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Question DetailsAsked on 2/18/2018

18 yr old kenmore.side by side. Died last week. Trying to decide to repair or replace. Any thoughts.

Coils are clean. Running perfectly until a week ago. Original cost of fridge was $1200. Tried replacing the capacitor which did make rattle when shaken with 3-1 Supco. Ran for 20 hours but did run hot...then died again. Think may be compressor. Is it worth repairing?

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2 Answers



Answered 2 years ago by LCD


Could be temperature sensor on compressor, overheat or overamperage breaker in the motor, capacitor, or if it has it hard-start kit capacitor maybe that - since you said 3-1 Supco I presume you used a Supco hard start capacitor, a mistake in itself in my opinion. I have heard nothing good about them - I would go with OEM or FSP parts.

Or could be low refrigerant level due to leakage, so unit is trying to run continuously and is overheating too.

I am assuming the coil cooling fan is running (one at the back of the reefer, outside the body) - without that the coils will likely overheat even if clean.

If it ran 20 hours after new capacitor(s), I would say the original problem was overheating due to low refrigerant or blower fan failure, or bad capacitor. Why it failed again - one could assume same reason, or maybe it finally overheated enough to killthe compressor.

Considering a new side-by-side is typically $800-1400 for normal brands, and capacitor/compressor repair/replacement or added gas typically $300-400 for repair, or $400-600 for compressor replacement (including labor) you are talking 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of a new one for the repair, so a tough call.

My preference - if a repair is definitive (definitely found the cause and can fix it) I will spend up to about half ro so to repair a major appliance, because the newer the appliance the shorter its life seems to be - the days of our 30-35 year old appliance still running well with minimal repairs are history - these days the junk being turned out seemsm to have a less than 5 year life, and the unnecessary electronics in many of them not only fail far sooner than they should but also cost about twice to three times as much to repair when they do fail.

You don't say the brand - but assuming a Whirlpool or Frigidaire (made mosst of Sears reefers back then) personally, though granted I do basically all repairs myself, I would spend the $100 or so for the diagnosis and find out the repair cost from there, with a not-to exceed $ in your mind, which to me would be about $500 range. Unfortunately, any compressor you get today is not likely to run 20-30+ years - they are not made anything like they used to be when 30-40 years was not at all unusual, so factor that into your decision too.

Be sure when talking to an Appliance Repair - Large tech about coming out that you get one who routinely does reefer compressor repairs/replacements if needed - many do not even know how to do a replacement or to recharge the unit afterwards these days.

if you do decide to go with a new one instead, remember most stores do full size reefer delivery, setu, and old unit haul-away for free. And I DEFINITELY would get a non-electronic one - MUCH longer life, and cheaper to diagnose and repair.

Here are several previous similar questions with answers which might help too:

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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