Liebherr fridge, troubles and repairs

sleevendogApril 23, 2013

1-water leaking onto bottom of freezer
2-making ice but also dispensing water in ice bin

It was a good choice at the time, 4-5yrs ago. 24inch built-in. 2 yrs in i discovered the common problem with water building up under and in the veg drawer. The back drain was clogged so i check it often. No big deal but a pain if i forget.
The back plastic edging on the shelves tends to slip back, along the back of the fridge and may cause an air flow problem, so i check that often. If a plastic bag rests along the back for too long, it gets a bit frosty. So i check that often. (nothing can touch the back of fridge ever)

the plastic clips on the door inside that holds juice, hot sauce etc...well, one broke, i called and they sent a new one and more rails for no charge. I also did not use or need the gallon container rail so they were good about sending what i needed to make that change. (the bump-out would hit things when closing...anything not pushed in far enough on the lower shelf above the veg bin.)

One of the freezer bins cracked but is still useable...the plastic is a bit sensitive.

Amazing i still like this thing but overall it is lovely and fits our lifestyle. It does do a great service in temp control and food overall is fresh and no loss in freshness and good cold consistent freezer temp.

Out of warranty now. Two storms and recently Sandy had us without power for a week three times now. Sure it had a rough time but my old fridge in the garage is fine.

6 months ago the freezer started having water buildup and freezing below the lower bin. Once a week or so we would tap it with the spoon rest, give the ice rink to the pups and finally started researching. The freezer drain was frozen and clogged. I find it best, since we are handy, to get a sense of the trouble before calling for service. Yes it was clogged. I took it apart, removing the back panel. Not easy but kept close watch on what screw went where. (Why not have a small access panel for that drain?!) Anywho, it was unplugged, taken dryer on drain familiar with the back hose drains while it was pulled out from the wall. (cleaned the drain pan for the fridge! yuck)
Earlier I had tinted some water orange a put it in the fridge drain to see if that was the source of the freezer water. No, they have separate drain pans. The freezer pan was dry and empty, duh.

All good and thought the ice maker would repair itself at the same time. Nope. Just a few weeks ago it started adding water to the ice and sticking it together in the ice pan.
I thought one of those drains was finding its way in, so that was our frustration to find the source.

Discovered just a few hours ago, with a flat container in the ice bin and a cloth, that the ice is being turned and dispensed a bit early, before completely frozen, and giving a slightly smaller cube but with about 1/5th of its capacity with un-frozen water. So the water is getting into the cube tray but what sensor and how does it not know? haha Or, the plastic ice tray has a crack in it?

But i now have ice since i can remove it from the nubby cloth instead of it freezing in a clump...any ideas? It does not seem to be a clogged or frozen water line.

I know this is lengthy, but it may save someone a service call, or at least have an idea when they arrive. (i did have the hinges replaced for the recall and that was a crazy experience) ...we did most of the work and lifting but he had the box of new ones. It would take him hours to remove the back panel and thaw a tiny drain that had literally a pea size of frozen blockage. We did it in a calm two hours and learned a bit while studying its habits.

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(i had this posted in 'kitchen' by mistake)

Just an FYI. If your freezer is leaking water onto the bottom under the lower drawer, it is a clogged freezer drain. Most likely just ice. It does take a while to thaw that pea size bit of ice in the drain, so i took off the back so i could actually see where it was. (the back panel inside the freezer compartment) It looks similar to your fridge drain but it is 1/3rd from the right side instead of left.

Still studying the ice trouble. Just hit 'super frost' to see if that will do anything different.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Now it is making ice with little arms, like tiny ferris wheel cars. (ice hinges) I now think i need to check for level. It is a built-in and is flush with its cabinet sides but maybe having it in and out during power outages has changed the base flooring.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 8:30AM
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@sleevendog....Is this a built in unit? With your being able to access the drains etc fairly easily (not really probably but you've done it) it seems like it's a freestanding?

Is it a bio fresh fridge?

And also-Is there a regular maintenance required to remove a drain pan and empty it? That seems yucky. I've seen it mentioned a few times in the other Liebherr post.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:21AM
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It is a built -in. The doors measure at 28 but a surround lip makes it flush at 30. Resting out and around the cabinet. That makes it easy to slide out. Front feet need to be slightly lifted and placed on cloths or a furniture pad to protect floors. The back feet must be wheels(?) as it slid out easily. I did take pictures but no time to post at this time...
The pans, not really pans like i have seen before, are hats/caps that sit on top of the individual compressors. Very much like pork-pie hats where the drains collect the moisture. One for fridge and one for freezer. I am now very familiar with the drains.
No pans easily accessed. But once pulled out they are very clear without removing
any back panel. They are open and exposed at the bottom 8ish inches behind the unit. Locked in but a few paper towels can clean any excess easily.
No mention about maintenance in the manual that i can see having read it a few times the past few days. (i do feel i could easily become an authorized repair woman at this point)
Bio fresh? Do not think so but the best 'fresh' fridge i have ever had. I'm 53 and have cussed every fridge i have ever had in the past. This is a bit like apple computers. Very much like them, do not want to blame them. : )
I have a very large organic garden and often need consistent cold storage for fall crops of asian pears, carrots, etc. I no longer have foods that often freeze without warning can last a long time. (most kept in the garage if cool enough)

Note that i just cleaned the fridge drain 'hat' for the first time in 5 years. I was putting some vinegar down the drain when i cleaned the drain port. Not actually knowing what the drain 'pan' looked like. Or the tube diameter. Or how much liquid it held. I now know so many things about very simple things that some may call for service unnecessarily.
When we bought the home 7yrs ago, and soon after decided on the leibherr, we put the ugly early 90's KitchenAid fridge in the basement for 'overflow' and beer. It works without a peep, but does often freeze some things if too far in the back. Fine for beer.
Not good for salad or tender greens like the Leibherr.
I like it more than any i have had.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:54PM
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@sleevendog Thanks for the info! Bio Fresh is perhaps a newer product with the Liebherr fridges. It's supposed to extend produce life with special cooling system or something. Similar to what SZ has. We buy (wish we could grow it!) only organic so prolonging the freshness is a pretty high priority for me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:48AM
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About BioFresh keeping produce fresher longer.

I read somewhere a few months ago that it actually defeated the purpose. Fruits and veggies, especially organic ones, lose vitamins over time. You really don't want to keep them in the fridge for too long. So, that "freshness" as deceptive. They may not be spoiled but they are not as good for you as you may think, especially given the top $$ we pay for them. :-)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:05PM
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I would never recommend a Liebherr. My icemaker broke after only 3 months. Customer service was indifferent repeatedly sending me replacement parts until I finally gave up and have lived without an ice maker on a high priced dud. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 6:41PM
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If i purchase an appliance that does not work properly, i don't give up. Especially under warranty. If your icemaker never worked, insist and keep at it. Mine worked without trouble for years.
So the up-date,
It is cracked. I pushed the on-off button and held it down until it flashed, (the cleaning mode) with the bin removed. It spun down and released the ice. With a flashlight in hand i could see the crack at the back edge. When it spun back and i could hear the fill for the next batch of ice, it leaked at that back edge. Problem solved but not fixed. I do not need a new icemaker, i need a cheap plastic tray...wonder what that will cost.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:49AM
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The repair kit is 90 + shipping. Not available at any other parts on-line that i could find. The plastic tray replacement is 3-10 dollars for other ice repairs that i saw listed.
I plan to pick up a food grade 2part epoxy for fridge and cup repairs. It is a stress crack and a clean break. At the same time i'll add a bit of reinforcement on its underside so it will be stronger that the bum one it is.
If you think your ice is melting or a frozen puddle is forming in the bin, sticking your cubes together, it most likely has a crack in the 5 dollar cube tray tray. I'll fix that cracked freezer lower bin at the same time.
It is the same icemaker for all models, never improved upon, (i talked to the service/parts dept)
That part should be made with a fiber reinforced backing. Or offered as a free replacement to have installed by service or DIY. (video on youtube exists)
No, i doubt i will ever purchase Liebherr again but i refuse to just sit back and kick myself or call for expensive service and be bitter. When it is functioning and the drains are clear it is a good cold fridge and a frozen freezer.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Just a heads up and a follow-up. I'm about to fix my ice tray. I am hopeful it will work.
BUT, just a reminder to read your manual, study carefully when assessing your fridge troubles...AND always unplug your fridge when attempting anything beyond just looking.
My freezer is turned off. All contents are in the downstairs KA freezer. In a while i will unplug the fridge and do my magic. Should take just 5-10 minutes when i go at it.

This thread of blabbing is really just to assist others to find the 'cause' if they have one of the few failures. If a service call is needed, you can avoid lengthy and possibly (lazy) money and time wasting but knowing the possible trouble and make sure the repair person has the right parts to fix the problem. Nothing worse than hearing "gotta get that part", order it and come back weeks later.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:25AM
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sleevendog - Can you post how you removed your ice maker? I have the new one but no instructions on removal of the old / installation of the new. Any help you can give me would be sincerely appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 6:16PM
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