Problem with 4 yr old Whirlpool Refridgerator

I have a @ 4 yr old top freezer Whirlpool fridge that just quit cooling?? The compressor was starting to run continuously and the lower fridge compartment was barely able to stay at about 43 F. The top freezer compartment could no longer make or keep ice cubes...... I thought it might be the defroster heater that went out but when I took the back panel off the freezer compartment there was absolutly no ice build up on the coils?? I did remove the bottom grill and the coils at the bottom were pretty clogged with lint so cleaned them up as good as we could but still wouldn't work?? The little collector pan at the bottom was empty and dry also.... Any ideas?? Steve
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off, airflow over inside and outside coils is good, compressor is running, and doors seal tightly, then you likely have low refrigerant charge or a bad compressor. While you are checking, be sure the drain(s) for the condesate water from the inside coil to the drain pan is/are not clogged.
Don Young
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On Sun, 11 Jan 2009 17:44:25 -0800, Steve wrote:

Last summer my 4 yr old whirlpool refrigerator acted just like you described. Cost me $175.00 for a repairman to replace a relay called "compressor starter." Simple unplug relay, cut tie-wrap, plug relay, fit a new tie wrap to secure replacement relay. Note: a replacement kit, "compressor starter kit" can be had for about $35.00 at the following site:
http://www.appliancepartspros.com (I am just using their site as example, there are other sites that sell discount appliance parts.)
Of course the knowledge of what to replace, the house call, and 15 minutes time of the technician was included in the repair cost. Repair guy told me a "Whirlpool? Always put one of those starter kits in the truck. Common failure after 4-5 years."
Anyway, go to the above link, search the database for your model, you can get to a parts drawing for your freezer. Left side, scroll down past about 5 or 6 drawings until you get to the compressor and cooling unit parts drawing. On my unit, it was a white plastic relay under a cover which was tie-wrapped to the compressor. Getting access to compressor and compressor starter relay is more of a hassle than actual replacement of relay.
Usual disclaimer, My experience may have nothing to do with your freezer's fault. My comments are solely based on your posting and no other diagnostics. Free advise is sometimes worth exactly what you paid for it.
HTH Phil
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Awesome reply! Thank you so much! I was checking out a few troubleshooting sites last night and one sort of mentioned the possibility of the "compressor starter." I unplugged the fridge and when I plugged it back in and opened the door of the lower compartment I could hear a tick-tick-tick- sound and apparently that is a clue that the relay may not be working. $35 is alot better than $250 for a new compressor unit!!! I was wondering how I could access the starter relay but your reply was a great help! Thanks! Steve
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wrote:

You did not mention the "I could hear a tick-tick-tick- sound and apparently that is a clue that the relay may not be working. "
in your initial post.
I concur that the starter unit is all you need.
--
Colbyt
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Well thank you as well! That only confirms the diagnosis....... Steve
I did order the part from that appliancepartspros.com place but something sort of curious about it was they had the relay for about $20 if you had already replaced the part in the past but if the part you were replacing was original you had to get one that cost about $38??? So that is the one the sales guy said that I needed..... Hope I got the right part.....
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Steve:
You got the correct replacement "part."
I put the word part in quotations because I think what you purchased was a kit. A third party aftermarket kit, not OEM which you would have to order directly from Whirlpool.
Aside: In this specific case (household consumer appliance from Whirlpool Corporation) there is no evidence I know of that suggests OEM replacement would be a better choice over 3rd party aftermarket even with OEM replacement part being more expensive.
The OEM kit is more than just the relay solenoid and contacts. The OEM will only sell the unified KIT assembly since it makes factory assembly faster and economically a better choice. As With any relay kit or assembly, the most common failure is the relay contacts burning out due to arcing. (Have you had recent utility power problems? Brownout, blackout, several quick interruptions of power in a row?)
From what you posted, I deduce that in the future, your after-market replacement part can itself be repaired by just replacing the sub-part of the kit which is just the relay solenoid and contacts, which is just the $20.00 part.
So, if your neighborhood is subject to ice storms, power blackouts, whatever, then it becomes your choice: $20.00 spare relay sitting on a shelf in your basement for a few of years, or another $200.00 or so of frozen foods.
I hope the kit fixes your freezer. If it does...well then your choice on spending $20.00.
Phil
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How will hard start kit help a fridge which "The compressor was starting to run continuously and the lower fridge compartment was barely able to stay at about 43 F. "
The compressor is already running. The symptoms indicate a problem geting worse, and worse.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Jan 13, 8:08am, "Stormin Mormon"

I kind of thought the same thing myself and I wondered if someone would pick up on that too. I know I said the "compressor was running continuously" but after thinking more about it, I don't think it was the actual compressor running? I know there are a couple air moving fans that run to help the air circulation and it may have just been those fans I was hearing?? It didn't really sound like the normal fridge running sound. It was not as loud as usual. Sorry that I made that confusing statement about "the compressor running......"
Steve
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Thanks again! That's what I was hoping to hear back about the "kit." As for the power interuptions, we did have quite a few bad electrical and wind storms which knocked out the power many times in the 4+ years we've had this fridge. I just find it curious that it would decide to go out now in the dead of winter when we have had no power outages for the last 4 or 5 months??
Steve
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If the compressor is running "continuously", you don't need a hard start kit.
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On Tue, 13 Jan 2009 09:06:26 -0500, Stormin Mormon wrote:

You obviously don't believe this, but with Whirlpool appliances, the compressor making a "noise" does not necessarily mean the refrigeration gas is actually getting cold. Only after the repair tech replaced my relay kit a while back was I aware of the difference between the cooling unit making a noise and actual proper operating sounds; difference is very subtle. There is also no very quite "Tic..Tic..Tic" as Steve reported.
Steve always has the option: replace the Kit, or call a service tech. His choice, but the gamble of a $38.00 plus shipping charges sounds like a good bet. BTW: Whirlpool doesn't have a way for homeowners to recharge the refrigeration gas.
Phil
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I am posting this based on limited experience with this subject. I responded as I did based on the clicking sounds.
The interior fans and the evap fans are running hence the noise. That is not the compressor but it is noise from the general area of the compressor. a definitive test would be to place your hand on the compressor and see if it is running. You can feel it and it will warm, hot if low on Freon.
The clicking sound is the start capacitor trying to start the unit.
If it has never been replaced the more expensive plug in part is the right choice.
If like my unit it was replaced with a generic unit where the wires were cut and wire nutted together the cheaper part might be the right choice.
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Update: Installed the starter relay overload this weekend (the part was back ordered for several weeks) and lo and behold the fridge works again!! Thanks to all who contributed information! Steve
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From what you describe, the fridge is low on freon.
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