Forum Index => Refrigerator & Freezer Repair => Topic started by: rkinross on January 25, 2020, 03:09:25 PM

Title: Maytag rts17a freezer not cooling
Post by: rkinross on January 25, 2020, 03:09:25 PM
I am trying to trouble shoot my Maytag RTS17a freezer/fridge cooling problem.  This unit has the freezer on top and the fridge under and two separate doors to access each compartment.  The symptoms indicate the defrost cycle is not working correctly.  I am trying to check the defrost heater, defrost thermostat, and defrost timer.  I think these parts are under the freezer bottom shelf and would like to verify this.  There do not appear to be any screws holding the bottom down.  I also looked at the top of the fridge to see if they were accessible from underneath but it does not appear this will expose them.   Any tips on how to remove the panels to access these parts would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Maytag rts17a freezer not cooling
Post by: rkinross on January 26, 2020, 07:14:25 AM
Here is something I found on AppliancePartsPro written by Jon D. Altamont, KST: There was frost buildup on the floor of the freezer compartment, indicating the refrigerator was failing to self defrost. I manually cycled the defrost timer, which was located on the rear of the refrigerator. After about twenty minutes the compressor came back on, so the timer was working. I then unplugged the fridge. Removing the contents and manually defrosting the freezer was the most time consuming part of the project. I then removed the three screws through the metal plate between the freezer and refrigerator doors (one through the hinge, one on the side opposite the hinge, and the third on the underside of the plate). Gently pry the metal plate from the side opposite the hinge, disconnect the two wires, and slide the plate out from behind the hinge. The freezer floor can then be worked over the brackets that held the metal plate and pulled straight out of the freezer. Gently lift the slab of foam board off the evaporator coils (I had to do more defrosting before it would lift from the coils). Once these parts were removed, I was able to thoroughly defrost the coils using a hair dryer. After disconnecting the spade terminals at both ends of the heater, a quick check with an ohmmeter showed the defrost heater had failed. Remove the retaining clip from the middle of the heater and carefully lift the heater from the coils. Reverse the process to reassemble the refrigerator. 
Title: Re: Maytag rts17a freezer not cooling
Post by: rkinross on January 29, 2020, 07:18:23 AM

After following JonD's instructions, I was able to access the coils under the freezer floor.  There are 3 torx screws on the metal plate between the freezer and refrigerator doors.  Be careful removing them because they strip easily and are difficult to find replacements.  I had to use a screw extractor on one of them because it would not budge with the torx screw driver.  I also had to remove the 2 bolts on the hinge between the two doors.  This forces the removal of both doors.  Take pictures of the hinges because there are many parts like washers and pads that should be put back in their original positions.   

After the doors were off, I had to pry the plastic freezer floor up from the metal plate separating the freezer and fridge using a small flat blade screw driver.  This metal plate also holds the temperature controls for the fridge and freezer.  I did not have to disconnect any wires to slide the plastic floor straight out of the freezer once the lip was over the metal plate. 

Be careful removing the slab of foam off the evaporator coils.  It is very fragile after being in there 20 years.  There is also a metal sheet attached to the foam.  It needed to be hot glued back on because it was only attached in on place and I felt it would be more secure if all 4 corners were glued down to replace it correctly.

Once the coils are exposed the defrost heater is easy to remove.  There is a small clip over the center of the heater that lifts right out.  After removing it the heater lifts straight up and out with needle nose pliers along with a metal shield covering the glass heater.  I was told to wear latex gloves when handling this part because the salt and oil on your hands can damage the heater.  My heater was definitely defective because when checked with a multi meter the ohm value displayed was zero meaning the circuit was open. 

The new heater part had two spade connectors attached to it but I was only able to use one of them on the right.  The left connector was not able to use the spade because the connection to the thermostat was a permanent plastic connector that could not be separated.  I had to splice the two wires together (thermostat and heater wires) with a wire nut after stripping them of their insulation.   

I also had difficulty replacing the thermostat.  It would not pry out easily from the location where it was mounted.  The replacement part design has changed and there is no longer a flange that would fit on the right side of the thermostat and slide under the metal drip pan.  There are major coils on top of it and it presses into a metal drain at the base of the coils.  The new one would not go in easily and it is not as firmly inserted as the original because of the missing flange.

Re-installing the doors is definitely a two person job.  The center hinge on the doors has to be loose to allow the doors to slide onto the hinge.  After the doors are on, the hinge bolts can then be tightened.  If they were not loose, the door could not be placed on the hinge.