Kenmore washer timer problem

franksmom_2010July 29, 2010

Hi! We have a Kenmore washer (model #20442) that's around 11 years old. This week, I've noticed that when I run the washer, it fills with water, starts to agitate, then stops a minute or two into the cycle. Turning the knob slightly and turning it on/off seems to restart the cycle, but it stops again about halfway through rinse and spin. It starts again if I fiddle with it. Otherwise, everything is fine/normal.

Does this sound like it's the timer? Is this a repair that we can do ourselves? If it needs to be done by a repair person, any idea how much that would cost? I see on the parts list, they have a do-it-yourself washer repair manual...does this cover all repairs?

We've had no other problems with the machine, and even though it's older, I'd rather not replace it if we don't have to. Money is kind of tight right now, so I'm hoping the repair cost would be reasonable.

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Well, I may have answered some of my own questions, but now I have more.

After poking around on the net, it seems it may also be the lid switch? I suppose the only way to know for sure is to get to the guts of the thing, and check out both parts. Although, when I tried opening/closing the lid when the cycle stopped, that didn't seem to do anything.

It looks like once we actually get the thing apart, we should be able to replace either of these parts ourselves. Is the timer the most expensive part of this machine? I'm just wondering what the risk/benefit is of spending $100 (the average cost of the timer online) on an 11 year old machine? OTOH, it's still cheaper than a new machine...

Oh, and here's the whole model # 110.20442990. Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 12:57PM
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The lid switch doesn't ordinarily come into play during agitation except for the last two mins of the wash period. Depends on how your machine is designed. Some newer models won't run the motor at all with the lid open, for either agitation or spin. Older models will agitate (except for the last 2 mins as noted) but not spin. An 11-year-old machine should fall into the 2-min scenario.

You should hear a faint click when the lid switch is depressed/released, although it can be mechanically OK but not make contact electrically so the only way to know for sure is test it with a volt/ohm meter or temporarily bypass it to see if the problem is eliminated.

There are other parts more expensive than timers.

Search your model at to see parts diagrams.

Your problem could be the timer.

Could also be the motor bearings going bad, causing it to run under an excessive load and overheat, shut off until it cools ... but if it restarts immediately after you jiggle the timer then that's not likely the case.

Timer part # 3951166 is listed $117.73 at Sears. Do a search for the part number, you may find a better price.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 5:47PM
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Thanks so much Dadoes!

I ran by my local small town Sears today, and they had no insight.

The cycle stops in the *first* two minutes of the agitation, then again about halfway between rinse and spin. Still sound like a timer? Normally, it will agitate, but not spin, with the lid open, and yes, I still get the click when the lid is opened or closed.

We'll take it apart this weekend, if not sooner, and check out both parts with the voltmeter. After poking around on the internet (and here)I think we're incredibly lucky to have had it this long without a minute's trouble, and I think we're leaning towards fix rather than replace.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 7:58PM
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Per the diagrams @ Sears, it's a simple machine. Timer and water level control. No separate temp control, so temp selection apparently is integrated into the timer. Have you tried all the cycles (Regular, Delicate, Perm Press, or whatever all the machine may have) and it stops during the first two mins on ALL of them, or only on one (Regular/Normal, perhaps)? If the motor is cutting out on overload protection, it won't start again on any cycle until the motor cools enough for the internal thermal switch to reset ... so again, if it restarts *immediately* upon jiggling the timer or turning it a couple increments forward, then the timer is probably the culprit. Also when it has stopped during wash, try setting the timer to the final spin, see if it runs again immediately there.

However, it's sometimes difficult to diagnose a problem from afar without hands-on exam of the machine. I've run into cases in which a crucial piece of info is being overlooked or not reported, which completely changes the situation once it comes to light.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 10:23PM
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