Loose mounting screw (not set screw) on Whirlpool French door refrigerator


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Old 11-09-21, 09:58 AM
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Loose mounting screw (not set screw) on Whirlpool French door refrigerator

I have a Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator (Model WRF535SMBM) and ever since I got it 3 years ago, the bottom freezer door handle is wobbly. And yes, I've tried tighten the set screw on it and that's not the issue. The issue instead is that the mounting screw that the handle attaches to is loose (photo of the mounting screw below).


I've taken the mounting screw off and can see that the cavity is stripped, which causes the mounting screw to just keep spinning when I try and tighten it. As of now, there is a little bit of grab but not super tight.

Can anyone share advice on what I could do to reinforce the mounting screw? I've seen online of adding toothpicks, wall anchors, or even bondo to fill the hole. But wanted to measure twice before acting.

Thank you all in advance!
 

Last edited by anthemthecat; 11-09-21 at 10:38 AM. Reason: added photo
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Old 11-09-21, 10:31 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

It's a specialty screw so there is no upsizing it.
It's a self taping screw in sheet metal.
Toothpicks will just sheer off. Wall anchors would require enlarging the hole.
I would try a two part epoxy or metal mender.
You would have to put some epoxy on the threads and in the hole.
Snug screw in hole and allow plenty of time to set.
 
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Old 11-09-21, 11:01 AM
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I've seen online of adding toothpicks, wall anchors, or even bondo to fill the hole
I agree with prior post that nothing you add to that hole is going to make any long term improvement, even epoxy, JB weld, or any other type of adhesive or filler will not last long. When your pulling on that handle your exerting a decent amount of force on (2) screw threads, it will eventually fail.

It's a specialty screw so there is no upsizing it.
So there are options for this. I had a Kenmore panel refrig, where you installed wood panels to match your cabinets, but somehow the screws were lost.

So, with a little trial and error I figured out the needed screw size and just kept looking at different hardware, tube stock, ferrules, etc and found material that had ID to allow a pan head screw to pass and the OD that would fit into the handle.

Cut it to length, screwed it into the door, attached handles (used Loctite) and it's been in use for 5-6 years with nothing coming apart.

Took more hunting for the right material than actually making the parts!

There may be similar screws used on other refrigerators that would work but I bet they are expensive to buy and that would be a trial and error situation. A really good, old fashion, appliance repair shop might be an option also!
 
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Old 11-09-21, 01:28 PM
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Thank you for your response. I investigated further and there seems to be something strange going on. When I remove the mounting screw, the hole left behind can't be completely plugged. Not sure why, but when I tried some epoxy in the hole, there seems to be another opening on the other side so I can add an infinite amount of epoxy to it.

Obviously I am joking by infinite, but the cavity is ever expanding. Any idea why? Shouldn't there be studs behind the freezer door?
 
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Old 11-09-21, 04:14 PM
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Its just a piece of sheet metal with a hole in it that is part of the door structure. It's not an enclosed space so if you trying to add epoxy it's just running down the inside somewhere!
 
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Old 11-09-21, 04:55 PM
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Unfortunately Marq is correct. You could squeeze an entire tube of glue and not have it back up.

If you are handy..... look where the screw goes into the metal. What is on the other side ?
Plastic covering ? I have removed/drilled a hole thru the plastic and put a clip on the back of the screw.
You can use a pick or small nail or piece of wire in the screw hole to see how far the cavity goes in.
You could try to push something thru the hole and see if you can get the plastic interior to move.
 
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Old 11-10-21, 08:58 AM
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UPDATE: Someone recommended a metal mesh screw hole repair kit. I found it at my local Home Depot for $2. Followed the instructions and cut small strips to fill the hole. And upon tightening the screw, it's a MUCH better grip. It still keeps turning at the end but the grip is good enough and I consider the matter resolved. Thank you all for your time & help. All the best, Michael
 
 

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