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“ Is Your Refrigerator Running? Well, You’d Better Catch It! ”
And after you catch it, see if you can fix it!
I must have caught the refrigerator within 12 hours of its apparent death. The compressor, which you can hear from the outside, was still humming along. The refrigerator was still nice and chilly. The bottom shelf of the freezer was still mostly frosty. But the top shelf was getting warm, causing ice cream and other stuff to melt. That was probably because of the heating elements used to defrost the thing.
I hypothesized the refrigerator was still mostly working, but the blower fan had quit. So emptied the freezer, discarding some amount of melted food, and transferring the rest into another freezer. I got some hand tools:
I only needed a Phillips screwdriver and a nut driver. This refrigerator was made in Michigan with U.S. spec hardware.
The rear wall of the freezer conceals the heat exchanger, so I removed the two screws I found. I couldn't remove the false wall altogether, or maybe I just didn't feel like removing the shelf mounts, so I bent it.
And behold! This is the heat exchanger, with an evaporator, an air duct, and the blower fan. You can see the evaporator covered with frost. The fan should be blowing cold air from the evaporator through the air duct and into the freezer, but it's seized. I tried to turn it and make it start blowing, but it wouldn't cooperate.
So how to get the fan out? It's attached to the plastic air duct, so that's what I started to remove. I switched tools and got the nut driver.
Now the air duct and fan can be removed together. Then I could separate the fan from the plastic duct.
I'd like to unplug the fan from the wiring harness, but the plugs won't release. So I disassembled the fan while it was in place instead.
So there! That's the stator or whatever it's called. By the way, if there's an ice maker in your refrigerator, never connect it to the water supply in your house. I've never seen an ice maker that didn't #%!@ up in a spectacular way sooner or later.
So this is the part of the fan that moves. It's got a winding, which is the dark part, and two bearings, which are the brass-colored parts. One of the bearings is seized, and stiff when attempting to turn the shaft. This is why the fan wants to turn, but won't.
So I got my bottle of vegetable oil, which is canola oil or rapeseed oil. When oiling foodservice equipment, don't use petroleum oil, which could contaminate food. So I poured some oil in both bearings and wiped off the excess. Then I assembled the fan, and wiped off the excess oil. Then it's time to reassembe everything else in reverse order. Wipe hands on pants.
I plugged it back in, and all was right with the world! The fan blows, and the refrigerator is working again. This one is about 20 years old, still practically new in my mind's eye. I'd never repaired a refrigerator before, but I was proud.
I know I sound like a broken record, but it's liberating not owing money to anyone, and being able to fix things rather than replacing them goes a long way in that regard. And if you get a reputation for fixing stuff, it can get you sex.