The Dreaded LE Error Code in LG Washing Machines: Diagnosis / Troubleshooting, Root Causes, and Repair

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on August 3, 2010

in Washer Repair

The LE error code stands for “Locked Motor Error.” This is one of the more common error codes that pops up on LG washing machines. It’s also a fault condition that’s almost always caused by the Great Unwashed Illiterati. These are the folks who can’t be bothered by reading the user’s manual where it explicitly tells them to use only High Efficiency (HE) detergent. Or if they do read it, they figure the manufacturer is just trying to sell them some over-priced detergent.

You gotta love the logic that justifies the expense of a front loading washer, which can be two to three times the cost of a low- to middle- end top-loader, but then figures they’ll save a few shekels by using regular, non-HE detergent. This is what we professional appliantologists call, “penny wise, dollah dumb.”

But the fact is that using non-HE detergent in a front loading washer is a big Bozo No-No. In addition to the LE error code in LG washers– which is very repairable and at reasonable cost– it can cause more severe damage to all front loaders, such as premature drum bearing failure, a much more expensive and painful repair which may even total the machine in some cases.

In the LG washer, the LE error code is usually caused by the burned out hall effect sensor, Part Number: 6501KW2002A
Part number: 6501KW2002A




Let’s listen in on a conversation about this problem between a Grasshopper and a Master Appliantologist in the Samurai School of Appliantology who dispenses invaluable pearls of wisdom about the causes and cures for the all-too-common LE error code:

Grasshopper: So we got the dreaded LE error on our LG washer and after looking at various information on this and other websites it appeared that one likely answer was to replace the hall sensor.

So we did. I got a Part Number: 6501KW2001A
Part number: 6501KW2001A


hall sensor and we replaced it. When we turned the washer back on and tried to run a wash cycle, the drum did spin…but it seemed to spin in a jerky-motion…like it was being tugged along unwillingly. This continued for the beginning part of the cycle…at times it seemed as though it tried to turn clockwise, would meet some sort of resistance and then fall back counterclockwise…but other times it would go around in a rotation but not really smooth.

At the same time, the machine sounded louder and there was maybe a small whining sound (that also could have been me). After a bit, maybe 15 minutes through the cycle we noticed a slight smell…maybe a very slight burning rubber smell? A chemical smell? it wasn’t overpowering, but it was noticeable.

So we stopped the machine.

We’re a bit flummoxed. One thing we were wondering about is if we put something back too tight or not tight enough?

Any thoughts? We haven’t opened up the machine yet and reverse engineered anything yet because it’s getting late tonight and we wanted to get people’s thoughts.

Master John63: The correct part number is: Part Number: 6501KW2002A
Part number: 6501KW2002A




BACKGROUND:

The *dreaded* “LE” error is overwhelmingly caused or triggered by incorrect type detergent **OR** too much *HE* detergent (a special low sudsing detergent).

In all LG washers–when too much detergent has been used—this will cause the “LE” error to be displayed & the wash cycle will be interrupted. Unplugging the washer for more than one minute will cause the MAIN BOARD (computer) to power down and re-boot when the washer has been plugged back in.

On LG washers built *before* 2008—after several “LE” error events—the error *cannot* be reset by unplugging the washer. This indicates that the HALL EFFECT SENSOR has failed and will need to be replaced.

On all LG washers built during and after 2008—a more robust resistor was used in the HALL EFFECT SENSORS—which eliminated damage caused by higher electrical loads placed upon the sensors due to oversudsing. HALL EFFECT SENSORS virtually never fail in 2008 and newer LG washers but the “LE” error will still occur if too much or the wrong type of detergent is used. This will be “resettable” by unplugging/replugging the washer.

The CORRECT amount of HE (High Efficiency) detergent to be used is as follows:

HE : (2) Tablespoons Per Wash Load

HE 2X : (1) Tablespoon

HE 3X : (1) Teaspoon

USE THESE AMOUNTS RELIGIOUSLY–NO EXCEPTIONS–IN ALL FRONT LOAD WASHERS WITH 3.0 cu ft DRUMS AND LARGER

Grasshopper: We’re a bit flummoxed. One thing we were wondering about is if we put something back too tight or not tight enough?

Master John63: Be absolutely certain that the HALL EFFECT SENSOR is installed correctly. Three white plastic tabs on the STATOR (motor) securely hold the sensor in the correct position. If any of the *three plastic tabs* were damaged during an attempt to remove the old sensor—this will require replacing the STATOR ASSY, Part Number: 4417FA1994G
Part number: 4417FA1994G


STATOR ASSYs ***virtually*** NEVER fail. These motors are VERY robust and VERY durable. I’ve NEVER had a failure in the field during IN-WARRANTY and OUT-OF-WARRANTY service (more than 1000 LG washers).

Check for any corrosion at the plug on the HALL EFFECT SENSOR (add dielectric grease).

Check the plug for the STATOR (motor) for corrosion (dielectric grease).

Check the plug at the *base* of the washer—directly below the STATOR/MOTOR ASSY. This is a plug that is wrapped in a ziplock type bag to protect it from water. Examine this plug and the wiring *very* thoroughly for chaffing or breakage. Repair as needed.

Check the plugs at the MAIN BOARD (loose connection). This can be accessed by removing the top cover of the washer. The MAIN BOARD is located directly behind the front control panel.

Grasshopper: The motor rotor was pretty warm to the touch when we went to look at it again after we tried another cycle. I assume that is normal? Not sure if that is relevant.

Master John63: Normal.

Grasshopper: Hm. I had checked online about the part and actually…originally mistakenly got the 2002 instead of the 2001 part. I then read online somewhere, can’t remember where, that my LG model took the 2001 part. So I ordered that one as well. So I actually have BOTH already. However, I had read somewhere else that both parts “work.”

Do you believe that using the 2001 instead of the 2002 is a material difference?

Master John63: All HALL EFFECT SENSORS are interchangeable.

What is surprising is that the Part Number: 6501KW2001A
Part number: 6501KW2001A


part is *still* available. This cannot be from LG’s inventory as these were discontinued quite some time ago.

The 6501KW2002A part has been used since approximately 2004. When the internal resistor was “upgraded” in early 2008—the part number was NOT changed at all. Instead–a colored dot was placed on the *improved* HALL EFFECT SENSOR.

All other sensors were purged from LGs inventory.

Grasshopper: We’ve always used HE detergent and as far as I know always the amount that’s advised on the bottle. Perhaps that’s still too much? I don’t know.

Master John63: Only ONE manufacturer of “HE” detergent has the correct dosage instructions on their product label (that I know of).

The Shaklee Corporation.

Almost all other detergent brands have *incorrect* dosage instructions (excessive).

It seems likely that the detergent industry (my personal opinion) is advocating very heavy detergent useage to spur sales (and huge profits).

A typical family of 4 will do—conservatively—eight loads of laundry per week (416 loads per year).

Most families consume a 177 fluid ounce jug of 2X (double concentrated) “HE” detergent per month (12 jugs per year).

When used correctly—that same family of 4 will only need one jug and approx 1/3rd of a second jug for the entire year of laundry.

Grasshopper: It’s just strange to me that we’ve gone from “LE error + no spin” to “No LE error + labored spin + smell” after changing out the hall effect sensor

Master John63: I agree.
The next steps to take are:

1) Rotate the washer tub by hand to determine if anything may be stuck in the water tank/tub–it may be something small such as a bra wire. Although this does occur–it does not usually trigger an “LE” error message. Listen for a distinctive clicking or rubbing sound ( NOTE: a faint clicking sound is normal).

2) Install the newer sensor, Part Number: 6501KW2002A
Part number: 6501KW2002A




Good Luck & let us know of your progress.

Grasshopper: Thanks so much for your help. We went through the entire process again. Everything inside the machine looked great. Really clean, no corrosion or anything. We replaced the 2001 Part Number: 6501KW2001A
Part number: 6501KW2001A


hall effect sensor with the 2002 hall effect sensor Part Number: 6501KW2002A
Part number: 6501KW2002A




As we replaced the 2001 with the 2002 and were checking that we put the 2002 on correctly, we noticed that we were covering only two of the plastic bumps instead of all three. So we shifted the sensor one clip over so we were attached to all three.

Put everything back together.

IT WORKS!

So, we figure that what must have happened is that we installed the 2001 incorrectly just like we almost did with the 2002. It clips on, so you think it’s fine, but in reality it’s not in the right place.

To our layperson mind, this makes sense because it really seemed like it was operating with one hand tied behind its back.

Thanks again for all the help, this is the sort of thing that makes the internet a great place.

Master John63: Good job.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dbiberdorf August 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Muchas gracias for the lengthy and helpful explanation.

In defense of conscientious LG owners everywhere (including myself), the manual for our own LG (a WM1812CW — the Best Buy unique number for the equivalent WM1814CW, IIRC) says to use the DETERGENT manufacturer’s recommended amount rather than actually saying only use 1-2 tbsp of HE detergent. The detergent manufacturer measuring cups (from several big brands) all result in putting in two to three times as much detergent as necessary. LG was being silly in handing over this specification to Procter/Unilever rather than specifying exactly what was needed. They brought their warranty claims on themselves.

You might also point out how to tell whether the washer has had too much detergent run in it in the past. (Option 1: do an empty load and look for suds between tumbles during the wash. Option 2: put it into diag mode, fill until a couple of inches of water are in, then tumble to observe suds.) If there are suds in there, owners should probably run a cup of vinegar through a regular wash cycle to flush the excess residue. Or get some Affresh stuff.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man August 6, 2010 at 10:02 am

Domo for your comments, Fr. B. Yes, Master John did point out that all manufacturers except one, Shaklee, over-recommend detergent amounts.

Some de-stinkifying procedures for front load washers in this post:

http://fixitnow.com/wp/2008/09/27/de-stinkifying-your-front-loading-washing-machine/

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