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Thread: Icemaker question for new Whirlpool fridge

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    Question Icemaker question for new Whirlpool fridge

    I had a very old Whirlpool fridge, and recently replaced it with a new model with the front water/ice dispensers. There was an ice maker in the old unit, but it never worked, and I didn't think it was even hooked up. Until I moved the old fridge out, and it had a copper compression hookup to the back.

    When the new one was hooked up, I tried to hookup the same line, thinking maybe the icemaker in the old one was broken, or I didn't give it a long enough try to make ice. Well I couldn't get the compression nut to tighten on the new fitting, size was the same, but the compression nut was too "deep" and wouldn't tighten down to make the compression fitting. After testing the water, I became convince this setup is clogged and is not functional as is.

    I headed to the store, to look at my options. I found they sold Pex QuickConnect kits (1/4" OD tubing, 1/8" ID) and having success with those for a past bathroom remodel, I felt confident this would be a good replacement for the old saddle-valve and copper compression setup.

    Then I did a dumb thing... I clipped the line on the fridge, before the brass male threaded connection. Thinking I'd just attach the feed tube with the refrigerator tube using the supplied Pex QC coupling from the icemaker kit (1/4 OD to 1/4 OD).... only the fridge tube is a little too big. Thought then maybe it could be a 3/8" OD (although this looked really big at the store), but after trying that, no dice. Too big.

    Looking at the male threaded end I cut off, the brass fitting fits inside the tubing... Am I dealing with a different breed of tubing? Should I be trying to use a traditional barbed Pex connection on this tube?

    Thanks as always... I love these forums, and I am a lurker no more.

    - Brian
    Last edited by bshomb; 12-10-2009 at 09:00 AM.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Your easiest connection will be a stainless braided 1/4" compression supply tube.

    Once you start cutting plastic pipe, you could get yourself in trouble.

    I know of a PEX like supply line for a European dishwasher, that when cut and spliced, came apart later and caused $100,000 worth of damage to a home.

    Most places that sell refrigerators will not connect them for that very reason. They don't want the liability.

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    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    Do you know if what the manufacturers use coming out of their units is Pex? I guess I'm stuck with figuring out a connection for my now clipped line, or trying to find where it goes into the unit, and seeing if I can replace the whole thing. I would be fine sweat soldering a T and running solid pipe up to use a stainless braided line. But I have no threaded end any longer. :/

    EDIT.. after some research, it looks like I'm dealing with a 5/16" tube... would explain it being slightly big for the 1/4" connection. I don't think they sell this stuff as a common size, but it gives me somewhere to start. If I can get a threaded connection back onto it, I can solder up the pipe and use a braided stainless line.
    Last edited by bshomb; 12-10-2009 at 09:16 AM.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If the line from the fridge is too big, contact them now, and ask for the right parts.

    You will need the factory parts.

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    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    OK, I will do that. Thanks for the advice!

    I think what I clipped off is something like this:
    http://www.westmarine.com/1/1/25420-...m-moeller.html

    Never used a barb fitting, if this is what I end up getting from Whirlpool, is that a pressure fit? Or do I need a tool to insert it properly.

    Thanks again Terry!

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I would get the part from the manufacturer
    If you have to expand the tubing, and it splits the tubing over time, you won't like it.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    Thanks Terry. I should be able to strip away the tubing from the stock part I cut off... if it is in fact a hose barb, is that something I can reinstall with no tools? Looks like it would be a friction fit, but I just want to make sure.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default icemaker

    NOthing you are describing makes sense for the normal icemaker connection. BUT if you cut a male thread off, the tubing could be anything since they NEVER intended for you to connect to the tubing instead of their supplied connection. IT is probably 5/16" o.d. tubing and if so you will have to juryrig a connection to the standard 1/4" o.d. materials. How about a picture of what you have on the refrigerator before you create a potential problem for yourself.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    I will snap a pic when I get home. I would never have gone this route if the Pex kit I came with didnt come with that coupling... sigh.

    Yes I think it's the 5/16" OD tubing. The 1/4" NPT brass fitting looks like what i linked to earlier, but I will do more inspection and take pics when I get home. Thanks for the advice.

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    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    Default Solved

    Wanted to follow up on how I fixed this (just today, project got pushed back). I took the brass fitting into two home centers, they couldn't figure out the thread size.... thought it might be a PEX connection, but they didn't carry any stuff that small.

    I ended up searching online, and found a 1/4" to 5/16" Quick Connect coupling from RepairClinic.com. Sure enough it did the trick, and the rest of the PEX kit worked like a charm.

    Here is quick video of the brass fitting I described before, and the connection on the back of the fridge using the QC coupling.
    Last edited by bshomb; 02-20-2010 at 05:05 PM.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You may have gotten lucky. When you cut off the old connection, you were verifying the old saying, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing", because you knew HOW to cut it off, but did not know HOW you were going to replace it.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    You may have gotten lucky. When you cut off the old connection, you were verifying the old saying, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing", because you knew HOW to cut it off, but did not know HOW you were going to replace it.
    I most definitely did. Won't be cutting any water lines anymore. Although I still don't know how Whirlpool intended for me to install the water line, unless their copper compression kit they sell is the only way. I will never assume something as "standard" anymore... everyone I talked too said 1/4" connection for icemaker, but when I shopped that brass fitting around, plumbers told me it wasn't. That's why my old copper compression didn't fit.

    Lesson learned. Buy Maytag (I'm kidding).

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There could be LOTS of ways to have made the original connection. You just did not know any of them, and did not ask soon enough. Whirlpool does NOT have a "secret" connection that nobody else can connect to.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member bshomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    There could be LOTS of ways to have made the original connection. You just did not know any of them, and did not ask soon enough.
    And neither did the master plumber at my home center, a retiree with 30+ years of experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Whirlpool does NOT have a "secret" connection that nobody else can connect to.
    I know that you don't know my history of plumbing experience, and that you get alot of people who come here for last minute help, but it's not like I grabbed a PEX kit and cut the line on my fridge as my first choice. I never said the Whirlpool was a "secret" connection. Just not the standard 1/4" connection I expected, and what I had hooked up to my old Whirlpool. Maybe my fridge was meant to come with an adapter that I missed. I don't know.
    Last edited by bshomb; 02-22-2010 at 08:23 AM.

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