Front Load Washer Leveling Tips?

ronakaMarch 9, 2014

Just installed a new LG front load washer. I followed the installation instructions, and generally it runs fine. However, at certain spin speeds it is fairly loud. Our laundry room is on the main floor and has a door. Normally you do not hear the washer or dryer. But depending on the load in the washer and the spin speed it does get loud enough to easily hear/feel when it hits those critical speeds.

The machines are installed on factory LG drawer stands, and the stands were leveled before the machine was put on, and then leveled again with the machine on. The screws attaching the drawer stands to the machine are all in place, and the feet turned down a half turn to make it all solid. There is no movement between the bases and the machine.

The way it is installed I can only get at the front feet and the back right for adjustment. The installation instructions say to adjust the tension in the feet when it is in this spin cycle. I've tried that, but there seems to be no relationship between any adjustment I make and the overall noise and vibration.

Does anyone have any special tips on how to adjust the feet? I suspect at the end of the day you really need all the feet to equally share the load. However, it is hard to determine when that is the case. I did not install the adhesive friction pads under the front feet, but I have not found that the machine moves, so I don't think they would help.

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mrb627

You may be able to remove the drawer and get at the foot from the top with a socket wrench. Then you wont have to move the machine to adjust feet.

MRB

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 8:24AM
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ronaka

MRB, that is an excellent suggestion, and I gave it a go. My thinking was that if I could do that, I would use my in-lb torque wrench and torque each foot to the same value. LG does not make it easy to get the drawer out, but it does seem to be possible by taking out the two screws on each side of the slider rail. But, before I did that, I used a mirror to check out what was there. Unfortunately it turned out to be just the threaded end of the foot, with no hex to put a socket on it.

So, real good idea, but a no go unless you machined or welded a hex on the top of the threaded part. Perhaps you could put two nuts on them and lock them together, but I'm not sure there is enough thread to do that.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:39PM
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Gwarstong

Keep in mind "leveling" isn't the important thing. Anything close to level is fine. The nut is equal or nearly-equal load-bearing by the supporting feet. The machine's suspension components cannot do their job without equal or nearly-equal support from those feet.

One of the front feet is all you'll need to get at. "Torque" evaluation won't help you.

Get a wrench that fits one of those front feet. Of the four feet, three define a plane -- the two back ones and one of the front ones. Adjusting one or the other of the front feet will equalize the load on all four. That's all the access you need.

What load? The load that is generated when the machine spins up UNDER LOAD itself. Put a full load of laundry in there, run the cycle and be ready when it spins up. While it's spinning under load start tweaking one of those front feet. You'll quickly sense where the "equal loading" point is attained. Whatever you attain this way will be as good as it can get. Since your machine is new, I would have every expectation its suspension components are capable of handling normal imbalances just fine -- assuming they are allowed to bear appropriately on the supporting feet. If this doesn't solve the problem, there will be something amiss with the suspension components (I do assume the shipping bolts have been removed!) or with the flooring itself.

This isn't hard to do but no installer I've ever encountered sticks around long enough to do it. You're on your own....unless you want to hire it done. IMHO, too simple an adjustment to bother with that.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 2:53PM
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dave1812

your torque wrench is for tightening things like lug nuts and head bolts. not going to help with adjusting washer feet. you need to have roughly the SAME PRESSURE against the floor, on all 3 feet, as much as possible, but bear in mind the washer isn't a precisely evenly-distributed weight item. EXACT level not as important as NOT having one foot have almost no weight on it, relative to the other 3 feet.

THE WAY I DO IT: I adjust as best I can, then I try to rock the machine. If it rocks towards one corner, I adjust that foot longer. repeat until you get good results during spin cycles.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 3:12PM
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ronaka

I may have it as good as it can get, but I was expecting it to be a bit quieter and smoother. It has never set an alarm or stopped due to vibration.

I still think torqueing the feet would work if you could do it. The torque required to turn them is a direct indicator of the load they are under. I do understand and agree that the machine has to be reasonably balanced in that all the weight is shared equally between the feet. However, when moving it around, it feels fairly even. In any case torque is out.

Yes, while I titled this asking for Leveling tips, I appreciate perfect level is not the issue. And it is very close to perfectly level in any case. What I can't reasonably determine is whether the load is being shared equally between all 4 feet. Yes, I have tried the tipping trick and that was how I initially set it up. Keep tweaking until I could get no rocking, and it was level.

But that brings me back to where I am now. It may be as good as it gets. When I tried the adjustment while spinning a 6 lb load as suggested by LG, I got no change in the vibration. Perhaps it is just telling me that is all you can do.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Gwarstong

I suspect that's an 18-22lb capacity machine. My suggestion is to use FULL load when you tweak one of those front feet during the spin. In my (limited, but several) experience with own and friends'/ neighbors' machines -- all of which had been tilt-tested to approximate load-bearing previously -- all it took was 1/8 - 1/4 turn on one of the front feet while spinning under load to change everything.

Torque measurement has zero to do how the feet are loaded. Has only to do with with what load the bolt itself is under. You may trust me when I tell you they don't correspond for this application in any way that will help with the problem.

I know this is annoying...as it has been for MANY before you because the installers seldom get it right. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:34PM
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ronaka

Gwarstong, thank you for the additional tips. I do not agree with the thought foot torque is unrelated to load on the foot. It will be related by the thread pitch and the friction in the thread, which should be very uniform as the thread turns in a plastic bushing. All you have to do is turn the foot when there is no load on it to understand that torque goes down as load on the foot goes down.

In any case that is theoretical musing, because I cannot measure torque. I will put a larger load in it and give it a try again in adjusting it while running. Perhaps I should loosen one foot to the point it is clearly loose, and then tighten it while it is in the spin?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 5:05PM
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Gwarstong

Suggest come as close as you can via rocking/shifting the non-running machine until it "feels" solid...pretty much what the installers do before walking away. Nothing wrong with that. And sometimes they get lucky and everything's fine. The "dynamic adjustment" I suggest merely assures equal or nearly-equal loading of the feet during actual full-load operation. In my experience, it's always been a small adjustment and the difference has been instantly noticeable.

I understand your comments about torque measurement. I agree with them. I'm not saying it's not measurable because it certainly is. I am saying that that will not be of any practical use in solving this problem.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Gwarstong

delete

This post was edited by Gwarstong on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 18:26

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:23PM
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dadoes

A trip I ran across is: Place a sheet of paper under the leg targeted for adjustment. With a load spinning, tug on the paper as an indicator of when the leg is adjusted properly for load bearing-ness -- the paper shouldn't slip out very easily during machine vibration when the adjustment is correct.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:47PM
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dave1812

dadoes, the only problem with that is one needs to be aware that in many installations, there isn't any accessibility to the back legs so that will only help to adjust legs in the front of the machine that are too high. even if paper doesn't slip out, a SLIGHTLY high leg could still affect spin quality.

but your suggestion is a good start!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Gwarstong

Access to back legs not needed. Access to one front leg all that is needed.

Paper-slipping idea is no-go. Even a slight load on the paper will prevent its being removed. The amount of load-bearing to be equalized or nearly-equalilzed is waaaaay beyond that in an application such as this.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:45AM
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dave1812

agreed, that if the unit is close enough to level, one can "forget" about dealing with the back legs.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:40PM
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ronaka

OK, as an update, I put in an 11 pound load, and sat on the floor with the adjustment wrench pretty much through the whole Rinse, and then Spin cycle. Amazing how little time these things spend "Washing". I just focused on the front right foot as it is the easiest to get at. When it did act up with an abnormal shake, I loosened the foot, and predictably it got worse. I then tightened it until shake improved. And again somewhat predictably it was more of an on-off condition, not a gradual change. I did it a couple of times, and the "good" much reduced shake occurred at pretty much the same point of adjustment (which was not a very wide range - perhaps 15 degrees or so).

That was about two weeks ago now, and it has run pretty well since that time. The various cycles have different spin rates, and each load and how it distributes is not the same. Some loads go through the complete almost dead silent. In other loads as the speed is increasing or decreasing it seems to hit some critical speeds where shaking is heard and felt. However, it does not stay there and it is still better than it was.

This basically is the process recommended by the manual and Gwarstong. It does seem to work. I was a bit skeptical that it might only solve the issue for one load weight and spin speed, but it does seem to have an overall benefit. Hopefully it stays in "good tune". Not my favourite job to sit on the floor for an hour while it performs...

In any case happy for now! Thanks for the help on this.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 2:41PM
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