Liebherr frost problems in fridge compartment?

wwu123February 1, 2010

I've called Liebherr customer service, and am awaiting a call back, but wanted to check if anyone here recognizes the issue I'm having.

I have the 36" CS2062, it's the freestanding version of the integrated HCS2062, I think they are mechanically and structurally the same except for a few features. It's been performing just fine during the 13 months we've owned it. However, today I noticed a loud mechanical buzzing sound from the fridge, it sounds like a circulation motor behind the upper center part of the fridge (there's a circular opening on the back wall right there). When I open the fridge, the whirring slows down to a clacking and then down to a stop, which I think reaffirms it is a fan motor.

As I looked more closely, I noticed the entire back wall is layered up with a thin frost, as you'd see in the freezer compartment of those small dorm fridges or the old freezers from 30 years ago (before autodefrost). I've never noticed this before, so I don't know if it's normally like this, or whether it's very recent. But the frost is thicker up near the top (about 1/3"), though mostly fine crystals that I can scrape off by hand. I suspect the fan motor noise is because there is ice built-up on the fan blades or assembly that is impeding the rotation.

Has anyone seen this problem or noticed if ice/frost normally there on the back wall of the fridge? I've never seen frost in the fridge compartment of any refrigerator I've owned. I have the fridge set to the factory 38 deg, and the freezer set at 2 deg (vs the factory 0 deg).

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Liebherr uses passive cooling. The frost build-up is completely normal. Dealers really need to let consumers know about this. Freaked me out too, when I first noticed it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 6:53PM
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wwu123, please update on your 36" CS2062 issue.
i've been considering this model for my new kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 4:17PM
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The Liebherr service first said they'd send out a kit in two days to the nearby serviceperson. I was surprised that they seemed to know exactly what to order.

After another half-hour, the thwacking from the motor was getting really loud, so I called back to ask if there was anything I could do to save the motor from destroying itself and needing even more parts. The same guy said the kit is for a temperature control variation that they sometimes see. It doesn't seem to include a new motor, so he suggested I set the temperature from 38 to 40. It was coming and going last night. I raised it still further to 42, and the noise is gone so far today.

I'll report back when the repairman comes.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Finally posting a follow-up on my service experience since the repair happened yesterday.

First, as you can infer from my last post, the repair kit didn't come in two days, or anything near that. Which kind of summarizes my impression of Liebherr's responsiveness to the customer. After four days I called, and they said the kit was backordered, which is understandable, but shouldn't they have called me to let me know? And then they said it would be about a week backorder, when actually it was a month. And I asked if there was a case number associated with my problem, so that I could call back and reference my warranty claim, and they said they don't have any - so basically I have no idea if there's even any record of my problem.

Thankfully their terseness was likely because they were confident in exactly the problem and how to fix it. But from my side it was hard to tell if they were working on my problem, especially since no one here seems to have ever had it.

But finally when the local service contractor came with the kit, I think it was clear there was a well understood repair. The kit was packaged specifically with two large control boards, a new-design plastic vent cover, and a very specific piece of styrofoam. Also by this point, the thin layer of frost on back was a solid sheet of thick ice, and the tech not only spent most of the repair time melting it with a hairdryer to get the shelves out, but also knew there was a huge dam of ice behind the wall (and was causing the original fan clacking) that needed to be melted as well. Sans the hairdryer, the actual parts replacements probably were a 15-minute task.

The fridge seems to be working fine again (actually after turning the temp up as a workaround it has been fine and without noise). All yesterday it was making louder vibrating noises than before, but the tech had assured it was the SuperCool and SuperFrost turned on to chill it back down quickly after all the hairdrying. Sure enough, today it is nearly silent again.

Interestingly both before and after the repair, to try to understand the problem, I realized using an infrared thermometer that the actual temperature is no where near the setpoints. As example, with the fridge set at 38 and freezer at 0, what I mostly read is 44 in the fridge, -5 in the upper freezer, and -2 in the lower freezer. But I suspect that's just what the variability across a large fridge volume tends to be.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Just checking in again to ask what others see on the back wall of their 36" Liebherr in the fridge compartment. It's been about 5 months since the repair kit was put in, and the unit has been working well. There continued to be a thin light buildup of frost on the back wall, but I assumed that was what a normally functioning unit is supposed to be.

The last week or so, the back wall appears to be going through some sort of defrost cycle. Half the frost is melting into water that is settling on the upper two shelves, but the top of the back wall is free of frost. The remaining frost seems to have melted but refrozen into some solid clear ice on the lower part of the back wall. For example some plastic tubs of sour cream and yogurt are held fast to the refrozen ice.

What does your back wall look like? Are the horizontal air slats frosted or icy? Does the frost/ice completely block the lower slats?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:02PM
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I have had nothing but problems with the freezer in less than two years. I have heard from others the same thing - freezer in the Liebherr is terrible: ice maker doesn't work, ice forms in freezer and temperature jumps up, alarms goes off, and so forth. I have a service technician coming tomorrow. If I had to do over again...they don't seem to stand by their products. I feel they should replace mine. We'll see. And GOOD LUCK with yours.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 4:55PM
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This is all very interesting and sort of scary! I thought for sure a few weeks ago I had found the perfect fridge - the Liebherr 48 inch with biofresh, which is about 2/3 fridge and 1/3 freezer. I had been asking myself why someone else doesn't make this configuration - we will have a secondary freezer in the laundry so just need ice and the basics in the kitchen.

Since then I have seen a number of posts about the Liebherr which concern me! I had been trying to avoid the SZ 736 and freezer drawers (for price and space reasons) but now I find myself leaning that way again.

Anyone happy with their Liebherr 48"?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 5:40PM
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Whoo boy! I'm starting to wonder, do I just have a lemon, or is there a systematic issue with this model?

Basically I realized the melting frost and water was because the fridge compartment was not cold, it was only cooling to 60 deg for about two weeks, everything was spoiling. Suddenly it improved somewhat, it's been down at 45 deg now, but I have it set at 36, the lowest you can set.

I called Liebherr warranty service a few weeks ago, and the service guys came today. They opened the fridge and immediately said "Oh, man", then they called Jerry at Liebherr (not good when the manufacturer rep is on speed dial). The conversation on this end went like:
"I've never seen one this bad"
"At least 2-3 inches thick all over the back"
"The fan case is all icing up"
"No we can't"
"We don't have a truck that big, you'll have to do it"
And then afterwards to me: "They'll call you"

I expect Liebherr will call and say they're going to swap it out for another one.

I love how this fridge looks and how it functions when it works, but it's worrying me that it's not just a dud (which would be understandable) but systematic flaws. The previous frost repair had a very specific manufacturer service kit (W020110) ordered after a one-minute phone diagnosis. This time the service guy didn't even need to diagnose it, there was nothing he could do. Which all says they know exactly what the problem is, which says others must have had the problem.

On the other hand I've had none of the other problems reported here. My ice maker is fine, my freezer has never had problems, my model does not have self-close doors anyway so that's not an issue....

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:44PM
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I have had numerous problems and so many different engineers trying to solve the problem and was nearly at my wits end and to make it worse the company that liebherr use to contract their work out to had gone into administration here in the uk no one wanted to touch the bl.... thing in the end got lucky when a colleague at work gave me the contact details of a company who use to work for the manufacturer in the london area they came out and found that their was a fault with one of the connections which they rectified they also informed me that liebherr machines are known to be difficult appliances to work on to say the least i will not be purchasing one of these ever again.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 4:46AM
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As you can see from my post a few years ago, I am a Liebherr owner who would NEVER recommend this brand to anyone. Ice maker still does not work. Hasn't since I purchased the dud and all Liebherr does is continue to send replacement parts that continue not to work.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:23PM
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I cannot even get a service person to come. There was only one dealer around here who carried the brand but stopped because of service problems. I wouldn't recommend it either.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:48AM
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I have printed out a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly(seasonal) household checklist...haha...My leibherr has its own. Check the drain, check the back for frost buildup and any packaging touching, check the back stop strips, etc.

One thing i do that may help excessive frost buildup is they way foods are stored? I was storing tortillas and some dry goods like cornmeal and flour at the very top but that may have restricted air flow, not sure. I also have been using the supercool feature when filling up straight from a market stock-up. Especially a farmers market. I do cool homemade stocks in an ice bath, but finish cooling in the fridge overnight before freezing. Same with the freezer. Using superfrost when putting in stocks and unfrozen meats and soups.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 8:22AM
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As the original poster I should update that soon after the last repair visit failed to address the problem, Liebherr willingly swapped out the unit for a new one based on the lemon law, as there'd already been three or four attempts to address the same problem. The new one has not had any frost at all in back - I know it was not due to us placing stuff in back as our fridge is only half full usually.

I did pay the difference to upgrade to the HCS2062 for self-closing doors, but due to the way the center door seals were preinstalled unevenly, I have one self-close door and one that just gets stuck ajar - not sure if this is worse than the CS2062, where a light elbow shove will swing the door closed. Anyway I didn't want any more repair visits so we've just lived with it. The right door seal is coming apart now, so when I order new ones I'll try to install them evenly.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Thanks for the up-date. Service calls are so frustrating. You got a lemon. Nice to hear they made good, sort of. A shame about the door closing. Even with our troubles it does actually perform well. Temp is consistent and even in both compartments. Produce is expensive and this is our first fridge that has not had any loss due to inconsistent cold/hot spots. My old Norge was 'sexy' for its time and the envy of the neighborhood but did have random increase/decrease in temp that ruined tender greens. I'm in the habit now of using the 'super cool' on weekends in the Leibherr fridge compartment when we open and close more often and do alot of cooking.
Our old KitchenAid in the basement still kicks along but nothing tender can be anywhere near the back. Kale and collards are hearty and near frost proof, but salad and baby spinach will never be stored down there. I'm always fussing with the temp by micro mm, barely moving it.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:06AM
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