Question about Kenmore Refrigerators

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I have a Sears Kenmore Coldspot side-by-side fridge and freezer that are (1) not making ice and not keeping things cold enough. It was mfd in 3-90. Type is 25SSA90. Model # is 106.9505780. S/N SX1327282. The freezer is running at about 30 F vs. 3-5 F and I've got the dial on max cold. The fridge is running at 48-50 F vs. 35-38 F goal and I've turned the dial up but not to max. During the past couple days the icemaker is NOT making ice. The water dispenser is working alright and the ice dispenser is working alright. These are both in the freezer door. I've done a thorough cleaning of the coils both in front and rear and don't see anything wrong. The fan is running fine. Need some thoughts on how to proceed... thanks, Adrian

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  • Adrian Snyder Mar 11, 2011

    I have checked the fan in the freezer compartment and it is running "normal". Also, I don't feel any warm spots where the doors seal to the main chassis. I will look at the compressor input and output temps and get back to you on them. There is no big block of ice anywhere I can see on the freezer side and I'll check down low in the back. It's good to know the icemaker won't work until temp is in the range you quoted.

    Later, Adrian Snyder.

  • Adrian Snyder Mar 12, 2011

    Thanks Kelly for your time and expertise. I've decided it's time for this fridge to go for recycling and am going to buy a new unit.

    Thanks again.


  • Adrian Snyder Mar 12, 2011

    Hey Kelly---

    Thanks for the advice but in the time it would take for a PRO to POSSIBLY fix this unit I'm wasting food and time...and maybe throwing good money away that could be spent on a new unit. So, that said..I'll spend the money on a NEW unit and recognize they don't make them like they used to.

    Have a great day.



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Hi and welcome to FixYa, I am Kelly.

I note that this is a 21 year old refrigerator. Loads of things that can cause the symptom your describing at this point.

Things I see you have done:
1. Cleaned the coils front (I assume you mean inside the freezer) and rear (by the compresor).
2. Changed temp settings
3. Checked "the fan"

Things you need to check....
1. Is the evaporator fan in the freezer compartment running at full speed? If it is running very slow... it will NOT properly cool or freeze.
2. Is the condenser fan in the back of the unit near the compressor running? Just note that if the condenser fan is not running the main chassis will be very warm to hot where the door seals close on the chassis.
3. Is the COMPRESSOR running at all or is it trying to start and then you year a click after about 40 seconds that repeats in 4 - 5 minutes? Another note... 20 year old compressors can start to drag the ROTOR against the Stator and cause higher than normal utility bills... before complete failure. If you noticed your electric usage creeping higher and higher over the last few months you may have a bad compressor.
4. Are you 100 percent sure there is NOT a large block of ice in the back of the freezer compartment all around the evaporator coils? If you find that there is a large block of ice then you need to do a 2 hour manual defrost with an external fan pointed into the freezer compartment, contents removed and the unit unplugged.

After doing step 4 you can return the unit to normal service but if there is an automatic defrosting problem that is HIGHLY likely on a unit that is 21 years old.... you will need to have the automatic defrosting problem corrected.

A note about your ice maker. It has an internal thermostat that has to reach 14 - 16 deg F for the ice maker to start the harvest / fill cycle. If your freezer is running at 30 F it will NOT make any ice automatically.

Thanks for choosing FixYa,

Posted on Mar 11, 2011

  • Kelly
    Kelly Mar 11, 2011

    Given everything I am reading in that the evap fan is running and that your pretty sure the condensor fan is running because the chassis is not hot; it appears that the compressor is either not running at full speed or.... is not starting properly. This leaves little choice but to change the PTC Relay, Thermal overload and run capacitor BEFORE coming to the conclusion there may be a problem with the compressor itself. It is part of the troubleshooting process that is a must do.

    What you can do before removing power is remove the back cover and monitor the compressor for about 15 minutes. During this time your listening to see that it is running vs attempting to start every 4 - 5 minutes. If you note that is attempting to start but not running fist off you must remove the PTC and Thermal; Overload from the compressor terminals and then use a meter to read as follows:

    Terminal S to the body of the compressor (Should read no resistance)

    Terminal R to the body of the compressor (Should read no resistance)

    Terminal C to terminal R and terminal S (These are the motor windings and must read resistance)

    If it reads as stated above then it should work unless the rotor is LOCKED provided the PTC, Thermal Overload and Run Capacitor are in good working order. If it still is not running properly then as I stated earlier you will have to change the PTC Relay, thermal overload and run capacitor. If after changing these 3 components it still does not start then the final step is an amperage check where you read the LRA (Locked Rotor Amperage) on the compressor label and measure amperage that the unit is using when the compressor tries to start. The LRA amperage is usually somewhere between 14.1 and 19.7 Amps. If the measured Amperage useage is the same of slightly higher than the LRA Amperage then the compressor rotor is locked and there is little you can do but to change the compressor.

    You can find, Thermal Overload and Run Capacitor using the links below

    (NOTE PN changes from original part numbers as I had to do a cross reference)

    The Thermal overload is item 13 of this link: (819198 overload).

    The Capacitor is item 17 of the link below. PN 2169373 run capacitor (NOTE PN change from original part number as I had to do a cross reference)

    The PTC relay is a whole different story. Either you walk into a well known Appliance parts store with part in hand or you use the PN 1101014 on an E-bay search. I can not find it anywhere other than e-bay. If you do end up going the Ebay route make sure that they gaurantee that the PN is 1101014 with the promise of money back should they substitute PN's. I recommend you walk-into an Appliance Parts Center / Store Front with part in hand.

    Now.. having said all of the above... just the parts listed above are going to cost a little less than 50% of the cost of just the replacement compressor (not including labor or freon) because they are so rare. I am not telling you what to do but I do think you may have to consider your total repair costs and your "other options." Inspect your thermal overload carefully. These circular type thermal overloads have a tendency to melt the disc contacts / housing of the overload and they fail. You MIGHT get by with just changing the thermal overload.


  • Kelly
    Kelly Mar 12, 2011

    Hi Adrian,

    I think you made the right decision. I could not make that decision for you but, I had to at least say what I was thinking. When you go shopping..... I will say that all the bells and whistles are nice yet, here is something to consider. BEFORE you buy... but, after you have seen a few units that you like; start looking up replacement parts for things like the electronic control board or the defrost control or variable speed evaporator fans. The electronic control units just don't have the same life span as the refrigerator your replacing. What I am saying is that the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) will be a bit less and the repair costs will be A LOT more. Call me old fashioned but give me a 21.7 CU ft over and under refirgerator with an icemaker and I am fat dumb and happy. That same unit I am talking about will have mechanical controls vs eletronic controls and will have the same life span as your old refrigerator. Your choice as to what you eventually purchase. Then again if your old refrigerator is in good material condition... you can still bring it back to life again at about 1/3 rd of the cost of a new 25.6 cu ft side by side. I have not seen to many 20 year old refrigerators out there that were worth a total overhaul but they do exist. I wish you the best,




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