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Whirlpool Refrigerator WRX988SIBM03 set temps not met, other...

dmm09

Premium Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
10
Location
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Model Number
WRX988SIBM03
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
1-5 years
Hello,

I have been searching this blog to help with my issues. I didn't realize there was a problem in the refrigerator section until milk went bad quicker than expected and some vegetables were freezing in the separated drawer. I was able to see ice coming through the cover of the refrigerator evaporator. I unplugged the refrigerator, removed all food from the fridge and freezer, removed all shelves and drawers from the fridge, and let things thaw until I could chip the ice off the evaporator cover.

I removed the evaporator cover and the entire thing was solid ice. I did some thawing and chipping away of ice until it was all was gone. I checked the drain to make sure it was clear by running water through it and watching the flow into the drip tray (had to remove a clog earlier this year which caused the freezer evap to ice over). Plugged the fridge in to see if it seemed like everything was working; fans, compressor, etc., and everything appeared normal.

Unplugged fridge, checked fridge evap thermistor continuity as advised in another blog thread and it was good. I relocated the aforementioned thermistor as directed in a service notice for this model fridge that I found in another blog thread. I ran a diagnostic, everything passed, and I visually and aurally checked what I could during the diagnostic. I checked the continuity of the evap damper and the floor/shelve that separates the main fridge from the drawer portion, and they both had continuity; however, I don't know what an appropriate measurement should be for each of those items.

I have everything reassembled minus the glass shelves and drawers inside the main fridge and have the fridge set to 39 F. The temp has not gone below 43.5 F without food in it over a few days. Is this normal or should it be at 39 F? I haven't checked the freezer since I wasn't having issues with it. I don't see ice accumulating anywhere where I can see through the vents in the fridge or freezer. I didn't check voltages since it didn't seem necessary due to the symptoms. Thanks in advance for your feedback.
 

rickgburton

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I did some thawing and chipping away of ice
Use a hair dryer to defrost the evaporator and make sure all the ice is gone, If you slip, while "chipping away" and put a hole in the evaporator, it's game over and Whirlpool won't cover it under warranty. If the frost builds up enough to stop the fan motor, it sometimes burns out. Check the fan is working OK. Make sure there is no air leaks around the evaporator cover.

Go back into service diagnostics and run service tests #1, #2 , and #3. Post the results here.
 

dmm09

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Use a hair dryer to defrost the evaporator and make sure all the ice is gone, If you slip, while "chipping away" and put a hole in the evaporator, it's game over and Whirlpool won't cover it under warranty. If the frost builds up enough to stop the fan motor, it sometimes burns out. Check the fan is working OK. Make sure there is no air leaks around the evaporator cover.

Go back into service diagnostics and run service tests #1, #2 , and #3. Post the results here.
Rick - everything you've suggested I completed prior to posting. Yes, I was very careful when chipping ice. To thaw the ice I started out letting it thaw at room temp to chip ice off the evap cover just to be able to take the cover off. I did a combo of room temp and a hair dryer to thaw the ice on the evaporator. I did verify the evap fan works multiple times. I just ran service tests 1 and 2 passed, and everything functioned as expected for 3. Will the fridge only cool to the set point when there's food inside, in other words, when there's a temperature differential? I did relocate the one thermistor per the service bulletin, could that be negatively effecting the temp? Thanks.
 

rickgburton

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could that be negatively effecting the temp?
No, it's basically for defrost. After defrosting and power restore, the machine needs 24 hours with very few door openings to stabilize the temperatures. If, after 24 hours, the machine still hasn't cooled enough, do this; Leave the machine plugged in and running, remove the evaporator cover and check the frost pattern on the coils, There should be a very, very light coat of white frost on all the coils, top to bottom. Post a pic if you're not sure.
Will the fridge only cool to the set point when there's food inside
All refrigerators should cool to their set point empty or full. Measure the temp from in the center of the fresh food compartment.
 

dmm09

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No, it's basically for defrost. After defrosting and power restore, the machine needs 24 hours with very few door openings to stabilize the temperatures. If, after 24 hours, the machine still hasn't cooled enough, do this; Leave the machine plugged in and running, remove the evaporator cover and check the frost pattern on the coils, There should be a very, very light coat of white frost on all the coils, top to bottom. Post a pic if you're not sure.

All refrigerators should cool to their set point empty or full. Measure the temp from in the center of the fresh food compartment.
Just removed the evap cover and there was no frost at all (see pic). Right after I removed the cover the evap fan turned on. After I closed the doors the compressor turned on. I bought specific fridge/freezer thermometers to better monitor the temps. Before removing the cover the temp was 42 F (set point at 39 F) with a recorded low temp of 37 F. The thermometers show real-time temp and record highest and lowest temp recorded. The freezer is currently at 5.4 F (set point at 2 F), low recorded temp of 0 F, high recorded temp of 12 F. I'll check back on the fridge evap to see if there's any light icing.
 

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rickgburton

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I think moving the thermistor solved the problem. Your temperatures are OK.
 

dmm09

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Between my last post with the pic and right now, I had checked the evap and there was the slightest hint of frost on the tubing. The temps in the fridge and freezer were much better when I just checked. Not sure why the freezer improved just because the cover on the fridge evap was removed. Probably just coincidence. The only thing I really couldn't check was the heater. I don't really understand what diagnostic test 6 is saying.
 

rickgburton

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Service Test - 6 is for the freezer evaporator defrost heater and defrost thermostat. Each test is displayed in the 2 digits of the dispenser user interface display. The test results are displayed in the 2 digits on the dispenser user interface display 2 seconds after the test number is displayed. An amber “Order Filter” light will be shown to designate that the test number is being displayed, and a red “Replace Filter” light will be shown to designate that the status of the test is being displayed. So you should see "06" and the amber "Order Filter LED then two seconds later you should see either "01" (defrost thermostat closed) or "02" (defrost thermostat open) along with the red "Replace Filter" LED. If the status is "01" the defrost heater should be on.
 

dmm09

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Ok, thanks, I understand that, but is it just a matter of chance that the heater will be on or off? This is what it says on the tech sheet: "NOTE: If bi-metal is open, it will need to be bypassed for heater to operate. Heater should be on. Display will be blank until a valid reading is displayed (01 = bi-metal closed, 02 = bi-metal open)." I ran the test again and it does say "01", so like you said, the heater is on.

Also, the shelf separating the main fridge compartment from the drawer, why does it have power going to it (see pictures)? I did a continuity check on it and got resistance, but not sure if it was an appropriate value. Thanks.
 

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rickgburton

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is it just a matter of chance that the heater will be on or off?
01= the defrost heater is powered. If it doesn't turn on, check it for continuity. 02= the defrost thermostat is open and power can't get to the heater. Bypass it to check if the heater works.
why does it have power going to it
That looks like the pantry thermistor. What's on the other end?
 

dmm09

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I don't know what's on the other end without opening up the shelf. This is the bottom of the shelf (pic). When I looked up the part number (W10537691) on the wire it says "heater".
 

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rickgburton

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Oh OK, it's the pantry heater.
Service Test - 73: Pantry Heater Status - Control the pantry heater by selecting SW3 (toggle between on and off) (01 = on, 02 = off).
 

dmm09

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Thanks. From what I could tell I could hear the heater turn on and off. I reassembled the fridge and when it got to its set temp I've started putting food back in. The fridge has been ok but the freezer doesn't seem to be. It was near it's set temp when I put some things inside. I checked it a few hours later and it was at 20 F (set at 1 F) and the small thing of ice cream was completely soft. I took everything out last night. I just checked and the temp is just under 4 F but it's set to 1 F. The freezer didn't seem to be having a problem when the issues with the fridge portion started. Does it sound like the freezer has a problem?
 

rickgburton

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Hmm... Next time the temperature climbs to 20° check if the compressor is running and the fans are running.
 

dmm09

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I think they were but I will verify. Temp in the freezer still hasn't read 1 F and it's been 24 hrs since it's been empty. Still sitting around 4 F. Thanks.
 

dmm09

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When I recently put items back in the freezer they were from the grocery store, so they were cold but not frozen, and I later caught the freezer temp at 20 F. Fast forward to this morning and the freezer temp was 3.6 F while empty and then I put some already frozen items into the freezer at 0830. The freezer isn't even half full. At 1230 the temp was 9.6 F and at 1430 it was 6.6 F.

The compressor and fan were on 2 out of the 3 times I've checked the freezer today. I was wondering if I messed up something when I changed service test 7: defrost mode selection to 02 (basic mode on 8 hour timer), but I noticed that only applies to the fridge. I am putting stuff back into the fridge but its nowhere near full and the temp ranges seem acceptable.
 
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