Home & Garden

Project: Fridge - Freon Gas Leak: Patching Coil & Topping up

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 10th, 2020 2:18 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga

Project: Fridge - Freon Gas Leak: Patching Coil & Topping up

Normal times, i would probably get a new fridge but my new germophobic self will not allow anyone in the house for a delivery. Next best option, embark on a totally unnecessary and time-consuming project to fix the fridge. I dont guarantee i will be able to finish this project but will give it a good shot.

Story: I have a Maytag MSD2652KES - french doors, counter-depth. I bought it used and this is a second fridge kept in the basement. Freezer side running warmer than expected. I opened the rear plate and noticed ice blocks on the evaporator coil area. Well the stupid (or normal) me decided to use screwdriver to remove the ice blocks and yes i punctured a hole in the coil. The R134a gas fizzled out.
Image

I reached out to many companies and sent them the picture. Many said they cannot do it, a few said they will charge a diagnostic fee to come have a look but would not tell me if they can fix an evaporator coil. Only 1 company said, they can fix it for $1100.

Now the project:
  1. Patch the hole in coil with Epoxy Bond
  2. Add an access port to the process line on the compressor for vaccum and top-up
  3. Replace the filter drier
    Thanks to @1chinaman for confirming this is a standard part
  4. Vaccum the line
  5. Top-up the R134a gas
  6. Fingers-crossed and/or pray to the gods.
Parts Purchased so far - $130 (+$110 for the torch - Will not factor that in the repair cost)
Rental for vacuum pump and manifold for 24h: $40
Parts not yet purchased Pictures to follow...
Last edited by winjones on Jun 10th, 2020 2:20 pm, edited 10 times in total.
21 replies
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
Part 2: I believe the issue why there was ice to begin with, is because the drain opening was clogged.
  1. Compressor looks good and voltage seems to match -
  2. Tested the Heater element and continuity test passed -
  3. Tested the defrost thermostat and closed circuit passed continuity test -
Useful Link/Videos

Last edited by winjones on May 10th, 2020 5:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
  • Step1: Bought the aluminum rod at princess auto and patched the hole.
1a) I light sanded with 400grit paper, cleaned with acetone and used the epoxy on top.probably an overkill, but since I already ordered it, might as well use it.
coil_hole.jpg
coil_soldered.jpg
coild_epoxy.jpg
  • Step 2: Change Filter Drier
    Used copper sanding grit to clean pipe.
    Removed nozzle in connector before brazing
old drier.jpg
new drier.jpg
  • Step 3: Add an access port to compressor
    Used copper sanding grit to clean pipe.
    Removed nozzle in connector before brazing
access port.jpg
*step 4: did a vacuum test by it failed. I could not get down to 500micron, despite leaving it to run for hours.

Bottom line time for a new fridge
Images
  • DA527371-9DEE-47E0-8FD4-E2C0F25FD59F.jpeg
  • EFDBAD57-2CC7-4C0A-9163-4F86A0AD4755.jpeg
  • B5317973-B44A-439A-82A5-4CE96EA4D8AD.jpeg
Last edited by winjones on Jun 10th, 2020 2:15 pm, edited 18 times in total.
Deal Addict
Dec 9, 2003
4925 posts
764 upvotes
Calgary
Epoxy bond wont work
I apologize for offending sensitivities of alt right, alt left, or anyone in the middle, for humor or perspectives, for my maturity and occasional errors. I apologize for misunderstandings on gender, religion, politics, race or deals.
Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2005
4986 posts
1369 upvotes
Kitchener
Nobody on RFD is gonna touch this one with a 100ft pole 🤣
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
Cough wrote: Epoxy bond wont work
And what would you suggest?
The feedback on the one i posted is quite good, but it may be DIY'ers likely myself.
Drthorne wrote: Nobody on RFD is gonna touch this one with a 100ft pole 🤣
I have no illusions, based on feedback of all the companies i reached out to. But if i can get a couple of years of extra life from the fridge/freezer, why not.
Maybe you can elaborate why it is such a bad idea.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
16032 posts
8894 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
winjones wrote: And what would you suggest?
The feedback on the one i posted is quite good, but it may be DIY'ers likely myself.
The problem may be with the cold but you are right, the feedback seems to be good but none of them seems to have any long term feedback. Since the R-134a is out of the system anyways, can you remove the whole coil and replace it with a new one? It would be the longer term solution.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
craftsman wrote: The problem may be with the cold but you are right, the feedback seems to be good but none of them seems to have any long term feedback. Since the R-134a is out of the system anyways, can you remove the whole coil and replace it with a new one? It would be the longer term solution.
Yes I looked into that. $250USD from US or $350-400 locally.
Update: You made me check Ebay again. Someone is selling the coil for $90. Maybe worth buy and keep in case the patch doesnt work.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
4264 posts
1503 upvotes
WFH
winjones wrote: And what would you suggest?
The feedback on the one i posted is quite good, but it may be DIY'ers likely myself.
I've had great success soldering light gauge aluminum with these:

https://www.harborfreight.com/8-piece-l ... 44810.html

They will bridge that hole no problem

You should be able to get away with a small butane torch and repair in place with suitable heat shielding. Just be careful not to melt the tubing.

I believe Princess Auto sell a similar product but not sure how well it works.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
dirtmover wrote: I've had great success soldering light gauge aluminum with these:

https://www.harborfreight.com/8-piece-l ... 44810.html

They will bridge that hole no problem

You should be able to get away with a small butane torch and repair in place with suitable heat shielding. Just be careful not to melt the tubing.

I believe Princess Auto sell a similar product but not sure how well it works.
Interesting, I read some horror stories on soldering aluminum. I didn’t dig into that further, thanks for sharing.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
16032 posts
8894 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
winjones wrote: Yes I looked into that. $250USD from US or $350-400 locally.
Update: You made me check Ebay again. Someone is selling the coil for $90. Maybe worth buy and keep in case the patch doesnt work.
Personally, I would go with the $90 coil replacement as plan A as you don't know how long the patch will last while a replacement coil should be leak free!
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
Ok -step 1 - soldered the aluminum
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
Update:
Changed filter drier and added access port.
Next step - vaccum and refill
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
Going to get a rental for vacuum pump.

I watched some videos online but found a few ways people vacuum the fridge. So what I understood:
  • Using manifold - blue pipe to compressor access port
  • yellow pipe to vacuum pipe.
  • red pipe - do i need to connect it? Not sure for what purpose.
  • Other question is how long to run the vacuum pump? I do not have a micron gauge
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
4264 posts
1503 upvotes
WFH
One other thing to consider is can you buy the refrigerant without a license?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
16038 posts
4871 upvotes
London
winjones wrote: Going to get a rental for vacuum pump.

I watched some videos online but found a few ways people vacuum the fridge. So what I understood:
  • Using manifold - blue pipe to compressor access port
  • yellow pipe to vacuum pipe.
  • red pipe - do i need to connect it? Not sure for what purpose.
  • Other question is how long to run the vacuum pump? I do not have a micron gauge

Uh, wouldn't
blue = low side = dryer connection
red = high side = compressor connection
yellow = vacuum or supply tank
?
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
l69norm wrote: Uh, wouldn't
blue = low side = dryer connection
red = high side = compressor connection
yellow = vacuum or supply tank
?
Gez, got it completely wrong. Going to review the videos again.
The one question pending is how long to run the vacuum pump. On one video, the guy says to let it run overnight. Really??
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
12130 posts
7010 upvotes
Markham
Since this is the 2nd basement/overflow fridge, I'd buy a cheap one and just replace it. I inherited a fridge and it was wonky and IMO not worth wasting good food gone bad or wasting a ton of time and buying stuff to fix it.
I replaced for like $350 for a cheap absolutely no frills Haier model. It's been running for over 10 yrs now with no issues.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Sr. Member
Jan 19, 2013
519 posts
305 upvotes
Ottawa
winjones wrote: Going to get a rental for vacuum pump.

I watched some videos online but found a few ways people vacuum the fridge. So what I understood:
  • Using manifold - blue pipe to compressor access port
  • yellow pipe to vacuum pipe.
  • red pipe - do i need to connect it? Not sure for what purpose.
  • Other question is how long to run the vacuum pump? I do not have a micron gauge
You have it right for hose connections.
Need a micron gauge to see how good of a vacuum you have.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Sep 12, 2013
144 posts
65 upvotes
Mississauga
1chinaman wrote: You have it right for hose connections.
Need a micron gauge to see how good of a vacuum you have.
Do you need to connect the red hose?
I may get vacuum and manifold for rent over the weekend. Can I simply run it for a day short of having a gauge? What is risk of running that long?

Top