Question about Kenmore 53542 / 53544 Side by Side Refrigerator

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Refrigerator Not Making Ice, Frost in Freezer and Refrigerator Not Cold

I have an older Kenmore side by side Refrigerator/Freezer. Yesterday the ice maker stopped making ice, I noticed a frost/ice build up on the back wall of the freezer and the refrigerator is not very cold. Can anyone help?? I am not the most handy person, so the more explicit help the better. Thanks so much!!

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  • 9 more comments 
  • ace11 Oct 11, 2007

    Would love the help on how to test the parts...please advise.  Thank You!!

  • ace11 Oct 11, 2007

    Sorry about that, the model number (I think) is 363.9532783.  Its a Sears brand made by Kenmore and it is old as the serial number was on the plate below the door. 

  • Anonymous Feb 25, 2008

    after fridge runs for awhile the tubes in the back of the fridge behind it freeze up comming off the compressor, the fridge part warms up then the freezer starts to warm up, not sure what to do

  • Steve Brown Jul 29, 2008

    I have had the same issue with a GE Profile side by side but have one additional question. Followed all of the list advice (very good I must say). I turned the box off and replaced the timer first (dumb me). I then went into the freezer and had to defrost the coils to get to anything else. The heater did not work so got them with the control the next day. Now I have replace the defrost timer, control and heaters. So the box has now been OFF for 1-1/2. After changing the heaters, I turned the timer to defrost and plugged it in. NOTHING seems to be happening. The heater are not glowing. I did ohm them out and they were bad. Am I correct to assume that because the box and coils were so warm that the control was not allowing the heaters to come on????? Just want to set my mine at ease. THanks

  • gyusem Nov 09, 2008

    My fridge is not making ice cubes. What is the most likely problem?

    Thanks Gus

  • Anonymous Mar 17, 2014

    Refrigerator will not get cold and freezer is got ice build up on back but does not get that cold eather

  • Anonymous Mar 17, 2014

    Refrigerator will not get cold and freezer is got ice build up on back but does not get that cold eather

  • Anonymous Mar 19, 2014

    Freezer getting frost every few weeks. Refrigerator and freezer are cold .

  • Anonymous Mar 21, 2014

    Kenmore Refrigerator is not getting cold,temp. is turned onto full cold,freezer is working but lot of frost!

  • Anonymous Mar 21, 2014

    older side by side refrigerator

  • Anonymous Mar 29, 2014

    About a month ago the refrigerator start making a noise, now the freezer is cold but the fridge is warm, I notice that there is frost on the freezer side



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It has a defrost problem.  Most likely cause would be the defrost thermostat which clips onto the evaporator behind the back panel in the freezer.  Next most common would be the defrost timer.  Third would be the defrost heater.  Let me know if you want to try to test these parts.  If so I will need the entire model # from the sticker in the fridge or on older models on a plate at the bottom front below the door.

Posted on Oct 10, 2007

  • Craig Shelton
    Craig Shelton Oct 11, 2007

    1.  Take off the back panel in the freezer.  1/4" screws.  Use a nut driver or ratchet and socket with an extension.


    2.  Behind the frost is the evaporator and the defrost heaters.  One heater in the middle and one at the bottom.  They are glass tubes.  If you can see the bottom heater that is great.  If not use a hair dryer and defrost only the very bottom to expose the lower heater only.


    3. Now in the refrigerator section at the top where the controls are, take off the long plastic piece to expose the timer.  The timer should be on the right hand side and have a little circle that is slotted.  Get a flat screwdriver and turn that timer slowly clockwise just until it clicks and the refrigerator turns off.  This will put it into defrost.


    4. Now look at that heater that you exposed and see if it glows and gets hot.  If it does, then the timer is bad.


    5.  If the heater doesn't come on then go ahead and defrost the rest of the evaporator with the hair dryer.  This will take a little while.  Don't poke at the evaporator!!!


    6.  Once totally defrosted look at both heaters.  They should look like clear glass and see a silver coil running thru them.  If they look discolored at all then the heaters are bad.  The heaters come as a complete assembly with the defrost thermostat which clips onto the evaporator. (Part # WR51X442)  Can be purchased from  It is $51.72 plus tax.


    7.  If the heaters look ok the only way to know for sure if they are bad is to check continuity with a meter on the plug at the end of their wiring harness.  If you can check that then you can splice in a new defrost thermostat to solve the problem (Part # WR50X0122)  However the best thing to do is replace the heaters and defrost thermostat which is included in WR51X442.  It is easy to install.


    Follow these steps and this will solve your problem.  Please don't rate me until it is solved.  Let me know if you have any questions.



  • Craig Shelton
    Craig Shelton Oct 11, 2007

    p.s. If you find that the timer is bad you must defrost the evaporator completely or it won't cool.



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