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Older Whirlpool ET8CHMXKB05 fridge. Evaporator fan randomly stops, can consistently make it start by banging on underside of "control panel?"

ghuey

Premium Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
4
Location
32579
Model Number
ET8CHMXKB05
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
More than 10 years
Will try to be concise, but part of this is being filtered through observations of very non technical elderly woman, my mom.

About a year ago the fridge stopped cooling. Remove freezer back panel and coils were frozen over. She called a repairman and he replaced defrost timer. Worked for about three weeks then same problem. Me being upset that she was ripped off I bought a second timer and replaced it just to make sure since that seemed to be the usual culprit. After replacing timer a second time the fridge function normally for months.

Now new issue, the fridge stops cooling as well, but NO build up of ice on coils like previously. After much bad information I was able to listen and watch and realized the evaporator fan was never running when this would happen. Her fix would be to unplug the whole thing, plug it back in and it would work for a few days. I finally caught this and on a whim gently slapped the underside of the freezer in the refrigerator section where the time and other parts reside and the fan immediately started running and stopped as normal when it reached temperature. It will go about a day where the fan will automatically come then suddenly it just stops and banging on the underside will make it go again. Obviously this is no good if she leaves the house for more than a day. She also claims this only happens when the ice maker is turned on, but I don't see how that is related or even possible.

I am not clear on exactly what starts the fan to begin with. There is a thermostat on the coil that I believe initiates a defrost, but I assume there has to be some secondary thermostat that simply regulates when the evaporator fan turns on to push cold air down into the refrigerator section? Banging on the underside to make the fan come on has to be an indication of something. Also note that banging on it when the unit is cold enough will NOT turn on the fan, it only works when the fan should have been running to begin with.

Thanks for everyone's time. This fridge is going to be the death of me.
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
4,365
Location
Ontario, Canada
gently slapped the underside of the freezer in the refrigerator section where the time and other parts reside and the fan immediately started running and stopped as normal when it reached temperature.

The thermostat (behind the knob you turn to set the temperature) turns on both freezer and condenser fans, as well as the compressor when it senses the temperature rising. Old thermostats can develop 'sticking' contacts from age and use. Require a jarring to activate it at times is a common sign of that.

If all fans and the compressor start running after the jarring, the thermostat likely needs to be replaced.

Unfortunately the thermostat on your model (part # WP2200859) appears to be discontinued by the manufacturer and is NLA. You might be able to search for a vendor that still have some stock on hand.

I did find quite a few of that thermostat number available at the following link. They have got to be a aftermarket replacement parts so if you try one, hopefully it will function ok.

LINK > WP2200859 Thermostat


Dan O.
 

ghuey

Premium Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
4
Location
32579
Fantastic! Thank you for your help as always. I will report back after swapping it out. Hope this will be the last piece for a while.
 

ghuey

Premium Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
4
Location
32579
I have about given up on this thing. I ordered a new thermostat and thought I had resolved the original problem. The issue now is that the fan in the freezer NEVER shuts off now and everything in the bottom refrigerator portion also freezes due to the constant blowing of air down from the freezer. Not only that but the ice maker quit working even though I know it is good. I put a meter on the dial and it does appear to trip when I set it to off, but I am not sure about the actual piece that appears to be the thermostat and not sure how to test that. Either way, changing the dial settings appear to do nothing and the freezer fan runs 24/7. There is no ice buildup in the

Not sure what else to try. I have vacuumed the coils, I have replaced defrost timer, defrost thermostat, and now the thermostat in the control panel section.

I hate to toss this thing since it definitely still cools and compressor seems to be working great. Any other hail mary ideas would be appreciated.
 

Dan O.

Appliance Tech
Staff member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
4,365
Location
Ontario, Canada
Was the fridge fully assembled again after the thermostat was installed? All covers, etc. must be in place for the refrigerator to function properly.

If the thermostat never cycles off on any setting (besides OFF) and the temperature is cold enough, the thermostat is not functioning properly. If it was not damaged during installation, you should ask the seller about a warranty replacement.

Unfortunately failures of new parts can occur, more so with aftermarket parts and why we recommend OEM (original manufacturer parts) whenever possible. Unfortunately, your thermostat is no longer available from the manufacture so it is either try an aftermarket or look for a new refrigerator.

ghuey said:
I am not sure about the actual piece that appears to be the thermostat and not sure how to test that.

If you're referring to the thermostat bulb, it is an integral part of the thermostat. It can not be tested. It is however a tube, not a wire. If it was crimped during installation, it will not function correctly and would likely need to be replaced again. That tubing can be bent but not so tightly as to crimp and collapse the tubing.


ghuey said:
Not only that but the ice maker quit working even though I know it is good.

As long as the freezer is cold enough, that has nothing to do with the thermostat. All the thermostat does is turn the cooling on and off. Make sure the icemaker fill tube hasn't frozen closed which can happen after prolonged non-use or excessively cold freezer temperatures.


Dan O.
 

ghuey

Premium Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
4
Location
32579
Was the fridge fully assembled again after the thermostat was installed? All covers, etc. must be in place for the refrigerator to function properly.

Most certainly. I have had this thing apart too many times. Originally there was an issue with the defrosting. I repair shop came out and replaced the timer for $70. It still did not work. I bought a second timer from Amazon and this seemed to resolve the issue when just a few weeks later this new issue started.

Below is the cheap aftermarket thermostat that I purchased. Sounds like I should try it again. I noticed that it was tube, and was very careful with it as I assumed it played a role in detecting the temperature as it is blown down into the refrigerator section. It is not crimped, but it does not seem like it is working.

amazon.com/gp/product/B077JFG7BJ

Thank you for your confirmation. I will will order another one and try again. Will update when I know more.
 
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