Diagnosing transmission problems in a Whirlpool / Kenmore top-loading, direct-drive washer

If you’re not familiar with the innards of these washers, properly diagnosing transmission problems and distinguishing them from other drive train or even control problems can be a real trick for the uninitiated. For example, your washer doesn’t spin or agitate but you hear and maybe even see the motor running. BTW, one sure sign that the motor is running, even if the tub ain’t moving, is if the washer pumps water outta the tub. See, the motor shaft sticks right into the pump so when the pump’s pumpin’, the motor’s gotta be motorin’.

But here’s a simple way of determining whether the problem is with your washer’s transmission or some other part like a clutch or a drive coupler.

Remove the cabinet and jumper the lid switch (tan to gray). Put the unit in spin and watch the shiny metal clutch disc that is on top of the transmission where the shaft comes out. If the machine starts and runs in spin, check to see if the disc is spinning. If it is, then problem is in the clutch, basket drive or the tub drive block.

If, on the other hand, the disc is NOT spinning, check for a problem with motor coupling or one of its retainers. You need to actually remove the motor to do this properly– eyeballing it from underneath just don’t cut it, Slick.

If all that looks good, then you need a new transmission.

To learn more about your washing machine, or to order parts, click here.


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