Whirlpool Cabrio Balance Rings balance problem

thellmerJanuary 4, 2009

My Whirlpool Cabrio is so out of whack that it will not wash a single load without going of balance. I am generally a Mr Fixit, so with the help of some web advice I opened the top and I removed the wash basket to see if there was anything stuck inside or behind it and found nothing. However, from both the top and bottom balance rings you can hear water sloshing around inside and none of it drips or oozes out of any holes anywhere. Are these factory filled with water then sealed off, or are they supposed to fill and empty with the wash? There are what appear to be fill/drain holes stamped in the plastic, but I am not going to mess with them until I know if they are sealed units. That is the only thing I can figure out that would be causing the balance problem. It used to wash fine but lately is horrible. Seriously one handkerchief will cause it to slam around all over the floor until it gives the UL error and stops.

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The rings are filled at the factory.

What's the model number ?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 6:34PM
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It is a WTW6400SW1 - serial CT4171102. With the top open I did discover that two of the suspension rod plastic "ball joints" for lack of a better word at the top corners of the machine were totally rusted to their "sockets" due to the insane amount of rust all over the top assembly inside - it looks like the fenders of a 72 Chevy driven in Chicago for 36 years. A 3rd one was very rusty as well but wasn't totally frozen in place but still didn't move well. When you would try to move the tub assembly around those plastic balls would not budge a single bit even though the tub would move around from the rod's flexibility. I pried them out then sanded the sockets smooth with emery cloth and cleaned the rust off the plastic balls and then greased all 4 sockets with new grease so now the whole tub can shift in the sockets again. Not sure if that was the problem or not, but I can tell that the whole movement is smooth again now that the balls can rotate. I also lubed the suspension springs with silicone lube so now they go up and down much smoother. I ordered a new washplate of the new style 4 lobe design that is supposed to come in this week to fix the tangling problem, so I am going to wait to see about the balance problem once that is installed. I rarely use this machine and put it in the downstairs laundry for rugs and comforters and such because it tangled everything else so badly - it's been a pain from day one. I use an LG Tromm FL for my daily laundry now. But this Cabrio was working "fine" - and I use that word loosely - up until a few months ago then just kept getting worse and worse. It had always had occasional problems with balance but nothing like now. Of course now that I see how badly it is rusted underneath, I figure the whole top will fall thru shortly and the problem will be solved when it goes to the landfill. Ridiculous to pay that amount for this washer 2 years ago and see what has happened - without all that much use! Do you have any other ideas about the balance problem from past experience or do you think maybe those rusty joints could have caused it?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 12:14AM
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> do you think maybe those rusty joints could have caused it?


similar Oasis rust problem ...

We use the LG WM2688 Washer & DLG8388 gas Dryer :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 6:43AM
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Sorry you're having trouble! I have a washer similiar to yours, the Oasis and I know what you're talking about. I have complained about it to several Sears salesmen and tech support, they all seem to think I'm stupid and tell me to add MORE items to balance this out. I know enough not to wash a heavy item by itself...but sometimes it just goes out of balance FOR NO REASON! And it makes me so mad that I've had to give up washing some items all together (like pillows) in my home washer because I will be standing there for the entire DAY trying to reposition things to get it to drain. I've had my machine two years and have decided to just replace it as soon as I can. My daughter works at Sears and she is always asking questions on my behalf and one salesperson admitted to her that these machines were a huge disappointment and were prone to errors and balance problems. I just had to have my control panel replaced because it was throwing error codes and stopping mid cycle. I would be calling regularly to complain, you should not be stuck with a rusty piece of junk after two years. Wish I could offer you actual help...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Well I put the old wash plate back in today because curiosity was getting the best of me and to my dismay the problem still exists. It doeesn't make horrible groaning noises anymore with the ball joints greased,but it still went off balance just as quickly as before. Seriously there isn't that much to one of these things mechanically, so it's driving me crazy trying to figure out what the balance problem is. Empty, the washer vibrates a lot during the spin cycle, but isn't off balance, but just add one washcloth or one handkerchief - yes those paper thin men's handkerchiefs - and the thing walks across the laundryroom floor and sounds like it's going to burst through the sides of the cabinet before finally stopping with the UL error. Although the balance rings have water in them and do not have any visual cracks or signs of leaking, I still wonder if they have enough fluid in them. They sound like they are about half or less full. What an expensive piece of rusty junk. Whirlpool has lost my confidence, and therefore my business forever.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 7:02PM
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You said you removed and checked the basket. Did you notice if perhaps the basket hub is loose or cracked?

The balance rings are supposed to be partially filled. If they were topped-off, the mass of the liquid couldn't shift to compensate for off-balance conditions.

Can you take a video of it and post it on Youtube so interested readers can see what's happening?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 12:53AM
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Trying to figure out how to do a video that will really show the action. I bypassed the lid lock then did the drain and spin. At the initial low RPM the basket spins fine. No noticible movement at all, which is odd in a way because once the next speed kicks in - the middle one - the top of the basket attempts to stay centered but the bottom starts to bounce almost up and down at first, but then starts bouncing around everywhere and then kicks the UL error. I took the basket hub and gear off and they are fine. It's like at the higher speed something in the bottom balance ring causes the fluid to bank up instead of leveling out which causes it to go off balance. Maybe a "fin" or something inside is broken and floats around until the higher speed lodges it against another "fin" which then causes the fluid to dam up. Have you ever taken one open to see what's inside the bottom ring - how it's constructed? I envision a series of fins/baffles and chambers but I may be wrong. Wish I had a spare basket to try without spending the money on a brand new one just in case that's not the problem. However, I really believe it must be as there aren't enough moving parts down there to really be anything else. I did all the diagnostic tests and they all came back fine. There was a historical F51 error but the motor tests showed fine.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 8:01PM
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How old is the machine?

You know how the basket drive works, yes? The basket floats when there's water in the tub to disengage from the drive so the wash impeller can turn separately. When the water drains, the basket settles back down on the drive so it turns with the impeller. Is it possible the hub "gear" is slipping? I don't know what's the structure of the balance rings, other than being about half filled with water and sealed.

Sounds like replacing the basket may be the next logical step ... depends on if you feel it's worth the expense under the circumstances. Is there perhaps a longer or "lifetime" warranty on the basket?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 11:19PM
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I don't think either one of those is much related to the Cabrio problem.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 1:20AM
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Its about 2 years old, and no I removed the basket to check the gear, hub, etc and they are all in very good almost new looking condition. It hasn't been used a lot since it's always been a PITA and could never leave the house when washing a load because it's always been prone to balancing problems - but nothing like now. Now it simply will not spin a single load or even the empty basket. I bought the Front loader because I hated this machine and moved it downstairs to wash rugs, comforters, etc. I use the FL for my day to day washing. Since this is an "extra" I won't be putting a new $200+ basket in. I'll sell it on ebay a part at a time before that. I'm hoping one of the local used appliance graveyard parts places may have one. Planning to check around this weekend and see. I'd pay $50 for one but that's about my limit.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 6:48PM
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I took the basket out tonight just to mess around with it, and I've discovered if I roll it across the floor in the dorection in which it would be spinning, it lurches somewhat although I can hear the fluids running inside. If I run it in reverse, it doesn't seem to lurch. That seems to me like there is something restricting the flow somewhat in the spinning direction causing it to build up and become off-balanced - evidenced by how it lurches across the floor when pushed into a roll. Thats also what I notice when the lid is open and it begins the spin, eventually building at the higher speeds until it throws it into a wild banging caliope. Would love to have a look inside or even see a cutaway diagram of the patent to see how it is constructed and if there were any parts inside that could come loose or break off to restrict flow. Oh well, guess it's going to up up for parts on ebay unless I can find a cheap basket to try out.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 7:11PM
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When it spins mounted in the machine, it's on a vertical-axis. Rolling it along the floor is a horizontal-axis orientation. Stands to reason it'll have different characteristics that way. :-)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 7:31PM
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My Kenmore Oasis has exactly the same problem. It was working fine and now it won't wash even the smallest load without the UL error. Something must have broken, but it's not obvious. Did you ever figure out what caused the wild unbalanced spinning, and what the fix for this is?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 7:13PM
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I think your basket is probably fine. The chambers on the top and bottom of the basket are supposed to be sealed, and half filled with water, so you are definitely going to hear sloshing sounds.

From what you describe, I'm guessing that the shock absorbers have lost their damping, and now they are just springs. You can tell this by bouncing the wash tub up and down, and and if it feels "bouncy", then that's your problem. The fix is to replace all four shock absorbers with the latest Cabrio parts. The newer parts have a black coating on the rods, which is different from earlier shock absorbers. I don't know if this makes them better, but it should solve your problem.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:03AM
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Thanks Washerman! That's the first useful suggestion I've found after weeks of researching this problem on the web. I placed my order with Sears PartsDirect tonight (20% coupon code 90008 worked!) and I'll post the results next week.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 8:32PM
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Who'd a thought I'd find the answer for whether there is supposed to be water in the basket ring at the gardenweb? My Kenmore series 70 top loader shakes like mad, even when empty. I tore it completely down which was easier than I expected, and cleaned all the smelly crust, lubed, and changed the drive coupling, but still it shakes. I was shocked by the prices Kenmore parts dot com asks, and found third party much cheaper. I was searching e-how for three hours trying to decide if I should drain that water, then first try here I got my answer. I did notice you can tilt the tub with one finger, dunno' if that's normal. So now I'll try to wedge heavy foam between the tub and frame, then secure it to the wall. Thanx for the help guys!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 4:23AM
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Your machine does have a water-filled balance ring at top of the inner basket ... but rest of the construction is completely different from the Cabrio of the original thread topic.

There are three horizontal springs on your machine that anchor the tub to the base pedestal, and a fourth vertical spring at the rear. Make sure all four springs are in place. The tub support also is cushioned where it pivots and slides on the base by six plastic/nylon pads (two sets of three). Not uncommon that the pads wear down after some years of use.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 6:31AM
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part W10189077 http://www.appliancezone.com/(S(rinduda10juyc1mo4pvkgy55)A(9HPWVW9azAEkAAAAZTU0MDc0NzktM2FkNC00NDMwLWI5N2MtYWQzNWU2NmEwNDJkmwmbKe7blagtDY72zk03vy-k-tc1))/ShowProduct.aspx?ID=20702

Here is a link that might be useful: Luis Lopez

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:34PM
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I want to thank you Luis Lopez, I to was stumped with my washer, every time it would spin it would go all over the place, I opened up and I could not see anything wrong. I read your post, went to servall got the struts put them in and now she spins and spins. I'ed never thought that was the problem. so thank you very much.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:40PM
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hi luis lopez i change THE 4 SHOCK STRUT,the steel tub and the problem persist. how i change the bering on the plastic basket? thanks

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Washer_man was spot on with his assessment. If your washer is banging and vibrating and walking across the floor, the suspension assembly has lost it's damping. Research the correct part number for your model of washer. I own a Cabrio Washer Model # WTW6300SB1. The suspension assembly part number for my model is W10189077. One of the most inexpensive sites I found and purchased my replacement suspension assembly was www.universalapplianceparts.com. To learn how to replace the suspension rods, view the video at www.repairclinic.com. Complete address is www.repairclinic.com/Video/Mobile-Show-Help-Video?videoldCSV=457. Removal and installation is fairly simple. The most difficult part is dealing with the tight space between the drum and the washer wall and also the weight of the drum when lifting the new suspension rods in place. I also rechecked the level of the washer by adjusting the feet. Washer is working like new. Hope this helps anyone else with the same problem. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:01PM
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I was suspecting the suspension rods, also. Plan on ordering to solve this violent spinning problem. The verticle bouncing is when it all starts. Drum is easier to push down than new ones in the store. Reading these post convinced me the final 10 percent to spend the 60 bucks.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 12:09AM
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I stumbled upon this post while searching for solutions to my wild unbalance issue with my whirlpool cabrio machine. Hope the shock absorbers do work as suggested and I would like to give another solution to another problem I had with this dang machine.

If leaking, or flooding more like it, then check your drain pump. Somehow my machine tore a comforter I washed and a huge chunk made its way to the pump. I spent a couple hours pulling a little at a time out of the small 1" drain then cutting that piece off and repeating that a hundred times. All in all it ended up being about half the size of a large bath towel.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 9:55PM
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Hello everyone. this is my first post...
I have a front load washing machine from Whirlpool Cabrio. It has started to do a rubbing noise whenever it is filled with water and rotating. Manually I can turn the tub forward and reverse without hearing any noise. I dismantled the tub asembly to find out that water is been captured within the metal tub. I now suspect a leak through the seal but it doesn't leak on the floor ? How can I get rid of that water as the tub assembly is all in one piece?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Your details are confusing.

You say "front load washing machine" and "Whirlpool Cabrio" but a Cabrio is a toploader not a frontloader.

If you do have a Cabrio, the inner drum has a water-filled ring that provides gyroscopic balancing during spin. The water is supposed to be there and is sealed-in at the factory. Do not try to drain it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:10PM
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semichill did replacing the shocks fix the balance issue? I am having the same problem and was reading these post trying to find a solution.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Answering your e-mailed question here ... I don't have a Cabrio but per service info I've often seen, the springs and dampers on the suspension rods can go bad and cause balance/vibration trouble.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 11:18PM
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I have replaced the rods on my washer and still getting an UL code. However, one of the blue caps on the new rod broke in the first wash. But it still went UL. Anyone?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2014 at 11:02AM
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junelp, what blue cap are you referring to? If you're talking about the bushing that the spring sits in then yes you will need to replace that bushing.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 7:53PM
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