Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kenmore Elite Trio Refrigerator Evaporator Fan Motor

Details on the repair below, read on.

Look out, I think dad has had it,
and is "fixing" the refrigerator.

I'm a good Tanji, I will stay out of the way.

Wake me when you're finished.

We have been with-out a refrigerator for a week. Luckily the compressor wasn't the problem, so the freezer has been working, enabling us to moving ice packs back and forth to a small cooler to keep some basic refrigerator items cool. It is amazing how much we rely upon a refrigerator for leftovers, and various components of a meal, that you don't eat all of when you make something, like jarred pasta sauce.

Anyway, last Sunday, I had diagnosed that the Evaporator Fan Motor was the likely culprit for the lack of cooling in the refrigerator compartment, but I doubted myself and had a repairman come out to fix the fridge. This took four days and cost $55, but of course he didn't have the part, and had to order it. With his confirmation of the problem I told him that I would install the motor. Now one week without a refrigerator I checked the status of the order,... the motor is "Factory Back-Ordered," which means who knows when the part will arrive. So I got right online and went searching,... no luck, I also called all the "local" companies,... "Factory Back-Ordered." Finally, one of the guys said that he typically uses a different motor (Maytag Evaporator Fan Kit #12002744) for the replacement and he had one in his hand. I wasn't sure, even though it had all the same specs (115 volts, and 0.14A),... it wasn't the "exact" factory motor for our very expensive refrigerator. He said it would only be $18.00, so we jumped in the car and drove 45min (a few towns away) to get the motor. I was certainly willing to risk the relatively little $$ to take a shot at getting the fridge back up and running. Additionally, I had seen that motor recommended as a replacement during my online research.

The Evaporator Fan Motor for the Kenmore Elite Trio (model #596.73503201) is located behind the back wall in the freezer compartment. It is a simple matter of pulling out the two food bins, unplugging the ice-maker, popping off the plastic vent cap, and then removing a few screws to get the back panel off.

Behind that panel it looks like this, the motor goes in that white bracket hanging from the ceiling of the compartment. Those metal evaporator fins are very sharp.

The sealed white dead motor and replacement
are both 115v 0.14A even though they look very different.

I think dad is going for it,...
Go Dad Go

Can I be of assistance,... ?

Need any tools ?

Installing the motor is easy.

Motor installed, in less than 5 minutes total time.

The motor came right on and started moving
cold freezer compartment air up the duct,
into the refrigerator compartment.

Wooooo Hoooooo !!!

Might as well wipe down the inside
of the freezer while it is all open.

Vladi looks proud,

Way to go dad !!

Food Time!!!

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Anonymous said...

Wow, I happened across your page while searching for instructions to replace the motor in my Kenmore Elite Trio freezer also. It broke last week, and the part has been backordered for 2 weeks from Sears!! They are useless as a repair company anyway. I just found the part online at and it should be here in two days. Hopefully I can install it with as much ease as you! :)

Tom Nolen said...

On the internet(s), you are never alone ....

I came across your blog when searching for recalls (etc) on the Kenmore Elite TRIO after being told the soonest service appointment was four days later. Thought it might be a simple problem. After reading your "adventure" me and the cats (5) decided to check the evaporator fan motor. Yep, that's the problem.

I think I found the same Maytag compatible (Kenmore compatible???) replacement motor on and so I decided to try this my self.

I have ONE question: Have you had any problems since you installed this motor (it is not 'sealed' like the original and I was wondering if condensation has caused any problems????)

Any updates would be appreciated!

-- Tom Nolen

Tanj,Uschi&Vladi said...


Glad you found us and took a shot at the repair yourself.

We have had no problems with our open housing replacement motor. It has been a bit over 4 months now. We think the refrigerator is a bit quieter now. Also for the price and how simple it is to replace, I'm not concerned if I have to put a new one in every year.

Good Luck.


Anonymous said...

Lavs, thank you very much for taking the time to upload pic's. and commentary on Kenmore Elite Trio fridge evaporator fan motor; it was a big help. I have a question about the wiring, maybe you can help? The blue wire is the hot and white neutral. I was given one insulated terminal (the red plastic piece with two metal "v" shaped spaces inside) which can house two wires. Should I have received two of theses pieces? Or, do both blue and white wires go in this one piece? If both wires go in one red plastic piece then which terminal do I attach it to? If I was supposed to have two, I would still need to know which terminal on the motor is hot. It looks in your pic's. as if you have the blue wire on the inner terminal and the white on the outer terminal, but it also looks like you have two insulated terminals and not the one plastic piece like I have. If you or one of your readers is interested, you can see what I received by looking at type in part number: 67002778 when it pops up, click to enlarge the center picture. I didn't receive the peachy colored thing in the center of the pic., and just one red thing like the pic. shows. I ordered my repair kit from Sears. I hope you have time to help. Jayne p.s. you have beautiful cats. We have two helpful cats.

Tanj,Uschi&Vladi said...

I'm sorry but I don't remember the wiring setup/all of the parts. IF I remember correctly I was told that it didn't matter which terminal the blue or white went on,... i.e. it wouldn't hurt anything if they got hooked up backwards,... one way would turn the blades in one direction, the other way would just change the polarity and turn the blades the other way. Just make sure the blades are turning the the correct direct to move air up/away from the motor.

I hope this helps,... ???

Anonymous said...

I am currently trying to diagnose my problem. The fridge is not cooling anymore, but the freezer appeared to be working. I took off the back panel of the freezer and the evaporator coils were covered in frost. I defrosted the freezer and plugged it back in to check the coils. They were again frosted over. I have also noticed the evaporator fan seems to be sticking or moving very slowly.
I am wondering how you knew the fan was what you needed to replace. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Mark Sylvain

Tanj,Uschi&Vladi said...


Well I did a few things, I checked the condenser motor, the coils, and electrical, I checked the flow up the back (internal duct), and the damper (inside top of fridge just a plastic grill that you can pull off) movement. Just to be sure that the warm temp in the fridge was actually being sensed, and thus calling for cold air. I concluded that all was working, just no cold air was being delivered, thus it must be the fan/motor.

Unfortunately, I then second guessed myself and had a service call, who confirmed my diagnosis. I then waited over a week without a refrigerator. Then after being told it would be at least another week or more, I got the motor myself and replaced it.

Your symptoms sound exactly like mine. That motor/fan should be humming along if the fridge is warm and the damper is open. Ours was barely moving and would stop with the slightest touch of the finger. The motor needed to be replaced.

It is also a very cheap simple test. I think our motor was only $18. As compared with living without a fridge, and/or having a service call.

Try replacing the motor. Worst case you will have to call someone and be out $18.

Anonymous said...

I installed the evap fan, and my fridge is working like new! Just wanted to say thanks, your were a huge help!
Mark Sylvain

Anonymous said...

Thank your for saving us some money I was ready to go buy a new fridge, when my wife found you site I have installed the motor and it's working fine. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I found your post, while I am in progress of replacing my Evap Motor. I started to order the factory Part # 8208342 (Whirlpool) and found that these motors have been failing so miserably that a redesigned replacement has been authorized by the factory. What the parts house didn't say anything about the replacement part and was gonna let me buy the factory part at almost twice the cost. The 12002744 Evap-motor is the replacement for numerous models i.e. KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Amana , etc. Great Post , Saved Me; Time and Money

Anonymous said...

Does not matter which wire goes on which terminal. Motor is ac and will not reverse direction of rotation unless disassembled and the armature reversed. Do not put both wires in same connecter, this would be a direct short.

Anonymous said...

The open style motor has been used for decades. The sealed motor is a DC motor with rectifier enclosed in case. Supposed to be more energy efficient but reliability is not there yet for this application. GE has been using DC motors for some time now but with a contol that supplies the power not built into the motoer housing.

Anonymous said...

Hello and thank you for your blog and the issue with the trio refrigerator. I found this yesterday after doing a search for my problem (a trio with a functioning freezer and a top refrigerator that was not cold). Your additional response about testing the fan ("not spinning or can be easily stopped with a finger) made me finally take the leap and purchase the part locally and give it a try.

My refrigerator is now working again and I am very thankful for your help.

A big thank you from Alpharetta, GA!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. It helped me replace the motor in my 3 door Amana today. I purchased the motor kit from AP Wagner near my home. It was $45 plus tax.

Anonymous said...

Your post also helped me on the Kenmore Elite Trio fan replacement. Thanks for taking time to share the detailed information and pictures. You've made a difference to a lot of folks that share a common issue.

This Buds for you!

H Fleming
Hoschton, Ga

Anonymous said...

I wish I would have found your instructions before I removed the back panel of my refrigerator to see why it wasn't cooling. I had the same issue with a fan motor that was barely turning. After a little searching, I found the "new" style replacement motor for $40.00. The installation was a snap. I hooked the green ground wire in the upper left portion of the coil assembly. Everything worked when plugged in. Saved a couple hundred bucks by doing this myself.

Leslie in North Pole said...

Thank you for the pictures of the motor in the freezer. It took me a moment to catch on that the green/yellow was the ground and needed to be clipped on to the bar where a similar wire is connected. It is good to hear the motor humming again. As to the white and blue wires, I matched them up like they were on the defective pump. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for posting this. I had the same problem, same symptoms, etc. This was very helpful, i bought the part for 26 bucks (it came without the wires, so i used the wires on the old part). Fixed! Great stuff! I feel so proud. It looks like you are in Corvallis. I am a Beaver Alum- living in Portland. Thanks rock!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is the best. Thanks to you my fridge is back up and running within 24 hrs of discovering the problem. Thanks so much. Tom

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this information. This happened to my Kenmore elite a couple of days ago although I can't fix it I know what to expect and will know when the repairman come that I won't get ripped off because I know what's wrong with it myself. This refrigerator goes out no more Kenmore no more LG GE will be my refrigerator of choice from now on. I've seen too much on the Internet about people having problems with their Kenmore elite/LG refrigerator freezers way too expensive to be such a shoddy piece of equipment

Eric c said...

Really appreciate the help, I was dreading the job but got it done quickly. All is well in the kitchen again.

Mel said...

Please all of you that have had problems with the Kenmore Elites call their Kenmore manufacturer complaints department at 877-878-3687. The more people that call and complain about these fridges, the more likely we are to get the darned thing recalled. I know they have different models, but mine is 795.713.02.012 and at least 3 other similar models have had the same fan/icemaker/condenser problem with icing over, loud fan noises and the icemaker not functioning. Unfortunately for me the last tech replaced the icemaker but didn't note it in our file. He used a hair dryer to defrost the coils and told us to do it ourselves instead of waiting on service. He also said it would only have to be done once or twice a year. Well because we did as he instructed instead of calling the last 5 or 6 times it was acting up, we aren't eligible to get a free replacement. Had we called in and complained about it, they would have. I also found out that if we complain enough about it and they get enough calls, they will recall it so please spread the word and don't do anything yourself if possible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post! It was pretty easy. My refrigerator was a Kenmore Elite and the wiring harness to the evap fan motor was a different color but the supplied connector with the motor is keyed so no thinking required, my kind of repair. Plugged it in, tested to see if it worked before reinstalling the cover and woohoo, it worked!