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Repair and disassembly guides for food cooling appliances including refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers.

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No water flow with filter bypass plug installed

Hey all, working with a Kenmore Elite 78333801

So when my refrigerator stopped dispensing water and making ice, i first tested water supply pressure and flow to the fridge, that was fine, so i suspected a faulty water inlet valve.

I shut off the water supply to the fridge, disconnected the water inlet valve, then turned the water valve supply back on, and got zero flow through the loose hoses which had been disconnected from the inlet valve. At this point I’m thinking the inlet lines are possibly frozen.

On this fridge the water passes through a filter before entering the water inlet valve. I dont have a filter, just a bypass plug installed. NOW, if i slowly unscrew the ¼ turn bypass plug out of the filter connection while pushing the dispense button on the fridge door I can get flow through the door.

It appears the blockage is in the water tank assembly where it couples to the bypass plug. I previously replaced the water tank assebly because my old one was leaking after replacing too many filters. Ive had the same bypass plug installed in this water tank assembly for the last 3 years.

Any advice before i replace my water inlet tank assembly again?

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The filter head could be the problem. Have you been hearing a water hammer noise prior to this ? With all lines hooked up, the water supply on with the bypass in place, bleed the water line at the water dispenser. Hold a glass under dispenser until water comes through. This could take up to 15 min or more if you have a lot of air. You should hear the water valve engaged. You can also view the water tank for air bubbles or movement. The water tank shouldn’t effect the ice maker though. I think you might have drawn air into the lines when you backed out the plug. Flush the lines Be patient, it’s boring. I’ve had to wait up to 30 min before any water came through on some of these. Don’t rush it.

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Thanks for your answer! I tried running the water for a long time, to no avail..

There was never any water hammering before the water/ice stopped working, and the bypass plug has been left in place for 3+ years without touching it. I've only started messing around with the bypass plug since the water stopped working..

Am I right to assume that with the bypass plug installed and the water inlet valve removed, I should be getting full water pressure shooting out of the hoses which would connect to the inlet of the valve?

I can't see any bubbles in the water tank, it appears to be full, and when I give the bypass plug a 1/4 turn, I can get some water dribbling out of the inlet hoses.


Ryan Burke-in 33 yrs I’ve never bypassed a valve like that. Since your getting no water to both I/M and dispenser I’m thinking the problem is the filter head or the valve. The tank is only for the water dispenser. The the primary solenoid has to open and then a secondary solenoid opens depending on what is needed-ice or water. Do you hear a solinoid engaging when you try to dispense water? If not there might be a loose connection or issue with the dispenser control. Or the primary solenoid on the valve is bad.


Ryan Burke, I’m thinking too much. LoL , it’s possible that the tank is frozen. They will freeze easily especially if not used. To be sure, careful use a blow dryer to thaw the tank. THE LINERS ARE VERY THIN AND WILL MELT QUICK. KEEP THE DRYER MOVING AND 6” OR MORE AWAY FROM LINER & PLASTIC PARTS. It won’t take too long to determine if the tank is frozen. Just gaining access by removing everything is a pain but needs to be done.


I left the fridge unplugged and doors open for several hours in case the tank was frozen, but it doesn't seem to be.

I'm fairly certain now that it is the filter head which is plugged. The filter head is feeding the water inlet valve, and the water inlet valve is feeding both the ice maker and water dispenser. I can hear it actuating when I activate it.

Not sure what causes the filter head to plug up like this? We had to replace the filter head & water tank assembly a few years ago because the filter head was leaking. The prongs in the filter head had been worn away over time from changing out water filters, so when we replaced it we just installed a bypass plug and left it there. Can the filter head become plugged with calcium scale? our water is pretty hard here..


So I changed the water tank and filter head assembly and water/ice are now flowing! The old tank freely drained water when I disconnected it, nothing frozen inside.. wish I could disassemble the filter head to see what it is that plugged up the inlet.

Thanks again for your insights! :)


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