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You are expressly forbidden to work on refrigeration equipment unless you are registered. You have to collect refrigerant gas and not allow it into the atmosphere. For that you need a vacuum pump and collection cylinder. Then you need Nitrogen to fill the system after repair and then test it for leaks. Then you let the nitrogen out, apply a vacuum and let the R121a into it.
If your unit is from 1955, the gas used then is banned. If you are a refrigeration engineer, you would know what a filter canister looks like. If you really like your antique fridge, you would give it to a refrigeration company and have them put a completely new compressor and control system in it, just leaving the evaporator (the bit that gets cold).
Could be a bad fan motor. A bad defrost part or a bad control board. Check for ice buildup on the back wall of the freezer. If so you have bad defrost parts or a bad control board. Enter your model number at www.appliancepartspros.com to find the exploded view to dis-assemble the freezer. You can also order parts from them.
It sounds like you have a defrost system problem. most commonly its your defrost heater on most GE ref. It can be located by removing the back panel of the freezer. If you remove the heater it can be tested for continuity at any parts distributor. I would also look for the quarter sized thermostat mounted at the top of the coils to see if it looks "popped" at the top. If it is then replace the thermostat. Hope this helps MJ
Have the fridge pulled out and check behind it. I had same model and it was leaking into my walls/floor and caused thousands of dollars in damage to my kitchen. BLACK MOLS Covered my walls/cabinets and made me sick. Please be very careful with this excess water coming from this model. GE should recall it but will not unless forced. Not Cool.
There're two coils ,the condenser coil wich you already clean (also make sure the condensing fan motor works properly and the fan blades are also clean).The other is the evaporator coil wich is located inside the freezer behind the back wall cover.
These fridges were made by LG they are very problematic, the defrost cysle does not work properly due to board defects and the fridge freezes up, I have replaced my board twice and the fridge has worked properly for 6 months max them the board shorts again, I talked with the LG rep he said scrap the fridge they are ****.