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  1. #1
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    Noisy Kitchenaid Fridge

    Hi,
    I have a Kitchenaid fridge purchased in 1996. Model number is KTRP18KDWH07. This is the top freezer smallish 18cf unit, no icemaker or extras, just a fridge.

    In the past year it has developed a loud clunking noise every time the compressor shuts down. It used to do it only occasionally, and we pulled it out from the wall, cleaned under and inside it well (I took the back access panel off), and I also checked the rubber compressor mounts and anything else I could see under there, no problems and I can't see what's making the noise either, it's just 'there'. Sometimes it sounds like it's coming from around low in teh back by the compressor, other times (pushed against the wall) it sounds higher, almost mid-height and coming from behind someplace.

    Cleaning it well seemed to help a bit, but not for long. The clunking started again, and now it does it every time the unit shuts down, several times an hour. It's loud and makes two to four loud bangs or clunks. It definitely sounds like an unbalanced engine shutting down type noise, or how a car engine shakes and knocks after running on then dying. I again checked the rubber mounts the other day, the bolts are tight, but the compressor does seem to move a lot on the mounts. I can't see what it might be hitting if that was the problem tho. Shaking it by hand (while off and unplugged) I can duplicate the noise.

    We don't really have much money (none!) so I can't simply call a repairman to come diagnose this on speculation. My only alternative is to wait until something breaks (not a happy thought--and how long before something does! This isn't a very happy noise!!) or see if this is something I could fix somehow. I'm a capable wrench, I was a union millwright and auto mechanic, but I have no experience with refrigeration per se.

    Any guesses what this unbalanced clunking noise might be coming from? Thanx!
    mike

  2. #2
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    Unhappy Compressor problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Emkay 28

    Kitchenaid fridge model KTRP18KDWH07. it has developed a loud clunking noise every time the compressor shuts down.

    Any guesses what this unbalanced clunking noise might be coming from?
    Your symptom is usually caused by weak/broken internal suspension inside the compressor. The only way to repair it would be to replace the compressor ($$$) I'm afraid.

    It may continue to work in that condition for years but I suggest you start shopping for a new refrigerator as it will give up the ghost eventually (if not drive you crazy in the mean time).

    JMO

    Dan O.
    www.Appliance411.com
    The Appliance Information Site

    =D~~~~~~

  3. #3
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    Thanx Dan

    Thank you so much for your answer. I wasn't expecting much good news, nothing making that kind of noise is going to cure itself. If it was a car engine, I'd be thinking main bearings were ready to go or I was gonna throw a rod! LOL. But it is helpful to know what it probably is.

    Yes, it's driving us crazy, but I'll just have to wait until it breaks and worry about it then. We just won't stock up on too much food--hahaha!

    As a comment for anyone else coming on this thread, I did plenty of online research before finding this wonderful resource, and found hundreds of complaints about Kitchenaid refrigerators (because I was researching problems with that brand) and almost all had to do with ice makers or other issues (or poor service); only one person complained about a clunking noise that sounded like my problem, and they said a service man came out and claimed he 'didn't hear anything'. Their issue was never resolved or followed up on. So at least this doesn't seem to be one of the more common issues with this brand.

    And I at first mistakenly thought our fridge was much newer, perhaps only five or seven years old and was very disppointed to hear this noise. I was rather surprised when I pulled the paperwork to see it was going on thirteen years old. Still a disappointment to have a major appliance start failing at that 'young' age, considering our last one was over 30 years old and working fine, we only replaced it to get a more energy efficient model. But that seems to be the sad way of the world these days.

    Thank you again for the help and this great resource.
    mike k.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emkay 28
    If it was a car engine, I'd be thinking main bearings were ready to go or I was gonna throw a rod!
    A conventional refrigerator compressor is sort of a one-cylinder car engine but driven by an electric motor. All the workings are suspended inside the compressor 'dome' by springs to absorb operating vibrations. When those springs fail the internal components can make contact with the surrounding housing resulting the sound you hear. At start up or shut down there is the most torque and the most movement of the internal mechanism. A domestic refrigeration compressor is sealed and can not be repaired.

    So at least this doesn't seem to be one of the more common issues with this brand.
    KitchenAid (Whirlpool) doesn't make their own compressors (nor most of the subcomponents eg. motors, controls, switches, etc.). The same ones are used in other brands as well. All appliance makes can suffer the same failure and it has little to do with the actual appliance manufacturer.

    Even being handled roughly during initial transportation could have precipitated this eventual compressor failure, not to mention just normal variations in material or workmanship found in any man made product.

    I was rather surprised when I pulled the paperwork to see it was going on thirteen years old.
    Many consumers mis-estimate the age of their appliances. I have a service at my web site (see the following link) that allows them to date their major appliances accurately.

    LINK > Appliance Date Code Search

    Still a disappointment to have a major appliance start failing at that 'young' age, considering our last one was over 30 years old and working fine
    My last car was 20-years old but still working when I replaced it. I do not expect my new one to last that long.

    JFYI

    Dan O.
    www.Appliance411.com
    The Appliance Information Site

    =D~~~~~~
    Last edited by Dan O.; 01-14-2009 at 12:49 PM. Reason: spelling

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