Thread Number: 78708  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1967 frost-free whirlpool ice buildup
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Post# 1027019   3/14/2019 at 08:35 by oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

1967 Whirlpool "Icemagic". Over the past few months frost has been building up in the back of the freezer. The freezer was getting too warm so I finally defrosted it manually and took it apart. The entire coil was a block of ice. After I got it apart and melted the ice, I manually turned the defrost timer until it clicked. The heater got hot enough to burn my hand, and the drip gutter warmer got fairly hot too. The path to the pan at the bottom of the fridge is clear. Next I set turned the timer to where the slot was straight up and down, to see if it still moves on its own, and it does.

I am drawing a complete blank here. It seems like it should be defrosting, nothing appears broken. But ice is still building up.

Post# 1027020 , Reply# 1   3/14/2019 at 08:45 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

If the timer is advancing normally I would have a look at the defrost limiter. Some models divert power from the timer motor to the heater until the limiter is satisfied and then clicks back over to the timer motor. If you can upload a wiring diagram I can look at it.

Post# 1027025 , Reply# 2   3/14/2019 at 09:52 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Non Defrosting WP Refrigerator

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If you have to turn the timer to get it to defrost you have a BAD timer plain and simple.

Your original timer was a 12 hour timer that defrosted the ref every 12 hours, if you use a current WP replacement timer the ref will defrost every 8 hours which is really hard on your old ref and your electric bill as well as affecting frozen food quality.

I would use a GE 16 hour timer that will cause the ref to defrost every 16 of time. We used to always change these refs to a 24 hour timer but these are no longer available so 16 hours is the best we can do with these older refs.


Post# 1027030 , Reply# 3   3/14/2019 at 10:49 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Timer period...

Hey John, has anyone considered having an electronic timer made which could have a longer timing period? With the inexpensive microcontroller circuits available now, that seems like a feasible idea.


Just curious. When you mention that the GE 24-hour timer is no longer available that got me thinking...

Post# 1027031 , Reply# 4   3/14/2019 at 10:54 by oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

"If you have to turn the timer to get it to defrost you have a BAD timer plain and simple. "

The timer does move, I don't know if it is running slow or not, but it does move on it's own. Manually turning it was to see if the heater coil was working.

Post# 1027038 , Reply# 5   3/14/2019 at 12:34 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

goatfarmer's profile picture

It may have a bad spot in it, where it stops.

Post# 1027694 , Reply# 6   3/22/2019 at 12:25 by Oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

Ok advice needed again...
So the timer did have a bad spot where it would move and then stop in the same spot, so every once in a while I just turn the timer to defrost and let it do its thing. Well this time when I put it on defrost, I was standing in the kitchen and about a minute later I heard a poof. I sniff around for burning smell, nothing. So I open the icebox door, and again poof. Except this time I see a big spark jump out of the back of the icemaker! I quickly turned the timer back to not defrosting, and it stopped sparking. What in the world is wrong? It has never had this problem before.

Post# 1027725 , Reply# 7   3/22/2019 at 17:33 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

rp2813's profile picture

It could be that the evaporator and associated defrost heater element are located behind the ice maker.  Also, it could be that the timer got stuck on defrost and the heater didn't shut off when it should have.   The heater or a connection to it could have blown/shorted out.  I don't think the ice maker is involved.  Just my guesses.

Post# 1027727 , Reply# 8   3/22/2019 at 17:53 by Oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

I don't see how it could have come from the icemaker either. I just got a quick glance and it was in that direction. I'm scared to run defrost again to find out.

Post# 1027738 , Reply# 9   3/22/2019 at 20:30 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

Hi Jon, you need to remove the IM and then the aluminum evaporator cover and see what shorted out, it is probably the defrost heater, if you are lucky it might just be the defrost temperature limiter [ they are still easily available ] if it is the defrost heater it may be the end of this refrigerator,  Frost Free refs are not designed to last more than 50 years, they have a practical limit.



Post# 1027764 , Reply# 10   3/22/2019 at 22:32 by Oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

That's disappointing, I just took the whole thing apart a week ago to de-ice it.

Post# 1027876 , Reply# 11   3/24/2019 at 15:35 by Oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

Sadly I had to give it to somebody for scrap. Not worth burning my house down. It did a good job while I had it. Now to hunt for another coppertone refrigerator.

Post# 1027880 , Reply# 12   3/24/2019 at 16:01 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

rp2813's profile picture

I feel your pain.

Post# 1027896 , Reply# 13   3/24/2019 at 18:49 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

I wonder if you bimetal got stuck in the closed position

Post# 1027900 , Reply# 14   3/24/2019 at 19:15 by Oliger (Indianapolis, Indiana)        

I'm not worried about it, its on its way to be turned into coke cans. It was right behind the icemaker whatever it was.

Post# 1027913 , Reply# 15   3/24/2019 at 21:38 by RP2813 (Too many people know the way)        

rp2813's profile picture

After seeing David's videos, I think we can all agree that you can't kill a monitor top.   It won't be long until some will have been running for 100 years with no end in sight.  Kind of like I Love Lucy episodes.


I think I'll be looking for something much older to replace my '57 GE since I doubt repair is feasible.

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