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Sub-Zero 550 with Bottom Freezer

We have a 20 yr old Subzero 550. The freezer works well (zero degrees at setting 5) but the refrigerator is not keeping cold (currently 48 degrees on setting 10). No ice build up on lower left of back panel. What do you think is the cause and steps to troubleshoot. Is it time to stop putting money into something 20 yrs old? What is usual life expectancy? Thanks

Posted by svendog on

  • massoud_p Sep 11, 2008

    The refrigerator is not cold enough. the compressor is running all the time and when I push the needle in freon valve a little, oil comes out instead of freon.
    Is it because of low freon pressure or bad compressor? Which type of freon is used in this model S-Z 550?

  • Anonymous Mar 27, 2014

    our refrigerator is set to 5 degrees but everything inside is almost frozen now, we expect the temperature in the refrigerator to be around zero.. the temperature suddenly dropped. Could it be some problem with thermostat?



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Douglas Henry

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The life expectancy of these is as long as you want to fix em. I stll work on plenty of them builty before 1980. You may have to pay $900 for a bad compressor, but the fridge replacment cost is around $600, so it's up to you. take the back wall off behind the shelves an look at the coils. If the coils are frosty on only part of the coils (less than 2/3 I would say) Then you have a freon leak. likely from the evaporater (this will need to be cut out and soldered in with aq torch) If you have all frost top to bottom, defrost it, turn down the setting, and check that your door seals well and the door doesnt bounce open when you swing it shut. If there is no frost at all, feel the frame around the door opening. If its warm, take of the upper grille and then the upper sheild on the left side (2 screws). Use a flashlight to shine trough the condenser (thing on the right, looks luike a radiator) if you shine a light throuhgh towards the fan, but cannot see the light come through on the fan side, you need to vacuum off the condenser and try again. If light still does not get through, go to your local auto parts store and buy 2 cans of NON FLAMMABLE brake cleaner. Unplug the unit and hose the condenser down with the stuff untuill you can see light through it from the flashlight. this will be messy, so have a spare rol of paper towels handy. The fumes will be bad too so open a window and put a fan in if you can. If the frame of the fridge is not warm, and there is no frst, discannect the cold controll and use a piece of wire to connect the two wires together after you disconnect them from the cold control. Do not connect the green wire, and be carefull as ther will be 110volts in one of those 2 wires if you didnt unplug the fridge. let the thing run with the control bypassed for 15 minute or so and watch the coils to see if they frost. If they frost all the way, top to bottom, replace the cold control (one for the fridge on the right, by the way)Hope you can get the info you need out of this. Good Luck!

Posted on Sep 07, 2007


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I have 685, what is the best temperature for the fridg and freezer

Dear strusler,

We recommend that the refrigerator be set at 38 degrees F and that the freezer be set to 00 degrees F.

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I have a sub zero (model 550) bottom freezer. Moisture appears to gather at the right side of the freezer then ices up to the point that the drawer can not be opened. I have replaced the drawer seal and...

I had this problem several times and have learned alot. Hopefully some can benefit from my learning and mistakes.

On the inside of the freezer on the right is a drain tube. The defroster cover flows into this little drain. This drain goes into the pan at the bottom of the freezer, and the water evaporates. My subzero 550 had an old drain heater already in there, but obviously not working properly.

First, defrost the freezer completely. I had also poured hot water down this little tube, but this takes too long, and doesn't clear the drain completely. Also, see if you can tolerate turning the freezer temp setting down. I had mine at 1, and it was sufficiently cold. With this simple method, note the weeks /months until it happens again. If you can live with this, you are done.

If not, order a drain heater (contact Clarke Customer at 800-305-0722 and order item number 4202160, Freezer Drain Heater - under $40). I installed this and got some success, and am still counting the weeks after 8 have already passed.

Good luck

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You probably have some food on the way. Unload the freezer and see if the door would close better. Looks like you have a warm air leak.
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