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Old 06-21-2021, 02:49 PM   #1
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How to remove residential fridge?

Our residential fridge (Four Winds 31W) is not cooling. I hear the compressor turn on but then it shuts down and the current draw drops off to nothing. I’m planning on calling a regular appliance repair rather than the RV dealer. Problem is the fridge sits 13” above the floor. Any alternative to building a box to roll it onto to get access to the back side? While it may be in the control board I'm planning ahead so we have access to the backside. Might replace the burst ice maker waterline too.

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Old 06-21-2021, 04:04 PM   #2
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I have used this dolly to move my fridge around to work on it.

https://www.harborfreight.com/18-in-...lly-63098.html

I don't know what model you have but a bad thermostat or a bad defrost contorl module can prevent the compressor from turning on. These are very easy to replace yourself in many cases. The other item that can cause temp issues and is easy to replace is the evaporator fan. All of these items can usually be replaced without removing many of the lower end residential fridges used in RV's. I have a Whirlpool fridge / freezer with ice maker and I can reach all of those items from the front.

The compressor also has a thermal protection and cooling fan next to it. If the cooling fan fails or the coach gets too warm, the compressor won't run. I have found that if my temp inside the coach gets into the mid-80's my compressor will only run minimally. There is not much airflow in the back when a cabinet is built around them.
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Old 06-21-2021, 04:27 PM   #3
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Instead of buying the Harbor Freight dolly, you can rent them at U Haul, etc for a one shot use. Add cribbing to get to the height you need.

The problem could be as simple as a very dirty condenser or a failed cooling fan.

David
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Old 06-21-2021, 04:57 PM   #4
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Thanks Judge and David,

When I turn it on I hear a fan running and it draws about 90 watts. So it sounds as if the compressor isn't even trying to run now.

EDIT: if I turn the temperature control I can hear it click and a motor/fan noise. But again only 90 watts rather than 700+ that the compressor should draw.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by petefoss View Post
Thanks Judge and David,

When I turn it on I hear a fan running and it draws about 90 watts. So it sounds as if the compressor isn't even trying to run now.

EDIT: if I turn the temperature control I can hear it click and a motor/fan noise. But again only 90 watts rather than 700+ that the compressor should draw.
It could be a bad compressor but...... we should determine which fan you are hearing run.

If you turn the temp control to the coldest position and open the freezer door, do you hear a fan running in the back of the freezer (that is the evaporator fan that circulates air in the freezer and diverts cold air to the fridge compartment). If that fan is running, then it would be mean the thermostat is working ok and it is not in defrost mode.

If you do nor hear the fan come on in the freezer, then it could one one of two things...

First..... if the Thermostat / Temp Control unit is bad, it will not let the evaporator fan or compressor run. You can pull the wires off the control unit and jumper them to see if the fan kicks on.

Second.... if the defrost control module is not working properly, then that can prevent the compressor and evaporator fan from running as well. Depending on your model, defrost mode can last 30 minutes and if it stays stuck in defrost mode, the compressor won't kick back on.

Pulling the fridge can help with troubleshooting. You can check to see if the compressor cooling fan is running and if the compressor is warm (which means it should be working if it is).
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:33 PM   #6
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Evaporator fan is not running. What would I jumper to test the defrost question?Click image for larger version

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Old 06-21-2021, 05:49 PM   #7
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Ok.... that looks very similar to my Whirlpool.

On the left side of your picture is the temp control and thermostat. The silver tube is the thermostat and the red and orange wires are what controls the voltage to the evaporator fan to turn on and off based on the temperature you set with the knob.

If you shut off the power to the fridge and pull those two wires and jumper them together, that would be like the control calling for cooling based on the termostat temperature and closing the circuit to send voltage to the evaportator fan to start running and cooling. You could jumper those two wires and then turn the power back on and see if the evaporator fan starts running.

Now I'm not sure if there is a way to by pass the defrost module. That is the control board for the defrost on the right of your picture.

For a Whirlpool the defrost mode runs 15 - 30 minutes every 8 hours. Old fridges had a mechanical timer but now the timers are electronic and controlled by that circuit board on the right side of your picture. You also want to be careful that you don't hot-wire the defrost mode so the heater stays on all the time and it causes something to melt or catch on fire.

Now most of these fridges have a diagnostic mode where you can force it into and out of defrost mode. It usually involves pressing the door switch several times in so many seconds. It differs from manufacturer and by model.

Here is one example of turing off the defrost mode and resetting it for a Whirlpool:

To turn off the defrost mode in a Whirlpool refrigerator:

1. Unplug the refrigerator from the power outlet it is connected to and leave it for about a minute (or turn off breaker).

2. Turn the thermostat / temp control off.

3. Plug the refrigerator back into the power outlet.

4. Turn the thermostat on and set it to its original setting.

5. Wait 5 mnutes to see if the evaporator fan starts.


I would probably do the defrost reset procedure first to see what happens. If that doesn't work and you still don't hear the evaporator fan start running, then I would try to bypass the thermostat / temp control to see if that starts the evaporator fan.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:17 PM   #8
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One thing I neglected to mention is you could also have a bad evaporator fan or it could be blocked by ice build-up. If you fridge has warmed up, it would not be ice blockage.

You can remove the evaporator cover on the back inside of the freezer and measure the voltage of the wires going into the fan motor. If the thermostat / temp control and defrost timer are working properly, you should measure 110V at the connector going into the fan motor when the temperature is turned to the coldest setting and calling for cooling. If you have 110V when it is calling for cooling but the fan is not moving, the motor is bad.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:48 PM   #9
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Great overview Judge that i hope i never require

Well written
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:49 PM   #10
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Just an FYI......

My Whirlpool fridge in the coach was acting up. The freezer stayed cold but the fridge would arm up to 50. I had a spare thermostat and defrost module and thought one of those might be the issue. I thought it was one of those because I could hear the evaporator fan running in the freezer sometimes and other times it would not turn on when there was a demand for cooling.

I ended up pulling the evaporator cover and sure enough I had 120V at the motor. I could see it trying to start up but it would not spend. After doing some research the capacitors failing is fairly common. I could also see the evaporator was ice cold so the compessor was working fine and I could hear it running.

I ordered one on Amazon for $20 and then ordered a second one to carry as a spare. The fridge is only about 2 years old and I turn it off in the winter months or if the coach is not in use for several weeks.
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Old 06-24-2021, 10:49 AM   #11
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Just closing this out on my end........

Amazon delivered the new evaportor fan motor and that solved the problem my frudge started experiencing. Fixed it for $20. I am sure an appliance tech would have charged $70 for the part and another $150 for labor so I am pleased.

I am now carrying a spare thermostat, defrost control board and evaporator motor. The are all things I could change outin 15 minutes should the Whirlpool have issues while on the road.
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Old 06-26-2021, 07:09 PM   #12
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A repair man with A&G said they would repair a residential frig in RV.
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Old 06-26-2021, 07:19 PM   #13
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Judge...where do you live? I'm moving in next door.
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Old 06-27-2021, 02:26 AM   #14
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I needed to replace the ice maker valve on mine and thought about building a box like you said. My spon was over and I told him my plan. He said you get on one side and I will get on the other. We just slid it out and set it on the floor. . It wasn’t very heavy at all.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:14 AM   #15
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I was told once by an independent appliance guy that residential fridges are designed to be run constantly on. As opposed to intermittent on/off as in a RV. Is there any credence to this Judge? With this thought in the back of my mind, this is why I have avoided buying an RV with a residential fridge. Plus an RV tech told me that sometimes to replace a residential fridge you’ve got to “pop out” the windshield.
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Old 06-27-2021, 02:04 PM   #16
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On my 31W I think you have to pull the full wall slide to get the fridge out. Windshield is too small plus seats in the way. Yikes

My fridge specs at 160 pounds, too much for me and anyone I know to handle. Time to build a box.
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Old 06-27-2021, 03:48 PM   #17
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Agreed. With two people it should be an easy lift out of the recess and down onto the floor. Because I had no one to help me remove my residential fridge I built a raised dolly with lockable casters to slide mine onto. (FWIW, the dolly I built worked very well.)
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Old 06-28-2021, 02:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Judge View Post
Just closing this out on my end........

Amazon delivered the new evaportor fan motor and that solved the problem my frudge started experiencing. Fixed it for $20. I am sure an appliance tech would have charged $70 for the part and another $150 for labor so I am pleased...
+1 on the evaporator fan. I have a residential Whirlpool fridge as well, and had issues with it overloading the inverter and shutting down. Turns out it was a bad evaporator fan struggling to spin and drawing a large current. Replaced the fan and fixed the issue.
Also later upgraded to a 2000W pure sine inverter to help with running laptop and other electronics.
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Old 06-28-2021, 02:30 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by petefoss View Post
On my 31W I think you have to pull the full wall slide to get the fridge out. Windshield is too small plus seats in the way. Yikes

My fridge specs at 160 pounds, too much for me and anyone I know to handle. Time to build a box.
You just got me thinking to see if fridge would be able to be removed from my coach (35SB).
I just measured the fridge depth (not including the doors), and it is about 3/4” too big to fit through the coach door frame! It will fit through the big window above the dinette, so could push it through there. A big PITA, but not as much trouble as removing the wall slide or windshield.
Hopefully will never need to test this, knock on wood.
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Old 06-28-2021, 05:48 PM   #20
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From some other posts I believe they remove the passenger seat and then the passenger window to get fridges out that don't fit through the door.
Larger double door ones which could need a small crane or forklift.

On DP's I be they have to remove the slide.
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