Thread Number: 79679  /  Tag: Refrigerators
Vintage Frigidaire Refrigerator
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Post# 1035717   6/19/2019 at 13:16 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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This fridge has been on CL for a while.  The asking price was just lowered and "OBO" was added, so now I'm tempted to go after it.  I think I can get it cleaned up and presentable with some elbow grease and appliance touch-up like I did with my GE Combo and Penncrest freezer.


I'm looking for information on the type of compressor this one uses and whether I can expect it to remain operational for another ten years or more (assuming it's in proper working order as the ad claims).


Any shared knowledge will be appreciated.


Also, what's up with the cold control knob?  It looks new.





Post# 1035721 , Reply# 1   6/19/2019 at 14:30 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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That's a pretty old one, Ralph. It may still use sulfur dioxide in cooling system - it can be dangerous if the system springs a leak! Did the seller happen to have a picture of the model number plate?

Post# 1035725 , Reply# 2   6/19/2019 at 15:02 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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No model number shots.  I can ask him, though.  He has already responded and I may go have a look this weekend.


That's the kind of information I was hoping to get here, so thanks for posting, Paul!

Post# 1035730 , Reply# 3   6/19/2019 at 15:51 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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I have one close to that. Let me see if I can get a pic and a model number.

Post# 1035732 , Reply# 4   6/19/2019 at 16:58 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        
Here's mine

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Maybe a year or 2 newer.  It works, in fact it works too good! The control is bad, it won't shut off. Looks like the ol' reliable Meter Mizer compressor. Tag says Dichlorotetraflueorethane (Freon). I also see mine is hinged opposite of that one. My dad always told me it was a 1935 model, it may be.

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Post# 1035740 , Reply# 5   6/19/2019 at 20:00 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Thanks Kenny! 


Both boxes have a lot of similarities, and I hope that applies to the Meter Miser!


As long as the door gaskets make a decent seal, this Frigidaire should cost a lot less to run than the '57 Combination it would be replacing.

Post# 1035761 , Reply# 6   6/20/2019 at 05:00 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

Was the FIRST to use Freon, Much earlier than GE or Kelvinator, I think 1933 or 34.

Post# 1035791 , Reply# 7   6/20/2019 at 11:42 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Thanks Hans.


I guess this fridge is older than I thought, which is fine as long as it runs like it should.  I like that it has an actual pull handle and not a push button.  I don't know which of those styles came first, though.

Post# 1036163 , Reply# 8   6/23/2019 at 07:09 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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did ya get it?

Post# 1036203 , Reply# 9   6/23/2019 at 18:53 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        
Priorities Changed

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Well, my buddy came over on Thursday to help me sort through some health care billing and benefit stuff and he just left this morning, so not a whole lot got done over the past few days besides me and him . . .


I'd have to deal with terrible traffic on the Nasty Nimitz if I tried to get the fridge on a weeknight, so I've told the seller that if it's still available by next weekend, I'll come up for it then.  It's been sitting on CL for a while due to the high price.  I'm hoping the reduced (but still lofty) price/OBO doesn't make it disappear before this week is over.  I'll be offering $50 less than asking, and only if it cools properly.  It will require a lot of elbow grease to make it presentable, and maybe a new gasket to make its job easier.


I think this fridge is from 1938 at the earliest.  Too bad it doesn't have the Danger Zone indicator.

Post# 1036726 , Reply# 10   6/29/2019 at 21:46 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        
It's Home . . .

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. . . But it's a bigger project than I needed.   Looks to be a 1940 model.


It's going to need paint.  The finish is like chalk.  A bad old re-paint.  I attempted to cut through it with some car cleaner/wax, which worked wonders on the GE Combo and the Penncrest freezer, but that only made it look worse.  The original paint seems to have yellowed. 


The door needs a new gasket.  What's on there now isn't the right type and is oversized (see pictures).  This makes it difficult to close and latch the door.  Kenny, could you take a picture of the door gasket on your fridge?  I need to find out what the original looked like and how it was placed so I can try to match it.


Of the most concern is the fact that the evaporator isn't frosting evenly.  Frost is mostly confined to the rear portion of the evaporator and on related tubing in that area.  There is also an oily build-up on the three electrical connection points on the compressor.  IIRC, the irregular frosting was described as not a good thing in one of David's threads a while back, but I don't remember how he corrected it.


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Post# 1036755 , Reply# 11   6/30/2019 at 15:16 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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I think mine looks similar, someone put foam tape on the box itself to help seal. I'll get a picture.

Post# 1036758 , Reply# 12   6/30/2019 at 16:05 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Thanks Kenny.


I was thinking about the gasket last night and realized that it's probably fashioned from a bike tire inner tube.  All I can say is, that was resourceful, but not practical even if it does make a good seal.  I want the door to close easily.


Meanwhile, the fridge cooled down nicely overnight and the frost is now evenly covering the evaporator.  The cup of water I placed inside registers around 36 degrees with the cold control set in the middle of its range.  That's a big deal.  I was concerned that I had bought myself yet another mechanical problem that I couldn't resolve, not that the oily residue on the compressor isn't still a concern.


I'm looking forward to your picture to get an idea of placement for a new gasket.

Post# 1036760 , Reply# 13   6/30/2019 at 19:00 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Early hermetic unit!

Hey, this is an early R114 unit. It has the first-generation Meter-Miser compressor. This is pretty well as reliable as any. It does have the relatively fragile terminal seals that the early non-GE made hermetics suffered with. Just be careful not to bump or disturb the terminals on the bottom of the compressor and it should be fine!

On the off-chance that the terminals begin leaking, the compressor can be repaired although it is a very intricate process.


Post# 1036763 , Reply# 14   6/30/2019 at 20:24 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        
Gasket Options

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David, thanks for your input.  I'm feeling much better about this little fridge today than I was last night.


I'm thinking this is the best option for a new gasket (I couldn't lift a picture from the web site, so see link).


Post# 1036935 , Reply# 15   7/2/2019 at 10:41 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Looks like a flat piece of rubber. Someone put foam tape around it to help seal.

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Post# 1036947 , Reply# 16   7/2/2019 at 12:32 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Verrrrry interesting Kenny.  Thanks for posting.


It appears that maybe the gasket was an integral part of the larger well-crazed rubber that's held by screws.  Fat chance of finding NOS of that.  That remaining rubber is in somewhat better condition on my box.  I liked my '39 Westinghouse better in this regard.  They used enameled metal instead of rubber for those trim pieces.


Yesterday I ripped off all of the replacement gasket material that was keeping the door from latching except when pushed hard to close.  I've decided to try plain old self-adhesive weatherstripping for windows, which resembles the "bubble" type of refrigerator gasket design.  It's cheaper, and since real deal gaskets are manufactured under the assumption they'll be attached with screws, I'd have to glue those into place anyway.


At least the pictures you posted provide an indication on where to place the gaskets.  I'll report in once I've given the weatherstripping a try.

Post# 1036949 , Reply# 17   7/2/2019 at 13:01 by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Good luck!

Post# 1037463 , Reply# 18   7/8/2019 at 01:43 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        
Cold Control Question

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After a few tries with different sizes, the "extra large" rubber window weatherstripping is providing a decent seal.  It's smashed more at the top left corner (when facing the fridge), and just barely seals at bottom left.  I don't see any way to adjust the door hinges, but I think the seal will be adequate.  I'm leaving the door closed so the gaskets can conform.


I turned the fridge on again today after installing the weatherstripping.  I had the cold control set to "4."  The "7" position is coldest.  Cabinet temp got down to the low 30s on the "4" setting, so I bumped it down to "3", but the compresor didn't cut out.  Then I discovered by accident that the setting knob on the cold control could be pushed in.  It seems that when pushed in, the cold control can't go lower than "A" or "B", which are the warmest settings.  Is this some sort of defrost or vacation mechanism?  It seems the only way to adjust to a normal temperature range or completely off is to have the control knob in the pulled out position.


I did get a click when I turned the knob lower than "3" so at least the thermostat seems to be working.


Does anyone have information on the purpose of this push/pull action on the cold control knob?



Post# 1037480 , Reply# 19   7/8/2019 at 07:19 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

That's really interesting about the thermostat knob having a push-pull action. Mine is a little different and that knob is just a simple rotating knob. I would bet it has to do with Defrost, though. Mine has a dedicated Defrost lever which interacts with the mechanism of the control. Yours doesn't seem to have that so it makes sense that the control knob would have this function built in.

As for the gasket; I have found some really effective gaskets at Lowe's. I'm scanning over a ridiculous amount of messages from being sort of offline for about 3 months; so forgive me if you already mentioned this.

They have white, brown, and black in different styles.

The square style white looks pretty "factory" on the 30's belt-drive Frigidaires, I must say. The "D" section ones work great on the GE Monitor Top cabinets too.

Post# 1037508 , Reply# 20   7/8/2019 at 13:29 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Thanks David!  I do think the push/pull has something to do with defrosting.  Your explanation seems to confirm it.


The gasket you linked to is the type I bought at my local ACE, but I had to try three sizes before I got it right.  In my case, the extra large size did the trick. 


The fridge seems to run an awful lot.  I'm keeping an eye on it, but since plugging it in night before last, every time I've gone to check on it, it's running.  My '39 Westinghouse barely ran at all.  I think it's a refrigerant issue, as the evaporator frosts only about halfway up the sides, but some tubing behind it is seriously frosted over.  I recall a similar situation on one of the projects you posted here, but I know the solution is too complex for me to pursue.  It seems that boiling hot water in a tray laid on the evaporator helps even things out, at least temporarily.


This is why I'm running the fridge before I start anything cosmetic.  It may run itself to death if I keep it in continuous service.


Meanwhile, that GE compressor is still on ebay.  I've put out a request on Nextdoor for someone familiar with refrigeration who might be interested in a side job.  Fixing the Combination is still the ideal scenario.

Post# 1037520 , Reply# 21   7/8/2019 at 15:20 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Cooling performance...

I sort of figured that might have been the type of stripping you had used!

As for the cooling; I can tell what's wrong. The charge is low. I hadn't seen the compressor pictures with the oil soaked wiring connections before. That and the low frost line are pretty well confirmations of each other.

Looking at the compressor pictures, this one is actually NOT the first generation Meter-Miser. It is the second one. That's good because the terminal seals can be installed from the outside, without involving welding or removal of the compressor from the refrigerator.

They used to sell a kit with some seals which went on over the terminal studs, but this has been discontinued. I was able to borrow a kit and inspect it. It seems that the kit is little more than some drilled core plugs (freeze plugs) for an automotive engine; and rubber faucet washers. I am fairly sure you could fabricate something to do this job. The machine will need to have the refrigerant removed and then recharged after this repair.

With the proper equipment it would be an easy job; but you'll need a hermetic service kit, gauges, vacuum pump etc. to do it.

I am sorry and probably that's not what you wanted to hear. :( If it were here, I could take care of it - but that would be a long drive.

Post# 1037557 , Reply# 22   7/8/2019 at 22:47 by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Thanks David. 


I was kind of worried that the charge could be low.  This seems to be my luck with vintage Frigidaires, so it's not like I was shocked by your assessment.


Someone on Nextdoor suggested I contact some local vocational centers/schools about swapping out the compressor on the '57 Combination.  I think that might be worth following up on.

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