Model #KSRG25FKBT03, this side by side refrigerator was making ice, but would not dispense the ice when the lever was pressed. Normally the sound of the auger motor would be heard when the ice chute door opened, but now nothing. The customer tried to change the selection on the dispenser front from cubed to crushed, with the same results. At least the manual method, reaching into the ice bucket, was still working until service could arrive to repair the problem.
Ice dispensers vary in design and operation from one manufacture to another and in some cases, model to model. Many have ice bins mounted high in the freezer section, while others will be mounted inside the freezer door. But one thing that is going to be common is a motor turning an auger of some design to move ice toward the dispenser chute and some means to dispense either crushed or cubed ice.
The ice bin on this model refrigerator is mounted in the top of the door and uses a vertical auger to draw cubes toward the opening to be dispensed. Depending on the rotation of the motor, the auger can provide for cubed or crushed ice as selected by the dispenser. The bin can be removed from the door for ease of cleaning and attaches to the motor drive shaft by a spring loaded metal coupler. This keeps the motor out of the way, and allows for a simple connection point to limit potential drive failures.
Since the unit was not dispensing ice at all, I went straight to the motor to see if I could find voltage going to the motor. This is a logical place to begin my search because it is easy to get to, and if I have voltage but no motor operation, well I don't need to look much further to find which refrigerator part has failed. Plus, it is the more logical of places to start if one were to play the odds. Never to take guesses, I used my multimeter to check for voltage to the motor when the dispenser lever was pressed.
A couple things to keep in mind when doing this. First, the door must be closed, or at least the door switch must be closed or current will not flow. The voltage circuit for the dispenser goes through the switch so if nothing on the dispenser works, that might be a good place to look. Second, the motor used for this auger has several wires leading to it, but we are only concerned with two of them as the others are for directional control.
With the door switch actuated and my meter leads in the connector, I pressed the ice lever sending 117 volts AC to the motor. Just as I suspected, voltage was present, but the motor wasn't working. Time to replace the motor. But before we get to deep into this, as I have said before, it's a good idea to figure out why things fail to hopefully prevent it from happening again.
The design of this motor and shaft has the potential for moisture to get into the motor cavity and start to cause problems if the shaft seal begins to fail. Take a look at the top photo and see how much water is around the opening. Once the water gets past the seal, it can follow the shaft all the way to the motor and begin collecting on the lower cover. Since it's just as cold around the motor as the rest of the freezer, ice begins to form and if the right circumstances come together, the motor and it's internal inverter board fail.
To fix this problem, I cleaned and dried as much water as I could find, then installed a new auger motor onto the mount. I then pulled the shaft out by removing the two screws on either side of the coupler and cleared all the ice and debris from the opening. Before putting the shaft back in place, I installed a new shaft seal, to help keep the water out. Once back together, the door was closed, and the ice paddles depressed. The familiar drive motor sound could be heard which meant ice was ready to be dispensed.
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