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The past few times we have tried to use the washing machine, it has given off a burning smell and has even begun to smoke a bit.  Also, it doesn't appear to be draining fully in the spin cycle, so the clothes are left very saturated with water.  I'm not really sure why this is happening, I don't see anything trapped in the machine that could be causing the problem, but my knowledge of this stuff is pretty limited. Any ideas what might be causing this?

Edit: It's a Kenmore washer and dryer from Sears (Model number - 417.90812990). It seems like the washer has been unable to drain water properly, it doesn't really matter what size load you place in there, the rinse cycle doesn't seem to work and the dyer was smoking. It definitely smells electrical.

Edit2: Alternatively, if I fail to address this by myself, who should I call ideally? The warranty is out on it. Last time I called Sears for a stove with a broken part they quoted a high price for parts combined with an offer to buy a new stove at a discount. Should I expect the same again if I deal with them? Should I call someone else?

Edit3: I checked it and it turned out that between minute 6 and the rinse cycle the washer stopped spinning. Instead there was only buzz and then the plastic lid lock started smoking. Here's that part:

http://www.apwapplianceparts.com/Store_Part.aspx?Id=673890

Part number is 131675600. They sell them on ebay for $10.

Here's something interesting I found about that part:

http://www.justanswer.com/appliance/2rws2-i-m-replacing-lid-lock-switch-frigidaire-clothes-washer.html

Could it be that it's just shorting and all I have to do is replace it? Or is this a symptom of a bigger problem?

Edit4: I called a specialist and he advised me to just eliminate the lid lock. That fixed it.

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Rubber burning smell, or electronic burning smell? –  Tester101 Jan 10 '11 at 20:38
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Electric, I updated my post. –  Victor Jan 10 '11 at 23:18
    
to be honest, I can't answer your last question. I'd personally start with the cheap switch if that is where the smoke is coming from. Process of elimination. Got to fix the obvious, then continue to trouble shoot if problem persists. Sorry i can't help more. would have to be there with a volt meter to check out other things. –  shirlock homes Jan 11 '11 at 20:36
    
I have also seen lint or other solids get stuck in the exhaust pump. That will stop the rinse/spin cycle if the water level doesn't drop fast enough. Usually an interlock shuts down the motor. since your lid switch is overheating it is hard to say if it is getting too much current (in line switch) because motor is stalling or switch is defective. –  shirlock homes Jan 11 '11 at 20:42

2 Answers 2

One of two problems, burned out drive belt or burned out motor. This could be fixed by a DIYer, but need to know what level of mechanical ability you have. Take off the front panel and take a look as you run it through a short cycle and be prepared to shut it off or pull the plug if you see sparks or smoke from the motor.

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Let's say average mechanical ability. Not scared of sophisticated stuff but not much experience. –  Victor Jan 10 '11 at 23:20
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OK Start by removing front panel that is secured by clips or indents. Inspect the belt for obvious wear or a divot. Put machine on spin cycle and actuate it. Observe whether the motor is stalling or the belt is slipping. Once you are sure which component is failing, unplug the machine, get out your wrenches and have at it! –  shirlock homes Jan 11 '11 at 8:33
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See edit3 above. The final cycle is OK and the belt looked more or less OK to me... –  Victor Jan 11 '11 at 15:35

Unless you are sure that it is in fact the motor I would start by replacing the belt and making sure that the tensioner is working properly. Replacing the belt is pretty cheap and easy the electric motor is going to be quite a bit more expensive to replace.

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See edit3 above. Could it be the lid lock? –  Victor Jan 11 '11 at 15:36

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