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I would like to replace the power cord of an Electrolux refrigerator. Besides the compressor (HTK70AA) there is a small black plastic cover that needs to be removed to access the electrical connections (see page 2 of the linked datasheet, it is simply labeled as "Cover"). The cover needs to be slid out of its place, but unfortunately the process stub (the small sealed 3rd tube protruding out of the compressor) is in the way. I think the cover cannot be removed in any other way without breaking.

How can I bend the stub out of its place? I do not want to crush or break it. It appears to be made of steel and copper welded together, and the end of the copper part clamped.

  • I guess if I would start bending it at the copper part, the steel part wouldn't move much because it's harder, and I would only end up breaking the weld.
  • Bending at the steel part could work, but then I would have to either grab it with pliers (and risk crushing it), or start hammering it from the downside to bend it upwards (which again can crush or break the tube).
  • Maybe I could just grab the steel part with my fingers and try bending, but again I was afraid on ruining the tube and thus the compressor.

EDIT: The refrigerator is an Electrolux ERF2404FOW. Here is a photo about the situation:

service cover blocked by process stub

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    There's almost certainly a trick to this. Model # of refrigerator? – manassehkatz Apr 5 at 13:34
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    Yeah, they probably wouldn't design it to require bending. (I'd cut the cover before I bent anything.) Photos, please. – isherwood Apr 5 at 13:45
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    Remove or loosen a couple of the motor fixings and tip it enough to take off the cover... carefully though... done that before. – Solar Mike Apr 5 at 14:42
  • I updated my post with the model no. and a picture. Unfortunately the cover is fixed onto the motor housing so it does not help if I unfix the motor. – szali Apr 5 at 17:23
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Okay so the process stub is the location of where vacuum is pulled and the refrigerant is pumped in. The stub is then pinched off tight enough to seal it and then the line is cut and brazed. The copper is very flexible. The braze is stronger than the copper. The weak point is the steel-copper joint.

If you must bend it, do so at the copper portion. I personally would cut around it depending on what the condition of the joints looked like and the age of the unit. Copper work-hardens and the vibration of compressor and pressure changes from cycling is enough to harden the copper.

With all that in mind bending it and kinking it is not a concern because it no longer has any use.

Edit

enter image description here

Guangdong

As you can see here the stub is intact on replacement compressors. What happens is the suction and discharge lines are connected and the stub is used to pull vacuum, leak check and charge the system. It's then pinched off very tightly, the line is cut and pinched again at the tip and welded shut using silver phosphorus (SilFos). At that point it's a totally useless vestigial appendage. As long as it doesn't crack open, you could bend it over out of the way. Again the weak point is the connection at the compressor where the copper is fused to the steel. Disturbing any part of the refrigeration system is ill advised but as a last resort it is acceptable. It could result in a leak at which point you buy a new refrigerator because repairs on a refrigerator compressor are stupid expensive and likely to fail prematurely.

  • I'm not sure I follow your last sentence. Wouldn't a kink potentially result in a vacuum leak? – isherwood Apr 5 at 15:57
  • The stub is already kinked close to the steel joint of the compressor housing. When they charge the system, they use that line and then pinch it off with a high pressure clamp. Then as a backup the cut off stub is brazed closed. So kinking and bending is okay as long as a hole doesn't develop. Which is totally possible so I'd only do that as a absolute last resort. – Joe Fala Apr 5 at 16:04
  • Thanks! It may be a stupid question, but where exactly is the joint between the copper and the steel? I am very sure that the motor housing is steel and the end of the stub is of course copper but the beginning of the stub is painted black, is that part copper or steel? In other words, is the steel-copper joint at the motor housing or halfway on the stub? (see the photo in my question) + the fridge is about 4 years old – szali Apr 5 at 17:29
  • On yours it looks like the conection is right at the compressor. You should be able to hold it at the painted section and bend it away without any problem. – Joe Fala Apr 5 at 17:35
  • Thanks, I will try and then post the results! – szali Apr 5 at 17:45
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Given the risk mentioned in other answers and comments, I would play it safe and splice the wire a few inches away from the box. Probably a good idea to put in some form of clamp to the floor or frame of the freezer to provide strain relief.

  • An electrical junction needs to be in some sort of protected environment. Splicing wires and leaving them in the air, even if clamped to the fridge doesn't strike me as being particularly safe nor, would I think, meeting electrical code. – FreeMan Apr 5 at 20:08
  • If you are in the space under the fridge, that's a pretty protected environment. Making the same connection as a splice in the cord outside the fridge would be fine, why does the hazard change if it's underneath. – Sherwood Botsford Apr 5 at 21:23
  • I think this is hard to do while complying to the code (at least here in Hungary), but could work if the stub could not be bent, with some considerations. The refrigerator's downside counts as an occasionally wet environment so you have to ensure that water does not condense on the connections. Soldering a cord is definitely not allowed, using Wago-like connectors is the only solution but then you have to place it in a watertight box that protects it from moisture. – szali Apr 10 at 7:52
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From your photo, it looks like the terminal board & cover are held on by a tab on the compressor that goes through a slot in the terminal board unit:

enter image description here

If you can get in there with some heavy pliers, you may be able to bend those tabs back straight and pull the whole unit off the compressor. Once it's off you should have plenty (for some values of "plenty") of room to maneuver that box around to get the cover off of it. Note: There is likely another tab/slot like this on the other side of the terminal board unit - you'd have to straighten that tab out, too.

Some linesman's pliers would probably do the trick to straighten that tab out:

enter image description here Source: Wikipedia

Once you've got a new cord in place, replace the unit and bend the tabs back again.

  • The cover is mounted on the compressor so unfortunately it does not help if I take the whole compressor off. – szali Apr 10 at 7:51

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