Thread Number: 80175  /  Tag: Refrigerators
1964 General Electric Spacemaker 15 Refrigerator Mod. TC474YD
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Post# 1041248   8/10/2019 at 05:01 (1,575 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Formally "Mr Draper, your General Electric Frost Guard Refrigerator is here..."


Another rebuilt thread after a massive image loss. The following images I managed to salvage from the former thread. Most of the original images were lost unfortunately.


Originally started on 4/18/2014, this refrigerator was acquired in Pennsylvania after a heads up from our intrepid Phil (ovrphil). Thanks my friend!


GE Model TC474YD Serial # OY604471. Manufactured February, 1964


GE 1964


It was purchased working, and continued to work for a few years when it started to develop issues. The first one was the  evaporator coils in the refrigerator section started to frost up way above normal. To the point you could barely see the coils. It seemed like the the defrost cycle had failed to initiate. However, when I switched the thermostat to "Off", the hot gas defrost cycle would kick in and melt the frost. BUT, as long as I kept the refrigerator "Off", it would continue to heat the coils, to the point the refrigerator was getting extremely warm. However, a soon as I turned "On" the refrigerator, the defrost cycle would end and it started cooling normally again. After that "reset", the defrost  cycle would act normally again, keeping the frost in check for almost a year, then the coils over frosted yet again. This time I replaced the cold control with an NOS unit (Part # WR9X403). It continued to work fine for a few months when again, the over frosting. It wasn't the cold control.  So I did the old turn "Off" and "On" trick to get it going again. Only this time it didn't work. The defrost cycle engaged and disengaged once the refrigerator was turned on, the coils started to cool, then click, the compressor turned off, and it kept cycling on and off every few minutes. It seemed the the overload protector was being tripped. I know, this may be fatal, but I'd like to get a formal diagnosis before I decide what to do next. Currently the refrigerator is in New Jersey awaiting the final verdict.


Post# 1041250 , Reply# 1   8/10/2019 at 05:16 (1,575 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Originally posted 4/18/2014

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First images when it arrived in Brooklyn.


1964 GE 4-18-14 1


GE 4-18-14 2


GE 4-18-14 3


GE 4-18-14 2A


GE 4-18-14 4


GE 4-18-14 5


GE Compressor


Compressor running:


Post# 1041252 , Reply# 2   8/10/2019 at 05:21 (1,575 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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After the initial cleaning.









Post# 1041416 , Reply# 3   8/11/2019 at 09:31 (1,574 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Originally posted on 4/24/14 by Combo52

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Post# 1041417 , Reply# 4   8/11/2019 at 09:34 (1,574 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Originally posted on 4/27/2014 by Combo52

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Post# 1044533 , Reply# 5   9/11/2019 at 15:54 (1,543 days old) by KutterCraig (Dandridge, Tennessee)        

I have almost this exact refrigerator! I found it in an old warehouse on the farm I live on and decided to clean it up. It has been working perfectly for a year however I have wondered what the "water switch" on the left side of the freezer accomplishes. Does anyone have any ideas?

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Post# 1044536 , Reply# 6   9/11/2019 at 16:04 (1,543 days old) by spacepig (Floridas Emerald Coast)        

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The water switch is for those refrigerators that have an ice maker. Turning that on allows the water to fill the ice tray.

Post# 1044581 , Reply# 7   9/11/2019 at 20:30 (1,542 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Water Switch On GE Auto-Fill Ice Tray Refrigerators

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Hi Kutter, Your ref was built with the auto-fill ice maker, Is it still present in your ref ?


John L.

Post# 1044622 , Reply# 8   9/12/2019 at 09:29 (1,542 days old) by KutterCraig (Dandridge, Tennessee)        

That was the logical thought I had, yet I wasn't sure if built-in ice makers were an option in the early '60s. After looking inside I notice some of the hardware is present however the icemaker itself isn't unfortunately. Thanks for your help guys, it's rather hard to find information on these old appliances.

Post# 1044629 , Reply# 9   9/12/2019 at 10:26 (1,542 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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This refrigerator did not use the traditional ice maker. It had a shelf with ice trays that automatically filled with water. You still had to manually remove the ice cubes from the tray.


General Electric

Post# 1044929 , Reply# 10   9/15/2019 at 00:41 (1,539 days old) by KutterCraig (Dandridge, Tennessee)        

I had no idea! That makes a lot more sense though for the time period. Mine has all of the hardware with the exception of the ice tray and holder. Where do you manage to find documentation on these ancient appliances nowadays?

Post# 1050535 , Reply# 11   11/10/2019 at 15:16 (1,483 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Kutter, recently a service manual for G.E. was uploaded to the Manuals & Literature section. For a small fee, you can download the entire manual.

Post# 1050538 , Reply# 12   11/10/2019 at 15:23 (1,483 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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John (combo52) checked the G.E.. It started right up and started to cool normally. The issue may be that that the compressor is weak or it is low on Freon. The gauges needed to measure the charge were not available unfortunately. I am hoping it just needs a recharge. If it's just that. I will be looking into having it repainted before bringing it back into the kitchen.

Post# 1050592 , Reply# 13   11/10/2019 at 20:44 (1,482 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Up Date

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Hi Louie, It is not a low charge situation, it would not cool pretty well and then stop cooling after a few days and then repeat.


It is either a weak compressor or a mechanical or moisture restriction.


John L.

Post# 1050593 , Reply# 14   11/10/2019 at 20:52 (1,482 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Hi John

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That's what it does. It starts cooling fine, frost on the coils and all.  Then after a few days the cycles get very short, thus not giving it time to cool. The compressor cycles on, then 20 seconds later cycles off. By that time, the coils just get cool, no frost forms. 

Post# 1050595 , Reply# 15   11/10/2019 at 21:00 (1,482 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Just stunning, your cleaning skills are commendable.  That's a beautiful GE.

Post# 1052094 , Reply# 16   11/23/2019 at 16:14 (1,470 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Thanks Gan!

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Well another GE will be making a trip to Beltsville to be sorted out. When it returns I plan to have it repainted so it can take it's rightful place in the kitchen.

Post# 1052095 , Reply# 17   11/23/2019 at 16:46 (1,470 days old) by spacepig (Floridas Emerald Coast)        

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That's great news!!

Post# 1052927 , Reply# 18   12/2/2019 at 10:04 (1,461 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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While I was in Beltsville this past weekend, I learned the issue of this GE may be a bad air dryer. We'll know for sure when I make my next trip to bring it down.

Post# 1053098 , Reply# 19   12/3/2019 at 21:13 (1,459 days old) by carolinacat (north carolina)        

How about checking to see if they have an extra hot has solenoid laying around. I tried to get one to work off of a washer and it magnetizes but does not seem to open the valve. It may be to weak or I may not know what I'm doing. Haha.

Post# 1053103 , Reply# 20   12/3/2019 at 22:31 (1,459 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Defrost solenoid

I recently replaced of these. Used a Ranco defrost solenoid which was for another application. The inner metal housing of the solenoid had two metal sleeves that fit inside the coil. They were not equal length. The valve would only function when the long sleeve was in one certain position. I don't remember which way it was; but if the metal sleeves are missing, or in the wrong position it won't work.

Post# 1053145 , Reply# 21   12/4/2019 at 11:40 (1,459 days old) by carolinacat (north carolina)        

I read thru all the post of late on these things. What made me check the solenoid first. We had a hurricane come thru few months back. Lost current for most part of a day. I went and go my generator out to run the lights and the fridge. Tried to turn some stereo stuff on in the house as well and it blew the fuses in the amps. Didn't think anything about it about another month goes by and my fridge temp is warmer than normal. Freezer nice and cold. So I realize the defrost isn't working. Thaw everything out and food for about another month. In that month I read all the old Post about the defrost timmer and the associated stuff. Decided to check the solenoid first. Had no continuity thru it. So I ran over to old junk appliance shop and grabbed a washer solenoid. I drilled the metal bushing out of the washer solenoid to fit the stem. And gave it a go. I came home last night and it was stuck on the defrost cycle the compressor running but no fans anywhere running. The compressor get hot and trip out. Ahhh... So I advance the timer ever so slightly and it and everything goes back working again. Im gonna unplug the coil and see if it will run like that until I can get another coil to try.

Post# 1053180 , Reply# 22   12/4/2019 at 19:51 (1,458 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Hot Gas Defrost Coil

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It should not be that hard to find a coil that works as David mentioned.


If the ref was stuck in defrost you also have a timer problem.


John L.

Post# 1090052 , Reply# 23   9/20/2020 at 17:40 (1,168 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Well the GE has finally arrived at Beltsville. Hopefully it can be repaired without too much of a fuss.


Off to Maryland!



Arrived at Emerald City, looking a bit dusty and scuffed after years of storage.



Waiting for the Wizard.






Post# 1090059 , Reply# 24   9/20/2020 at 18:31 (1,168 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Glad to see it's in the right place for a resurrection!

Post# 1090219 , Reply# 25   9/21/2020 at 23:39 (1,166 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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I forgot to mention, before I left, it was plugged in and started right up cooling. Jeff mentioned it may be a filter dryer clog.

Post# 1107361 , Reply# 26   2/9/2021 at 13:27 (1,026 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Latest update...

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John, (Combo52) told me the GE continues to cool. Jeff believes it may have a moisture restriction and wants to put a new filter dryer and give it a recharge. So this is really good news. A compressor failure would had been catastrophic and spelled the end for the GE.

Post# 1107415 , Reply# 27   2/9/2021 at 21:34 (1,025 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Louis, it seems most of the GE's of this era are reaching a common failure point with the filter-drier and cap tube. So many have the same symptoms.

Post# 1116802 , Reply# 28   5/9/2021 at 21:03 (936 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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The filter-dryer has been installed. Next is a recharge and test. Fingers crossed.

Post# 1116816 , Reply# 29   5/10/2021 at 00:45 (936 days old) by Dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I remember our next door neighbor had one. I wish I knew if it had the self filling ice trays. I was fascinated by it, she had it for over 40 years.

Post# 1117641 , Reply# 30   5/19/2021 at 10:10 (927 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Some bad news.

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I spoke with John (Combo52) and it turns out the GE has a weak compressor. It gets cold, but not cold enough. Because of space limitations in the GE, it would be exceedingly difficult to replace the compressor, so I guess this is it for the GE. Breaks my heart but it can't be helped.

Post# 1117647 , Reply# 31   5/19/2021 at 10:38 (927 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Awe,  so sorry to hear this. 


However - no need to give up. Compressors turn up. As some encouragement; see the picture. This is a group of used units I just acquired and will be picking up soon. No GE in this group, but many Tecumseh and a Kelvinator and Frigidaire. Could very well have been a GE in there.

What HP is your compressor?


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Post# 1117661 , Reply# 32   5/19/2021 at 11:41 (927 days old) by cadman (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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While this may be a step further than you want to go, on a suggestion from John, I was able to retrofit a late model WP compressor into my '65 GE. It does add an inch or so of depth to the back, but that wasn't an issue for our fridge space. That was almost 2 years ago and it still works great.

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Post# 1117666 , Reply# 33   5/19/2021 at 12:04 (927 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Hi David. Yeah, a compressor could be found I suppose, but if I went that route, it would have to something NOS. There's also a time constraint.

Post# 1117667 , Reply# 34   5/19/2021 at 12:07 (927 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Hi Cory...

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I went that route with my other GE. If I could do it myself, it would be viable. Otherwise, it would be too prohibitive at this point.

Post# 1120446 , Reply# 35   6/16/2021 at 12:13 (899 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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A bittersweet update. John (Combo52) informed me that he sold the GE to a Disney production company to be used as a prop in an upcoming project being filmed in Baltimore. While I am still sad the GE is gone, at least it avoided being recycled.

Post# 1158989 , Reply# 36   9/7/2022 at 11:43 (451 days old) by mmvkap (Mammoth Lakes)        
Retrofit late model WP Compressor

Dear cadman,
Hello, I just joined the forum because I have nearly the identical refrigerator and the compressor finally died. May I please know which model of compressor you retrofitted into yours?
A local shop may be able to replace it for me if they know which model they need to order.
Thank you so much,

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