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warnergt

Kenmore Refrigerator - bottom of door collapsed?

66 posts in this topic

We purchased a Kenmore Elite Side-by-Side, Model 106.54602300 in February 2004.  Like others posting on this topic, we discovered our refrigerator door is lower (by 1/2-inch) than the freezer door because the lower hinge has punched through the rugged, high-strength PLASTIC base that supports the full weight of the door and its contents.  I assumed the plastic at the base was DECORATIVE TRIM, not a structural element.  Wrong.  How anyone at Whirlpool thought a base made of 1/8-th inch thick plastic could support the torque and shear forces applied to it during normal use is beyond me.  Looking at the design, I'm beginning to wonder if the metal stop they designed into the hinge bracket actually makes it more likely the plastic would crack.

We now begin our merry journey through Sears Service Hell.

The irony of all this was thinking back to the installation.  The two guys from Sears who installed the new side-by-side moved our old refrigerator (25 year old Kenmore) to the garage.  They told us it would outlast our new one.  Boy were they right.

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Same story.  we purchased the Kenmore 106.54602300 from a Great Indoors store around January of 2004.  Sometime later we noticed the door sagging.  Eventually the bracket broke and the door came completely off the top hinge (of course, out of warranty).  Before this happens you should rig some sort of brace at the bottom of the door (use a piece of metal or wood and duct tape, or someother short term safety fix).  If not, the door will sag enough to fall off the top pin.

We went through Sears customer service (or lack thereof).  I spoke to Sears legal, to Whirlpool, etc.  Sears was a pain to deal with on ever front.  Finally, I called the store where I bought it and they gave me a number for Great Indoors service, which is sending a repairman out to replace the door under the manufacturer's warranty (which I believe when it happens).  Total cost would be:  $65.  Emotional toll:  priceless.

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An update to my above post.  I finally was able to meet the service tech, who arrived late, just as I was leaving my house.  He looked at my door, and seemed surprised that the end piece that houses the hinge was not individually replaceable.  I showed him this forum, and how others had had the same problem, and he went on his way, photos in hand.

Friday I finally heard from Sears OneSource again, this time stating that they wanted to make ANOTHER appointment (this will be the 4th time I have stayed home to meet a tech. over this issue).  Apparently their last tech didn't have the proper qualifications to diagnose a broken hinge and to deliver photographs, so now they want to send a "senior tech". 

Resolution is still pending, and  I would sure like to have my refridgerator door back in working order, but until this case is settled I can't even make an ad-hoc repair.  Needless to say my patience is quickly waning and I am considering seeking legal advice, but I will wait to see what the outcome is after tomorrow.

To anyone who is thinking about making a major purchase from Sears:  DON'T !!  It makes my sick to think about how many Sears products I own.

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The senior service tech arrived well within his scheduled appointment window, and was a very nice, seemingly sincere fellow.  He seemed unsure of the purpose of his presence, which I completely understood.  Of course upon seeing the failed hinge he came to the conclusion that the entire door would have to be replaced, and dutifully reported his findings to OneSource. 

Three days later OneSource finally called and informed me that they "will not be able to offer a replacement".  I have not yet called back to speak to a manager, but that is number one on my "to do" list.  Beyond that, I will be forced to involve my attorney. 

It is highly unfortunate that manufacturers fail to recognize their obligations.  I wonder, when you add up the expense of the two service calls to my house, the expense of litigation that may well be to come, and the cost of losing a customer for life (I no longer shop at Sears for any reason), how much money Sears has saved by denying responsibility for their product in this case.  The $600 door certainly does not cost them $600, and there is a good chance they may yet have to replace mine. 

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I just removed the door to my Kenmore Elite (elite!) to find the same problem everyone has encountered.  This is really crappy engineering and Sears should do a recall.  the Bottome hinge on fridge side is totally cracked so doing metal support plate is not an option.  I will probably end up buying a new door.  I will never buy another appliance from Sears.

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Oops forgot my model/s/n:

Kenmore Elire White 106.54202300

Purchased 3/11/04, out of warranty

s/n SR0646799

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Again, this is a Whirlpool Frig., Sears did not make it, just sold it with the Kenmore name on the front, would have the same problem is Whirlpool was on the front of the box, but since Sears bought it from Whirlpool you have to deal with Sears.  Call the store you bought it from to see what they might do, will depend on the personel at that store.

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I found a similar angle plate in my garage (a remnant part from my deck building project) and flattened it out as you did. Took my time, measured and drilled carefully and WOW! My door is fixed! It took me 3 hours and I was careful not to invite "Murphy".

Thanks for the inspiration.

Inspector J

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Just an update:  The Sears tech came out, said we needed a new door, then proceeded to say since it wasn't covered under any warranty, he couldn't order it.  So, in essence, Sears lied to us yet again.  If anyone is aware of a lawsuit surrounding the Kenmore/Whirlpool fridge design defect, please post, because I am out of patience with Sears.  Also, any links to alternative places to buy the door would be appreciated.  Someone has to sell it for less than $600.

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CLICK HERE

Wheezer, This is for the white door, what color is yours????

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Yes, White, right side (as you face the fridge) refirgerator side door.  Sears lists it for $600.47 :yikes:.  So 2 doors cost more than the entire unit! 

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Found the same problem with mine. Rather than going around and around with Sears (as it appears many here have), I opted to repair myself. Removed the hinge, dug out some of the foam, pumped the corner full of epoxy, installed a few rivets so the epoxy won't push up into the door and reattached the hinge. A bit of a pain but worked out fine. I did not want to risk replacing the door just to find the problem reoccurring in another year or so. The practice of Sears using the excuse that we all should have bought the service contract for not covering a known manufacturing defect in inexcusable. Just vow not to buy anything more with the Kenmore name...... One bad experience is all it takes.

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This has nothing to do with Kenmore or Sears, these are made by Whirlpool and bought from them by Sears, it then became the property of Sears...same thing happening with the boxes with the Whirlpool name on them...

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Well, after over two months of not using the door of my fridge for storage because of the weight, I finally gave up on Sears and "fixed" the hinge myself.  While I'm sure my repair is ten times as strong as the original hinge structure, its appearance is atrocious.  I guess I am stuck with the unit for at least another six months or so until the compressor bursts into flames or something else craps out.

I am now officially an "ex-customer for life".  I hope they go out of business, and hardly a stranger do I meet to whom I do not spread the word.

BUY CHINESE!!

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I ordered a white door from sears for $408 door gasket included, not sure yet if handle comes on door or if it has to be taken off old door.

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Dan, when your doors come in can you advise if they came with handles on them or if you had to take the handles off the original doors. How did the interior panel come off to replace the handle?

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