No final spin on old Kitchenaid KAWE560W washer

corsairf4uJuly 7, 2010

I have an old Kitchenaid KAWE560W washer that is having a problem with the 'Normal load' final spin cycle. Lifting the lid during this cycle it's obvious that the drum isn't spinning. If I then close the lid, the drum starts spinning. Alternately, I can wait for the cycle to end (close will be dripping wet), then turn the dial back to this spin cycle and it'll start right up.

Yesterday I ran a couple of loads and checked to see if all the cycles were working. The agitator is working correctly (I recently replaced the agitator dogs), and all the rinse/spin cycles other than the last one are also fine.

I'd be most grateful if someone can help me diagnose the problem and suggest what part(s) are needed to fix this washer (Sears equivalent parts are fine because I have a Sears parts store nearby). Thanks!

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dualref

This could be a lid switch problem. To test, jumper past the lid switch. If the washer returns to normal operation you know it's a lid switch problem. Lid switches are not that expensive and easy to replace.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 4:51PM
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dadoes

The final spin fails ONLY on the Normal/Regular cycle? Delicate, Perm Press, etc. are OK?

A good way to diagnose the problem is run a cycle with the lid open and watch it every step of the way. Manually trigger the lid switch with a clothes pin or some other such object. It should fill for the wash period, agitate for the selected time, pause for a moment, drain, pause again, spin, fill for rinse, agitate, pause, drain, pause, final spin, shut off.

Doesn't seem to be a problem with your lid switch, or the motor wouldn't be running at all during any of the spin period, and it also wouldn't be draining. The lid switch is wired into the reverse motor circuit.

So, that leaves the timer or the neutral drain mechanism inside the transmission.

The machine has a neutral drain mechanism in the transmission, which depends on the motor pausing for several seconds at appropriate points in the cycle, controlled by the timer. The motor is reversible ... it runs in one direction for agitate, the other direction for drain & spin. The pump is attached directly to the back end of the motor and runs at all times with the motor. During agitation the pump is forcing the water back into the tub so it doesn't drain. Also during agitation, the neutral drain mechanism gets preset inside the transmission so that the NEXT time the motor pauses and restarts in the reverse direction, the tranny shifts into neutral drain ... neither agitate or spin, and the pump runs in the proper direction to drain the water. When the motor pauses a 2ND TIME and restarts AGAIN in the reverse direction, the neutral drain mechanism releases and allows the basket to spin (and drain). The motor pausing TWICE is REQUIRED for spin to work.

Well, except sometimes when the mechanism gets worn (or in a cold environment that thickens the tranny oil) the neutral drain doesn't quite catch and spin starts immediately when the motor reverses the 1st time. But in normal/proper operating conditions, two pauses are needed.

It's possible for the timer to fail in such a way that the motor pauses don't occur. The only way to know that is by observing the cycle sequence. ANY pause and restart of the motor will trigger spin ... which is what happens when you open and close the lid ... or reset the timer to spin.

Investigate if maybe it's a timer problem related to the 2nd pause not occurring before the final spin on your Normal cycle.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 4:54PM
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lee676

Unless your clothes are soaking wet when the machine is done, I'm not sure anything is wrong with your washer. The above post is exactly correct - it is normal for Whirlpool-built top-load washers (at least of certain vintages) not to spin when draining, but to start spinning if it is shut off or the lid is opened at this time. Try sitting nearby during the last drain cycle, wait for several minutes, and listen for that pause and then restarting with spin.

I'm not sure why they designed it this way, as I used to own one a long time ago and always thought it cleaned better if it spun during the drain period. That's what the old Maytag I had in my previous home did normally, and if I were in the vacinity when the Whirlpool (which owns & makes Kitchenaid) washer started to spin, I'd lift the lid and close it to get it spinning as it drained. I'm not sure if this was bad for it in some way, but mine was still working until I replaced it with a front-loader, at which time I sold the old machine.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:00AM
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dadoes

The OP does say that the clothes are still wet when the full cycle is done, but that the machine will spin if reset to repeat the final spin.
Alternately, I can wait for the cycle to end (close will be dripping wet), then turn the dial back to this spin cycle and it'll start right up.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:09AM
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corsairf4u

Okay, here's a follow-up. I ran several loads tonight with the door lid switch bypassed and observed several things:

1. The other two cycles (delicate, permanent press) run fine all the way through.

2. I ran a REGULAR load with the water/load set at MEDIUM and it ran all the way through without any problem, including the final spin.

3. I ran a second REGULAR load, this time with a full load of sweatshirts, towels, etc. - a fairly heavy duty load. This time the washer failed to engage the final spin.

My wife observed that she has seen this behavior before: a full load of whites (mainly composed of light weight items like T-shirts, underwear, socks) will often finish without any problems, but a full load of heavy items will always fail on the final spin.

I took videos of the washer in operation when it successfully ran through the whole cycle and when it failed on the final spin. I'll try to post these on youtube tomorrow and provide the links.

Based on dadoes comments, it seems like the timer might be the culprit because when the washer works correctly there is a definite pause before the final spin, and when it doesn't work right the pause isn't there. But I don't understand how or even if the weight of the load might be a factor.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 3:22AM
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dadoes

Load size shouldn't be a factor. Probably is just coincidental that it worked when you tested with the smaller load.

If the Regular cycle is what you use the most, the timer cams would wear more in that section than in Delicate & Perm Press.

Assuming the timer is the fault, a replacement at the online source I often use is $136. If that's more than you want to spend on the machine, a workaround (although inconvenient since is requires manual attention each time) is to enact a pause by opening/closing the lid when the final spin starts.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 5:59AM
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corsairf4u

You're right ... $136 is more than I want to spend to fix this washer.

I put up the video I promised. Hopefully it'll show that something else is wrong with the machine (something cheap to fix). The first part of the video shows the REGULAR mode, MEDIUM load being washed, and the final spin successfully engaging. The second part is the REGULAR mode, FULL load, and it shows how the final spin hangs:

(replace h_tp with http)

h_tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7W7Y0QuBXM

I thought there was a difference in the amount of delay before the final rinse/spin but after watching the video, this does not appear to be the case. Maybe, just maybe, it means that something else, something cheap to fix is wrong?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 10:43AM
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dadoes

Per the video, the problem is the transmission, not the timer. The pause is OK.

Note that in both "halves" of the video (1st when final spin works, 2nd when it doesn't), the machine is *already* spinning before the final spin sequence begins (the point of the pause, then restart with spray rinse). The drain period is supposed to be neutral *without* any spinning. If it does trigger spin during the initial drain, that indicates the neutral drain mechanism in the transmission is worn and not functioning properly.

Proper sequence of operation is:
- fill & agitate for wash
- pause
- drain (*without* spin)
- pause
- spin (between wash & rinse periods, may or may not be spray rinses involved)
- fill & agitate for rinse
- pause
- drain (*without* spin)
- pause
- final spin (with spray rinses)

Neutral drain also depends on the specific age/vintage of machine. Early-model Whirlpool-made washers of the direct-drive design *did* have a spin-drain. The neutral-drain function was added a few years into the production. I have a KitchenAid KAWE760W which runs a neutral drain, so yours should as well.

There is a neutral drain repair kit available (~$14) to replace the parts involved, which should (but may not necessarily) fix the failed final spin as well. This involves pulling and opening the transmission, and skill/knowledge to swap the parts, possible need to replace the tranny's cork gasket so it seals properly when closed back up, etc. If you have mechanical ability, this may be the way to go.

It may be easier to simply replace the transmission, which is what most service techs would do. A replacement tranny at the source I mentioned is $158 ... but then you'd have a nice new transmission out of the deal. Perhaps could find a better price on eBay.

Note also that since the clothes have already spun for a bit as part of the drain period, the only reason they're wet when the final spin fails is due to the spray rinses. :-)

And note also that your full model number includes a few more characters. It should be KAWE560WWH1 or some such. The last number is the engineering revision, which is relevant to minor changes that may occur on parts and design throughout the production period of the particular model.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 5:39PM
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corsairf4u

Thanks dadoes, the neutral drain repair kit is reasonably priced so that's where I should start. I don't know if I have the mechanical know-how to do the work, however. I'm going to have to mull this over ..... meanwhile I'll use the Permanent Press cycle or simply rerun the final spin cycle for the time being. Thanks again dadoes and thanks everyone for your input.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 12:37AM
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dadoes

I should clarify that the Whirlpool direct-drive washer design has been on the market since approximately 1983, initially under the Kenmore label. The neutral drain function was added 2 or 3 years in.

You can get a service manual (in .pdf format) at Whirlpool's tech site www.servicematters.com. Look in the Technician Reference section, Technical Reference, Technical Library, Job Aids, Laundry Products. Click the blue flag to expand the section, click Page Down to find document L-55 Direct Drive Washers.

The neutral drain kit is Part # 388253. You can get the installation instruction sheet for it under Technical Library, Part Instruction Sheets, enter the part number.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 1:50AM
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corsairf4u

That's great info ... thanks for the links dadoes! I've downloaded the PDFs and now have a good idea what I need to do to replace the neutral drain.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 2:44AM
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dadoes

Be aware also that the tranny is filled with oil (lower half), so you'll need to hold it securely level when opening the top of it so as to avoid a spill. The gasket possibly doesn't have to be changed if it doesn't get damaged and still seals OK, but sometimes they tear apart when it's opened.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 9:23AM
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lee676

Somewhat OT, but why did Whirlpool adopt the "neutral drain" design? Does this result in better reliability or less wear on parts? I would think spinning the tub during water drainage would rinse clothes better.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 8:27AM
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kenlerner

Just curious if the washer got fixed. I have a 1990 Kenmore washer with exactly the same problem - no final spin, or rather final spin does not reliably occur (on the regular cycle), especially with a full heavy load. I replaced the timer but that did not fix the problem.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 4:06PM
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dadoes

The water does drain, just no spin?

If you catch it in the act and stop/restart (push/pull the timer), does it spin then?

Are you sure it's only the final spin that's failing? There's a spin after wash, before agitated rinse and it's not obvious if that's also failing unless you watch/monitor the machine for the entire cycle.

Assuming the lid switch is not being erratic, there's the timer (already changed by you), internal transmission components related to neutral drain and driving the clutch bell, the clutch & brake components outside the transmission (which includes the spin tube & drive block to which the basket mounts), or the reverse motor windings/wiring.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 4:33PM
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kenlerner

The water does drain, just no spin?
--> that's correct. During the last part of the cycle when it should be spinning, it just sits there making a humming noise (not an unusual noise, one of its regular noises, just not the spinning sound/vibration).

If you catch it in the act and stop/restart (push/pull the timer), does it spin then?
--> Yep.

Are you sure it's only the final spin that's failing? There's a spin after wash, before agitated rinse and it's not obvious if that's also failing unless you watch/monitor the machine for the entire cycle.
--> I have monitored and the other spin periods seem to be OK. Also if I run the permanent press cycle that seems to go OK including the spin parts (but the final spin on that cycle is much shorter). When the final spin fails, when the machine stops the clothes are wetter than they should be, especially under the water outlet where the "spray rinse" just dribbled water on the clothes that happened to be situated under it. If I reset the knob to repeat the final spin, then it spins, and another couple quarts of water are removed.

Assuming the lid switch is not being erratic, there's the timer (already changed by you), internal transmission components related to neutral drain and driving the clutch bell, the clutch & brake components outside the transmission (which includes the spin tube & drive block to which the basket mounts), or the reverse motor windings/wiring.
--> I have tried running the machine with the lid switch jimmied shut, and that does not help. But if I open the lid to check if it's spinning, and then close it again, then it does start to spin. I do think it's either a lack of motor pause, or something worn out in the transmission as you mentioned earlier. I was wondering if the OP (corsairf4u) tried installing the neutral drain repair kit and if so whether that worked.

One other idea I had. When I replaced the timer, I kept the old one, which apparently is still perfectly good. So I have one to play with. I was wondering if I could file or bend something on there to create the motor pause.

P.S. Thanks for the analysis and advice

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 6:13PM
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cleanteamofny

From what I can see, start with the two cheapest parts.
1: Lid Switch
2: Tranny/Motor Coupling

I would not be surprised that the coupling is worn causing spin failure.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 10:22AM
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dualref

Well, it's been 18 months since the OP came here with the problem.
From what I saw, the machine was behaving normally. I have a 93' vintage WP DD unit that looks very similar to the one in the video. At the end the neutral drain drains the tub all the way, then the final spin starts. If I want it to "hurry up" I can open and close the lid and this will bypass the neutral drain and start spinning.
It seems to me that the OP was not waiting long enough for the water to drain completely before exercising the lid to start the spin cycle.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 8:12PM
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