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I have a Fisher/Paykel AquaSmart top loading washer model WL37T26CW2. Since about a month ago the washer repeatedly goes out of balance mid-wash, even with the smallest lightest fewest number of items, eg a few pairs of socks.
The spinning bowl makes a few loud banging noises as if it is hitting the exterior structure of the washer, then stops and waits for load to be repositioned. Sometimes it takes 3-5 times of repositioning the load (or bowl?) and going out of balance again, before the machine will finish the wash cycle.

I found the service manual online and in it found a procedure to troubleshoot an out of balance condition:

If a machine continually goes into an out of balance condition, then the following need to be checked in the order given.

  1. Even distribution of the clothes load.
  2. Ensure that the machine is both level and stable on the floor.
  3. Ensure that the feet have the rubber inserts fitted and the cabinet corners are clear of the floor.
  4. Check that any of the straps on the neck ring are not broken and that they are fitted correctly.
  5. Check the weight of the inner bowl. Bowl weight is as follows. • 24lb 3oz +/- 10oz (10.965kg +/- 275g).
  6. Check the RPS using a RPS Tester.

I followed steps 1-3 (incl second #3, shown here as 4): the machine is level and stable, the feet are set properly, and including raising the top deck to inspect the dynaflex straps on the neck ring and the suspension rods. Those all appear to be in good shape.
enter image description here

I didn't follow the last two steps, Weigh the bowl, and Check the RPS using a RPS Tester, as I didn't want to further disassemble the machine.

I'm wondering if the dynaflex straps wear out or if another reason would explain why the bowl thrashes so violently. Could the motor / axle transmission connection to the bowl be damaged?

Any ideas what next to check?

Thanks

UPDATE (Corrected)

Per suggestions by @Telescope2334: Check the suspension rods.

I looked closely at the 4 suspension rods, removing each one in turn and inspecting it. They all look fine to me, they are straight not bent, clean, not showing excessive wear, rubber washer is intact. They are all about equally engaged when all installed. Separately each piston moves smoothly through its range with considerable resistance for dampening. The neck ring also appears in good condition.

One of four suspension rods Piston, close up Piston partially engaged, note movement from rest position at grease ring, close up

CORRECTION

Per suggestions by @Telescope2334: Check if the bowl rotates smoothly and easily by hand.

When this issue first arose, as far as I can remember, the bowl rotated smoothly and easily. However, just now when I was about to replace the suspension rods based on service tech suggestion and @Telescope2334 comment, I discovered I was mistaken. The bowl turns freely but not smoothly. At very slow < 10 RPM it rotates smoothly but at slightly higher 30 RPM it does not. In a single full rotation there are 4-6 loud and physically jarring thumps or bumps, these are very pronounced.

I'm guessing this indicates the drum bearing / axel / transmissions is at fault. From a quick glance at the service manual this appears to be a major repair, not sure if I can handle it. I will read in more detail, check other sources, and report back.

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  • Questions... If you rotate the bowl by hand, does it turn smoothly & freely? Can you detect any wobble when rotating by hand? What happens if you put it through a wash cycle with nothing inside at all? Feb 5 at 22:27
  • My suspicion immediately falls on the suspension rods (see page 28 of your service manual.) Feb 5 at 22:33
  • Thank you for your suggestions @Telescope2334, I updated my question.
    – JohnC
    Apr 4 at 0:04
  • That's interesting. The rods do seem to be in visually good condition. Is there any sign of oil seepage on the rods? How old is the machine? Apr 6 at 8:56
  • Another thing to check is that the washer is level. The washer may have adjustable feet; you can use a spirit level to confirm it is 'perfectly' vertical. Apr 6 at 9:01

2 Answers 2

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As we discussed in the comments there are quite a number of issues that can cause this problem. It's always a good starting point to refer to the service manual, as you did.

My primary suspicion was the suspension rods, which can fail and stop supporting the drum properly. I also suggested re-checking that the machine is perfectly level.

However it sounds like you've narrowed the problem down to the drum bearing/axle.

Coincidentally just this weekend we have replaced a washing machine used by one of our tenants, which had a very similar problem (despite two attempts at service). We try hard to repair when we can, but sometimes the most cost-effective solution is to replace the equipment.

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  • Thank you for all your comments and advice. Most of your answer is in the comments to my question and the revisions I made, glad to give you credit here. Thanks
    – JohnC
    Apr 11 at 15:00
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The metal cylinder at the bottom of the suspension rod contains a spring and a damper consisting of a lubricated foam elastomer ring tightly fitted into the groove of a plastic piston at the end of the rod inside of the cylinder. The friction of the ring pressing against the inner wall of the cylinder damps tub/spring resonance that gets exited at about 200RPM. This elastomer disintegrates.

F&P have carried over the design to current models. The rods need to be replaced with a set of new ones. I have been experimenting to find a fix for the damper for years with limited success. My current fix looks promising. I replace the ring with 35A duro open cell foam rubber I found on Alibaba which is primarily used as die ejection rubber used in cardboard cutting processes. I lubricate it with WEICON Silicone Grease.

BTW, another possible cause of OOB is blocked bowl perforations which stops water escaping during spin.

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