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Subzero icing on back wall  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed Jun 21st, 2006 03:00 pm
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mb3000gt
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Hi all,

i have a subzero 561 refrigerator that is icing up on the back wall near the evaporator. As a result the top shelves are too warm. A tech said it was a slow freon leak, but could not find the source of the leak. Any suggestions?

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 Posted: Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 06:36 am
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AccApp
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How old is it? A SN Will help. Is it an R12 or R134a job? Definitely a sealed system problem, most likely a refrigerant leak or inefficient compressor. The most likely spot for a leak is the evaporator.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 02:03 pm
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mccubscout67
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Could be a defrost problem.  Not sure about sub-zero but most other models if it on back wall in front of evap.  units defrost is not working. I.e element on lower half of evap not coming on and defrosting evap causing evap to freeze up.  Check cont. of element.  Put into defrost and check voltage at wires to element.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 02:39 pm
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AccApp
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Don't bother looking for a defrost system in the ref side of a Sub-Zero. It is referred to as "off-cycle defrost". Yes, during normal operation the ref evap may collect some frost/ice as it is at 20°-25° but when the compressor turns off the compartment temp is above freezing and the ice melts.

The ice is building up on this unit because the cold control is calling for cooling but the system is too weak to satisfy it. Thus, the compressor runs continuously but can only cool a small portion of the evap (frost pattern). Since there is no off-cycle the ice remains.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 03:03 pm
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mb3000gt
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thanks for the replys. the unit is about 12 years old. the repair tech said that the leak is so small his electronic detector couldnt find it. does this make sense? how would you go about locating the source of the leak. if he leak is not from the evaporator would the symptoms be the same (freezing on the back wall). thanks for your help.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 03:14 pm
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AccApp
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Symptoms woud be the same no matter where the leak is. If it were my job, I'd tell you the evap would need to be replaced.

S-Z has a 12-year part warranty. If you give the SN I can tell you when it was made.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 02:49 am
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mb3000gt
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AccApp, the serial number is P1272993. thanks for your help

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 Posted: Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 04:50 am
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AccApp
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It was made in Sep 1996, so it is certainly still under the parts warranty.  Is this an R134a unit? It should list it on the tag.

Last edited on Thu Jul 13th, 2006 03:49 am by AccApp



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 Posted: Sun Jun 25th, 2006 09:33 am
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DrFrige
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AccApp wrote: It was made in Sep 1996, so it is certainly still under the parts warranty. S-Z is also aware of problems with evaps, I don't know if your unit falls under this program. If you call S-Z and get an authorized tech out, S-Z may offer to cover some of the labor as well. Is this an R134a unit? It should list it on the tag.
Good Call!

Now there are two different types of ice build up on those evaporators... Ice across the WHOLE evaporator (Indicating a plugged condenser or faulty cold control) and the second is the ice ball on the left side of the refrigerator side. THAT is a good indicator of a leak.

 

Now this has happened to me a couple of times in my lazy days.. .You have an overheated condenser... screws up the schrader valve on the compressor and there is your leak. Shut the unit off, unscrew the schrader cap and see if there is oil. As the pressure builds up from being off, you will actually see oil bubbling inside the schrader valve port.... There is your leak... VERY rare but it has happened.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 29th, 2006 08:33 am
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SELFINC
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:D Howdy! The problem with 90% of these I find & by the way, I am an authorized Sub Zero Servicer...... The evaporator is the problem. Made of copper & the replacement from a new vendor is not copper. Sub Zero is well aware of the problem. You most likely have an ice ball on the top left corner of the evap that grows out in to the refer compartment & then falls off. I learned the hard way that changing the drier & recharging only lasts 6 months to a year & then it re-occurs. You will need to replace the evaporator & make sure your part supplier is selling you new stock & not old, you dont want to put in another copper evap.

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 Posted: Sat Jul 1st, 2006 01:00 am
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dfrank22
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AccApp,

I have the exact same problem described here. You had asked if this is an R12 or R134a. May I ask what the difference would be here? I have an R12 (SN is M1167132).

Thanks!

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 Posted: Sat Jul 1st, 2006 12:49 pm
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AccApp
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Dfrank,

Your unit was installed on 05/17/1995 which makes it eligible for the 12 year parts warranty. The r12 units used a different evaporator which was less susceptible to corrosion as the r134a units. Since r12 is no longer available, Sub-Zero recommends r414a as a replacement. You should definitely call an authorized Sub-Zero servicer.



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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2006 05:34 am
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jtnygard
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This sounds very similar to my SubZero 550.  There is ice forming in the lower left portion of the fridge back wall.  I've tried to melt the ice with a hair dryer, but the ice comes back.  Also, the fridge itself is getting too warm (45 - 50 degrees).  The compressor states R12.

SN is P812709, and it states Nov 89 on the sticker label.

Can these units be recharged with the Automotive AC recharge units?

--Jan

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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2006 05:51 am
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AccApp
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With something that old the evap is definitely leaking. What refrigerant is in the units you speak of? R12 is the same for mobile equipment as for stationary. I would not go putting any recycled refrigerant into a Sub-Zero without first installing a huge filter/dryer.

Your best bet is to throw in a 4204400 evap and a 4201670 compressor, evacuate the system and charge with either virgin R12, r414a or r414b (hotshot®), I have had good results with both replacement refrigerants.


Or, get a new fridge.



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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2006 06:07 am
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jtnygard
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Thanks for the reply.  The car AC recharge (or top-off) cylinders use 134a.  I don't have one, but here is a link to a few available options: http://www.id-usa.com/how_to_recharging.asp

A new fridge is an option, but the one I have is nicely built in and still in good shape.

Looks like a new evaporator + compressor kit will run about $500 for the fridge, so it's probably similar for the freezer.  Do you have any idea what I would be looking at in terms of installation?  It probably depends on the location, but I'm in a high-cost area near San Francisco, if it helps.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2006 06:50 am
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AccApp
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Under no circumstances should you put r134a in a system that had r12 in it unless you can purge the entire system of whatever oil (mineral oil, most likely) may be in it. The r134a oil (POE) will form globs when it mixes with the mineral oil and plug up your cap tube. I can't even imagine what your install cost would be. Around here I charge $1500 parts and labor for an r12 heart/lung transplant and I guarantee it for 3 years.



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 Posted: Sun May 25th, 2008 02:02 am
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jim1872003
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I use R-414B HOT SHOT to replace R12. Works great for me!



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 Posted: Mon Aug 18th, 2008 11:45 pm
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purdiferis
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I was just on a subby 550 callwith ice building up in the bottom at the drain and I was told to put on a heat kit?

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 Posted: Mon Sep 8th, 2008 02:21 pm
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rbenash
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Hello, I have Sub 550 SN MD64139. Based on when I remember buying (1994?) I may be out of luck as far as warranty.

Refrigerator box was warm, couldn't stay lower than about 60deg or so with temp control all the way up. Took them days to get to me. While waiting I did pull apart to find the left side ice buildup on the left side mentioned. For reference - I do have the heater kit installed from earlier defrost tube problems mentioned up thread.

Anyway I defrosted with the heat gun and reassembled. NG. Servicer says slow freon leak, recharged - will last for about 6 months. $1800 to replace dryer, condenser and temp control.

Sounding like I don't have much of an alternative? They were not overcharging on parts in the quote, but seemed to be an exorbitant amount to evacuate and recharge. But hey - what do I know about pricing. Probably a fair price given the whole package.

Currently the fridge is keeping things cold but I noticed that I have a significant difference in temps top to bottom in the fridge box. Had to set the temp control between 4/5 (which seems great) to keep things from freezing in the bottom drawers. I'd had 50 degrees or so at the top and 30 degrees in the drawer at this setting. I checked the fan in the fridge and it was not operating when I held the switch closed. Swapped the wiring between the light switch and the fan switch, still ng.

Took things apart today to set up to replace the fan and it started working. So I have it reassembled now and the fan runs with the door closed and always operates for now with the door open and the switch closed.

Should this in cabinet fan always run with the door closed? I seem to remember it should to circulate air in the fridge box and keep temps even?



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 Posted: Mon Sep 8th, 2008 03:49 pm
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RegUS_PatOff
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rbenash wrote: ... I checked the fan in the fridge and it was not operating when I held the switch closed...
sounds like a bad Fridge Fan Motor.

yes, on that Model (and serial number) the Fridge Fan runs anytime the Door Switch is closed.

A picture of the Evaporator frost pattern can usually tell if it's low on Freon.




 

Last edited on Mon Sep 8th, 2008 05:46 pm by RegUS_PatOff



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