SubZero question and thanks

dottyinduncanAugust 2, 2012

Firstly, I'd like to thank the posters to this forum for pointing me in the right direction to get help with my SZ fridge. It's great to have such a resourse available. Now, my problem: My SZ511 (30 inch wide fridge with freezer drawer below) is now 17 years old. It is built in with wood panels on the doors. It has been running constantly for quite some time and the 1st repairman wrote across it "Not worth repairing". Thanks to this forum, I called SZ customer care and was directed to another repairman, their official rep. He came this morning and told me there is a leak in the evaporator and because the refrigerant R12 is no longer allowed in Canada, they would have to replace the evaporator, compressor, etc., etc., and the bill would be around $2,000. To purchase a new model here to fit in the space would cost $11,000 plus the wood panels don't fit so we would have to get new panels made and of course pay the cost of installation. Add another $800.

So, it seems that the best bet would be to repair the existing fridge but I thought I would ask: is there anything else that might fail, or something I should worry about?

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That price for a 30" subzero ($11K) seems very high to me. We are getting a 48" panel ready one for a good bit less than that - so maybe you should shop around. I have never owned one before so I can't comment on fixing a 17 year old one.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:52PM
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I would get the old one fixed. Being 17 years old it wont have computer boards and other fancy electronics that sometimes fail in these newer fridges.

With a new compressor, Evaporator and condenser, You have "In effect" a brand new Fridge. Not many things left that can go wrong with it (big things anyway).


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:28PM
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An appliance of that age is probably getting to the point of nearing the time of replacement in my opinion. While SZ fridges can run for a very long time, 17 years is getting old. The new fridges are remarkably more energy efficient (mine runs on the energy of a 40w lightbulb). And upside to the new one is that it'll come with a 12 year warranty. 11k is way over what it should cost. I recently bought a 36inch side by side for 8k new. The 30inch over under should run about 6700 for a panel ready one. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 7:03PM
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That is a tough decision. I would do some more research and see if you can get a better price for a new unit.

My 27 year old Sub Zero 501 R is frosting up inside and my repair quote was just over $1000.00. My unit still has freon which must be recovered which added to the repair estimate.

We decided that it's time to replace our beloved 501 R. The new BI 36 R will be installed next week- I paid $5200 for the new panel ready refrigerator. For an additional $1200 my cabinet company will custom mill and stain a wood panel that will match my existing cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:20PM
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I appreciate the responses. Unfortunately, I am in Canada and the list price is $9750 plus tax of 11%. I have a contractor's price of $8350 plus tax but I don't think I can do any better. You guys kill me with your price options! I am still torn about spending a whole lot of $$$ on a 17 year old fridge. I am awaiting the itemized quote before I decide. It is super though having you guys chime in. Gives me some intelligent questions to ask.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:43AM
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Well, "CRS" kicked in when I made my earlier post.

I had forgot that SZ uses 2 compressors, 2 condensers 2 Evaporators, One set for the Fridge compartment and another set for the Freezer compartment.

So there is "Always the chance" that after replacing these components for the Fridge compartment, that in the "Not Too Distant future", you could have an "Encore Performance" for the freezer---just another reason why I'm not a fan of double compressor fridges.

Based on the above info, I would pass on repairing the old one.

At the very least I would want to know the make and
model number of the compressor they are they going to install---I think that's a "resonable question"---would you put a new Transmission or Engine in your car without knowing anything about it?

That way, we can get an idea about the efficiency of the replacement system.
My guess would be that it will be an "Embraco Compressor" (Owned by Whirlpool Corp) probably the same model as used in many other fridges (cept for the price) but we will never know unless you can get the info about the replacement parts--also How long are they warranted and is that (Just the parts), not the labor?

Sorry about my earlier post, I had "Head Surgery" yesterday, and maybe they hit the brain, instead of just the scalp?

Anyway good Luck on your pending decisions!!!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 8:23AM
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I just had the same issue with my Sub Zero 511. Mine was made in 1989, so it is 23 years old. I was faced with the same dilemma, since it is built into my tiny Manhattan kitchen. I chose to repair mine - the refrigerator evaporator was replaced, the R12 was evacuated and recovered, and the refrigerator sealed system was filled with a new refrigerant. This was a hard decision, since it was $2175 to have it done. But, given that the rest of the unit is in great shape and that the sealed system in the freezer very rarely fails, I took a chance on the repair. The least expensive replacement in this area was $5,200 for a Liebherr, or another Sub Zero was over $7,000. I have a three year warranty on the repair, so I rolled the dice. Best of luck to you, Dotty.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I am still awaiting the quotation for repair and meanwhile, cross your fingers, the fridge is still keeping things cold. I am a little confused by the 2 compressor comments in this thread. My first repairman told me there is only one that services both fridge and freezer???? I'll make more inquiries and the new sub zero authorized repairman hasn't commented.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 12:35AM
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I googled the model number for your fridge, and according to the info I found, It said "The 2 compressors are cooled by one fan.

Most all the SZ's I have heard of (Fridge/Freezer,) all have 2 separate cooling systems:
IE a compressor/condenser/evaporator for the fridge)and (compressor/condenser/evaporator for the freezer).

I have seen posts here in Garden Web where both systems (The one for the fridge and the one for the freezer had to be replaced---We certainly hope yours is not one of those, should you decide to repair yours!


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Thats How That Repair Would Look Like

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 4:25PM
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Thanks a lot for posting that video, MaratAppliance.

What is that copper bulbous looking object that repair person is installing at bottom of fridge? (in the middle of the video)

I wonder if common, large foot-print refrigerators in the $1-3K range are as maintainable as this video would indicate for a sub-zero? The repair looks relatively easy for a person with the tools and the skills.

Hmm... I wonder a Miele can be repaired in a similar way? Or if wholly different for this component swap?

Thanks again for posting. It's informative. :)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 6:19PM
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