Thread Number: 78293  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1962 GE Spacemaker tc-469 defrost timer
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Post# 1023186   1/31/2019 at 15:29 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

My 1962 GE Spacemaker refrigerator (with Frost-guard), model TC-469v has served us well for many years with few repairs needed. I have a special bond with it- as it was manufactured in December 1961- the same month and year I was born. So naturally, I hate to see it die. The defrost timer (part number wr9x164) stopped working a few months back and I am having to defrost manually every 6-10 days to keep the refrigerator section cold (the freezer stays ice cold all the time). My wife has about had it with this process and is threatening to replace our old friend with an ugly new model. About 7 years ago, another member on this site (perc-o-prince) had the same issue with the same model. He mentioned someone named John (combo52) who had left a replacement timer that worked - but I gather it was not the same part number. Are there other defrost timers that will work in this model? I found one that looks very similar- but it is expensive and I hate to spend the money if it will not work. That failing- is there anything that can be done to revive the old part? (can it be tested?). Attaching photos of model/serial number plate, front of ref, and two pages from the service manual (I have them for the entire 1961/2 refrigerator line[wiring diagrams too]- and the wall refrig. - as well as all sunbeam appliances going back to the 1940s!) Sorry- lots of questions...

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Post# 1023188 , Reply# 1   1/31/2019 at 15:55 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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I'm only guessing, but odds are the timer motor inside the defrost control box is the culprit.  If you can extract it and get the specs off of it, you may be able to find a replacement that will put this beautiful refrigerator-freezer back in business.


Otherwise, if you buy a new fridge your mantra for years to come will be "I told you so" when the Mrs. says how much she wishes she still had the features and conveniences of your GE.

Post# 1023191 , Reply# 2   1/31/2019 at 16:07 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

Thank you for your comment, RP2813 - your idea is worth a try! Actually- my wife, who hated our vintage kitchen at first, has come to love it. She has even 'shown off' the Tappan 400 and the refrigerator (especially the swing-out shelves and the butter conditioner) to visitors. So- I think she would miss it too. However, she has become rather touchy about the amount of food we lose when I forget to defrost in time. Just now- pecking around on eBay, I found a defrost timer that looks just like the one I have- and it was reasonably priced - so I took a chance and bought it. Mine was #wr9x164- the new one is #wr9x284. Anyone have an idea whether these are compatible? - Thanks- John G.

Post# 1023279 , Reply# 3   2/1/2019 at 10:29 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Non Defrosting GE REF With Hot-Gas Defrost

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Hi John, are you able to force a defrost cycle by advancing the old defrost timer with a screw driver ?, If so the defrost timer control is bad, if not it could still be a bad control or a bad hot gas valve coil [ located next to the compressor in the back.

You can substitute a regular defrost timer but you need one with a short defrost period, 10 minutes is best.

To keep the ref section cooling properly you need to run a defrost cycle every day or two otherwise the air circulation gets blocked fairly fast.

John L.

Post# 1023284 , Reply# 4   2/1/2019 at 10:40 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

John L. - Thank you for your reply (I recall you helped someone with the same problem with the same model back in 2013 - in fact - he mentioned you helped him get a replacement part!) - so I was really hoping to hear from you. Dumb question- how do you advance the defrost timer with a screwdriver - do you use the column-shaped thing with the slot that pokes out the bottom of the part (I try to only use technical language!). If the hot gas valve turns out to be the problem- is there a way to fix it? You are right about how quickly the air circulation gets blocked- John G.

Post# 1026329 , Reply# 5   3/5/2019 at 16:01 by Pardo (KY)        

Iíve got one of these TC-469s.. My grandparents bought it new in 1962. In recent months the fridge section is not cooling well. The freezer works great. We unplugged and fully defrosted it in case there was some ice build-up blocking airflow to the refrigerator section, but the issue remains. Iím wondering if there is some fan or blower that no longer works that should be blowing cold air up to the fridge (these are bottom freezers). Any suggestions would be a great help. Thanks.

Post# 1026339 , Reply# 6   3/5/2019 at 17:00 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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In picture 4 of 4 in the OP, a fan for the fresh food section is mentioned.  Whether it operates like the average two-door refrigerator by blowing freezer air into the fresh food section is tough to determine as the text is incomplete.  

Post# 1026524 , Reply# 7   3/7/2019 at 20:49 by Pardo (KY)        

Thanks for the response. Iím trying to figure out if the flow of that fan is drawing cool air in from the freezer, or drawing warmer air from the fridge back into the freezer for cooling. Do these work like an HVAC system with returns and supplies (like a cycle of air) or do all openings only supply cool air into the fridge? There are 3 openings into the fridge that I can identify : 2 at the bottom of the fridge behind the drawers (one of these has the ďfresh food fanĒ over it) and one opening at the very top of the fridge. Thanks for any insight.

Post# 1026543 , Reply# 8   3/7/2019 at 22:58 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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I've never heard of a fan drawing air from the fresh food section into the freezer.  It's always the other way around.  If that fan isn't operating at full RPM, it's likely the source of your problem.   Even if the blades are turning, that doesn't mean they're turning at full speed.  This would be the "evaporator fan" mentioned in picture 4 of 4 in the OP.


The fresh food fan seems to be something that only distributes air within the fresh food cabinet, presumably to maintain even temperatures throughout the cabinet.  If the fresh food section is warmer than it should be, then the evaporator fan is likely the culprit.


If it's something besides the evaporator fan, it's likely out of my scope to diagnose.



Post# 1026572 , Reply# 9   3/8/2019 at 09:58 by Pardo (KY)        

Thanks for the help and pointers. Really appreciate it.

Post# 1026573 , Reply# 10   3/8/2019 at 10:23 by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
1960s GE bottom freezer frost guard refrigerators

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These were kind of unique refrigerators and operated differently than most other refrigerators they had an evaporator fan in the freezer that just circulated air with in the freezer, and they had an evaporator fan that was controlled by an electric thermostat for the refrigerator section which was behind the right hand crisper. This fan actually pushed air into the freezer and pressurized the freezer which in turn forced air to come up through a duct all the way to the top of the refrigerator section.

If the fan is running behind the crisper then you have a frost clog condition in the evaporator in the freezer section you often canít see this frost itís sort of in the center of the evaporator but there are separate air channels to go through the middle of the evaporator which are just intended to cool the air going up into the refrigerator section.

This was a really sophisticated system for its time when the refrigerator section called for cooling by turning on this fan it blasted cold air into the refrigerator section very quickly it was much faster cooling food down than most frost free refrigerators that had just one fan in the freezer


Post# 1026576 , Reply# 11   3/8/2019 at 12:00 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

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Very interesting.  Thanks for the tutorial, John!

Post# 1026620 , Reply# 12   3/9/2019 at 01:48 by Pardo (KY)        

Awesome - thanks for the insight. It appears that the fan behind the drawer (crisper) is not working on my fridge. That must be the source of my cooling issue. Any recommendations on how to track down a replacement part? Thanks again for the help.

Post# 1026635 , Reply# 13   3/9/2019 at 08:52 by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
No cooling in the refrigerator section of a 1960s GE

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On your refrigerator the fan in the fresh food section should run whenever the compressor is on and the thermostat in the refrigerator section is closed, you could have a bad thermostat in the refrigerator but more likely is probably worn out fan motor.

I would remove the fan motor and check for power there and after that try to match up a replacement fan motor not too long ago you could still get those from GE

I did a service call a few years ago in Georgetown where GE came out and told the customer her americana refrigerator had to bad fan motors he sold with the parts but refused to install them saying that GE service wasnít allowed to repair anything that old, so she called me and I installed the new fan motors.


Post# 1026829 , Reply# 14   3/11/2019 at 15:23 by Pardo (KY)        

This is great - thanks to you guys for the info and recommendations. Really appreciate the help.

Post# 1028184 , Reply# 15   3/28/2019 at 10:35 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

I am finally posting a reply to Combo52's suggestion that I try to manually force a defrost cycle. I rotated the timer as he suggested and heard the 'click' that he told me would occur. The service manual indicates that the fan in the freezer would not run when the fridge is in defrost mode. the fan never ceased to run during my test- nor
did I hear the solenoid operate (it has always made a sort of 'whump' noise when the defrost cycle kicks in). However- the need to manually defrost seemed less frequent- so I thought perhaps it was working to some degree. Now it has become pretty clear that the new timer did not do the trick (perhaps it is defective or has a very wrong time cycle). At any rate- wife is again threatening replacement. Luckily- thanks to Sarah Perdue, I heard from someone locally who may be able to help (yippee!)- but any further input or ideas would be most welcome.

Post# 1028187 , Reply# 16   3/28/2019 at 10:57 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Defrost Problems With A 60s GE Hot Gas System

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Something is wrong, the evaporator fan in the freezer must turn off in order for to defrost properly, hopefully the local guy can figure it out, it is often impossible to make a proper diagnose without being able to personally examine the patient.

It may be the timer is wired wrong or is just bad, this is actually a very simple system and is easy to figure out what is wrong with some simple tests for someone that is familiar with it.

Keep us posted, John

Post# 1028302 , Reply# 17   3/29/2019 at 13:18 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

I suspected something was not right when the fan never stopped during the test. I followed the wiring diagram - the color of the wires matched the instructions with the part - and the old timer had color-coded dots that match the new part. Maybe the new one is defective. I hope the local guy can sort it out! Wife said she will be patient until he can look it over - so we are safe from ugly new refrigerators for a while. The guy said he will take a look when he returns from a work assignment in about a month. Will let you know what we learn and what is done to repair it. It is interesting to me that several AW site members have the same model fridge! It really is a nice one- and gave 57 years of almost trouble-free service. Oh- I will take a photo of the interior and post it to see whether you have anything like the bar that is missing over the butter keeper (we talked about that - and I forgot to get the photo). Thanks!

Post# 1033316 , Reply# 18   5/21/2019 at 10:35 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
I have the same refrigerator TC469WB

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I have the same refrigerator, but a different problem. After a year of waiting for it to be repaired, I got it back with a new compressor, but the fan does not stay on and the compressor does not restart, which is exactly what the problem was before I sent it out for repair. :(

Mxrman, were you able to find a source for parts? Also, where did you find the service manual? I have been looking for one forever!


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Post# 1033539 , Reply# 19   5/24/2019 at 15:24 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

Hi! Your refrigerator looks just like ours- but opens on the other side - sorry to read about your troubles in the other post. I hope you can get the fan situation resolved. I have been amazed at how many people on this site have this particular model fridge and are working hard to keep them going. Unfortunately, mine is still not working properly (the replacement defrost timer must be a dud) and my wife is about to go into meltdown about it (she is lobbying to buy a new one just about every other day now...). Other than the defrost cycle not working- there is nothing wrong with the fridge! My source for parts has been eBay as the nearest parts store in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which used to be very friendly and helpful - is neither any longer. There is someone who has promised to come look at it next time he is in the area - I hope that soon comes to pass. The manual was given to me by a man (now deceased) who had a GE appliance dealership in Eutaw, Alabama since the 1940s. He let me go through his old manuals and get any that referred to appliances I own. I wonder if I could ask you a favor- would you take a photo of the inside of the top door? Mine is missing the bar over the butter conditioner, and I would like to see what one looks like. Thanks - let me know if I can be of any help. - John

Post# 1033873 , Reply# 20   5/29/2019 at 14:28 by kelly0721 (Lakewood, Colorado)        
Photo Inside Top Door

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Hi John,

Here is a photo of the inside of the door for you. I need to find new bars for the door myself. When I first got the refrigerator it was so filthy I threw some of the parts in the dishwasher and it ruined them, which is why there is a white film on the bars. I seriously regret that decision.

My repairman just left a little while ago. Apparently, the wiring is a mess and has to be rewired so the fan can be connected. The overload is broken too, so that has to be replaced. After he has all that taken care of then we will address replacing the compressor with one that was recommended by Combo52 (John) way back when I first purchased the refrigerator. I had printed out his recommendation for the first repairman, but he apparently was not willing to take anyone else's advice and installed this crappy Panasonic compressor I did not want. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon so I can finally bring it into the kitchen instead of having it sit in the garage.


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Post# 1034642 , Reply# 21   6/6/2019 at 14:26 by mixrman (Eutaw, Alabama)        

Thank you so much for posting the photo of the bars. I wondered what it was supposed to look like. Combo52 mentioned once that if I could send a photo- perhaps he could help locate something like it. Our defrost timer is not working- and wife is getting very annoyed about manual defrosting every few days. Yikes! She dragged me around town looking a new refrigerators last week - I am getting worried! Let me know if you need a copy of the manual (I made one for someone else for the cost of copies and shipping (I think it came to $7). It also has the nomenclature for the serial number - so you can decipher exactly when it was made!

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