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Refrigerator/freezer not cooling evenly top to bottom

I own a Kenmore side by side refrigerator freezer model # 106.52284202.
I returned home after two days to find my freezer door frozen shut at the bottom. I used a hair dryer to melt the ice at the bottom of the door. When the door finally opened I discovered that the ice in the icemaker storage bucket (in the top of the freezer compartment) had melted and dripped down to the bottom of the freezer compartment where it refroze. I cleaned out the freezer compartment and removed the panel cover from the freezer cooling coil in the back. The coils were frozen over with ice. I used a hairdryer to remove the ice and clean the coils. I plugged the power cord back in and let it run for several hours. I discovered that the fan that draws the air through the cooling coils was not turning on. The bottom shelves of the freezer and refrigerator were cold but the upper shelves were not. Without the fan drawing the cold air from the cooling coils the temperature inside the freezer and refrigerator is not distributed evenly. Is there a method to troubleshoot the problem to determine which component needs to be replaced? There appears to be four possibilities. The Fan Motor (part # 4389147)($40), the Thermostat Assembly (part # 2198202)($60), the Bi-Metal Defrost control (part # 2321799)($20) or the Adaptive Defrost Control Unit (Part # 2303822)($60). I would appreciate any help/suggestions that you might have.

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  • sonne964 Dec 26, 2008

    Yes, I have a standard Multimeter for diagnostic testing.

  • sonne964 Dec 26, 2008

    I have checked for continuity on the Bi-Metal Defrost Relay and the Fan Motor both located in the freezer compartment. There is no continuity when connecting my digital ohm meter to the leads on those parts (infinite resistance). I checked for resistance on the Thermostat (now at room temperature in case that matters) located in the refrigerator compartment and found a very low variable resistance between 25-45 ohms. The Adaptive Defrost Control Circuit Control Board has 13 leads of various colors coming off it including a "Test Plug Lead". I am not sure how to diagnose any reading that I might find from this circuit board or if I should make the attempt. Would not want to damage the circuits accidentally with the ohm meter, although I am suspicious that this circuit board may be the problem. This circuit board appears to coordinate the operation of the fan motor, bi-metal defrost relay and the thermostat.

  • sonne964 Dec 26, 2008

    Upon closer inspection of the fan motor I discovered that the fine wire windings had broken. I was able to solder the broken copper wire. The refrigerator is operating normal. Thank you very much. Would not have been able to repair this holiday weekend with out your help. All the best for a great holiday and Happy New Year.


  • Todd Born
    Todd Born May 11, 2010

    do you have accesss to a meter to do any electrical checks?



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  • Master
  • 700 Answers

Good then go ahead and ohm out the sensor and the relays to see if the resistance is close to the normat. 70 degrees is roughly 1000 ohms. relay you are lookling for continuity or open. then you can also ohm the fan motor too. let me know what you find;.that will determin whts bad and whats good

Posted on Dec 26, 2008

  • Todd Born
    Todd Born Dec 26, 2008

    if you read infinite on your fan motor then I would get a new one.

  • Todd Born
    Todd Born Dec 27, 2008

    im glad that the problem was easily solved hope the best to you and have a great new year!



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1) Bad defrost thermostat
2) Bad defrost heater
3) Bad defrost timer
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Look for frost accumulated inside the louvers at the back panel, top and bottom. If you see it, remove food from freezer and put in ice chest. Take out shelves, get hair dryer and warm the backside of the freezer, directing air down the louvers. Then leave to sit for 4-6 hours with the freezer door open. Put towels in the bottom of the freezer to catch any melted ice.
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If there is a problem in any of the above components, then it will show up in 3-4 weeks witht he same problem again.

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