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Washer Details

Video of the problem

Background

This washing machine has been working fine for years. In the past I've replaced a failed lid switch but otherwise it's needed no service. Recently it began failing to spin the clothes dry at the end of the wash. Though I didn't know it, it was also failing to spin the clothes after the wash agitation and before the rinse fill.

Initially before digging too deeply into the cause, I replaced the motor coupler and the clutch band as two parts which often fail, are cheap and easy to replace. This didn't fix the problem.

Problem description

Here's what happens :

  • Start the washer
  • Washer fills the tub. This works fine.
  • Washer enters agitation mode. The motor spins, transferring power to the transmission via the motor coupler, the transmission turns that rotation from the motor into agitation movement on the shaft which in turn moves the agitator in the basket. This works fine.
  • Washer drains the tub. The motor spins in the opposite direction, the transmission enters neutral drain mode, the basket doesn't spin or agitate and the water pump drains the tub. This works fine.
  • The drain finishes, the motor stops, the timer counts down about 20 seconds

Now here's the problem

  • The motor starts back up and the basket begins to spin but just barely. The motor spins, the transmission causes the clutch drum to spin but the basket doesn't come up to speed

What should happen

  • The motor should start back up and the basket should begin to spin, slowly at first and eventually at full speed

Here's the workaround that I've discovered that hopefully says something about the root cause of the problem

  • If, once the washer is trying to spin but just not getting up to speed, I stop the wash cycle
  • Then manually push the basket around a bit, forward and backward
  • Then start the wash cycle back up, the basket begins to spin and successfully comes up to speed.

Since there are two points in the wash cycle where a spin occurs, I'll continue to describe what happens

  • The first spin which comes after the wash agitation and before the rinse fill finishes
  • The motor stops, and the tub begins to fill with cold rinse water. This works fine
  • Once the tub is full, the motor starts and rinse agitation occurs. This works fine
  • After rinse agitation, the motor stops, the timer counts, the motor starts back up, transmission in neutral and drains the tub with the water pump
  • The drain finishes, the motor stops, the timer counts down about 20 seconds

The same symptoms occur now for the second time, during the final spin to dry the clothes. The workaround described above is the same and once done, allows the spin to run successfully.

Things I know

  • The lid switch is good and the washer works knowing the lid is closed via the lid switch
  • The motor coupler is good. I replaced the one that was already there, which looked fine but figured a brand new one would be best. The rubber is new and in good condition and the nylon posts on each side are new and good.
  • The clutch band is new and good. The original clutch band looked fine (the pads were not worn down) but it was a bit discolored. I replaced it just in case.
  • The motor is good and produces enough power to agitate, pump water, and spin as long as I do the workaround
  • The washer drive block (number 15 in the diagram) looks good, the two detents are square and clean.
  • The tabs on the top of the spin tube that mate with the drive block look good and unbent. The appear to mate well with the drive block
  • The large plastic gear in the transmission / gear box mates well with the metal gear. It has a bit of play but not what would look like it could slip it's gears.
  • Without taking apart the transmission, the parts visible by taking the gear box case off show no apparent problems. There are parts under the two top gears and the worm gear that aren't visible without taking it apart though.
  • The transmission will enter neutral to drain, it will enter agitation mode, and it will enter spin if you do the manual workaround shown in the video
  • The problem is not that there is something stuck between the basket and the tub as I've taken the basket out and confirmed it.

Question

What part or parts are possible causes for this set of behaviors?

  • Sounds like a transmission problem to me. Could be a shifter problem or a stripped gear. – Michael Karas Jul 10 '18 at 3:06
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    When you solve the problem please let us know what was it – Bogdan Jul 11 '18 at 5:06
  • @Bogdan absolutely. I got it working and added details below. Thanks so much for your explanation of the possibility of a capacitor issue. In this case it turned out to be the clutch housing and band (which replacing the band alone did not fix). Again, thank you! – gene_wood Aug 27 '18 at 3:37
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I think it's the big electrical capacitor you can see in the picture I got from your video electrical capacitor

That piece is responsible of giving the initial spin direction and when it's broken the machine is behaving just like yours (had this issue on several lawnmowers - which are also direct drive machines - blade is directly attached to the motor)

So reading the available rear panel parts diagram it would be the Washer start capacitor Parts #: 661605, Substitution: WP8572720 at $37.04

This electrical capacitor you can get for allot less money from an electrical store. Capacitors are basic electrical pieces which are the same from one electrical appliance to the other.

You can test it that is the faulty piece by puling it out of its socket and running the washer without it. You will see that it will still work and it will behave the same - it needs that momentum given by hand to start spinning.

Then you can go with the faulty piece in your hand and get a replacement for allot less money than $37

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After replacing the clutch band (part #285790) and seeing no change or improvement I'd assumed that this ruled out the clutch as being the cause of the problem. Turns out that the new clutch band/pads/spring with the original clutch housing (the metal cup that the band sits in) did not solve the problem.

The solution was to replace the entire clutch (part #285785). As soon as I did this, the problem resolved completely and the washer spins faster than it ever has before (clothes come out bone dry).

Many thanks to mjames74 and cidvis for both suggesting that despite having changed the clutch band I should change the entire clutch housing.

Also thanks to Bogdan for the detailed explanation about the possibility of a failed capacitor. In this case it turned out this wasn't the problem but I would not be surprised if it could be for others in the future.

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