Sears Kenmore Elite Trio finally fixed!

6/25/2015 Update:

Apple on a frosted looking glass shelf in a cold refrigerator.

This is an apple. Not just any apple, it’s an apple that is now in our cold working refrigerator! Yay!

Oklahoma Appliance came through for us big time.  $244 got our new frig back and running.  If you live within 30 miles of Cushing, OK and have problems with an appliance, I highly recommend giving them a call!  Very professional, knowledgeable and did great work!

Sears saga:

Absolutely no help from Sears, horrid customer service in fact.  In short, one customer representative completely lied to me saying they would send someone out to diagnose it for free.  He confirmed my email and phone and said the repairman would call me an hour before arrival.  Not so much. After taking vacation time the following day (Tuesday) and it nearing 2pm, I called in to get an ETA only to find out they had no one scheduled, nor could they schedule someone till the following Monday!  And this representative firmly informed they would never send someone out for free and basically I should read my manual— it says 1 year warranty.  Our frig of 6yrs was way out of this time-frame so we could only pay $275 for a broken parts warranty plan or pay $107 for repairman to come and diagnose, then go from there.  Oh, and on the broken parts warranty plan, they would not provide a terms and conditions with it, only would tell me that it covered up to $500 worth of parts/labor and then I’d have to pay the rest.  They will however take your money over the phone… credit card please!

All of this was extra frustrating to us because when we remodeled our kitchen in 2008, this was the most expensive item.  We even went all out and got the extended warranty on it for the extra $500 or so.  The paid it out on a Sears card with no-interest and all in all the total after tax was about $2,700.  Maybe it’s because we were used to growing up with refrigerators that last 20+ years, but neither of us ever saw our parents have to replace the frig.  And we have an 18yr old Amana refrigerator that still works in the garage.  Sure, it has some broken shelves, it freezes some things in the refrigerator sometimes, and the seal on the freezer door needs replacing— but it still works good!

Not long after having this frig, the door flap that forms the seal between the two refrigerator doors needed replacing, along with the seals on the doors.  Then about a year later they needed replacing again.  They just weren’t fitting right or something. Next, the control panel board went out and only would show temperature read outs.  None of the controls would work.  The Sears repairman replaced that.  And of course, a few months later when our extended warranty was expired, the control board went out again.  So for the past 4+ years we’ve lived with only being able to see the temperature read out;  we haven’t been able to adjust the temps, reset the water filter alarm, or just the ice maker control settings, etc.

Help? Anyone?

Our first attempt at using another recommended local repair guy led to a $100 charge ($60/visit, $45/parts+labor) that didn’t fix it.  He had replaced the relay switch with the one photoed in the article above.  After that didn’t work, most repair places were saying it might be a failed compressor so we should just buy another frig at that point.  This was because the labor and cost with replacing a compressor is going to run anywhere from $600 to $1000+ and new compressors only have a year warranty just like new frig.  Great, so we have a world’s larges room-temperature water filter dispenser.  ugh.

Previous related post: Sears Kenmore Elite Trio – 596.77593800 – The Lemon.

Here comes the Calvary…

As the update mentioned, it’s now fixed.  A delivery man from Lowe’s mentioned that if it was him in that situation, he’d call Oklahoma Appliance in Cushing, OK.  He had seen them do a lot of quality appliance work.  We called them and had them come out and inspect the refrigerator ($85 for home visit, $45 if take your appliance in to their shop).  They had research possible issues and solutions from what I described.  The only fear was that it would be a circuit board in the back that Sears/Whirlpool doesn’t manufacture and sale any more replacements for anymore.  Our Kenmore Elite Trio was actually manufactured by Whirlpool, which several Sears associates explained they mostly made in Mexico now.  Jayson showed up and after some investigation figured out that the compressor was good, but out of freon.  From his experience, he knew fairly quickly that the problem was a design flaw in how the designed the high pressure compressor line to run down into the evaporation pan next to the fan.  Nice idea in theory, but it corrodes the copper pipe and even a small pin-hole is all it takes.  Well, we got the quote for the repair (cut and replace that section and design it so it doesn’t do that again, replace freon filter, and refill freon) and scheduled him to come back out.  It took about 3 hours. Understandably so, because the manufacturers DO NOT make it easy to repair or get to the places to repair this stuff… it’s all pieced together for maximum cost saving efficiency.  I think they really do expect these large appliances to just be single use, disposable purchases these days.  All said and done, it was about $245 and by the end of the day, the refrigerator had cooled back down to normal operating temperatures:

View of the temperature read out panel on a Kenmore Elite Trio showing -1 for freezer and 37 for refrigerator.

After Oklahoma Appliance repaired it, it was cooling great and temperatures were back to normal! (-1 for freezer and 37 for refrigerator)

Follow-up News on the Kenmore Elite Trio:

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