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Sunday, December 6, 2015

GE GSS25TGPEWW refrigerator hot, freezer OK.

My GE GSS25TGPEWW side by side refrigerator has a problem.  Today's issue is the refrigerator side is warm.  I mean really warm, even hot.  But the freezer is just fine and cold as ever.   One strange thing is that the top interior light is very hot to the touch.   Weird.

I fixed an icemaker issue on this thing - wow it was 5 years ago.
http://blog.workingsi.com/2010/10/ge-gss25tgpeww-refrigerator-broke.html

Note from future self - read the end of the blog first if you are going down this road, the fix turned out to be really simple and free.

First random google searches show I'm not the only one who this ever happened to:
This website is pretty good, you put in your model and it ranks possible issues.

http://www.repairclinic.com/RepairHelp/How-To-Fix-A-Refrigerator/58--852901-/Refrigerator-freezer-is-cold-but-refrigerator-is-warm-GSS25TGPEWW

Evaporator Fan
Damper
Thermistor
Main Board

Since the fridge is downright HOT, the defroster sounds like it could be the issue.  I also need to figure out where the evaporator fan is.   The only reason i don't like the evaporator diagnosis is that the freezer is nice and cold.

I need a picture to find where these parts are, and to see what is at the top under the light assembly that could be getting hot.

Gotta love google,   Image search leads me here:
http://www.appliancepartspros.com/parts-for-ge-gss25tgpeww.html

http://www.appliancepartspros.com/fresh-food-section-parts-for-ge-gss25tgpeww.html
Looking at this page the part#460, refrigerator Damper assembly Part Number AP3775595 is right where this thing is getting hot.   The damper is the little door that lets in cold air from the freezer.   We have a suspect!

Another likely suspect in the same neighborhood is the thermostat Part Number AP3192951.   It might be wise to order that at the same time.

Just to cover my bases I need to find the evaporator fan and see if it is working.
http://www.appliancepartspros.com/freezer-section-parts-for-ge-gss25tgpeww.html
This picture is totally not clear.   The evaporator and far are shown floating in front of the freezer section.   A cover is shown near some lights.  ugh makes no sense.  This is somewhere in the freezer compartment that I will have to dig out.

Some price research before I head over to look at the thing again
Part Number:AP3775595
Made by:GE
http://www.appliancepartspros.com/ge-refrigerator-damper-assembly-wr49x10091-ap3775595.html
they want $165

Amazon has this for $97, but it is not clear if it is the same part, or even compatible.

GE WR49X10091. My model is not listed, but search takes me here.


ebay gets me NOTHING when searching AP3775595.  Aha, i see that the AP number is a bogus appliance parts website number  the WR49X10091 is correct

Cross Reference Information
Part Number WR49X10091 (AP3775595) replaces 1055112, AH966602, EA966602, PS966602, WR02X11254, WR02X11255, WR14X10070, WR14X10071, WR14X10166, WR17X10869, WR17X10870, WR17X10871, WR17X10896, WR17X11508, WR2X11254, WR49X10101, WR49X10149, WR49X10150, WR49X10155, WR60X10051, WR60X10052, WR60X10070, WR60X10132, WR60X10174, WR60X10226.
Prices on ebay range from 85 to 120.
A few outliers cheaper.  Maybe worth doing the Amazon to get it fast.


I'm going to pull the unit from the fridge and see if I can jimmy it before I pull the trigger.
stay tuned..


Some quality time looking at the fridge. Cold air blows nicely out of the hole if i remove the damper assembly in the top of the fresh food section. So the evaporator and fan are working. The flapper door was shut, i poked it open with a screwdriver and put it back in. The fridge started getting cold. But after a time i went back and the door was shut again and it was warm again.


The hotness i felt before i think was just the lamp getting hot. There is nothing else in that area that could be overheating. So that was a red herring.


Alright, either the damper assembly is bad, the thermistor, or the main control board. I will start with the cheap components first. Ordering a damper unit....


The new damper came. Swapped it in. Waited. FAIL. The fridge did not get cold. $97.34 wasted. OK i also bought a $9.80 thermistor. I will swap that in next and see if that works. If not we are going to have to also get a main board. I'll still save money over a service call, but not as much as I'd hope. I can think about selling back the damper unit on ebay.


I panicked and order a new main board, figuring the thermistor can't possibly be the problem. It came and i swapped the new main board in. FAIL. The fridge runs just fine but nothing is different. The food side stays hot and the freezer is cold.


Looks like i will be selling the main board on ebay to get my money back, and I'll try replacing the thermistors.  I finally figured out where they are, the pictures on the web are useless.  There are two small oval grilles on the left side of the food compartment.  they snap out, and under the cover is the thermistor.  Was that so hard?
http://www.appliance-repair-it.com/refrigerator-thermistor.html

The misery continues.  I installed two new thermistors in the food compartment.  Snap out the oval grill, cut the wires, and use wire nuts to connect the new one.   Strangely the refrigerator is no slightly cooler but definitely still not working.   I feel only a wisp of cool air coming out of the damper.   Back to the drawing board.   My technique of part swapping is having one of it's worst runs ever.

I need to reevaluate how much cold air is coming from the freezer.  Maybe my original conclusion that the evaporator fan was working was wrong.   I will also look at the damper and see if it is open, since the fridge brain must be telling it to open up when it is so hot inside.

The only part left I haven't bought is the evaporator motor



The evaporator fan came.   Wow it is a pain to replace this thing.  You have to take the back panel off the refrigerator, take out the ice maker, the unit under the icemaker that turns the ice.   Several screws and jockeying around.   A youtube video makes it look easier than it was.
http://www.appliancepartspros.com/ge-evaporator-fan-motor-wr60x10185-ap3875639.html#autoplay

Finally I get the whole assembly open, and before I replaced the fan I plugged the unit back in to see if the fan motor was working.   Whirrrrr it was spinning like a champ.  So the evaporator fan motor was perfectly fine, no need to put in the new unit.  

Aaaaaaaarrrrgggggh!   Total frustration.  I've now replaced the damper unit, the thermistors, the main board, and stopped short of replacing the evaporator fan.  Everything is working but the fridge is still warm inside.

In debugging you arrive at this point for a couple reasons.   Either you replaced a bad part with another bad part.   Two things are wrong and you only swapped out one thing.  Or something incredibly stupid and simple is wrong that you are too blind to see.

OK it is not two things wrong, since all the parts are new at once.  It could be a bad replacement part but that is pretty unlikely and expensive and time consuming to check.  So lets look for something else stupid that is wrong.

I connected the old damper and looked at the flapper door.  Shut.  The new damper does seem to behave differently, the fan whirrs and the flapper door opens.  I ran the fridge for a while and checked it again.  Flapper door had shut!  Why would it shut when the fridge is obviously warm?  Unplugged and tried again.  Same thing.  Flap opens on restart, but shortly closes again.   Repeat with old damper.  Now i see it is doing the same thing.   Is the main board confused?

Lightening finally strikes me, small at first but then it builds.   While I'm checking the damper, the door is open.  Maybe the fridge shuts the damper when you open the fresh food door to keep the freezer from getting warm air in it.   So I decide to find the door switch and trick the fridge into thinking the door is shut so I can see what the damper does.

I look at the door switch and it looks weird.  I see a small microswitch that is too small to ever touch the door.   At this point all the pieces fall into place and I understand completely everything that has been happening.    Like the drawing room scene at the end of a mystery novel.

The little plastic lever on the door open switch had been knocked off.    I failed to mention that I had cleaned out the fridge the day before this happened and likely knocked it off then.  It just took a while to manifest.   The fridge thought the door was open all the time.  Thus the light was on solid, and heated up the fridge like an easy bake oven, making it hot, and making the light fixture burning hot.   The fridge thought the door was open and shut the damper to save the freezer and so none of the cool air made it to the fresh food section.    I looked around the floor and found the plastic wedge shaped piece under the edge of the cabinet.  I popped it back on and suddenly everything was right again.

There was nothing wrong with the damper, main board, thermistors or evaporator fan.   Why didn't I see the obvious before I began this process?   I was in a panic to fix this thing and parts take time to come, so I pulled the trigger without doing a thorough investigation.

Oh My God.  Bleepity bleep.  This was an epic fail of a repair job.  I bought $250 worth of parts and it took nearly two weeks with a broken fridge right at Christmas time.   All because of a stupid little piece of plastic knocked loose.   I will sell back the parts I pulled on ebay and try to get some of the money back.

Geez..  At least it is fixed now!


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