Question about Kenmore 51692 / 51694 / 51699 Side by Side Refrigerator

1 Answer

Refrigerator buzzes & clicks

I have a Kenmore refrigerator I purchased a little over 5 years ago (so I assume the warranty's over). About a month ago, the fridge started making clicks and buzzes, and then suddenly stopped working. Reading the manual, I figured I needed to clean the condenser coils. After vacuuming the dust (and there was a lot of dust!), the fridge worked like it was brand new.

Well, it worked really well for two about weeks until the dreadful buzz noise returned.This time, I tried shaking the starter unit, and I didn't hear anything. I then followed some tips off of the internet and tried testing the compressor and the starter unit with a multitester, but the readings seemed okay for the compressor and the starter. The capacitor's reading didn't seem to be consistent, but the initial reading seemed okay. So I turned the fridge back on, and the thing worked for about a week. I started hearing the noise again this morning, and I figured, maybe the compressor just needs a bit of cooling down, so I turned the fridge off for over 30 minutes. And presto, the fridge is working again. I'm tempted to purchase a new capacitor, since that seems to be about the cheapest part I could replace with my bare hands (& with my almost no-knowledge on how to repair a fridge.)

I'd appreciate it if someone can tell me what might be going wrong here. Thanks!

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  • ultranew Dec 24, 2007

    Thank you so much for your posting. My fridge is a Kenmore 253.5169203 model, by the way. I checked if the start relay had any dust accumulated, and there really wasn't that much of a dust at all. Anyhow, I dusted everything I could with a can of compressed air and vacuum cleaner. I noticed that the top portion of the capacitor looked as if was charred slightly. Also, the plastic on the plug surface was soft and glossy, as if it had cooled down from melting. The start relay didn't rattle at all when I shook it. After dusting, the fridge is running fine. I guess I'll wait until I hear that dreadful buzz again. I'm still tempted to replace the capacitor since it does look as if it started melting.

    Thanks again, and Happy Holidays!

  • ultranew Jan 06, 2008

    I finally received the starter & capacitor that I ordered from the "Find Parts" link. The funny thing is that the starter part I got didn't look so "new" to me. The label on the starter had a pink chalk mark on it. The part didn't seem to be assembled very tightly, either, as I could see a tiny gap between the plastic. Since I got a great deal on the parts, I didn't think I had anything to lose, so I went ahead and replaced the parts.

    The fridge started up with a buzz, and didn't seem to work for a while. After shutting off the power and cooling it down several times, the fridge finally started to work without the noise. And it worked pretty well for nearly a week. I almost thought that the fridge was completely fixed, until the dreaded noise came back. So, I figure it's the compressor, and now a brand new Whirlpool is on its way.

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  • Master
  • 833 Answers

The only thing a capacitor does is 'kick' the compressor to start it. There is a box on the compressor containing the start relay. If it is defective or dirty, it might buzz. With the power off, find it, remove its cover and use some canned air to blow off any dirt inside. If that doesn't fix it, replace it. If there is a fan down there, be careful...and be sure it is working.

Posted on Dec 23, 2007

  • Robert Hirst Dec 24, 2007

    If there is anything that appears damaged, do change it out. Caps are cheap. Be sure to pull the plug first. Caps can hold a charge even afterward. To be sure, the next thing you should do is take a piece of insulated wire or insulated tool and short the two wires in the capacitor together before handling it. There might be a zap and spark! This will remove any charge.

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