How to take the front off ice/water dispenser on Kenmore fridge

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Old 10-12-12, 01:50 PM
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How to take the front off ice/water dispenser on Kenmore fridge

Hope you haven't already covered this; couldn't find it in a search.

I need to replace the water dispenser actuator on my Kenmore 253.55693400 side-by-side refrigerator. Just got the part in the mail today (talk about over-priced!), but I have no idea how to get the front off the dispenser unit. There's nothing in the instruction booklet.

Appliance Parts Pros offers this:
"Disconnect the power to the unit. Remove the drip tray from the dispenser. Remove the three screws and lift the cover off the dispenser. Once removed, you will need to remove the screws... more securing the module. Remove the brackets holding the actuator 241685703 in place. Unplug the actuator and install the new actuator. Reinstall in reverse order."

The only things that could possibly be those "three screws" are 3 plastic cylinders under the drip tray. But there are no heads on them to remove with a screwdriver, and I can't budge them by hand. Afraid I'll break them if I use a pliers.

Are these what I have to deal with or are the screws elsewhere?

Any tips on what to do after that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-12-12, 03:17 PM
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Fixed it!

Well I fixed it myself--and told my husband that I now don't feel the slightest bit guilty over the large clothing order I placed online this morning.

For anyone in the same situation: there are two slots under the entire dispenser panel. Use a flat-head screw driver to pry that cover off. But there's a tape that attaches the electronics from the panel to the inner workings. I grabbed a kitchen chair to help prop the cover on it and not pull on this tape too much. If I had had duct tape handy, I would have taped it to the side of the freezer.

I then followed this video: Refrigerator Repair- Replacing the Water Dispenser Actuator (Frigidaire Part # 241682001) - YouTube. BUT there's a major difference in that the Kenmore water actuator has a couple wires attached to it that connects to the where you press the button on the outer panel. (I don't know the jargon, but I hope you get what I mean.) That was a big problem to me.

Oh, if I can interrupt the procedure: make sure you turn off the power to the refrigerator first! I turned it off from the fuse box--discovering that the fuses are marked incorrectly, by the way.

Okay, back inside the unit: I wasn't able to pull it free like the guy does in the video (and they seem to skip how he actually does it), so it was rather awkward. I unscrewed the two screws on either side of the actuator and was able to free the broken part--but the other half was still hanging by the wires. Took me forever to realize that where these wires connect to is at the top edge of that electronic unit that is half pulled out. (I thought they connected lower down in an almost-impossible-to get-to location.) Tug on the wire and you'll see which one to disconnect. But the problem was that the "plug" those wires are attached to couldn't be pulled down and out of the unit. I finally had to cut the wires so I could pull the wires out the top and the broken plastic piece down below.

In connecting the wires with the new actuator, I took a chance and just inserted them over all the innards instead of under and inside as they originally were. I had no way to get it back the way it was, and thankfully, my way worked out fine.

What didn't work out so fine was getting that blasted actuator back in the grooves as shown in the video. I can tell you I was sweating bullets and praying my head off. I thought I was going to break the thing trying to get it seated in those grooves. I think what I had to do was pull the unit out as much as possible in order to get it to work. The screws and plates had fallen off but thankfully they went back in place just fine.

Oh, just make sure you've got those wires out of the way to the right and that spring in place on the left. Everything else went back in place with no trouble. Turned the power back on and--THANK GOD--was able to dispense a nice glass of ice water to go with the aspirin I then had to take.

The only problem now is that, because we have hard water, this new actuator makes the rest of the unit look like crud with all the white water stains on it.
 

Last edited by Bham45; 10-12-12 at 05:01 PM.
 

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