Kenmore side-by-side...fridge side warm but freezer side fine

jpp816

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This first started about 2.5 months ago and a serviceman from Sears came out and looked at it and fixed it by accident basically. It was working when he left but he didn't replace anything and wasn't sure what he did to fix it.

Essentially, the fridge side will warm up to near 50 degrees and will stay there no matter what setting you put it on. The freezer side is fine and the compressor seems to run per normal.

It seems the issue could be with the vent in the wall between the fridge and freezer. When it is working right I can put my hand over the vent, jack up the fridge side to '7' and I can feel the cold air coming through the vent. When it's not working, the air flow and temp coming through the vent never changes no matter what you change the setting to.

I'm not sure if this is a problem with the control board or the vent piece itself. Has anyone heard of, or had a similar problem.

Model: 106.56549400

Thanks.
 

jeff1

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jpp816

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Jeff1,

Thanks. Any idea what could cause this (other than the diffuser or thermistor going bad)? This is the second time in about 3 months that it has happened, although prior to the first time we did notice the milk not being quite as cold in the morning on occasion, but it would always seem to resolve itself until late last October which is why we ended up calling Sears.
 

jpp816

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...Also, is there a substitute part that will work also, or do I need to get the Sears part? The closest Sears parts store is about 1.5 hour drive and they don't have it in stock anyway. If I could buy the part locally somewhere I would just get it and do it myself.

If not, I'm still within the 90 day period of the initial visit from Sears for this problem so they will come back at no additional "truck roll" fee, but it usually seems like you can't get an appointment for at least a week.
 

jpp816

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:) Oh, don't worry. I'm not going to let my fridge sit at 50 degrees 'til they finally decide to get to me. When I get home from work tonight I'm going to pop the diffuser off and make sure it's partially open and then disconnect it from the control panel so it can't open or close automatically. I'll just keep a thermometer in the fridge to make sure it doesn't get too cold.
 

jpp816

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szm200,

I just noticed it says you are from State College. I live in Bellefonte and work at PSU. Small world.

Believe it or not I actually got Sears to schedule an appointment for tomorrow. I think that must be a new record. Of course now I'm convinced they will attempt to charge me for the visit even though it's for the same problem within 90 days of the initial visit :) They have to drop the customer service ball somewhere along the way...it is Sears afterall.
 

szm200

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Oh I'm a graduate of PSU. I also work for PSU at the Whitehall Commons grad dorms. I do their refrigeration. They hired me to replace another servicer who just took way too long to fix something.
Good luck with your repair!
By
Rich
 

jpp816

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We'll see what happens I guess. I pulled the air diffuser off last night so I could look at it and the louvers are wide open but there is still no air coming through. When Sears was out two months ago, they did remove some ice off the very top of the coil but he said he didn't think that was a problem. 99% of the coil was ice free...just some way up at the top. Now my guess is (not knowing much about how these things work) that the ice that is forming at the top of the coil is restricting air flow behind that panel in the back of the freezer. If that's the case, then there's not much cold air being forced all the way to the top where the diffuser is. Does that make any sense?

Also, does anyone know what would cause ice to form just at the top of the coil? I would think if the auto defrost wasn't working the entire coil would be covered with ice?



Rich...I work for the Telecommunications Dept. out in USB2.
 

jpp816

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The guy from Sears came out yesterday and verified that the problem is indeed the fact that it is not defrosting. He believes it's the control board. He said he was unable to make it go into defrost mode and that the bi-metal rarely every goes bad so it's most likely the board.

Now comes the best part. Sears wants to charge me $300 for the part and another $168 for the labor to install it. That's nuts! First of all, I can get the part for $220 on Sears parts website. Second of all, I called around and talked to another place that can get the part for $165.

I'm being told by people that I could probaby swap the control board myself. How difficult is this? I work with electronics (network equipment, computers, etc, etc). It doesn't look all that bad.
 

Jake

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Ok, He believes its the control board? What kind of a tech. comes to your house and has the nerve to say: "He believes its the control board" without testing parts.

He should of ohmed out the defrost thermostat for continuity with an ohm meter while it was still frosty!!! shhhheeesssshhh. He also should of ohmed your defrost heater for continuity as well. If he would have done both tests, then he could confirm that its definitely the defrost control board thats bad!!!

I sure hope you didn't pay anything for that diagnostic BS he did.

It would be to your advantage to test these 2 parts yourself so you don't spend money on a control board you wouldn't need. To test these parts yourself, just take out your food from the freezer and open up that lower back inside freezer panel, and you will see that defrost thermostat mounted on the top of your evaporator coil, leave it in place and make sure its frosty when you test it for continuity, unplug your refrigerator first.:)

Here you can get the control board for $158 if it turns out to be the problem:
Electronic control

Here is the defrost thermostat you can order if its bad:
Defrost Thermostat


Jake
 

jpp816

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Jake,

Yes, basically he just did whatever sequence is in the paper behind the bottom panel of the fridge to try to put the defrost into test. The defrost would not come on. That's when he surmised that it must be the board because the bi-metal "rarely ever" goes bad. I gather that it's basically the shotgun method if fixing things for Sears. Limited troubleshooting and then they just start replacing stuff 'til they eventually replace the right thing and it starts working again.

He never even took the back panel off the freezer. You could see frost on the outside of the panel so that was good enough for him. When he left I actually took the panel off and manually defrosted the coils so we could at least use the fridge again.

Needless to say, I've already decided I'm never buying another appliance from Sears. My experience with their service has been terrible.
 

Jake

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Yes, it just surprises me how Sears can stay in the repair business with techs. that don't test parts anymore.

Now most techs. at Sears are very good and check/test parts throughly, we have a couple of good Sears techs. that come here and post from time to time.

Jake
 

jeff1

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...Also, is there a substitute part that will work also, or do I need to get the Sears part?
Nope...only the Whirlpool parts ( Sears makes nothing ).

He never even took the back panel off the freezer. You could see frost on the outside of the panel so that was good enough for him.
:eek:

Needless to say, I've already decided I'm never buying another appliance from Sears.
:)

jeff.
 

jpp816

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Ok...so I'm rehashing an old thread as I'm in need of some help again. I ended up buying the control board from repairclinic.com and installing it myself. All went well (can't beleive Sears charges that much for a 10 minute job). Anyway, after installing the new control board the freezer begain defrosting again like normal and everything went back to normal...until this week. Four months after replacing the control board my fridge is warm again and has the exact symptoms as before (freezer side is fine, fridge side is warm due to little if any air flow through the damper in fridge wall, frost visible on the outside of the panel in the rear of the freezer that covers the coils). It appears once again that the defrost is not working. What is going on and what do I do now? I'm not an appliance expert but I know enough about electronics that a control board shouldn't be going bad like this in a 3 year old fridge.

PLEASE HELP!
 

Jake

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Ok, when you put your hand over your air duct into your refrigerator section, you feel very little air coming out? Try to put pencil in your air duct to see if it opens the vents fully and if the air flow increases. If so, you will need a new air diffuser.

Oh, wait I see you have already replaced that in your earlier posts?

Jake
 

jpp816

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Jake...I haven't replaced the diffuser, but I have checked that it is indeed open. The freezer is definatley not defrosting. The coil is covered with ice and the back panel of the freezer has frost forming on it. I replaced the electonic control board in January per Sears and the defrost started working again but it only lasted about 4 months and now it's not defrosting again. I'm not sure if there is something going on somewhere else in the fridge that is causing the adaptive defrost control to die or what. Unfortunatley, the defrost control is on the electronic control board as opposed to being a seperate board so it's a $150-160 part. I'm on the verge of just buying another fridge I'm so frustrated. The Kenmore is only 3 years old and I've already put $300 in service calls/parts and now it's not working again. Sears is worthless. Since it's been 4 months instead of 3 since it broke last, it doesn't matter that it's the same problem...they want paid. Their service stinks! It will be the last time I purchase anything major from them
 

Jake

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Sorry about the trouble your having with it and Sears.

Lots of members have had good results when they go back to the Sears store where they bought it from and talk to the store manager, Lots of times the store manager will give them a credit of something along that line for another new refrigerator or pay all or half of the bill.

Jake
 
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