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Water Dispenser no flow, leak and ice buildup in ice dispenser

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The water dispenser has been intermittent for the past year. I think the water line freezes. The filter is not

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2011, 09:40 AM
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Angry Water Dispenser no flow, leak and ice buildup in ice dispenser
Model Number: GSS25JFMBWW   Brand: GE   Age: 5 - 10 years   

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The water dispenser has been intermittent for the past year. I think the water line freezes. The filter is not plugged as the ice maker is working. We replace the filter regularly.

There is also ice buildup in the ice dispenser door chute. The flapper door does not want to automatically close. It partially hangs open. I close it by hand.
There also seems to be some ice buildup internal to the door. I can see it beneath some plastic parts in the ice chute.

The other day, I tried to get a glass of water without luck. Water started leaking from the edge of the dispenser section.

I think the internal heater is not working and must be replaced. Should I also replace the control board? What parts should I replace in addition to the water dispenser line?

How long does it take to switch out these parts? I have a bunch of frozen items I do not want to thaw.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-16-2011, 07:10 AM
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I took the door off and removed the inner liner. this disconnected the water line and electrical service to the door.

There was significant ice buildup everywhere in the door. I chopped it out and then stood the door up and remade the electrical connection. I pressed the water switch and got water flow from the fresh food section. The water line is freezing somewhere in the door.

Now I need to test the ice dispenser chute defrost heater.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:30 AM
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As a temporary fix, run the dispenser light continuously. The heat thaws the ice blockage and voila'....water flows.

Its not a permanent fix and the door is still building up ice...but it helps in a pinch.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:08 AM
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Smile Here's the fix.

OK, problem is solved. Here's what I learned.

The refrigerator has a design issue that allows condensation to form on the flapper door solenoid causing it to rust. The solenoid pulls a metal slug down into its cavity when dispensing ice. The slug rusts causing the flapper door to stop closing.

An open flapper allows room air to enter the freezer section and causes ice buildup. Ice also forms internally in the door. There is a heater in the dispenser section, but it either fails or is insufficiently sized to prevent ice buildup. The entire door fills with ice as a result.

After much internet searching and a call to my local parts store, I determined that GE makes a 'door moisture kit' GE P/N WR4910086. This kit does the following:
  1. replaces the flapper door solenoid
  2. provides replacement insulation
  3. replaces the dispenser section heater and upgrades it from 2 W to 10 W.
  4. Replaces the door wire harness.
  5. Adds insulation to the dispenser section.
  6. Seals air leaks around the dispenser section.
  7. Adds a foam gasket around the top of the ice chute.
  8. Replace all gasket screws with larger diameter to ensure seating.
The kit is about $118.

Due to the increased heater sizing, you MUST replace the dispenser control board. Its possible you could burn the original due to the increased heater size. The dispenser control board P/Ns are provided on the first page of instructions 25 ft is . Control board was $35.

Lessons learned.
  • I removed the door and did the work on a set of sawhorses on the driveway on a nice, sunny, hot day. The heat dries out the door quite well.
  • The dispenser heater has a nichrome wire heater that is gently attached to the foil. My box had been open and closed many times by folks looking at the kit. The handling separated the heater from the foil. I attached the foil and then temporarily taped the heater wire in place. I permanently glued the heater wire into position using high temperature gasket material from an auto parts store.
  • Do not reuse the old insulation after drying. It will not fit with the new insulation -- you cannot move the inner liner to align the screw holes to the door.
  • You must replace the dispenser board. The new board was a different shape than my old board. No problems, worked perfectly. There are electronics on the board, so you should ground yourself to remove static electricity before handling the board. GE does not give any instruction about this. The easiest thing to do is to plug in a metal chassis appliance into a three prong outlet. Touching the metal will ground you and remove any static charge. Do not walk across the carpet and then start handling the circuit board -- that can damage the board.
  • Attach a small fish line to the old wire harness before pulling it out. I tested the old wire harness after removing and it went back in easily. The new harness has large wires due to increased heater size and it does not go back into the same hole as easy.
I hope this helps everyone out. This is all easy to do and there is absolutely no reason anyone cannot do this job.
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