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Thread: GE Monogram ZIC36NABLH ~50˚ both fridge & freezer

  1. #1

    GE Monogram ZIC36NABLH ~50˚ both fridge & freezer

    Model Number: ZIC36NABLH
    Brand: GE
    Age: More than 10 years

    This fridge is nearly 18 years old, but had been working with no issues until last year, at which point the freezer began to struggle keeping ice cream frozen; fridge portion worked fine. Turning the freezer setting to 9 didn't help, and I had neglected to clean the condenser coil which had a solid layer of dust on it. Nonetheless, it was still marginally working.

    I had to massage out a dent in the freezer door, and to do that, I dismantled it and manually closed only the light switch (3 switches total that the freezer door activated). I noticed that the coil in the freezer behind the white sheet metal cover had frost on only the bottom portion of it (heavier in the bottom left corner of the coil); opening the freezer door switches defrosted it while I fixed a dent.

    Upon reassembly, both the freezer and fridge can't get past ~50˚. Defrost timer appears to work; it advances on its own; manually advancing it shuts off and the on the evap fan, etc, though the compressor doesn't seem to fire (it is warm-not hot-however). Repeatedly cycling the timer resulted in the compressor turning on once or twice, with what sounded like some freon activity, and the temp did drop a couple of degrees, but not more than that.

    I have ordered a compressor relay, capacitor and new defrost timer - arriving tomorrow. I guess I most suspect the capacitor booster, as it sounds to me like the compressor isn't firing reliably or regularly.

    I'm wondering if there is anything else I should be troubleshooting here. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Hard to say what is going on here because you do not feel that the compressor is starting/running correctly.

    If the compressor comes on and stays on re: you should be able to feel it vibrating for lets say 15 minutes or so then your problem sounds like a sealed system problem.
    Re: it is a compressor problem or you are low on freon.
    The evaporator coils should develop a fairly even coating of frost not just on the area where the freon enters the coils.

    If this is he case then it is probably not worth fixing due to the cost.
    You need a pro and it will be expensive.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the input! When I say 'not running correctly', I'm hearing the constant hum of fans, but I only hear the compressor clicking on once in a great while.

    Nonetheless, the compressor itself is comfortably warm to the touch. If it wasn't running, would it be warm?

    What are the odds that I'm low on coolant after 18 years? Does this system have a low-pressure/low-R134a cutoff switch to protect the compressor in the event of a leak?

    I'm guessing yes - though I don't know where.
    Last edited by Subdermal; 03-01-2019 at 12:30 PM.

  4. #4
    If it wasn't running, would it be warm?
    Yes it could be, you should be able to feel it vibrating.

    What are the odds that I'm low on coolant after 18 years?
    I do not know the specific odds as this can happen to a fridge at any time but does increase with age.

    Does this system have a low-pressure/low-R134a cutoff switch to protect the compressor in the event of a leak?
    There is not a cut off switch

  5. #5
    Ok, so here's what I did (because this is an expensive fridge and I'm stubborn and handy).

    I bought a piercing valve, r134a and a guage. Sure enough, the guage read -15 - solid vacuum - before I sent the refrigerant into the system to get it to 3psi while compressor was running.

    Instant effect. System reanimated; freezer now down to 11˚ and fridge at 39˚.

    My only concern is why it took so much coolant to get to that value. Has to be leaking somewhere; it didn't quite hold onto that 3psi as the temps dropped (though wouldn't pressure drop slightly as colder temps take place?), so I think I may be slowly losing it somewhere. Going to probably have to run a UV dye through to find the issue, though my nose tells me that it's either the compressor itself or just outside of it.

    Maybe I'll see how long this goes with the existing charge. I've left the hose/guage attached to monitor it.
    Last edited by Subdermal; 03-04-2019 at 08:42 PM.

  6. #6
    This morning, the freezer is -2˚.

    But the guage is showing slight vacuum (~-2). Is that proof of a small leak, or does the pressure drop as the unit gets colder?

  7. #7
    Sorry but I do not know.

  8. #8
    Well, physics tells me that pressure will change as temperature changes; I just want to know what degree of change is expected and acceptable.

    If this continues to leak, it will eventually again stop cooling, at which point I have to decide whether or not to run down the leak to determine if it is in a repairable location, or run a new batch of r134a with leak stopper in there.

    I don't want to run leak stop unless it is a last resort.

    'Fridge is maintaining mid 30's, and below zero in the freezer.

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