Thread Number: 78715  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1952 GE Refrigerator Miracle or Madness?
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Post# 1027093   3/14/2019 at 22:43 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

Well as I was looking for some parts for the 1954 GE fridge this '52 COMBINATION showed up so I figured I might as well go get it. It is actually in better shape than the donor machine it is rusty but no big dents.

So here it is but it wasn't running too well. The refrigerator part was too cold about 22 degrees and the freezer was only 20 or so. For a few days...

It did seem to be getting better. It was gurgling a lot in the top too.

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Post# 1027094 , Reply# 1   3/14/2019 at 22:48 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

Here is that process I use on a lot of the old stuff I get. This is really rusty so I am using very fine sandpaper like 1500 or crocus cloth and giving it a good rubbing with soft scrub with bleach. That red goo is all rust...

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Post# 1027095 , Reply# 2   3/14/2019 at 22:51 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

is the not so great Fridge that is in the garage that will hopefully be replaced with an old one soon. It doesn't work very well in the winter in here. I had an 70s fridge that I regretfully got rid of for this that worked a lot better. Anyway I am thinking why not get a cool fridge and that way if the one in the main kitchen ever really goes I have a replacement.

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Post# 1027096 , Reply# 3   3/14/2019 at 22:56 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

here is the new old fridge kinda cleaned up. It needs to be sanded and a new coat of paint put on which I can do but it is a project for the summer.

Anyway I swapped out the temperature control for that 55 or so sitting there and believe it or not it is working a lot better. All day today it has been at about 3-4 degrees in the freezer and about 38 in the refrigerator. I had to turn it up a little but I think it is only at about the 3 or 4 setting. Unfortunately the temp control is pretty different so it doesn't just slide in there. I will have to drill a few holes to make it a better fit...

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Post# 1027098 , Reply# 4   3/14/2019 at 23:03 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

Here is a question. It is about 52 or so in the garage right now. This is working but it turns on about every 10 or 15 minutes and runs for about two minutes. I am thinking this unit is pretty tired but I am hopeful it will stick around for a while. Or does that not sound too promising.

That evaporator thing doesn't seem to frost up quite like the one in the kitchen does either. But right now the temperature seems good.

I was able to salvage the bottom plastic piece to replace the damaged one I removed. It is running without that in place right now...

You can see that later temp control mounted on the side there. Thanks for looking and for the help I have received (thanks Ben)


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Post# 1027111 , Reply# 5   3/15/2019 at 04:47 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

I want to edit a typo up there the refrigerator was operating at 32 degrees, not 22 that would be real cold. Every day that freezer compartment would get a little colder though, down to 10 finally, now more normal.

also, I did go over the cabinet with aluminum polish after that soft scrub otherwise it is pretty dull. -Brian

Post# 1027116 , Reply# 6   3/15/2019 at 08:23 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Hi Brian. The appearance sure cleaned up nicely! Did you repaint it or just clean up the surface?


As for the short run cycles, that is probably just fine. Many of the older refrigerators had similar characteristics. The fact that it's cooling down and cycling off in 2 minutes seems to indicate a healthy unit to me.

Post# 1027128 , Reply# 7   3/15/2019 at 11:12 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Operation Of A Ref In A cold Garage

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This and most two door refs will not keep proper freezer and fresh food temps in a room this cold, the freezer temp of this GE should be at 0 degrees F or a couple degrees above for example.

There is only one thermostat and one cooling system in most refs and refs are designed to operate in homes between 65 F and above to over 100 F properly.

For colder garage temperatures a separate freezer will usually work well and a single door ref is usually better or at least don't expect to use the freezer in the winter in most two door models.


Post# 1027129 , Reply# 8   3/15/2019 at 11:44 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

for that information. I will have to think about that as I would prefer to keep the combination one.

Post# 1027232 , Reply# 9   3/16/2019 at 19:18 by appliguy (Oakton Va.)        
Your GE 2 door fridge is a 1953 model NOT a 1952

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The 1953 GE fridges were the only ones that had vertical mechanical door latches in the 1950s/ A 1952 model would have the horizontal ones. PAT COFFEY

Post# 1027239 , Reply# 10   3/16/2019 at 20:08 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        
Thank you Pat

for some reason I got that idea from looking at a few other threads...

Post# 1028256 , Reply# 11   3/28/2019 at 23:32 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        
Hey, well, here

are some more goings-on with the 1953 COMBINATION. So it seems to be running so I guess I will swap it out but I might as well do the restore on it since one it is installed I probably won't ever get to it. Here it is after a good sanding to get the rust off, etc.

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Post# 1028257 , Reply# 12   3/28/2019 at 23:33 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        
Here it is all

taped up and ready to get painted...

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Post# 1028258 , Reply# 13   3/28/2019 at 23:42 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

Here it is with one really thick coat. I usually don't put it on this thick but there were some issues with the surface so I just went for it. Anyway I was going to sand this a little and put a second coat on but actually it doesn't look too bad so I think I will stop here and reserve the second coat for the future. It probably will get a little beat up in the garage anyway so I don't think I want to make it too perfect, though it actually is pretty close.

Anyway what I used was Rustoleum Oil Gloss which is actually about the cheapest oil enamel out there, but it makes some claims that other oil paints don't. I have had good luck with it really. I hope it does help with some of the little rust that is maybe still on there. These projects just don't warrant the car paint -- we are hard on stuff here and I can always put another coat on.

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Post# 1028271 , Reply# 14   3/29/2019 at 06:45 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Repainted GE Refrigerator

combo52's profile picture

Looking great, exactly what paint did you use and is it a spray or did you use a small roller ?


I have several projects around here that need paint, and since breaking up with my former partner several years ago I don't have access to his auto body shop and his skilled painting abilities.



Post# 1028378 , Reply# 15   3/30/2019 at 09:34 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        
Hi John

So here is my paint set up. That gun I think is just from Harbor Freight tools though I have a couple of other ones. I run three compressors in tandem to keep the pressure up.

I masked off a "tent" in the garage and ran a few old air cleaners to keep the mess down.

The paint is Rustoleum gloss just from the hardware store. I can tell it is actually pretty hard as it doesn't like to be cleaned up after it dries. I thinned it with Penetrol and odorless paint thinner to spray it, it seems to be hard enough. Brian

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Post# 1028397 , Reply# 16   3/30/2019 at 12:37 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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I use Rustoleum thinned with acetone to paint refrigerators. Spray or roller works either way.

Post# 1028442 , Reply# 17   3/30/2019 at 19:52 by spacepig (Floridas Emerald Coast)        

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Is it Rustoleum appliance epoxy or just regular paint?

Post# 1028451 , Reply# 18   3/30/2019 at 20:19 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

goatfarmer's profile picture

I use the regular ol' Rustoleum.

Post# 1028471 , Reply# 19   3/30/2019 at 22:48 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

was regular Rustoleum but I did use that appliance epoxy on my Kenmore washers.

Post# 1028623 , Reply# 20   4/1/2019 at 00:05 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

Are a few more pictures of the process for those interested. Here I am applying a little POR-15 to out of the way crevices that have a little rust on them. That is that bottom plate that hides the little plastic tray.

That is a 53 Suburban in the background, same year as the fridge

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Post# 1028624 , Reply# 21   4/1/2019 at 00:10 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

this original Logo is really trashed. I was thinking of trying to restore it but the clear plastic is cracked and cloudy.

So I decided to put on that other logo from the other GE. It isn't the correct year but it is in excellent condition. So it does look nicer.

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Post# 1028626 , Reply# 22   4/1/2019 at 00:15 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

it is installed. I still have to put the hinge guards on. That bottom piece has that nice trim detail -- that's the piece that needed a little extra attention.

I'm still working on the vegetable drawers but the extra food stuff is already in there.

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Post# 1028711 , Reply# 23   4/2/2019 at 03:30 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I wouldnt

Trade that for all the new fridges made Give me a manual defrost any day, Your fresh foods keep much better , produce does not dry out and your ice cream never gets frost on it.Also no air blowing means flavors and odors don't transfer, it runs quieter and is much more dependable!

Post# 1028747 , Reply# 24   4/2/2019 at 12:07 by RP2813 (West Coast)        

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Beautiful job!  Enjoy that nice refrigerator!

Post# 1028905 , Reply# 25   4/4/2019 at 05:58 by Tazz (western massachusetts)        

Here's my 1953 GE, I got two of these out of a convent that had closed. They're in beautiful shape but they are going to get painted this year, no rust or anything like that it's just that they were scrubbed a lot so the finish is really thin. Here's a couple of pic's of our main one. The one thing I have to fix is the wire for the butter warmer is broken at the hinge.

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Post# 1028921 , Reply# 26   4/4/2019 at 09:24 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

to see one in such good shape

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