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GE Profile Arctica fridge PSS26NSTA SS ice dispenser door not opening


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4 replies to this topic

#1 Nords

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 04:38 PM

GE Profile Arctica side-by-side fridge, PSS26NSTA SS, aka "Fridgezilla". The original owner custom-ordered it in late 2006 ($2800?!?) and didn't like it but couldn't return it, so we bought it for $750. It was still in the original wrappings. As you've all noted, it's a mediocre fridge and it takes up a lot of space. It's given us over four trouble-free years so I'm willing to fix it. But it was really cheap and it's still kind of an energy hog compared to its smaller brethren, so I'm not emotionally invested in it.

When you push a glass against the ice dispenser's lever, the flapper door doesn't open up.

After reading this board's other ice-dispenser topics I thought that the solenoid on the flapper door might be going bad. After some gentle probing I figured out how to pull off the front panel/controller. The solenoid's exterior was a rusty, drippy, anti-seize-coated mess. When I'd activate the dispenser, the flapper door didn't open because the plunger would only move halfway through the coil before binding. The plunger has some surface rust that could be filed down and the coil might be OK, but there are plenty of part numbers stamped on it and it's probably a better idea to replace it.

The flapper door seems fine. When I hook a dental pick on the arm that was attached to the solenoid and pull it around, the flapper moves without binding and the spring briskly slaps it shut. So it'd probably be fine with a new solenoid.

However I'm not sure how to fix the root cause of the problem-- the water dripping onto the solenoid (and eventually dripping down the back of the dispenser cavity and filling the water tray). It looks like condensation but it's only on the solenoid's side of the recess behind the control panel, and not on the left side (where the panel's electrical connectors and diode lights are mounted).

I guess the mounting area around the solenoid doesn't have good insulation. It's getting cold and condensing moisture (we're on Oahu) which eventually drips down to the water tray. I can't figure out how to get behind the plastic mounting area to check the insulation-- from either side of the door.

I can think of four ways to make myself feel like I'm doing something constructive:
1. I could drill a hole in the back of the plastic mounting (or from the inside of the freezer door) and squirt some spray foam in there, but that might squeeze or damage the door. I'd be working blind and if I drilled holes inside the freezer door I wouldn't be able to cover them up again.
2. I could put the solenoid back into the mounting holes in its cavity and then spray non-expanding foam around it, but that won't necessarily keep the solenoid & screws from getting cold by conduction and condensing more water.
3. I could try to drill additional drain holes around the area but that won't dry it out-- it'll just let the water drain more easily while fresh moist air gets in there to make more condensation.
4. Is there a small heater that would keep condensation from forming? Of course I'd be heating up that part of the freezer door, too, so the freezer would have to work a few watts harder to cool off that hot spot.

Or I could just put a new solenoid in there every four years.

Or I could just put in a new solenoid, sell Fridgezilla on Craigslist for $495, and buy a quality 20-22 cu ft over/under EnergyStar fridge that's a better fit for the kitchen.

Any other ideas?
Eventually I'll put something witty here.

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#2 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:40 PM

Ahh, the case of the unflappable flapper. An all too common story with the GE pig-dogs from the same folks who brought you Fukushima via the made-by-monkeys Mark 1 nuclear reactor. The one, the only (thank God), GE.

This flapper coil is the weak link with this dispenser design. There's no reliable way that I know of to stem the corrosion which comes from the persistent moisture which, in turn, originates from a cheesy design. Kinda like the the Mark 1 boiling water nuclear reactor. But I digress...

Your best bet is to dutifully replace the coil every few years. Here's the part link to the flapper coil... http://www.repaircli...ber=PSS26NSTASS

#3 Nords

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:39 PM

Excellent, thank you. I was afraid of that.

Looks like I can pick up a new coil on island tomorrow.
Eventually I'll put something witty here.

#4 Nords

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 10:01 PM

Well, Sensei, I should've taken your advice-- replaced the coil, marked my calendar for another look in four years, and gone surfing.

But still recovering from my submarine nuclear engineering mindset, I looked at the new coil surrounded by condensation and thought "I bet some non-expanding spray foam would stop that."

I'll spare us the details, but let me just say that the term "non-expanding" is oxymoronic. It also turns out that most of the condensation forms above the coil (and the flapper's actuating arm) where there's no room for insulation anyway. But after I cleaned everything up, the new coil's working fine again and I still went surfing.

I don't think I can send a Longboard Lager through the mail, but another United Samurai Beer Fund donation is on the way. Thanks again!
Eventually I'll put something witty here.

#5 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 10:05 PM

Nice job on the repair!

And mucho domos for the brewskis! :cheers:




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