standard color coding on their refrigerator wiring, including 'green/yellow'and 'green' caring current!) it could lead to this, too.

That's covered extensively in the tech support bulletins, too. Not difficult, though.

3) If a drain is stopped up or a 'flowing cold' fan is broken it can cause these problems, as can a jammed vent door. I'd start there.


These are very robust units - we have a 1967 which is working great - and their main problem was plugged up drains, frozen flowing-cold fans (replacements are still available) and failed defrost timers. 



Post# 955888 , Reply# 2   9/3/2017 at 11:22 (264 days old) by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
At least its working...

But the freezing issue needs to be fixed. Like Panthera said, I would check all of the things listed. I think that if it is cycling like it should be that you should check to see what kind of setup your model has. I know that these early auto defrost Frigidaire models have a weird setup where there are two different evaporators....I think. I think there might even be a thermostat for a fan up top to have it cycle on and off. The manuals will be able to tell you for sure how it all works. These machines are very robust. I'm about to grab a 1936 Frigidaire that has the same basic compressor, they are very well built.

Post# 955896 , Reply# 3   9/3/2017 at 12:29 (264 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Not quite two separate evaporators, but

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the super-heat setup sure looks like two separate units. Frigidaire did a lot right on these refrigerators and they are always worth repairing. Pity so many service in-duh-viduals will pretend a simple, generic part isn't available or lie that there is a 'freon leak' and no other coolant will work.

Post# 955910 , Reply# 4   9/3/2017 at 13:27 (264 days old) by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
Ah, thanks for the correction

Panthera, thank you for that info. I need to learn more about these early auto defrost Frigidaire models. They are very interesting. GM at its best. I'm so used to fridges that don't know what a separate freezer door is lol.

Post# 956029 , Reply# 5   9/4/2017 at 07:15 (263 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

My parents had a unit almost like this one. I remember that if the thermostat was set to anything higher than A on the dial it would freeze up some of the items in the chiller drawers. Only time it was turned up to B was after loading it up after grocery shopping or when she would fill the freezer with unfrozen items. Then it was turned back to A after a couple of hours. This was always like this for them from the time that it was new. If it went up to 1,2,3 I would imagine it would have frozen everything solid.


Post# 956039 , Reply# 6   9/4/2017 at 08:27 (263 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
1962 Bottom Freezer FD FP Refrigerator

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I am [ unfortunately ] very familiar with this ref. It has two evaporators, one under the floor of the freezer section to cool the freezer and one behind the back wall that cools the ref section.


There are two evaporator fans, one in each section, the freezer fan runs whenever the compressor runs, the cold control only affects the freezer temperature, it causes the compressor to turn on and off to maintain proper freezing temperatures.


There is a thermostat behind the ref section breaker strip that controls operation of the ref section evaporator fan, this thromostat turns the fan on and off maintain proper ref temps.


The likley problem with your ref is the sealed system is weak and it is running too much of the time to maintain 0F in the freezer, when this happens the ref  section thromostat cycles the fan off when the main part of the ref is cooled to say 35-38 F range. Then the compressor is still running and the evaporator behind the wall is getting colder and colder and this extreme cold air is counter convecting and causing things in the bottom of the ref section to freeze.


There is no easy fix for this problem, we had this model in a beautiful all porclean cabinet model and we tried everything for several years to get it to work correctly. Finally I pushed off the back of the truck at the scrap yard.


I can think of a few creative ways to fix this but none are easy.


Note FD only used this system on their early FP models, they wisely abandoned this system around 1964, so FD FP refs after this time do not have this problem, although I have seen almost none from the later 60s that are working correctly. They are usually not cold enough in the freezer and too cold in the ref section, and are running almost all the time sucking up lots of power, Our webmaster Robert just gave up on his beautiful Turquoise FD ref and said his power went down $28 a month.


In general vintage FF refs are hard to keep running correctly as they age, the best ones are WP built models and GE refs with hot-gas drfrost

Post# 956095 , Reply# 7   9/4/2017 at 13:00 (263 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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I was wrong, this model does have two evaporators. Good to know!

Post# 956099 , Reply# 8   9/4/2017 at 13:28 (263 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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We had a 1965 Signature frost proof top mount for a brief period when I was a kid, and it behaved much like John described above.  It had a single cold control and stuff would freeze in the fresh food section while the actual freezer was never cold enough. 


I agree with John's statement that Whirlpool and GE refrigerators from this period are far more reliable than the problematic Frigidaires.

Post# 956123 , Reply# 9   9/4/2017 at 15:19 (263 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        
Thanks for the help

Thanks for all the info everyone. I set my fridge between the off and b setting...and it still gets too cold. I have noticed if I shut it off for a bit and when it kicks back on sounds like a fan behind the freezer section is a loose belt on a car. It goes away eventually though but not sure if that can be a part of my problem.

The freezer section seems to freeze fine. I'll have to look to see what I can do. I don't see too many old fridges in decent shape in my area but the ge ones with the lazy Susan looking insides Im familiar with.

I guess I better look though the library on here. If hate to have to get rid of the fridge :(

Post# 956264 , Reply# 10   9/5/2017 at 12:38 (262 days old) by fridgenut (Cape Girardeau, MO)        
Question about the cycling...

How often would you say this fridge is cycling? Couple times an hour? I ask because if the freezer section is at the proper temp I'm wondering if the fridge is indeed working harder than it should to get to that point.

Post# 956308 , Reply# 11   9/5/2017 at 17:24 (262 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        

Well, if you mean shut off completely, where the compressor shuts down and you can't hear anything from the back of the fridge...not that much. Once or twice a day?? Maybe. If I open the fridge door I hear something click in there and a fan kicks on...and air starts to circulate if I haven't opened the door. Fridge section is getting below 30 degrees.

The freezer section is at 0 degrees and my thermostat is set between off and B. I wasn't sure how often the fridge was supposed to click I just assumed it was just doing its normal thing.

So if it isn't cycling properly...what are your thoughts? Is the fan in the freezer section not working right (the one I hear squealing sometimes) and causing my issues? Something else that wasn't listed above? I can start to work on this anytime since I still have the newer fridge around as backup. Thanks for the help!

Post# 956311 , Reply# 12   9/5/2017 at 18:15 (262 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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It seems odd to me that both your account and Jon's indicate over-cooling at the low end of the cold control.  I mean, why have B, C, 1, 2 and 3 if A is overkill?  Seems like a cold control issue when viewed from that particular angle.


Then there's the issue with that poor beleaguered compressor running almost constantly.  As John L. suggested, the compressor could be getting weak.  But again, the cold control could be the cause, calling for cooling when it's already cold enough in both sections. 


John L.'s mention of the refrigerator section's thermostatically controlled evaporator fan seems to implicate the thermostat, which may be causing the fan to run more than it should, and lowering the fridge section temperature as a result.


I would like to think the compressor isn't the issue, but it may be soon if things continue as they are.  If it is, that's the most costly thing to fix -- and good luck finding anyone who would do the job.   I'd try addressing the other potential trouble spots first.  A universal fit cold control might not be as difficult to find as that specialty thermostat, but this seems like an air flow problem -- too much of it in the fridge section -- that may be the result of a bad fan thermostat, so that is where you might want to start first.



Post# 956329 , Reply# 13   9/5/2017 at 20:43 (262 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        

Where is a good place to find parts? I need to get familiar with the stuff that is wrong so I can see what it is I need to order parts wise.

Post# 956351 , Reply# 14   9/5/2017 at 23:41 (262 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Keven already provided a link to the literature library, but here's another one for Frigidaire refrigerator-freezers. 


There's an 88-page 1962 service manual available to download for $7.99.  I'm sure it will provide part numbers.  There's also a 53-page Component Diagnosis manual from 1973 for $5.  I don't know how generalized it is or if it would cover models dating back to 1962.


Post# 956354 , Reply# 15   9/6/2017 at 00:23 (262 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Viper, I love posting on things that I know nothing about, BUT you said "a fan starts when I open the door". I think it should stop when you open the door?

Post# 956359 , Reply# 16   9/6/2017 at 01:18 (262 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
John is right..

I had a 63Imperial bottom freezer in beautiful turquoise, I gave it away because you couldn't get the fridge cold enough, it was one of the first that used a thermostatic tube type thing that got cold air for the fridge section from the freezer, Personally, I don't mind defrosting one bit, I have never had much luck with anything frost free.

Post# 956434 , Reply# 17   9/6/2017 at 16:40 (261 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        
About the fan

Cuffs, it's one of the circulation fans in the fridge. When the temp drops a bit, like when you have door open, it kicks on. Sounds like it's controlled by thermostat.

Something else I need to mention. If I manually turn fridge off...and set it back to the b or a setting it won't always come back on after a bit. I sometimes have to tap the dial or smack the inide part of the fridge by it...then compressor kicks on.

I'll check out the library. I'd like to try to fix it. Does anyone know if the mid 50s imperials have these problems too? We actually tried to get one that worked but was missing a lot of stuff in it. The whole frost proof thing doesn't matter to me. I'd rather have one I have to defrost to avoid a lot of problems. Thanks for all the help everyone. I'll see what I need to do., I guess worst case I could sell it for parts :(

Post# 956439 , Reply# 18   9/6/2017 at 17:50 (261 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
"I sometimes have to tap the dial or . . ."

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Sounds like the cold control has issues.  Who knows?  It might just be a loose wire.

Post# 956469 , Reply# 19   9/6/2017 at 21:49 (261 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        
Thanks for the help

I'll transfer my food to another fridge and see whats up. All of a sudden .......the fridge is acting normal. So hopefully it will be a semi easy fix.:)

Post# 957168 , Reply# 20   9/11/2017 at 19:47 (256 days old) by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
If anyone parts with one of these, can you let me know...

Hey gang, I see where several have given up on these Frigidaire bottom freezer models and scrapped them. I own a 1961 and it works perfectly and is only missing the foot pedal to open the freezer door - so if you plan to give up on one with the pedal, can you let me know as I would like to buy the pedal. Thanks so much!

Post# 957170 , Reply# 21   9/11/2017 at 19:55 (256 days old) by frogkid11 (Richmond, Va)        
Martin - here is the original ice ejector and trays

Hey Martin, you had asked about the original ice trays that were meant for your fridge. The system actually included a removable ice ejector that allowed you to invert the ice trays on the top and pull the lever which would crack the ice trays causing the ice cubes to fall into he holder. Here is a link for one in the original box on eBay:

Post# 957322 , Reply# 22   9/13/2017 at 02:26 (255 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        

That's cool!!!!! I'll see about getting that ice tray.thanks for the link!

I really hope I can fix this fridge. At least it doesn't frost up. It just makes everything else way too cold lol. Could just keep it as a fridge for drinks if all else fails I guess.

Post# 957423 , Reply# 23   9/13/2017 at 18:55 (254 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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I assume it's just freezing things in the bottom half of the refrigerator, if it's freezing things in the top of it the fan thermostat for the refrigerator section maybe bad.

You can always just use the bottom of the refrigerator to keep. It likes to be extra cold

Post# 957467 , Reply# 24   9/14/2017 at 00:24 (254 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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My aunt's new Frigidaire of similar vintage had that "instant ice" system.  I was very jealous of that, and her entire fridge, as our fridge was a drab '49 Westinghouse single door that would be with us as a daily driver for about ten more years before it finally became a garage fridge.


$80 seems a little steep, even for NIB, but I'd still be tempted.

Post# 957707 , Reply# 25   9/15/2017 at 19:53 (252 days old) by viper771 (Ohio)        

It's kind of just freezing stuff like produce (no matter where it is in the fridge), anything in the lower drawers, and antrying in the many tender drawer gets kind of frozen a bit...I'll end up taking stuff apart and see what I can fix, If possible.

As for the nib ice tray...that is kind of expensive for 80 bucks. I have everything except the aluminum ice tray. But it is still tempting.:)

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