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WRV986FDEM01 Whirlpool refrigerator: Warm temps and water/ice buildup on bottom tray

frogdude13

Premium Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
20
Location
USA
Model Number
WRV986FDEM01
Brand
Whirlpool
Age
1-5 years
Hello,

The temperature in my refrigerator has been inconsistent for quite a while and any advice for a fix would be appreciated.

Current issue / status:
  1. Temps this morning in the refrigerator are between 41-44 degrees. It's been getting warmer over the past several days. It's set for the refrigerator to be 33 Fahrenheit and -5 for the freezer.
  2. Air is blowing out of the fan at the top of the refrigerator. However, the air coming out isn't always cold.
  3. Air blowing into the ice maker box in the refrigerator feels cold (when it's blowing). The ice maker is completely empty now since the ice that wasn't used last week has melted away and no new ice has been made.
  4. Bottom freezer isn't as much of an issue but it is warmer than it should be. Some food has slightly soft, partially defrosted though. The freezer doesn't get opened as often which may be the reason for it warming up more slowly.

Background:
  1. The evaporator motor was replaced in December and the warm temp and restart issues went away. That ordeal and the fix are described in the following thread: "WRV986FDEM01 Whirlpool: Too warm & frequent restart w/ PO error"
  2. Over the past week, the ice started melting (or maybe just started melting much faster?!) and I found a pool of water and ice at the bottom of the refrigerator under the bottom drawers. The attached photo shows the chunks of ice that I chipped off of the bottom of the refrigerator after soaking up the pool of water with towels. This water and ice collection has happened multiple times including before the evaporator fan motor was replaced. I suspect it's been slowly collecting for quite a while since I don't notice until it starts filling up.
  3. The diagnostic tests haven't shown anything that is sending a red flag for me. It's possible that I'm not reading it correctly or running the right tests though. The "39 RC(Refrigerator) Evap Thermistor" test mentioned by Jake in the thread linked above returns a 01 (pass) result.
  4. Restarting the refrigerator has helped. I've done this after I find that the refrigerator isn't getting colder. Sometimes I unplug/replug it then come back and find that nothing improved. Repeating the process eventually works though.
Any advice would be appreciated! I'm hoping that this won't require tearing the refrigerator apart again though. :)

Chris
 

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Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Ok, you've got 2 problems. The main control board is bad, that's why when you unplug the refrigerator, then plug it back in it works good again.

Here's the main control board for your model you can order:
whirlpool-cntrl-elec-wpw10675033-ap6023728_01_m.jpg


Here's the video:


The second problem is that water and ice build-up. It sounds like the defrost drain is clogged up, which makes that defrost drain water go into your drain pan underneath the refrigerator. You will need to pull the refrigerator out from the wall, and remove that drain tube extension and check for clogs in it.

Here's the video that shows you how to remove and replace that drain tube extension:

If its not clogged, then its likely clogged from the inside. Run HOT WATER down the drain hole and it should run down fast through that drain tube extension and into your drain pan.

Jake
 

frogdude13

Premium Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
20
Location
USA
Thank you for always being so quick to reply. OUCH - that's an expensive part though.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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McMullen Valley, Arizona
Yes, I know, but at least you won't have to keep unplugging it and plugging it back in to fix it. :)

That's the problem with control boards vs mechanical controls, control boards can fail on a dime, where as mechanical controls last 30 years and are not affected by power surges/power spikes.

I always recommend whole home surge protectors, Surges do damage by hunting for earth ground destructively via appliances. A surge connected to earth by a 'whole house' protector doesn't go hunting for earth destructive via any appliance.

My whole home surge protector is outside where the main electric meter and breaker box are located, it sends the surge directly to earth ground outside before it comes into the house.

Here's the whole home surge protector my electrician installed on my house: Stabl-Power Series 1

Find a licensed electrician in your area to install this for you, then you don't have to worry about buying new control boards every couple or few years.:)

Jake
 

frogdude13

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Oct 1, 2020
Messages
20
Location
USA
Hi Jake,

Good suggestion. I have an update on the issue that I think will impact your recommended fix (not taking away from the idea of getting a surge protector though).

Over the last ~2-days, the refrigerator has not been able to get very cold at any point. My comment earlier about it being better after restarting might have been an anomaly, possibly after I screwed up some of the states while running tests so doing a complete reboot fixed it.

Right now, the refrigerator temp is at about 46 Fahrenheit. I've been trying to restart yesterday and today but it hasn't ever made much or maybe not any difference. The fan running into the ice box right now, but not into the refrigerator. I don't think there's a problem with the fan though because it's usually running and I can feel a reasonably strong stream of air into the refrigerator most of the time. The problem is that the air flow just doesn't feel as cold as I would think it should be (although not as easy to measure as the temp for the whole refrigerator).

Thoughts?
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
The fan in the refrigerator(FRESH FOOD) section should be running too.:)

You will need to access the fan and look at the evaporator coil and take a photo of it too and upload it here, also to check for frost build-up on the evaporator coil.

Click the link to the fan motor below and you will see a video of HOW TO access it.

Here's the FRESH FOOD EVAPORATOR FAN MOTOR for your model:
Evaporator Fan Motor W11087438


Jake
 

frogdude13

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Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
20
Location
USA
Hi Jake,

Thanks again for the advice. I did replace the part that you mentioned and it solved our biggest issues but this refrigerator seems to always have some problems.

Background on what I found and am seeing now:
  • By Friday night, our refrigerator was up to ~60 F. The freezer was staying frozen although it might've been just maintaining since it doesn't get opened as often.
  • On Saturday evening, I replaced the fan motor that you suggested. There was a huge ice buildup again, similar to the first time that I replaced it in December. As you can see in the photo, there was no way any air could've blown through it. I used a hair dryer to defrost before I took the old fan out and put the new part in.
  • Since replacing the fan, the refrigerator temp has been down to about 37 F after the door stays closed for a while (warmer than the 34 in the settings, but still good).

Current issues:
  1. Freezer is too warm. The settings are for -5 F, but food that's been added to the freezer over the last couple days is not completely freezing. For example, there is some bread in there that is still somewhat soft.
  2. Still no ice in the ice box. Water out of the dispenser is cold again though.

Do you have any thoughts to share for investigating the current issues?

Chris
 

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Jake

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Is the freezer fan running? Open the freezer door and listen.

Is there frost build-up on the back panel inside the freezer? Remove some items from the freezer to see better when you are looking at that back panel inside the freezer.

Jake
 

frogdude13

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I definitely hear the fan but the airflow feels very light when I put my arm toward the vent holes on the back wall. The airflow is so weak that if I wasn't trying to find it I might not notice it at all. I don't see a frost buildup.
 

Jake

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Ok, you will need to remove the back panel inside the freezer and see if the evaporator coil is completely frosted up.

Here's the freezer evaporator fan motor for your model:
W11109595 Motor-Evap


This video gives you the general idea of how to access it:


Let us know how it goes.

Jake
 

frogdude13

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Messages
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Location
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Hi Jake,

Your assessment was correct. There was plenty of ice blocking the fan in the freezer compartment. Over the last week, the fan had gotten very loud so it was clearly trying to work. The freezer was still keeping things mostly frozen although I can see why it wasn't fully doing its job.

I melted all of the ice before putting things back together. I didn't have any new parts to add, but I was hoping things would work out in the short-term anyway since the fan can obviously still spin and it was somewhat cold anyway.

Shortly after plugging it back in and waiting a short while, I could feel very cold air blowing through the freezer and air in the refrigerator was also on with temps in the low-40s and improving. It's been plugged in again for over six hours now and for some reason the refrigerator portion has gotten very warm again. It was up around 50 degrees Fahrenheit when I last checked, and I only felt a light airflow in the refrigerator and no airflow in the freezer. Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised by the freezer although I did just replace the fan in the refrigerator (for the second time) and thought it should be going into mid-30s by now. o_O

Any other thoughts besides replacing the freezer evaporator fan?

Chris
 

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Jake

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Ok Chris,

It's been plugged in again for over six hours now and for some reason the refrigerator portion has gotten very warm again. It was up around 50 degrees Fahrenheit when I last checked, and I only felt a light airflow in the refrigerator and no airflow in the freezer.
You have multiple problems going on, and its best to contact Whirlpool at 1-866-698-2538 to come out to investigate. I don't want to see you keep replacing parts until the root cause is determined.

Jake
 

frogdude13

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That's fair. For what it's worth, everything seemed good after the first refrigerator fan replacement. Things have just gone downhill with it lately though.

Thanks for all of the tips and advice!
 

Jake

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Your welcome!

Jake
 

frogdude13

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Messages
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Location
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Ice cubes have started falling into the ice box again today! :) Since the refrigerator is on the warm side, they're looking a little small but there's some improvement from my last note.
 
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