Dead solenoid in my oven?

Last week I used the self-cleaning feature of my 12 year old Whirlpool electric range. It automatically locked the door as usual, except this time it did not release the lock. After waiting more than a day for the oven to cool down I decided it was broken and started to tinker. After taking the back cover off, I located the locking mechanism, which was simply two solenoids in a push/pull setup. With the power off (naturally) one of the solenoids comes apart with no resistance, and the other is in the closed position and the core will not budge or rotate.

Now the question… which solenoid is faulty? Any advice (other than talk to a Service rep :)) would be much appreciated.

It seems to me that you have solved the puzzle already; the defective solenoid is the one in which you can’t freely move the plunger. Thinking back to my days in the service industry, the most common problem with solenoids is that the coil becomes too hot (from drawing too much current) and the heat deforms the plunger housing so that it can’t slide freely any more.

If you’re going to get the part & replace it yourself, the best thing to do is replace both of them at once on the assumption that if one of them is shot, it may not be too long before the other one goes bad. Beware, if a bad coil driver is what fried the old solenoid, you’ll need to fix that before putting in a new one!

Its quite possible that the stuck solenoid is simply gunged with cooking residue and a good cleaning may restore the movement, it is fairly common.