Fisher Paykel GWL10 spin problem

dkorchMarch 17, 2010

My Fisher Paykel GWL10 washing machine (about 10 years old) won't spin at full speed, and makes a varying sound as it seems to try to increase speed. It completes the cycle, but of course the clothes come out more damp than normal.

When I rotate the agitator by hand, there seems to be a roughness. It feels to me as though there are worn bearings under the agitator.

Any suggestions for further diagnosis or repair would be greatly appreciated.

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It's normal to feel some "cogging" from the magnets in the SmartDrive motor when rotating the basket by hand. F&P bearings don't fail very often, although it surely can happen.

The control board monitors and directly controls the rotational speed of the motor, so theoretically it should trigger a fault code if the motor can't reach the target speed. If you aren't getting any fault codes, then something else may be wrong, such as a clogged diverter valve that is allowing the water to partially recirculate during drain. Or, possibly a piece of clothing such as a sock or some other foreign object is caught under the inner basket.

Run these tests and report the results.

- With the machine's power off, press and hold Wash Temp Down, then press Power at the same time. The panel should turn on in Diagnostic Mode.

- Press Spin Speed Up (or Down as needed) to turn on BOTH the Hold and Slow lights. The Wash Progress lights indicate the last recorded Fault Code in binary numbering. Add up the total of the lights that are on, that's the fault code. From left to right, the eight lights are numbered 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1. You may not have a code displayed.

- Press the Delicate cycle button. This activates the diverter valve for testing. The Delicate light will come on, but nothing else obvious happens at this point, so don't be concerned about that.

- Press Wash Temp Down to turn on the cold water (again to turn it off). Press Wash Temp Up to check the hot water. Let the machine fill with just enough water to see it coming up in the tub.

- If less than 3 mins since you turned on Delicate, wait a little longer after filling the water. Otherwise, press Regular to turn on the pump. Water should shower out of the recirculation port at the top right-rear of the tub, and NO WATER should come out of the drain hose. Note also if the pump sounds normal, or is noisy similar to what you hear during the spin problem.

- Press both Regular and Delicate to turn the pump and diverter off. Wait 3+ mins again. Press Regular to turn the pump back on (do not press Delicate). Water should flow out the drain hose, and NONE from the recirculation port. Let the water drain fully, and note again if the pump sounds normal.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Thank you SO MUCH dadoes for the suggestions.

I went through the process last evening and there were no fault codes; the pump and diverter tests were successful; but I do feel that the pump was noisier than it should have been, especially when the water had been pumped out and the pump was still running. You may well be right that the "roughness" I feel when rotating the tub is normal, and what I heard was the pump. If the pump is noisy but working, do you have a feel for how it will progress. Is it best to just swap out the pump before it gets really bad?

Thanks again,

P.S.: I didn't respond sooner because I expected to get an email (but didn't) telling me there was a response - perhaps it got caught in a spam filter.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:39AM
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Pumps do tend to get noisier toward end of the drain period when they're sucking air and churning the residual water that remains in the sump. However, you should definitely have a look at the pump for evidence of leaking or if it's worn. A worn/leaking pump, particularly on a GWL10, often ends up burning out the controller board, so better to replace the pump proactively before that happens. The pump on a GWL10 is part of the main power circuit and also serves as an electrical energy dump during spin braking.

The pump is a small electric motor mounted under the tub. No tools required to remove it ... unplug the machine first! ... disconnect the wires on the pump, find a plastic latch on the mounting plate, hold the latch released and rotate the pump body counterclockwise to detach the pump from the plate. Replace the pump immediately if there's any evidence of leaking (mineral residue on the pump body, corrosion on the windings) or the shaft/bearings are loose/worn. Lubricate the seal face around the impeller with a bit of liquid detergent or dish soap when remounting the pump to facilitate rotating it into position.

If the diverter valve tested good for recirculate and drain, and the machine really isn't spinning to full speed with the clothes are coming out abnormally damp, then the main drive shaft bearings could be going bad, or there could be something such as a sock or small cloth stuck under the inner basket causing drag.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 3:34PM
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Saw this posting from a year ago and followed the directions, as I am having the same problems. I've removed the pump, inspected it, replaced the diverter valve, and still am having noise problems, though the machine is now running through the full cycle (before replacing diverter valve it would stop at rinse cycle)

diagnostic code is 52

at final step testing the pump, the pump is very loud... screeching...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 9:30AM
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Pump screeching when run in diagnostics (or when run otherwise) = replace the pump.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Thanks, that's what I figured... can you tell me what it means when the first five lights are flashing when I turn off the machine?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:16PM
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And strongly advise do not run the machine again until the pump is changed. Due to differences in the electrical design, GWL10 is more susceptible than other models to control board damage from a bad pump.

The only reference I'm aware regards to the first 5 wash progress LEDs flashing briefly when the machine is initially connected to power (cord plugged in) indicates the diagnostic restart feature is disabled. Restart is normally enabled ... such that the machine will try to several times to restart/resume the cycle function when a fault condition occurs in case the fault is momentary. Restart can be disabled as a diagnostic aid so a fault condition can be observed immediately rather than waiting for multiple restart attempts.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 7:45PM
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