Refrigerator repair story with a happy ending !

My 10 year old Roper/Whirlpool 20 cu. ft. side-by-side refrigerator stopped cooling properly. I picked out a local appliance repair shop form the yellow pages. They have been in business since 1957 and have an acceptable record with the BBB. Their basic charge for an on site repair call is $89.95 (Phila. suburbs). This fee is then applied against the total repair bill.
After the repair guy returns the paper work with his diagnosis they determine the total repair cost. The customer is then called and has the choice whether or not to go ahead with the repairs.
I paid attention to what the repair guy was doing. He was mainly checking the operation of what I later found out was the evaporator fan motor. It was working sporadically or not at all. The guy spent about 15 minutes doing the work.
I wanted to get an idea what the repair would cost. I had just paid for a $950 air conditioner repair on my truck and didn't need any more large repair bills.
The evaporator fan motor is just a small electric motor mounted above the evaporator coils in this model. I researched the price online and found out that they cost about $50. So, I figured this would be a relatively cheap repair. The repair shop called with a repair price of $359.76!
I was shocked. Before I did anything else I wanted to find out if I could remove the existing motor. It wasn't hard at all. It was held it place by a small plastic bracket. The only hard part was figuring out how to remove the fan blade before the motor could be removed. It was just a pressure fit over the motor drive shaft.
Once I knew how to remove the motor I knew I would be able to install a new one. So I went ahead and ordered the parts from www.partselect.com for my Roper model (RS20EKXDW00). They carry genuine Whirlpool replacement parts. In addition to the evaporator fan motor I ordered a new fan blade, and two new rubber mounting "grommets". The total including shipping was $68.36. I received the parts two days after placing the order.
It took me about 15 minutes to carefully install the new evaporator fan motor. Now my refrigerator is working like new and I saved a couple of hundred dollars. Plus I get the satisfaction of doing the repair myself instead of paying an absurd amount for such a simple repair.
This was my first attempt at any type of appliance repair.
Warren
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wgd wrote:

Good job and congratulations.
Next time make a note that Roper is built by Whirlpool and the evaporator fan motor / blade is a very common failure. So the parts are widely available. Just for example:
http://www.azpartsmaster.com/shopazp/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=WHP482731
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OK, that seems fair.

They may be reputable as far as cp,[;aomts. but that is not a b argain at all.

Now that's a happy ending. This is a common failure and I've done them a few times in my fridge and for others.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/




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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I wasn't sure what the evaporator fan motor did until the last few postings (thought it was the fan that blows air across the coils and the water pan in the bottom. I fixed my fan in the freezer compartment of my Whirlpool several years ago. It was not turning or made a noise (don't remember which). Took it out, cleaned it, oiled, and made sure the fan was in the correct position. No problem in the past 10-15 years since I cleaned and oiled it. I wonder how many of those fan problems were caused by poor oil.
No way was the fan I repaired more costly than $15. $350 is closer to what an inductor fan on a furnace would cost and altho ridiculously costly, that fan is way more complex and heavily built and capable of resisting high temperatures than the simple open frame fan used in the refrigerator.
Congratulations to wgd.
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wgd,
Aren't you still on the hook for the initial visit and diagnosis (89.95)?. Anyway, congratulations. Now that you know how easy DIY is keep it up. Before you know it you'll be posting here with advice and misinformation.
Dave M.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

Yes, I still had to pay for the initial visit and diagnosis.
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My experience with appliance repair folks is that 90% of them are worse rip offs then car repair places. For most people who can't do the repair themselves it's often very little more money to just by a new appliance then have these shysters do a repair on it.
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snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.net says...

Yeah, I think you may be right. Obviously the $359.76 charge was not based on parts cost and labor required to complete the repair. It looks like they just made the number up to try and get the most money possible for what was a simple, cheap repair. Can you imagine what they would try to change for a serious, complicated repair?
In fact, for about $400 you can buy a brand new refrigerator. Of course, it would be a smaller size, basic model. But it would be new and have a warranty and do the same cooling job as a larger more expensive model.
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On Sat, 2 Jul 2005 17:47:51 -0400, in alt.home.repair RE:
wrote:

Nice work!
--
To reply to me directly, remove the CLUTTER from my email address.


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Just out of curiousity, the fridge was not cooling because of this fan? What does this fan do?
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Mikepier wrote:

The only heat absorbing element in most consumer refrigerators is the evaporator coil in the freezer. The evaporator fan circulates the air from the refrigerator across the freezer coil, thus absorbing heat from the refrigerator compartment.
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Typical symptom is the freeze is just fine, but the fridge compartment is much too warm.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I am having the same symptoms with my fridge. I have replaced the fan in the freezer and it blows cold air very well into the freezer. Problem is cold does not get to fridge compartment. Freezer is about 11 degrees and fridge is a little over 60 degrees. This is a Kenmore refridgerator about 20 years old. It has an ice maker that I have removed because we did not need it as much as we needed freezer space. What could be blocking the air flow between the two? Anyone know where I can find generic diagrams or repair maunals on line?
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mcred2 wrote:

Evaporator fan motor not running or fan blade slipping. If frost-free, defective defrost timer or thermostat. Airflow blocked from freezer compartment. Freezer control turned to "coldest" setting blocking air flow to refrigerator side. Defective door switch on older models. Light staying on with door closed.
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mcred2 wrote:

If the freezer were 0 or -5 where it should be, the fridge would probably be 40. Doesn't sound like the problem is transfer of cold air from freezer to fridge, but just plain not getting cold enough-- not turned up enough or the compressor just not operating correctly.
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Blows cold air from the freezer (where the cold coil is) into the fridge (which doesn't have a cold coil).
--

Christopher A. Young
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Good on ya, WGD! It is difficult to become familiar with appliance repair because they fail so seldom and usually when they do, they are several years old and it is probably time to buy a new, more energy effiicient model. I have used my Public Library on several occasions to diagnose and repair appliances. They have several books on appliance repair that help you diagnose the problem based on the symptoms and also illustrate the procedures to do the repair. Des
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