July 20, 2015

How to replace an ice dispenser motor in a side-by-side refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace an ice dispenser motor in a side-by-side refrigerator

This step-by-step DIY repair guide shows how to replace the ice dispenser motor in a side-by-side refrigerator. The dispenser motor is in the freezer door under the ice bucket and is controlled by a circuit board in the dispenser assembly. When you press the dispenser paddle or lever, the dispenser motor turns, pushing ice down the dispenser ice chute. If the refrigerator isn't dispensing ice because the motor doesn't rotate when activated, replace the ice dispenser motor with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This repair procedure is for Kenmore, Whirlpool and KitchenAid side-by-side refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Slot screwdriver
1/4-inch nut driver
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the electrical power

    Safely store any food that could deteriorate while the refrigerator is shut off, and then unplug the refrigerator or shut off the circuit breaker for the refrigerator.

  2. 02.

    Remove the drip tray from the dispenser

    Slide the bottom drip tray out until it stops at the locking tabs. Lift the back of the tray to free the lock. Slide the drip tray out. 

    Remove the drip tray.

    Remove the drip tray.

  3. 03.

    Pull out the dispenser housing

    Remove the 2 screws at the back of the dispenser housing. To remove it, carefully pull on the bottom of the housing while lifting the top.

    Remove the dispenser housing base screws.

    Remove the dispenser housing base screws.

    Pull the dispenser housing out.

    Pull the dispenser housing out.

  4. 04.

    Disconnect the wires

    Release the locking tab and disconnect the wires from the back of the dispenser housing. Remove the dispenser housing. 

    Tip: If your model has a green ground wire, disconnect it.
    Turn the dispenser housing around to access the wiring connections.

    Turn the dispenser housing around to access the wiring connections.

    Disconnect the wires.

    Disconnect the wires.

  5. 05.

    Remove the screws from the dispenser motor

    Lift the plastic flap that covers the dispenser motor and tape it out of the way. Remove the screws from the bracket that holds the dispenser motor in place.

    Lift the plastic cover.

    Lift the plastic cover.

    Remove the motor mounting screws.

    Remove the motor mounting screws.

  6. 06.

    Remove the dispenser motor

    Raise the metal auger shaft. Pull the motor out of the housing. Use a slot screwdriver to release the locking tab on the wire harness connection.

    Pull the wire harness out of the receptacle on the dispenser motor. Remove the motor from the door.

    Tip: If your replacement dispenser motor doesn't have a new mounting bracket, save the old one for reuse.
    Raise the metal auger shaft.

    Raise the metal auger shaft.

    Pull the motor out.

    Pull the motor out.

    Disconnect the wire harness.

    Disconnect the wire harness.

  7. 07.

    Install the new dispenser motor

    Plug the wire harness into the new dispenser motor. Lift the auger shaft and slide the motor into the housing. Drop the auger shaft into the new dispenser motor and secure the motor in the housing with the mounting screws.

    Reposition the plastic flap.

  8. 08.

    Reconnect the wire harness on the back of the dispenser housing

    Reconnect the wire harness to the back of the dispenser housing. Push the dispenser housing into the door and secure it with the 2 mounting screws.

    Tip: If your model has a green ground wire, reconnect it.
  9. 09.

    Restore electrical power

    Push the drip tray into place and snap it into the locking tabs. Plug in the refrigerator or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your refrigerator.

How to replace a refrigerator temperature control board

If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to clean refrigerator condenser coils

Help your refrigerator run more efficiently by cleaning the condenser coils. It's easy and takes just a few minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
July 20, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a refrigerator water valve

Replace the water valve that feeds water to the ice maker and water dispenser if it no longer controls the flow of water.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all refrigerators

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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