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Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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Is it worth replacing my refrigerator's compressor?

The compressor in my inexpensive, simple GE fridge is about to fail. It’s a GTS18FB and the R134a compressor is DC57C84RCU6.

I’m confident it’s the compressor. I have previously replaced the startup capacitor and fixed this fridge. I could play audio for you and you’d hear it—a big clank when it starts up, a loud whirring while it’s running, and a clank when it shuts off. It’s still cooling fine though, so I have days / weeks to fix it.

It’s straightforward to access and has extra room, so I think just about any compressor would fit in there.

This is one that might work.

 What’s the budget way to do that? I called a random local shop and they said $900, but I feel like it’s just an hour or two of work for someone with the tools.

This refrigerator only cost $600 new, but I’m totally willing to spend up to (and maybe a little above that) to fix it. It would be more of a pain to get rid of this and buy a new one, get it to the house, etc. than to just swap the compressor.

Should I buy the tools and learn how to do it myself?

Related rant: why in the world are refrigerator compressor lines brazed in place? Couldn’t they use removable connectors like auto compressors have? Come on people, this is a mechanical failure part. The lifespan of a refrigerator shouldn’t be limited to the life of the compressor.

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I would buy a new fridge. You can buy a brand new quality brand 600 to 700 dollars with a warranty. It doesn't make financial sense to repair it

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Fair enough. But I really like this fridge! If it's the same price to fix this or replace it, I'd fix it.


It's up to you. But in my opinion I would replace it. It will need to buy a propane torch, a set of decent ac gauges and they run around 150 dollars. You can buy R134A in a small can for around 15 to 20 dollars each for 12 ounces. You will need a can tap and oil for the system. You need to verify that it didn't send metal fragments into the system so you will need to flush it and weld in an inline filter. So you will be in it for a little more than 600 dollar compressor and you also need to take in your labor. Good luck with with which choice you make.


Hi @kyle ,

It might depend on your location, but in a lot of jurisdictions the environmental regulations regarding the handling of refrigerant gases require that a licenced repairer is used when working on a refrigerator's, air conditioner's etc sealed system of which the compressor is a part.

How old is the refrigerator?

According to the user manual there is a 5 year warranty on the sealed system which includes the compressor, but not the labour


It's a R134A system which he stated in the question and he is not required to recycle or have a license to service or repair the sealed system in the United states. You can buy the refrigerant off the shelf in Walmart or any parts store.



I wrongly assumed that since the USA has also signed an international agreement back in 2015 to limit the usage of R-134A by 85% by 2036 because of its' impact on the atmosphere that it would also have some restrictions in place by now as it is here and other places.

The reason I guess that it hasn't, is that two USA companies successfully appealed in the USA Federal court against the USA EPA's R-134A usage reduction implementation timetable on the basis that it would make them uncompetitive against their two main USA rivals who don't use R-134A.

It seems to be on the backburner since. Not to worry about the atmosphere then


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Looks like the compressor part cost $467.00

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Yeah. That's a lot! :sobs: Maybe I should go down to the dump and pull some compressors off fridges there. But I'd need a refrigerant capture system.


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Most refrigerators have a limited warranty on the sealed system. Kenmore Elite is 10 years. You should first contact the manufacturer of the refrigerator to check your warranty.

Most compressor jobs cost between $800–$1200 depending on the cost of parts.

In the US you MUST be registered with your state and hold an EPA certificate to enter a sealed system. Unless you are qualified, certified and registered, you should not attemp to do the repairs yourself

Refrigerators and vehicles have different systems and are not repaired the same.

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Kyle Wiens will be eternally grateful.
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