Fixing things is fun, but when did refrigerators become like Windows?

I have the shop manuals for our 1999 Chevy Express van and they have far more details than the trusty old Chilton’s , but if I have a question, the manuals don’t have much in the way of troubleshooting. So, how did I ever live without the internet? I type in the phrase “groaning while turning left” and get to a page or three of possibilities (actually, hundreds of Google pages), one of which leads me to suspect the bearings. So, I jack up the van, pull the right front tire, and tighten the bearing nut. Voila! No more groaning noise! Of course, that’s a temporary fix, and I am sure I need to replace the bearings, but I can do that later. [Update: it actually turned out that the brake caliber mounting surfaces were not lubricated…discovered only after replacing bearings did not fix the problem…]

Now, refrigerators are supposed to be simple. Ours is a Sears Kenmore Elite that should not be breaking as we’ve only had it three years. Yesterday, the LCD panel has four letters on it, and none of the little icons that tell me the temp and whether I’ll get water, crushed or chunk ice when I stick a glass under the outlet. The letters? “ER FF’. I save all my manuals in binders and got out the one for the fridge. Of course, there is no mention of error codes. Back to the internet! Fix Ya.com has on more than one occasion been a good source. I found out about the bad capacitors in my Akai tv on that web site, along with the steps to fix it. So, when Google returned a FixYa link, off I went.

Curious thing about American companies rebranding imports: our rental in Mexico earlier this month was a Dodge Attitude. Or was it? The key was wrapped in black plastic stamped with a Hyundai logo. Same logo was on the wheel covers. So the Dodge Attitude is actually a Hyundai Accent. And, as it turns out, the Sears Kenmore refrigerator is actually made by LG. Sort of explains why they look so much alike. (Now I’m wondering about the GE front load washer/dryer that looks so much like my LG). But I digress. Explained nowhere logical, and apparently unknown by Sears tech support, the error code stands for “Error – freezer fan”. I read a post from a FixYa responder and learned that I’d have to take apart the freezer and defrost the coils behind the plastic panel in the back. Okay. That I did, and found big chunks of ice. I am concerned that the problem will recur as it has for others, but we’ll see.

So, I type this now on WordPress’s page using the Firefox browser running within Windows 7. Back in the day, I knew DOS inside and out and could make magic with it. Now, if I have a problem with Windows (um, if?) I run to the internet. Kind of like with my refrigerator. Or my van. Or….

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