Refigerator would freeze up and stop cooling, I would turn off defrost over a 24 hour period by leaving the freezer door open. Then turn it back on and it would cool like crazy for about a week and then it would freeze up agian. This went on for about a month then I knwe the problem was in the defro

ApplianceWhirlpool Refrigerator

Model

Level of DifficultyDifficult

Time to do repairMore than 2 hours

Age of ApplianceMore than 10 years

Tools Pliers
Nutdriver
Screw drivers

Charles From Dripping Springs, TX

Jun 15, 2010

3 out of 4 people found this instruction helpful

The first thing to do was determine what part of the defrost circuit was bad. (it could have been the defrost timer assembly or the defrost heater or a bad wire in the circuit). To do this I took the cover off of the refrigerator temp control to see the timer. Taking a large screw driver I rotated the timer (clockwise) until I heard the compressor cut off. Then I placed a mark on the timer to note its location and waited to see if the mark moved( this indicated the motor was running). After 20 minutes the compressor kicked back on and the timer had rotated, this told me the timer was at least rotating. The next step was to see if there was voltage going to the defrost heater around the freezer evaporation coil. (The heater is what melts the frost of the evaporation (cooling) coils
This requires the removal of all the shelves, ice maker, and all the covers in the freezer section to expose the evaporation coil.
The defrost heater wraps around the outside edges of the evaporation coil. The heater is suppose to come on for 20 minutes every 8 hours to keep the evaporation coil from becoming covered with frost which will prevent the air from circulating into the refrigerator section.
I found where the heater leads plug into the back wall of the freezer and with the power on and in the defrost cycle (turn or index the timer around with the large screw driver until the compressor cuts off again). Carefully read across these two heater leads and check for 120 VAC. Noting there was 120vac across these two leads I then turned the refrigerator off and unplugged the refrigerator from the wall.
Now with the Volt Meter set to the Ohms setting I unplugged the two heater leads with the needle nose pliers and read the ohm value across the two wire leads of the heater element. (I got lucky and found a schematic folded up and stuck just behind the front grill at the bottom of the freezer). The schematic told me the ohm value should have been 22 ohms. However, my value was 0 ohms this told me the heater had an open circuit (it had a broken wire inside the heater element). I located the correct part using the model # on the Part Select website and ordered the defrost heater element for my model refrigerator. I received the part in three days.
Now for the fun part, of removing and installing the new element.
This is not brain surgery but … it is not for the faint at heart either, you must be able to work in tight areas and be agile enough to sit on the floor while reaching the back of the freezer and be patient and deliberate with your moves. (kind of like playing the Milton Bradley game “Operation” as a kid)
Next step is to remove the two top screws holding the evaporation coil to the back of the freezer, then remove the cover to expose the refrigerant lines inside the freezer, remove the two foam side supports holding the coil centered in the back of the freezer and then VERY carefully lift the evaporation coil straight up to un- hook it from the bottom clips which hold the bottom of the coil stationary. Then gently remove the two aluminum side plates from the coil by bending the tabs that hook these plates to the curved refrigerant coils they are hooked around. With the side plates removed then carefully un- hook the 4 clips which hold the heater in place around the evaporation coil. Using a pair of needle nose pliers unplug the heater leads from the back wall contact point (Remember to be sure and unplug refrigerator before doing this) At this point VERY carefully lift up slightly and gently pull the bottom of the coil out (trying to keep the top of the coil at the same elevation and parallel to the back wall pull the bottom out to a point where the heater element can be slid down and out of the evaporation coil as it is basically woven thru the coil assembly to efficiently defrost the coil.
Once the heater is carefully slipped down and out of the evaporation coil, replace the heater element with the new one by feeding the wires bac

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Diagrams and Parts List for this repair

Part PhotoPart DescriptionPriceAvailability

HEATER

Part Number: PS379281

$46.42
In Stock