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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Washing Machine Diagnostic and Repair Guide; washer repair; washing machine repair
Washing Machine Diagnostic & Repair Guide
Problem Possible Causes
EEK! My washer is leaking!
  • Your fill hoses might need tightening at either end.
  • I've seen where poor draining in the standpipe causes the sudsy water to back up and overflow, making it look like a washer problem when, in fact, it was a plumbing problem.
  • Maytags can have problems with the water injector leaking.
  • A pump might be leaking. You gotta open it up and see.
    On Whirlpool/Kenmore direct drive washers, the pump is down in front and you'll need to remove the cabinet to check it out.
    On old-style GE/Hotpoint washers, the pump is down in back and you'll need to pull off that back panel to check it out.
    The pump on Maytag washers is down in front and you'll need to pull the front panel off to check it out.
  • The tub might be leaking. How can you tell? Right, you gotta open 'er up and look at it. Crystal balls don't work too good.
  • The new-style GE's (which suck out loud) are bad for the infamous spin-during-agitate problem. This makes a mess because it sloshes water out of the tub all over the frikkin' floor. The only cure is to replace the brake package but, man, you might as well go ahead and replace the whole transmission. Prevention is the best thing here: avoid GE like the plague and buy only Maytag or Whirlpool laundry equipment.
  • The fill valve has crud caught in it making it stick open. Replace the fill valve and install sediment filtration on household water supply. More details on this here.
  • Very restricted water flow through the valve. This problem is unique to the older GE/Hotpoint washers. Low water flow will cause the water from the valve's discharge hose to run back up the hose by capillary action and down to the floor. This is a tricky one to catch, Hoss. Takes real kidneys to spot this one.
The washer doesn't spin or, if it does, it's real sluggish.
  • No spin at all: the lid switch is fried. Whaddya do? You test it with your meter.
  • In the Whirlpool/Kenmore washers, a common problem is that the lid plunger stops making contact with the lid switch. Use a pen to manually press the lid switch actuator (with the lid up, duh). If the washer spins...well, you know the rest.
  • Older (belt-drive) Whirlpool/Kenmores: the spin solenoid is burned out or has cut wires. Ohm out that solenoid (20-30 ohms) and test with a test cord. Make sure the wires are intact by giving them a little tug. If this is OK, you may need to adjust/replace the basket drive.
  • Newer (direct-drive) Whirlpool/Kenmores: worn out direct drive coupler.
  • The drive belt has had it. Look for excessive glazing on the sides of the belt or cracks in the power side of the belt. On Maytags, replace the belt set if they look glazed or shiny on the sides even though the belts may look OK otherwise. Belts on other brands will be more obviously bad. Here's how to replace the belt on older Whirlpool/Kenmore belt-drive washers, and on old-style GE/Hotpoint washers.
  • Timer is fried. On older timers, it's sometimes possible to run an external jumper to replace the bad internal contacts. Usually, however, the entire timer must be replaced. The only way to confirm is to use your meter and wiring diagram.
It fills OK, it just won't agitate.
  • Drive belt could be worn out--see above.
  • On the Whirlpool/Kenmore dual action agitator, the agitator dog cam assembly or drive spindle could be worn out. If the agitator just wobbles around when you turn it by hand, you need to replace the dog cam set.
  • The timer contacts for the agitate cycle could be fried. Time to blow the dust off that meter and read that wiring diagram.
  • On belt-driven Whirlpool/Kenmores: wig-wag plunger/lifter or transmission mode lever could be worn out. You'll need to look at the action of the agitate solenoid when the machine is in the agitation part of the cycle. If the plunger/lifter slips off the transmission mode lever, replace either the plunger/lifter or the mode lever, as appropriate.
  • On Maytags only: the lid switch could be fried. (Other brands will still agitate with a bad lid switch.)
  • Pressure switch is fried. You'll need to ohm out the contacts on it. How you gonna know what you're looking for in the contacts if you don't use the wiring diagram, too?
  • The air tube connecting to the pressure switch is pinched or you pulled it off by accident when you where tearing the thing apart because you didn't have a clue about what you were doing.
It doesn't agitate or spin.
"Fool thing won't pump out and I got a tub full of stinky water in the washer. I'm gonna die! EEEK!"
  • Pump's fried. If it's a belt-driven pump, you can tell by feeling how stiff it is to turn. For electric pumps, hook up a test cord and run it. Pull drain hose and watch discharge stream. If stream fluctuates or is pathetic, replace the pump.
  • Again, worn drive belt. In this case, washer won't spin either (or will have a sluggish spin).
  • The drain hose is clogged (usually with panties or nylon stockings, ya hey). Pull drain hose and watch discharge stream. A good discharge stream will have the same diameter as the hose itself. If less than this, it's time to play find the panties.
It sounds like a helicopter's taking off and the whole house shakes when the washer goes into spin.
  • Try leveling the washer, genius. Check for play along the diagonal corners of the washer cabinet by applying downward pressure. If there is any play at all, the washer will shake during spin and the legs must be leveled.
  • You have brilliantly located your heavy-ass washer on a floor that would be condemned for structural weakness if a building inspector saw it. Try placing reinforcing pads or pieces of plywood on the floor under the washer.
  • On Maytag top loaders: worn damper pads.
  • On Whirlpool/Kenmore direct-drive machines: worn snubber pads.
The clothes are still sopping wet at the end of the cycle and take forever to dry.
  • Ain't but one thing: the washer's not spinning (although it still pumps out). "Oh no, I know it spins." How do you know it spins, Sherlock, did you bother to actually see it spinning during the spin cycle? Don't you think that'd be a better idea than shooting your mouth off at me?
"That washer put oil spots all over my clothes. I'm gonna sue!"
  • Take a chill pill, Prudence, it's probably not the washer's fault (unless it's a GE/Hotpoint). Now, get ready to have your little mind blown: most of time, spots on clothes are from a chemical reaction between the fabric softener and the detergent. Oh sure, don't believe me, go hire a lawyer, I don't give a rip. But you might unbunch your panties just long enough to do this little test: try handwashing a spotted garment in warm soapy water. If the spots come off, they were caused by fabric softener/detergent interaction. I know, I'm a genius. But talk is cheap--thank me with your wallet, not your lips.
  • Transmission oil leaked back into the tub. This is most common with the older GE/Hotpoint washers. Test by applying solvent to a section of a spotted garment. If the spots come off only with solvent but not with soap and water, then they are oil spots. If you do have a GE/Hotpoint washer, take it to the dump and buy a Maytag or a Whirlpool.
"That horrible washer ate holes in my clothes! I'm gonna die!"
  • Try using less bleach, Nurse Ratchet.
  • Your clothes are getting caught under the agitator. Feel under bottom of agitator for rough spots that can catch clothing.
  • You're using too little water for the load size you're running. Look, if you want to save water, get a front-loading machine. Otherwise, fill that sucker up and pollute all the water on the planet in the process.
Clothes are still soapy at the end of the cycle.
  • Your cold water valve is clogged with sediment. Rinse is done with cold water. No cold water, no rinse.
  • Fried timer contact. Less likely but possible. Check the valve first, Hoser.
  • Itd be a good idea to check your water hardness, too.
I don't get no cold water in my washer.
  • What, are you from Brooklyn and it's your birthright to talk like a moron? I think you meant to say, "I cannot get cold water to flow into my washer." There, doesn't that sound better, y'blockhead?
  • Sediment has gotten into the valve from the household water supply and is blocking the flow. Replace the valve.
  • Cold water hand valve at wall turned, I'm not gonna say it.
The washer is completely dead.
  • No power at the outlet...DUH!
  • Timer is fried.
  • Washer went off-balance and tripped the off-balance switch. Open washer lid, redistribute the load and re-start the washer. Wasn't that a lot quicker than getting on-line, finding this website, and listening to my abuse?

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My washing machine won't run the rinse cycle. Everything else is fine. It just runs the wash cycle then stops. You can manually move it to spin cycle, which works but rinse doesn't either on its own or manually.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 02, 2005 12:22 PM  

Is the water inlet valve getting voltage? If so, then the cold water side of the valve is plugged with sediment.

On most washers, rinse is done using cold water. So, a good test to do is to set your washer to fill with cold water and observe the inlet stream. Then switch it to hot. If you see a big difference between the two, replace the valve..

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at October 02, 2005 6:24 PM  

I like your website, but can't figure out what's wrong with my brand new washer...we've leveled it (and it is level), but the thing keeps walking. it's on a concrete floor. Problem is, we've had it for 1-1/2 years, but it's brand new and just connected it so no me if you can!!

By Anonymous Lorraine Moore, at March 19, 2006 6:28 PM  

We have a Kenmore front-loading washer we bought new in the fall of 2002, and it has a problem where it will fill with water, but will not agitate (is that the right word for these washers?-) or spin. In other words, it will just not do anything after filling, though cycle light remains on. We wash every day at least one load so this is quite a dillema!! Thanks for any and all help!
-Washer-Stranded in Las Vegas

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 25, 2006 2:26 PM  

Hearing motor noise? If yes, replace the coupler. If no, replace the pressure switch. For help locating these parts and to buy replacements, click here.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at March 26, 2006 6:30 PM  

Our 10-yr-old washer has suddenly stopped moving through the cycles. I have to manually turn the knob to get it to switch from wash to soak, for example.

Is it worth it to try to repair, or must we buy a new one?

By Anonymous Shelly, at May 08, 2006 10:58 AM  

I think it's worth replacing the timer.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at May 21, 2006 8:14 AM  

Samurai Appliance Repairman, You're fantastic! I could have never fixed my problem without the extensive information on your site. Having said that, I would like to add a couple of things to your site that may be of assistance. First of all, I found a million & one sites, including yours that said I needed to remove the end caps on my Whirlpool Washer & then remove the exposed screws to get the console off. After ALMOST destroying the console, I realized that the console simply prys off the washer top via a couple of clips (located under the end caps which don't really come off). There are no screws. This would be very valuable for anyone with a very new whirlpool/kenmore top loader.
Second, I have a crappy twist on the "doesn't agitate or spin" scenario. After pulling the console off & testing the water level switch & the lid switch, I pulled the cabinet off, and found that the coupler had some very minor damage, but only because the ENTIRE MOTOR HAD COME LOSE AND ONE OF THE MOUNTING SCREWS WAS INSIDE THE MOTOR. HOLY $%@#!!! It's ridiculous that a perfectly good machine is destroyed because some incompetent fool didn't tighten a screw properly (yes, the washer was leveled properly - I'm not the incompetent fool today). Of course, it's out of warranty, so I'll just buy a new motor & count my losses. Thanks again for your efforts. Although I've got a $125-$150 repair ahead of me, it's better than the $75 repairman visit just to tell me that I have a $300 repair ahead of me!

By Blogger Greg B, at June 13, 2006 3:42 AM  

Help! Need to know where to put oil in Whirlpool washer? AND what type of oil. Replaced motor coupling and lost a lot of oil in the process (oops!)

Shannon, MI

By Blogger shannon, at June 21, 2006 5:32 PM  

I have a Kenmore direct drive washer. Couple of years ago I replaced the drive coupling. Now a new problem. When the machine is set to the regular agitation speed the motor will not "engage". The agitator just moves in spurts. If set to Fast or very slow, the machine will work at the selected speed. This sort of reminded me of a motor with a bad capacitor, but near as I can tell there is only one cap in the machine. worse case I suppose the motor had fried. Any thoughts?

By Blogger mark, at June 23, 2006 1:48 PM  

Last year I purchased a Kenmore Elite direct drive top loader washer (110.15962401). Just noticed a small amount water was not fully draining so I wanted to check outer tub and/or pump for a stray panty or sock. I also found numerous sites that said remove the end caps, which I do not have, and I am certain there are no screws. However, I also cannot pry off the console from the washer top as suggested by Greg B. Another site referring to a similar model said to ďtake a putty knife and slide it under each end, you will feel a spring. Push on the spring and pull up on the panel and it will release.Ē This doesnít work either. Any suggestions so I donít have to destroy the console or call repair just to get the console open to remove the cabinet?

Many thanks!

By Blogger Susan, at June 27, 2006 11:12 PM  

I have a Maytag A212S washing machine. During the wash cycle, the agitator fails to operate and the drive belt starts to smoke. The motor is running fine. During spin cycle, everything works fine. When I set the machine in the wash cycle, I can turn the 'wheel' at the bottom of the agitator by hand but the turning becomes difficult just before the agitator changes its direction of rotation. So, the agitator will start going clockwise, I keep turning until it gets very difficult to turn and then it 'breaks' and starts turning counter-clockwise. I suspect it has something to do with the transmission- any ideas? If it is the trainmission, can we narrow it to a specific part or do I need to replace the whole transmission.

By Blogger Rambog, at July 01, 2006 3:17 PM  

what if any damage can be done to a washer when you leave the lid open with clothes and water sitting in it for over 8 hours?

By Blogger autumnfaeries, at July 18, 2006 12:25 AM  

I have a Kenmore front loading washer that doesn't work on some cycles. That is, it doesn't drain water and cuts off. However, it does work on the permanent press cycle. What could be the problem?

By Blogger mindlessbaby, at August 22, 2006 3:57 PM  

Help! I have Whirlpool top loader model# LSQ8543JQ0. The problem is that the agitator will not spin in conjunction with the tub during the spin cycle. It seems to be working fine during both the wash and rinse cyles. Yes, I have been watching during each cycle.

By Blogger, at November 08, 2006 10:13 PM  

I thought that the agitator always spins with the tub during the spin cycle?? As said previously it seems to work fine during all other cycles just not the spin. I checked the coupler and that appears to be fine...was replaced earlier this year with new. Any thoughts???

By Blogger, at November 08, 2006 10:32 PM  

I have a Whirlpool washer (model #LXR9245EQ0) that will not fill the tank during the rinse cycle.

If I hold the load size knob between size settings during the rinse cycle it will fill with water. After holding the knob for several minutes, it will fill without me holding the knob and continue with the rinse cycle.

Since I usually wash with cold water, I don't believe that the cold water valve is bad. Can you tell me if the control board is bad and how I could test it before replacing it.

Thanks for your help.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 28, 2006 4:01 PM  

My hotpoint washer will agitate but only when I push on the top of the agitator. ???? It spins and empties just fine. You comments on replacing the belt don't seem like the problem as pressure on the top causes it to operate normally. Any help is appreciated.

By Blogger fireoffujii, at April 08, 2007 3:52 PM  

I just moved into a rental house that came with a washer and dryer. I like my washer much better than the one that is there. Is it alright to disconnect my landlord's washer and use my own? I thought I'd heard that if a washer isn't used the seals can dry out and then it will need repairs when you try to use it again. What do you think?

By Blogger Sarah, at April 24, 2007 5:43 PM  

i have an old ancient whirlpool. honestly not even sure how old. so the belt broke and we replaced it. now it agitates on spin and does nothing on agitate. i'm guessing there is a crossed wire somewhere and a unconnected wire somewhere else. but i'm not too sure. if they arent crossed and are connected correctly whats the deal??

By Blogger Kathleen, at June 26, 2007 8:33 PM  

I have a direct drive Whirlpool. The agitator works, but it won't spin. It does drain. My wife said she heard a weird noise before it stopped spinning. I figure it's the coupler, but I've also heard that the motor goes one way for agitating and another way for spinning, and that the motor could be burned out in the spin direction. Is there a way to tell if this is the issue.

By Blogger Bruce, at July 02, 2007 7:14 PM  

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