Question about Refrigerators

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7 year old side-by-side Whirlpool refrigerator. A plastic box on end of wiring harness on the side of the compressor housing is literally melting down. Acrid electrical smell. Is this a relay going bad or the compressor causing the failure of the switch? I have a call in to a service person but cant get an appointment for another 24 hours.

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  • morgaj3 Sep 16, 2010

    Thanks for the comments. I reported the problem to Whirlpool.
    But- I need some direction on this.
    The wires did not appear to be the cause of the heat or the plastic on them would have been damaged. The contacts- 3 round metal posts may have deposits but it is difficult to tell with the melted plastic on them. The heat seems to have occurred in the relay or at the contacts. The face of the plastic box that contacts the 3 posts is badly melted but did come off of the relays. I did not notice the compressor running but I was pretty excited by the smoke and trying to get to the plug to get the thing unplugged before more damage or a fire could happen.

    Would replacing the relay likely be the first step in seeing if it was the problem or is there some diagnostic proceidure that can be done to see if the conpressor is shot before replacing the relay?

    Also- I cant get the mechanical fastener off that is holding the two wires on to the relay. What is the trick here. I would like to take the relay out and have a closer look without cutting the wires.

    Thanks,
    John M.

  • morgaj3 Sep 17, 2010

    Thanks to the response form tbreeze47
    I had the information I needed to research the problem. I also got a repairman to confirm that the compressor had failed. He suggested that we buy a new unit and count this one as a loss since it was 7 years old and would cost over $500 to repair.
    With the URL's that I was pointed to I found others with similar complaints and knew where to report my situation to Whirlpool. I posted a complaint on a blog adding to the outcry about the situation and copied all others that related. Including these, I believe, in my message to Whirlpool helped add weight to my assertion that there was something to my case. Whirlpool responded quickly and offered to repair the refrigerator at their cost. This renews my flagging loyalty to Whirlpool and give me soem hope that American industry and products have not sold out to increasing proffit margins.
    I hope more people find your assistance by accident as I did and come out ahead because of the decision to risk $6 on the chance that it might help.

    Sincerely,
    John Morgan

  • morgaj3 Sep 17, 2010

    Well it was the compressor in this case and the repairman said that it would be $500 to repair the unit. That is not something that I can do myself. Luckily- Whirlpool has agreed to pay for the repairs.

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  • Refrigerators Master
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Unplug the unit, and see what is heating up. It could be oxidized contacts on the relay (clean with emory cloth), or it could be overheated wires from the compressor running constantly. Read what Mike of Medina, OH had to say about his unit:
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/whirlpool_refrigerators.html
Here's a report on the fire hazard on the web:
http://blogs.consumerreports.org/home/2009/03/maytag-refrigerator-recall-cpsc-fire-hazard-amana-admiral-crosley-jennair-magic-chef-performa.html
By the way, Maytag is a subsidiary of Whirlpool. Here is a blog with more info on the recall:
http://www.appliancejournal.com/appliance-recall-information/the-frostiest-of-flames-citing-fire-hazard-maytag-recalls-16-million-refrigerators-310/
You need to contact Whirlpool Support about this- it's a dangerous issue. Here's their support page:
http://www.whirlpool.com/custserv/index.jsp
Good luck, hope this helps, and thanks for using FixYa.

Posted on Sep 15, 2010

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  • Refrigerators Master
  • 1,711 Answers

Usualy what isstarting the melting down part is the capacitor and not the relay. However both are very close together and the melting plastic will make all parts like one ball.
Also you have very big chances that your compressor is fine so you just need to remove the melting parts which is the cover, capacitor and relay and install new ones.
This a tricky situation since you must be delictated so if the cover or other parts can not be easily removed you must cut the palstics but take care not cutting the wires since this will mean a lot of time to replace the parts.
So either better leave someone who have experiance or if you try to remove them you destroy the plastics but take care all wires. Some photoes will help you later when you will put the new parts back in place.

Posted on Sep 16, 2010

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