Level of DifficultyReally easy
Time to do repairLess than 15 mins
Age of Appliance5 - 10 years
We have a Reverse Osmosis water filter supplying the fridge, so the internal water filter only served to reduce the water pressure inside the unit. I installed the bypass plug by simply twisting and removing the internal water filter and then twisting the plug up into the same hole. Done in 5 min.
Longest part of this was clearing the top shelf to reach back there... Oh, and figuring out that this part exists and that it could help with the problems we were having with the unit. The water filter is relatively new, less than six months, but it still contributed to the problem enough to cause the failure.
[Thank you Partselect.com for having this web database set up that gets EXACTLY the right part!].
Now about the hollow cubes: Do a web search and you'll find a lot of discussion about it. This is specific to the Whirlpool (Maytag, and others) newer style front to back icemakers that create "half moon" shaped icecubes. For a Shop Manual to a web search for 4316835.pdf for this series.
No doubt my old unit's icemaker solenoid valve on the back isn't passing as much pressure as it did new, but by itself it isn't fatal just yet. You can tell if you are vulnerable to this if the water spigot on the front only delivers a very slow trickle of water; if it takes a l o n g t i m e to fill a glass.
But here is the rest of the story: There is a fundamental design flaw in the way the icemaker unit was created that makes it malfuntion if the water pressure is too low - they chose to put the thermocouple (TC) that senses the temperature of the freezing cube on the opposite end (front) of the water tray from the water fill tube which fills from the rear. This was probably a manufacturing trade off for simplicity of assembly and it saved them half a cent's worth of copper wiring and a couple of screws. And maybe a safty concern about wiring under an open water channel, but that is a lousy excuse; there are other solutions, and the power "harness" goes right by there within a couple of inches anyway...
There are a number of reasons for low pressure:
- Bad supply inlet valve, or not open all the way, crimped tubing
- Bad Frige icemaker solenoid valve
- Clogged internal water filter (even just a little)
- Frozen ice plug in the fill tube, in the very back top of the unit against the back (use a hair dryer to defrost)
- Etc. Do some more web research for more details.
Of course the icemaker timers do fail as well, so this discussion assumes the icemaker is still functioning as "normally" as it can, given its design limitations.
The interaction with water pressure (design flaw!) is this: if the unit doesn't get enough water due to low pressure, then the final cube position to fill doesn't get any water in it (the front one by the motor). This is the one that the TC is next to as well, so it cools of really quickly and the TC thinks the tray is completely frozen, when in fact it isn't. The TC fires the cycling motor which turns on the heater and then spins the ejector shaft which has tabs that push the half moon shaped cubes around and out. However, since the cubes weren't fully frozen, only their outer shell gets pushed out - the water in the middle drains out leaving a hollow cube set. That liquid water hits the cold ejector bars and some of it immediately freezes, making little stalactite fingers that catch on the tabs and side of the tray, thus jamming the ejector shaft and pausing the cycle in place indefinitely.
The net is that you get a few hollow cubes and then no more ice until you reach in and crack off the ice fingers so shaft tabs can pass and the motor can finsh the cycle and properly stop in its home position. You can also tell by checking whether the front cube location has water in it just after it fills by reaching around and dipping your finger in it. If it comes up dry, then you have this problem.
So, in my case, putting the bypass plug in increased my flow t