Replacing the Evaporator on Whirlpool or KitchenAid Stand Alone Ice Machines

By Brian Christal
November, 2008
Reviewed and edited by Richard Kinch

Symptoms of an evaporator leak are typical of any refrigerant leak, that is, the ice machine runs through all of the cycles normally, however, it just isn't getting cold enough to make ice. Lubricant residue in the bin is a definite leak symptom.

Technicians may tell you that you need to replace your compressor and evaporator at the same time. While this may not be bad advice, it will result of a repair bill in excess of $800. If you have access to a brazing torch and good mechanical skills, you can replace the evaporator yourself for about $120.

When the evaporator fails, it typically develops a slow leak where its bonded to the freeze plate.  It's pretty easy to diagnose using soapy water assuming there's still some refrigerant left in the system.


  1. Pull the ice machine out in the open.
  2. Remove the cutting grid front cover.
  3. Remove the door and the top hinge.
  4. Unplug the cutting grid, bin thermistor, and evaporator thermistor.

  1. Remove the four screws (two front, two back) holding the top panel of the ice machine.
  2. Lift the top panel off.  It will still have a wiring harness attached, so you will need to have a chair or something close by to lay it on.

  1. See the lines on the freeze plate?  That's where the evaporator is bonded to the back.  Leaks can develop on them.  Spray them with soapy water and look for bubbles.

Removing the evaporator

  1. Remove the cutting grid.
  2. Remove the catch pan from the front of the evaporator.
  3. Remove the four screws holding the evaporator.

  1. Working on the back - remove the six screw holding wire harness cover.  Remove the two screws on the bottom and two more on the front that hold the ice machine bin to the base plate.  Unplug the wire harness connectors and lay the top on your work area.  There will still be other wires connected to the top, so you'll have to keep the top nearby.
  2. At this point you can lift the evaporator out of the bin.  The copper tubing is just flexible enough to let you pull it out and back.  When your finished, your machine should look like the picture above.
  3. Disconnect the clear water tube from the water valve.
  4. Lift the entire bin up and away from the base plate.  Your machine should look like the one below.

  1. Remove the fan.
  2. Heat the three spots shown with the arrows and remove the tubes.  Remove the evaporator.

Assembly tips

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Richard J. Kinch
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