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Whirlpool Refrigerator Drawer Strut Re-Re-Repair

Well, another year, another deep-cleaning session, another break in the strut holding up the drawers in the Whirlpool refrigerator:

Whirlpool refrigerator drawer strut - clamped

Whirlpool refrigerator drawer strut – clamped

This time, there’s a fixture positioning the tab in the proper orientation while the solvent evaporates. The two bottom clamps hold an aluminum plate against the top (far side) of the strut, with the top-center clamp holding the tab against a steel block shimmed with cardboard to get the correct angle. The other two clamps squash the tab against the joint, which is well-soaked with IPS 4 adhesive.

I replaced the right-side guide plate, originally made from phosphor bronze strip, with some thicker steel strip. The bronze strip collapsed into the worn section of the plastic bump that appeared in the previous post:

Refrigerator strut - worn retainers

Refrigerator strut – worn retainers

I’ve written bigger caution messages on the top of the strut in red letters, but we think it’s getting on time for a whole new refrigerator…

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  1. #1 by eriklscott on 2015-04-12 - 12:33

    Time to fire the sherline and make you one from hardened and tempered 4150? It would probably be a fairly involved job…

    • #2 by Ed on 2015-04-12 - 12:46

      Yeah, register-and-clamp the stock across the tooling plate: inch by inch, row by row… [sigh]

      I’m sure fancy new refrigerators have equally awful plastic fittings, if only to make up for their wonderful energy efficiency. Some day, we’ll find out, I promise!

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2015-04-12 - 20:00

        In 2011 we swapped out the ‘1995 Maytag, a 1st gen Energy Star. The MT’s compressor ran hot enough to discolor the floor below. [yikes!] We bought a Frigidaire (brand now now part of Electrolux), with no bells, whistles or icemakers, and it’s been very well behaved. I has some broken plastic in the Maytag, but the Fridgidaire seems to be made with more robust sections. A tad more efficient, too.

        For what it’s worth, we now have matching Frigidaire appliances, stove, dishwasher and range. The dishwasher is wonderfully quiet. Every few months the automagic start button disables itself, but it resets after a delay start, or by turning power off for a while. Our power is somewhat glitchy.

      • #4 by Shalom Craimer on 2015-04-13 - 01:53

        I can testify to that. My own 2012 Amana has a nearly identical cast-plastic strut running between the draws in the fridge. Although mine broke in the upright holding up the bottom-most “flanges” that actually support the drawers weight. Clearly an overload problem, despite neither drawer being full.

        The 35 EUR price tag of a replacement part was far cheaper than sourcing it locally, but it still smarted. When I saw the title of this post, I was hoping you had found a better solution. Since it’s already cracking now, the next repair isn’t too far off. I guess I’ll have to think of something clever to fix it.

        As this is my first reply, I’ll take this opportunity to thank you for posting these articles. They are always encouraging me to fearlessly (and carefully) re-examine my world, through the eyes of a maker.