Whirlpool Refrigerator Drawer Strut Repair

The strut supporting the two drawers in the bottom of the refrigerator came out in two pieces during a recent cleaning session. To judge from the condition of the joint, I’d done this once before in its history:

Refrigerator strut - tab clamps

Refrigerator strut – tab clamps

That tab inserts into a slot in the front of the elaborate frame that supports the drawers, where it’s captured by a metal bar. Should you lift the rear of the strut without first removing the bar, the tab snaps off at the base. I’ve annotated the top of the strut in the hopes of reminding me the next time around.

A pair of bumps at the front of the drawer guides should hold the drawers closed, but it’s pretty obvious that’s not working as intended:

Refrigerator strut - worn retainers

Refrigerator strut – worn retainers

I shaped strips of phosphor bronze spring stock around the bumps:

Refrigerator strut - phosphor bronze covers - top

Refrigerator strut – phosphor bronze covers – top

The bottom view shows they’re held in place by crimps and a generous dollop of faith:

Refrigerator strut - phosphor bronze covers - bottom

Refrigerator strut – phosphor bronze covers – bottom

That should serve until I know whether the plastic drawer rail will carve through the metal. The drawers slide out with much more enthusiasm now, so it’s a Good Thing until something else breaks.

Yes, this is the refrigerator with the Freezer Dog

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  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2014-01-24 - 11:46

    Maybe it’s time to swap out the ‘fridge, even if it’s against your moral code [grin]. I did a round of power measurements (not sure if I transcribed the household stuff), but there can be 3-5X differences in power usages from a 2-year old 17 cubic foot unit versus an older 25 foot side-by-side. (Oversized is not good–the thermal mass/compressor load keeps the duty cycle longer and thus cheaper with fewer startup surges.)

    One older side-by-side fridge at church used more power than the 7 cubic foot freezer and the 17 foot^3 fridge combined. As I recall, it took about $130 a year by itself. (10 cents a kwh) A power meter is your friend. I got a cheapish one at Home Depot from Ryobi. If necessary, I can haul out the church notes–side by side, 17 foot fridge and a cheap 7 foot freezer.

    The main downside to newer units is that they can be more sensitive to power issues. Lots of motor control electronics.

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-01-24 - 13:47

      time to swap out the ‘fridge

      The Master Plan says it’s getting on time to swap out the house; not right away, but in a few years. A new refrigerator wouldn’t pay out that soon, so we’ll just let it run and scrap it during the move.

      I’ll unleash the Kill-o-Watt on the thing for science!

      Thanks for the nudge.

    • #3 by Red County Pete on 2014-01-24 - 15:30

      Speaking of Science, I hauled out the notes, such as what I can get to…

      The 17 cubic foot fridge uses $33.94 per year (at 10 cents per kwh), while the side by side used $127.30. I was wrong about the 7 foot mini freezer. It used something like $180 per year, even though fully loaded, so it was the worst culprit. It used considerably more power than our year-old 25 foot freezer., saying something about cube/square issues. [grin] OTOH, the side-by-side died completely once it was taken out and moved elsewhere…

      The 17 foot example is close (as I recall, can’t find my household notes) to what our 2 year old 18 foot fridge measured out, so that’s a good rule of thumb. (I started these measurements when we were considering using a PV array to take some of the load for the house. After sizing the relevant system, the system wasn’t terribly attractive, as long as the grid stays healthy.)

      FWIW, around here, if you change houses, the stove stays, but much of the time, the fridge stays with the owners. Your mileage will vary.

      • #4 by Ed on 2014-01-25 - 09:28

        at 10 cents per kwh

        The bottom-line price here is 14 cent/kWh, which is definitely an incentive. After one day of science, the refrigerator burns 2 kWh/day = 30 cent/day, so it costs a bit over $110/year (probably more, due to summer).

        A kilobuck of refrigerator isn’t a clear win for the near term, though.