Whirlpool/Kenmore direct drive washer spins as soon as it starts draining; diagnosing neutral drain problems

“Neutral drain” refers to the mechanical feature of the transmission in the Whirlpool-built direct drive washers to keep the basket from spinning– in neutral– while the tub is being drained. The reasons for doing this are obvious:

– reduce wear and tear on the washer’s drive components, the motor, coupler, clutch, and transmission and

– to prevent the possibility of water riding up the the side of the basket and sloshing over as the basket comes up to speed.

The two most common causes for messing up the neutral and letting the basket spin during pump out are either a bad transmission or a bad timer. But determining which one is the bad actor is the tricky part. But that’s why we professional appliantologists makes the big money.

See if you can snatch these pebbles from my hand…

A properly functioning wash cycle in these machines consists of:

Fill==> Agitate==> Drain==> Pause==> Spin (repeat for rinse cycle)

If the washer immediately starts to spin and drain, then you need either a

neutral drain kit==> http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Neutral-Drain-kit/2911

or a new transmission==> http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Transmission/423

Sublime Master of Appliantology john63 sums this up with a nice, succinct rule-of-thumb:

Any time that a Whirlpool / Kenmore direct-drive washer fails to *neutral drain* after 3 minutes of agitation (at room temperature) the transmission is the culprit.

Replacing the neutral drain kit, while less expensive, is much more time consuming and requires disassembling the transmission, replacing the neutral drain assembly, refilling it with transmission oil and then reinstalling in the washer. Professional servicers almost never do this because the time consumed would quickly exceed the cost of replacing the transmission; so simple economics dictates that professional servicers replace the entire transmission since this is a relatively fast and easy job.

Replacing the transmission as a unit is also a more reliable repair because other things can and do go wrong with the transmission. For example, if the there is a pause after draining but the washer never goes into spin (and the motor is running, of course), then the transmission is shot and need to be replaced; this failure is not related to the neutral drain assembly.

Here’s a good video on how to replace the transmission:

OTOH, if there is *no pause* between drain and spin then you need a new timer==> http://www.repairclinic.com/Washing-Machine-Parts

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