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Thread: Old Recently Restored 1949 Westinghouse Refrigerator loud compressor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
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    Old Recently Restored 1949 Westinghouse Refrigerator loud compressor

    Hello everyone, I am brand new to the site and hope I don't get booted right off the hop as it specifically states this forum is for home owner questions and discussions, no pricing and no DIY. No DIY??? Im not sure what that means...the entire purpose of a forum dedicated to home owners would be for questions and discussions the home owner has with regard to equipment owned by the home owner so that he/she may install or fix it themselves. Hence DIY. So I apologize if I am breaking the rules already but this post is intended to help me diagnose and fix the problem myself, otherwise this forum is useless.

    I have recently restored a 1949 Westinghouse refrigerator that I received from a neighbour downsizing. They told me it worked last they had it running. There was no way to confirm this as when I got it the wires were torn from the compressor. So I continued with the restoration, finished, figured out the wiring of the compressor, plugged it in and boom, she fired right up. Within minutes the ice box was ice cold, walls of the refrigerator were cold, all good signs to someone who doesn't do this work for a living. Here's the problem, right from the get go the compressor running was loud, not a loud hum, not a low hum, just loud, no other way to describe it. So I continued to monitor its progress. Shot the temperature laser at back of fridge cover, was around 30 degrees celcius. I have a power meter that plugs into the wall and then the refrigerator plugged into it. I tells me the input voltage, amps, watts, etc. and everything seems to be within spec except maybe the amp draw. After about 20-30 min the compressor shuts off, but not off like it stops running more like the sound when an electric motor is trying to run but gets jammed, sort of a humming noise. I know my way around a tool box so I knew at this point best to unplug it. I tried it again the next day. Same thing.

    Here's what common sense tells me. The compressor is wired correctly and starts to function as it should. There is at least some refrigerant in it as the freezer box and fridge walls get ice cold almost immediately. I did test the thermostat out simply by turning it to the off position and the compressor did shut off. It restarted when I turned thermo back to a cooling setting. This is a 1949 refrigerator, there is no condenser or evaporator or fans just the compressor with high pressure line running to the coils up the back of the fridge and the low pressure line to the thermostat. This low pressure line does get joined with another line from a small 3 inch cylindrical shape part attached at the base of the back cover and it to runs to the thermostat. Sort of looks like a filter. The back cover is also where high pressure line/coil run. I would post pics but am no allowed at this point. Here are the specs on the back of the fridge.

    Model: MSD-7
    Style: H-63351
    Refrigeration Unit Specs:
    Model: MR-860
    Style: H-51198
    Volts: 110
    Refrigerant: 15ozs of F-12 (not R-12, F-12) Im assuming the F stands for Freon (which I know is a brand name)
    Cycles: 60
    Amps: 3
    200 Test Pressure

    Here are the wiring resistance specs:
    Start to common: 14.3 ohms
    Start to run: 17.4 ohms
    Common to run: 3.5 ohms

    Specs from power meter:
    Input voltage: 121v
    Amps: 4.4 (not sure if this is OK since tag on back of fridge says 3 amps)
    It also has peak wattage and lowest wattage but can't recall what they were

    So to sum up, my question is, could the compressor be low on oil and is it OK to add oil thru a piercing valve method the same as you would if you needed refrigerant? This is my only hypothesis so please let me know of other possible reasons the compressor is so loud and then has the electric motor jam up (I think) inside after about 20 min or so. Please remember 1949 unit. Sorry for such a long post but I try and provide as much info as possible to avoid unnecessary correspondence back and forth about specs. Thanks in advance for any insight.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    East Concord, NY
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    NO DIY.

    If there is no oil/refrigerant leak you dont need to add oil. The compressor is probably bad from wear due to sheer age and being knocked around in countless moves. F-12 is aka R-12. It is still available. Also, the fridge should NOT get cold immediately. That tells me it's low on the Freezone. The evaporator is probably rotted out.
    Nest is POO!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    New England
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    If the tag says 3 amps. FLA and your running 4.4 amps ( if your meter is accurate ) for the compressor only and that does not include any fans such as a evaporator fan added in ( as an example ) IMO the compressor is overamping, not a good situation.

    I’d be curious what type of relay you have, if it’s the original, I think hot wire relays where common back then? We use to have a kit that you plugged into a wall outlet ( we made it using minimum components ) that hooked up directly to the compressor that bypasses all the existing wiring and relay to check operation of compressor. Course if it still draws 4.4 amp. and it’s rated at 3 amp. Well that’s still not good.
    Last edited by Bazooka Joe; 08-12-2022 at 08:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Athens, Ohio
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    OP, if you bothered to click on the "NO DIY" or read the conditions of posting, you would find the explanation.

    Since you chose to complain about it rather than examine it, I'll quote it here for you - "Please understand that there must be limitations to the type of and extent of the advice that is given here. We will attempt to avoid any types of advice that could be dangerous or that might require special licensing or certifications. As you may know; there are laws that regulate certain materials and aspects of the HVAC industry, and in those cases or cases where we feel safety is of concern, we will give you an honest and sincere recommendation to retain the services of a licensed professional. There is a listing of professionals in our advertising section to assist you in finding qualified personnel to resolve your issues."
    ********* High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization

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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    In a land far, far away
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    Actually, this forum exists for industry professionals. But homeowners are welcome guests, and we're happy to help in many ways, just not DIY or anything that could be potentially dangerous or illegal.

    F-12 is R-12; the F is for Freon when Dupont had a monopoly on it. Later on, R-12 was produced under many other brand names besides Freon.

    I will tell you that you don't lose oil unless you have a refrigerant leak, and it sounds like that is not the case. You could have some of the oil oil out in the lines, especially if the machine was tilted over, but it should find it's way back to the compressor.

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  8. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Mount Holly, NC
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    Two problems here...
    This isn't the appliance forum. Nor is it the refrigeration forum.
    Second problem is asking a specific DIY question and complaining that the forum you are visiting won't offer diy advice when it is stated up front that it will not.

    Our site may not be as worthless to you as you at first assume though.

    The main feature we offer to homeowners is honest professional advice on homeowner situations that we have zero financial advantage to steer you wrong.
    This site is populated with true professional members with businesses of their own. We KNOW what we are doing, and we pay dearly to maintain that business.

    If you have questions about your home, and equipment performing poorly, or advice on which way to lean on proposals or even how to understand what a tech is telling you, we can offer great help there.

    Bit we aren't at you house. We aren't watching you, or anybody else who might be reading your posts, that might not understand the important safety skills needed to stay alive during a repair.

    For that reason and others...

    This site cannot give out DIY training


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