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FIXED KRSC503ESS00 KitchenAid Refrigerator - No ice until you open and close door - Intermittent

HCH

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
7
Location
PA
Model Number
KRSC503ESS00
Brand
KitchenAid
Age
1-5 years
I have a Kitchenaid KRSC503ESS00 that is about 18 months old. I purchased it from a big box store as a return that had a DOA icemaker replaced - I probably should have known better. By and large, we love this fridge, but our affection has started to want after the 1-year mark in ownership when we started having problems with (you guessed it) the icemaker. :rolleyes: We use a lot of ice, I'd say we go through the whole bucket every 4 days or so, so the problem certainly isn't related to disuse.

The symptom was that when a glass is pressed on the ICE pad, the ice door will open, but no ice is dispensed - the auger never spins. We found out quite by accident that if you open the freezer door - even an inch - and then close it again, the ice dispenser acts normally. This was intermittent - most of the time, it worked just fine. Because it was a low-priority problem, I let it go a couple of months before I got around to looking at it.

I pulled the tech sheet and ran through every single diagnostic, with each one passing EXCEPT #48 - Ice Bucket Detection Switch. It reported "02", meaning Ice Bucket is present, regardless of whether or not the bucket was actually there. "Ah Ha!" says I - "I got you now!" Then, I read the rest of the note on that diagnostic on the tech sheet: "Note: In case of Sankyo IM with no switch present, the display will always show "2" (Ice Bucket present even if the bucket is removed/absent)"

Well, a quick glance at the ice unit, and it is indeed a Sankyo. PLUS - if the problem was a shorted switch and it was reporting that the bucket was always there, it shouldn't result in the dispenser not working. THAT symptom should only happen if the problem was a continuously open switch that reported the bucket missing even if it was in fact, there. This was not my situation, so I continued on.

I finished the diagnostics, admitted momentary defeat and put it all back together (making sure to give the ice bucket area a good cleaning. Frost/shaved ice tends to get into the groves there making the bucket bind and not latch correctly). To my surprise, for the next week or so, the ice maker worked every single time. My elation was short-lived, however as the symptom returned and remained intermittent for a couple of more months.

Then....things got worse (don't they always). It stopped making ice. I tried resetting it (I'm a computer tech by trade and rebooting fixes a lot of things) and checking the simple things like a frozen fill pipe (no), bound up ice tray (no), failed motion gear on the tray unit (no). So we lived with this for a couple of weeks buying bags of ice and filling the bucket manually (and continuing to see the intermittent "no dispensing" problem). During this time, I noticed that the LED lights under the ice dispenser started flickering on occasion - uh oh, not good. None of the LED lights in the interior flickered or acted incorrectly.

Yesterday, I carved out the time to take another crack at this. I went though all of the diagnostics again, and like before every one passed except my old friend #48. It reported code 02 regardless of whether the ice bucket was in place or not. I pulled the rear cover and took a very careful look at the control board. I could detect nothing out of place, or any evidence of something getting hotter than it should. I read about wires breaking at the point they entered the bottom of the freezer door, so I took a very careful look at those, too. There are two bundles of wires, one in a woven sheath, and one bundle inside of a harder (but still flexible) plastic sheath. There was some cracking of that harder plastic sheath, but I couldn't see any broken wires. Also, moving both of these bundles separately back and forth a bit didn't cause any symptoms or flicking of the LEDs under the ice dispenser. It doesn't look like there is any way to get a good visual on those wires with cutting the sheath. For now, I decided NOT to do that.

Having not made any discoveries that pointed to a failed part, I cleaned the ice bucket area again and put it back together. To my (somewhat lesser) surprise, it started making ice again and has been slowly filling the bucket ever since. The intermittent problem with the dispenser is still there (still cured by opening and closing the freezer door) and the flickering LEDs below the dispenser is still there.

So I haven't broken out my voltmeter yet, but I think that is in my future. The open/close door cure seemed to point to a bad open/close switch, BUT with the door open, I can push that switch and let it go 100 times and the little "your door is open" red light comes on every time in the panel. That makes me think it is not the door switch. Which makes me think it's potentially a control board. I don't think it's a bad wire at the bottom of the freezer door because moving those bundles around did not make things better or worse, or in fact produce any symptoms at all. I'd like to get a clearer diagnosis before dropping $ on a control board.

What would you recommend as the next step in troubleshooting this?
 
Last edited:

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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It doesn't look like there is any way to get a good visual on those wires with cutting the sheath. For now, I decided NOT to do that.
Cut that sheath(black wire harness loom) to see if the wires are frayed or cut underneath it.:)

This is the problem child model that the wires get CUT under the freezer door. :eek:

(Click to enlarge)
cut wires.jpg

Lots of members have found frayed and broken wires causing the ice maker/and or auger motor to be dead. Remove your bottom kickplate grille, Remove the black wire harness loom too, broken wires can be underneath it.

Another member was having a similar problem here: FIXED: GSF26C4EXY02 Whirlpool Gold Ice Maker Problem Look at his post #6 he found frayed and broken wires underneath the freezer door, remove your kickplate and check for that first.

Here's another one with the same thing about the frayed and broken wires: FIXED: 106.51173310 Kenmore elite ice maker not working - no led light

Here's another: FIXED: Whirlpool WSF26C2EXF01 Door Icemaker Not Working

Let us know what you find.

Jake
 

HCH

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Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
7
Location
PA
Ok, I'll do that and report back -thank you! I found one of those posts that talked about frayed wires, and I wondered at the time if I was the lucky recipient of a bad-design.
 

Jake

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Yes, this has been a very common problem on these KitchenAid and Whirlpool side by side refrigerators.

Jake
 

HCH

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Messages
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Location
PA
Ok - had a chance to take it apart again today. I carefully removed the sheathing from both bundles of wires at the bottom of the freezer door. There are no frayed or broken wires that I can see. I did pull back the bit of loom you can still see on the door end and all wires look good. On the bottom bundle near the refrigerator end, they are covered with electrical tape adhesive, but I did spread them apart to get a look at each wire there and they all look good as well. High-res pic below.

What would be the next step in troubleshooting this?
 

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Jake

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Ok, I really don't know what would cause this problem, its way too intermittent.

I would be guessing at this point and I don't want to have you throw parts at it you may not need, you see what I mean?

From what you said here:
The symptom was that when a glass is pressed on the ICE pad, the ice door will open, but no ice is dispensed - the auger never spins. We found out quite by accident that if you open the freezer door - even an inch - and then close it again, the ice dispenser acts normally. This was intermittent - most of the time, it worked just fine. Because it was a low-priority problem, I let it go a couple of months before I got around to looking at it.
You may want to check the door switch and see if its closing properly when the door is closed when it acts up again.

Unplug the refrigerator and ohm test the refrigerator door switch.

Here's the freezer door switch for your model:
Door Switch W11396033


There are two videos in the part link, one shows you how to remove it, the other shows you how to ohm test it. Ohm test both door switches.

Jake
 

HCH

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I noted in my original post that:'

" The open/close door cure seemed to point to a bad open/close switch, BUT with the door open, I can push that switch and let it go 100 times and the little "your door is open" red light comes on every time in the panel. "

This would seem to rule out the door switch, but I might be wrong about that - would you agree?
 

Jake

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Yes, then the door switch is good.

Its best to have a authorized KitchenAid tech come out when problems are intermittent like this. That way he or she can call the factory on the tech. hot line phone number from your house and the factory will tell the tech what to check.

You can contact KitchenAid at 1-800-422-1230

Jake
 

HCH

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Hello Jake - I'm sorry for the delay in response. Well, against your advice, I decided to replace the door switches anyway before giving up and calling for a tech. I checked your linked part and it seems correct. I now have two of these in my possession. I started on the freezer door since that is the door involved in this melee. Removing the switch did NOT go as planned. Having watched the happy little video on that site, I could see that there was a clip on one side (confirmed by looking at the new switch as well), and that the wiring connector would pull out with the switch - easy enough, yeah? Well, no. My switch is on the top of the freezer, not on the side, like in the video, so there was much less room to work. After quite a bit of wrestling, I got the switch our just far enough that the clip was no longer holding it. No amount of wiggling or twisting would bring it further. Finally, since I had a new switch now, I decided employ pliers and pry way harder even if it broke the existing switch. This ultimately caused the switch casing to separate from the part of the switch with the connector, which then allowed me to see that the connector was in fact NOT free to come out with the switch. It appears to be completely encased in the foam insulation. After much effort, I was able to get the body of the switch removed, leaving the wiring harness connector. I've taken a picture of the "hole" so you can see:
20200710_112126.jpg


Here is a picture of the switch I removed, after having reassembled it:
20200710_112207.jpg


and here is a picture of the new switch:
20200710_112807.jpg


As you can see, the spacing of the connectors is different, which means either I ordered the wrong part, or I'm the victim of post-manufacture standardization. If I google EMB604, the part number on the original switch, I get listings for switches with both spacing examples, so it looks like the two types are mixed up and using the same part number. Awesome.

So some questions:
  • If I cut away (somehow, through that tiny hole) the insulation, do you think I'll be able to pull out that connector (somehow, without damaging the connection bits) enough to connect a new switch? It looks like the foam insulation was sprayed in after the connection was in place...or something like that.
  • Is there an alternative model of the switch I can order with the correct connector spacing? This one appears to have the correct spacing...
  • I'm loathe to give up and call a repairtech until I can tell them "I replaced the door switch and it didn't help" - haha. Something tells me I'm heading for a bloody logic board, but I'm not ready to concede yet.
 

Jake

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That's very odd, I'm getting conflicting part numbers on that door switch.

Yes, you are correct, that one would be:
Door Switch WP4387911


Did you ohm test it per this video:

Jake
 
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HCH

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Yep, tested it with my VOM. Both the normally-open and normally-closed terminals "pass", as I figured, unfortunately. At least this way, when I DO call the repair tech, they won't have to do that troubleshooting (if they believe me and trust my quality of work!). I have ordered the correct switch now.

I am going to try and cut away enough of that foam insulation to bring the darned connector through the hole and into the open where I can connect it to the new switch when I get it. No use re-using the old switch at this point. I sure hope the wires aren't anchored up there somehow, and I don't relish the reinsertion, either. Yet another example of an installation that is easy during manufacture, but NOT targeted at additional repair.
 

Jake

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That's very odd, you shouldn't have to cut away at that hole, never seen anything like that before.

Yes, its best to get a tech to come out at this point.

Jake
 

HCH

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I did have to cut away at the foam insulation surrounding the connector. I used a sharp probe with a right angle at the end and just whittled away at it until the connector was free. Of course, that was only half the battle. After several failed attempts, I managed to get the new switch installed.

The cavity into which it fits does not have any extra room for wires, and once the connector was pulled through the hole, I couldn't push the wires back any, so I had to coil them to get them out of the way. There is no room to work there at all, so this was quite a struggle, and in the end, the switch flange doesn't quite mate flush with the plastic - there is maybe a 32nd of an inch gap, but there is no way to change that since the top of the switch is hitting the top of the case.

I think the switch was clearly never intended to be dismounted after the refrigerator was assembled. Don't know what they were thinking with that design. Anyway, it's in and I'm on day #10 and the problems appear to be solved. Huzzah. The old switch that was removed STILL tests good, but something about it was apparently bad. I have no idea what. I'll take the win, though. I appreciate the guidance.
 

Jake

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Yes, that's one for the record books. Just when you think you've seen it all. LOL

Good job staying persistent with it and fixing it.(y)

Thanks for the update!

Jake
 
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