Question about Sub-Zero 650 / O Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

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Sub-Zero 550 Freezer Problem

The freezer on my mid 1990's Sub-Zero 550 just recently stopped working. The fridge still works perfectly though. Here is what happened:

We are remodeling our kitchen and moved the fridge to our living room (so now it is on thick carpet). During the move, my wife pulled the drain pan from the bottom to clean it off as it was filled with liquid and what seemed to be green mold that was very difficult to clear. We just slid the pan back under the fridge, but I don't know if it is in the right place as it is on carpet and hard to fit (not sure if this is a problem).
I first noticed that all the ice melted and food thawed out after we moved it. I looked around a little and found that the compressor switch (under the fridge at the top of the freezer, in the back left) that the drawer hits was a little lose and so the drawer did not always make contact (the result being that the compressor did not turn back on). I actually pushed the switch back in so it was being properly touched/activated. I even just taped the switch down so it does release and turn off the compressor EVER. I know the switch works because you can hear the compressor lightly hum when you push it in. (Note: also, the lights in the freezer work fine as well the light switch.) However, I came back in the morning and the freezer was still not cold. Any ideas? I felt the coils under the freezer and they are not cold or that how they are supposed to be?


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  • Sprockhead70 Dec 01, 2007

    HI! Thanks for the quick response. First off, thanks for the tip about leaving it off prior to moving it. I'll be sure to do that it in future.

    To Start, I've unplugged the whole thing and am going to let it sit for a few hours.

    I pulled off the back pannel off and there are 3 pipes (tubes): 2 are skinny copper tubes that run all the way to the very bottom below the freezer and a third tube/pipe that is wrapped in black insullation. It runs from the compressor on top down to the freezer. I haven't opened up the insulatlion. Should i do that? I can't tell if the third tube it is frozen because it is wrapped (feels firm, but i don't know if it is just a metal tube.
    In terms of the gas pipes in the back, they seem ok, although there is a little corrossion from the fridge itself at the very bottom corner edge (where the copper tubes go from the back of the fridge to the very bottom of the fridge/underneath). But I think this is just rust/corrosion from the frame of the fridge and not the tubes (because they are copper).

    The Freezer Compressor (larger and on the LEFT side when you are facing the fridge) is room temp.

    In terms of model number, it is a 1995 SubZ 550. The S/N is P1213127. The whole compressor area has a tiny bit of dust, but not that much. The grill on the Right side of the fridge that sucks Air in is free of dust. But I wiped/vaccumed out any remaining bits I could reach.

    In terms of Display, this model only has dials in the top fridge compartment ('Off' & 1-10) for both the fridge & freezer. There are no actual Temp display.

    Hope this helps! Thanks for all the help!

  • Sprockhead70 Dec 04, 2007

    Hi there,
    I unplugged the Fridge for a few hours (about 5) but it still isn't working ... bummer.

    "Comment by pauldonp, posted on Dec 01, 2007
    Do you know the pipe that runs below the freezer can you see if this has frozen up if this is froxen this is a sign that you need the freon gas refilling" -- Do you mean the tube that runs from the frigerator (behind the veggie drawers) to the pan underneath? That has started freezing in the past few months & I had to keep flushing it with warm water & salt. It would ice over and then build up on the verry bottom of the fridge under the veggie drawers. But this all stopped now that the freezer doesn't work. Does that mean I have a could have a freon leak? Do I just have to hire somebody to repair & refill? Is this the same as the evaperator leak that you mentioned (that would cost 600 Pounds)?
    Is there any part of this that i can fix myself?

    In terms of the Temp Sensor, where is that located in the freezer compartment for me to test?

  • Sprockhead70 Dec 04, 2007

    And thanks for the help!



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Hi have you checked that the pipes on the back havnt been damaged in anyway and also when you move anything like a fridge or a freezer you are supposed to leave it off for a couple of hours so that the gases can settle you could give this a try just leave it off for a couple of hours if you done this after moving it then that wont be the problem because if the gases didnt settle it could cause the frezzer to stop working properly.
Are you confident in taking the back off at all thats if it is able to come off on your model if it does come off check that none of the pipes are frozen if they are switch it off leave for about an hour then use an hair dryer to melt the ice.
If ice is the case then melting it will get your frezzer working again but make sure all the ice is melted.
Make sure you check none of the gas pipes on the back became damaged if this is the case you can get them regassed for a small fee.
Let me know how you get on and ill look up your model number then i should be able to assist you further ok let us know what you do speak soon

Posted on Dec 01, 2007

  • 6 more comments 
  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    Hi again one more thing can you touch the compressor for me and tell me how hot it is it should be at room temerature if its any hotter let me know ok

  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    Hi again if i got the right model can you check the condensor up the top behind the grill on the right if this is clogged shut it down and let it defrost and vacume out.

    Also does your display say anythig on it.

    Also does your freezer have a display that tells you the temp if not let me know and i will look for another manual i should be able to tell you what the problem is but will need to know if i am looking at the same unit as yours could you please let me know so i can help you

  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    Hi thanks for then info i will look again and see what i can do glad to know that the compressor is working fine ill let you know what i find out will make few calls for you now and will post back before goto bed ok speak soon leave it off for couple of hours this might even solve yout problem as it does cause problems if you dont let the gas settle ok speak soon

  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    Hi just found out a common problem with this make of unit the problem is with the fan motor in the freezer often fail or work intermitantly and often need replacing also there is an automatic defrost cycle on these not to sire if it covers your model but i think it does if you can here the fan working then that isnt going to be your problem it could be that turning ti off and moving it has done something to the defrost cycle i have been to the the makers have a brilliant service and will do all they can to help solve the problem.

    I am still researching for you trying to get hold of someone who knows more than i about these types as soon as i get hold if him i will let you know what he comes up with ok speak again soon

  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    Hi again just got hold of the bloke and he gave me some really bad news he said if you have left the unit off for couple of hours and still dont work then the chances are one of two things the first is what i said and could be the fan this will need to be tested using a multi meter.

    The second thing he said was, "now you might want to sit down for this" He said moving it might have cause the evaperator ro leak these tend to leak if it is over 5 years old and has been moved as they tend to get weaker the older they get i asked him what does this mean he said it will need resealing and filling up with freon gas he said will cost about 600 pound to do this.

    I really hope for your sake that it isnt this i am still looking at other possibiltys and will keep you informed ok

  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    Do you know the pipe that runs below the freezer can you see if this has frozen up if this is froxen this is a sign that you need the freon gas refilling

  • paul proctor Dec 01, 2007

    could also be a bad temp sensor the only problem being where i am is i cant test each component and see if it is working properly im just trying to give you some idea of what it is ill wait untill you have left it off for few hours ill post back when i here how you get on ok speak soon

  • paul proctor Dec 04, 2007

    Hi sorry i havnt been online for a while having huge problems with my comp at the minute where i said 600 pound it should have been 600 dollars about 300 pound.

    And yes you have got the correct pipe and if this has been freezing up in the past and you did the right thing and defrost this.

    This is a sign of a freon problem either low freon but as this has been going on for a while you will probably find that the gas has got that low now that it is not enough to cause the frezzer to work normal.

    It is obviously a slight leak and moving it probably caused the freon to escape when you moved it.

    The only thing you can do to find the leak is to call somebody out to refill the freon they have the equipment to test for freon leak and to test the pressure is correct.

    Now you mention this pipe has been freezing up you will find refilling the freon will get your unit working correctly.

    You might not ever find the leak because it could be that slight often this happens anyway to most makes and models.

    Getting it refilled should solve your problem for a few years probably about the length of time it took for this to happen.

    Im really sorry i havnt been online and when i have been online even now i cant access my email account so i dont know who i need to reply to till today when went through each problem again.

    You will have to call somebody out to refill as this is something you cant do yourself also they will tell you if its a major leak or just leaked over time like several units do.

    Let me know if you need anymore help ok



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