I have a 7-year-old Whirlpool washing machine that recently has been spinning rough and hard, like an unbalanced load, on every load. Is this a fixable problem?
What model number is the machine?
a very basic top loader from Costco, Kirkland Signature by Whirlpool
Yup, typical Whirlpool direct-drive machine.
What happens if you run it on spin with no clothes?
Does the tub seem off-kilter, not centered? There are four springs that attach between the tub support and the machine base to keep it stabilized.
A skate-plate sits between the tub support and base, cushioned by three suspension pads above and three below. The plate can shift out of position, or the pads wear down over time and not allow the plate to slide properly when the tub oscillates during spin.
You'd have to remove the cabinet to check these items, but that's not difficult. Do you want instructions?
Spin with no clothes: shakes, not quite as badly as with clothes. Starts up with about 5 seconds of normal spinning, then shakes worse and worse as time goes on. This is on a 2nd floor condo and I swear the whole room is shaking.
The tub seems centered, but I tried pushing it in various directions. It seems to spring back in some positions (5 o'clock to 11 o'clock) but not others (everything else). So, maybe the springs have lost some springiness there?
Unfortunately, soon after I posted this, my husband got embroiled in a huge project, but as soon as he can break free from it, he will want to take a look at those things and maybe get those instructions. Thanks so much for the help! It would be great to be able to fix this.
Could you perhaps post a video of it to YouTube?Â It's difficult to diagnose this kind of problem from afar without observing the machine.
There's a water-filled balance ring attached to the (outside) top of the inner basket which serves a gyroscope function to help reduce vibration/oscillation during spin.Â The ring can crack and leak, but that's a rare occurrence.
Check if the machine perhaps isn't sitting properly.Â It doesn't have to be precisely bubble-level, but all four corners must be in firm contact with the floor.Â Rock it from corner-to-corner, confirm it's stable.Â The rear legs are self-adjusting, but can get stuck.Â Tilt the machine forward then back down, the rear legs should readjust.Â If they're stuck, whack each one with a rubber mallet just hard enough to loosen them.
Beyond that, some disassembly will be needed to check the springs and suspension pads.
Are the feet adjusted so that they're bearing the machine's load equally? The suspension components can't do their work unless they can bear firmly on all four corners.
The suggestions that you have gotten are right on. There is one other thing that could be checked, the coupler. Sometimes when the coupler is going bad, the rubber is chewed up a little or even one of the legs is broken and it can cause shaking and vibration normally not found in a machine like this.
And, the sponginess of the floor. Sometimes the floor the washer is sitting on has a support or some structural component that magnifies the vibrations and shaking of the washer. Check the floor for integrity. It could be a problem with the aforementioned items that is being magnified by a spongy floor.
It is unlikely that a 7 year old machine has worn the skid pads down. Also, a spring missing would generally give a thunking spin cycle. Although there is a spring in the back that attaches downward that may be compromised. You can check that one by tilting the machine forward and laying on the floor with a flashlight (it is located at the back of the machine). If it is connected, it is not the problem.
Here is a link that might be useful: Service Access to Whirlpool Washers
I hope you guys are still around. My husband is coming home tonight from his first deer hunting trip of the year, and he texted me that he wants those instructions so he can fix it ASAP! What an awesome man...
Just before his hunting trip, and a few days after I wrote those desperate messages above, we went and camped in Yosemite. Of course I had to do a ton of laundry before the trip. And after -- WOW. Yosemite campgrounds are the dirtiest, dustiest, most ash-filled places on earth by now. And when we got back, my husband needed all his hunting gear washed to be SCENT FREE (lol). So I hope all the loads I've done haven't made things too much worse. It actually seems better since I pushed the tub around every which way.
The dryer is also making a funny noise as it spins. :-(
So here's what I'll tell him for now based on above:
- check the feet to see if they are level (dryer too)
- remove the case and check the springs (maybe check the back one with a flashlight first?)
- check the skate plate (might need more direction here)
- check the water-filled balance ring (ditto)
- check the coupler (ditto)
The instructions in the linked page should help. Thanks so much!
Wait...spongy floor!!?!??! Please let it not be that. The dryer started making a new noise while spinning right around the same time the washer did this. The dryer sounds like the inner part is rubbing against the outer part somewhere. It makes a rhythmic friction-y kind of sound.
All those points you listed should be checked ... but it's unlikely the drive coupler would be a factor. Even if it's worn as described above, there's not really enough mass to the coupler for it to be a significant source of vibration.
"- check the feet to see if they are level ..."
NO! That's not what I suggested.
"Level" is NOT the issue! Anything close to level is fine. The issue is equal or nearly-equal weight-bearing by all four feet. The machine's built-in suspension components cannot do what they're supposed to unless they can bear solidly on the machine's own feet.
The procedure is quick and easy enough but should be done while machine is spinning with a full load. Many folks are amazed at what a rather small adjustment can accomplish. Not saying that's what you're problem is. Of course I don't know. Only saying that unless/until your machine's suspension components are allowed to bear equally or nearly-equally on those feet, you won't know what you're dealing with. It's the very first thing to be done in situations such as you've described.
asolo, my terminology wasn't the best, but I actually meant equal weight-bearing of the feet. My husband checked that first, and it seems to be fine. He did not check it spinning with a full load though.
I'm pretty sure one of the springs is bad. I pushed the tub outward at every clock position, and there is a position that does not spring back, it just stays there. All the other positions spring right back. It's interesting, though; since I did this, the machine still vibrates, but not nearly as bad as before.
Well, my husband is looking right now at how to take that case off. It doesn't look quite like the pics on that site, but I'm sure he'll figure it out.
Probably over-reacted. Sounds to me as if you're on top of it.
Not at all, it's nice that you clarified.
OK, got it open. The springs look fine. In place and connected. The coupler looks fine. The water-filled ring is only half full. Should it be completely full?
My husband is thinking about how he could find and fix the leak, or if it would be easy to get a replacement.
The balance ring should be only partially-filled with liquid, *not* completely full. You should heard liquid slosh in the ring when the basket is shaken.
So, well, shoot. The springs, coupler, skate plate, and pads are all fine. Yet the washer still spins rough. Opened the door to look at it while spinning, and the shaft is wobbling around. He put his fingers on the side of the tub and felt it spinning out of balance, wobbling.
On the positive side, the inside of the washer is now sparkling clean.
That balance-ring is capable of equalizing a LOT of imbalance. If whatever's wrong is beyond its capability, I'm thinking pretty big issue. Since you're saying everything else is jake, I'm thinking of maybe the main bearing. Are you hearing noises you haven't heard before? Bearing failures are usually accompanied by distinctive noises.
Very curious. Hate it when I can't figure things out. Wish I was there to noodle this with you.
Main shaft bearings on the direct-drive design don't fail as often as did the older belt-drive design ... but that being said, they can wear. However, if the bearings are worn to that degree, there'd probably be some leaking, since the water level is above the bearings for sure on a full load.
Based on your remark about the inside being clean, you removed the inner basket? If there's a distinctive wobble of the basket happening during spin, could be the drive block is cracked or worn, or the basket is not properly centered/sitting on it with the spanner nut tightened sufficiently. Or, the ears on the spin shaft are broken where the drive block sits atop them. Or, even the centerpost neck of the basket could be cracked/bent/awry.
asolo, we hate that he can't figure it out, too...
Not sure about any noises. Wobbling makes a ton of noise, and I'm just not sure there is anything else in that racket.
dadoes, we didn't remove the inner basket. When he removed the case, we saw a ton of dirt, hard water deposits, and lint on those round plastic parts and the top of the inner and outer baskets. The dirt is not the problem, of course, but when I see dirt I clean it. I cleaned it off the water ring, that other top ring, and reached between the baskets to clean the rest.
I think we will quit for today, but maybe tomorrow we will take a look at the drive block? My husband said that he saw that spanner nut and it seemed very tight.
I don't know if this is relevant, but the whole thing looks a bit off-kilter, so we sort of center and level it...then when it starts to spin, it looks (and sounds) decent at first, then starts to wobble, and the whole basket kinda shifts to the right, and then wobbles a lot.
Also, underneath the washer is a circle of black powder on the floor.
My husband is saying now, "Well, maybe I should take the whole thing apart," but he also said he couldn't take that spanner nut off, and I noticed that there is a special part listed to do just that...
"...circle of black powder on the floor..."
Can you determine composition? As in, is this metal powder? Is it oily?
How large is the circle? As large is the drum, for example, or smaller like maybe the diameter of the central bearing?
I don't like the sound of this. If your husband is really good at this kind of thing, I'd agree....take the whole thing apart and see if there's anything to figure out and/or repair. However, if I was doing it, I'd spend the time shopping for a new machine.
I know you're exactly right, we're thinking the same thing.
I just hate to have to rush out and buy a new washer because I prefer some time to research it, plus I just like to fix things and keep them going as much as possible. (I still have my 1991 Jeep.)
The black powder is greasy and smells metallic. It's roughly 8-10" diameter, a bit of an oval shape, solid black in the center, powdery flecks on the edges.
He could take it apart while I start researching buying a new one. But how can he remove that spanner nut? and which direction to turn to remove it? There is a special tool listed to remove it. And we can see why. Is there any other way to disassemble the whole thing?
Thinking bearing and/or transmission, then, but....I've over my head. There are some pretty smart people here. Maybe they can take you further. Sorry for your trouble.
A blunt chisel or block of wood along with a mallet for whacking can be used to remove the spanner nut ... not with quite as much ease as the proper tool, but it should work. CCW to loosen, CW to tighten.
Whacking it with a mallet is exactly what he started to do!
Then we found out our neighbors downstairs are having a garage sale trying to sell everything possible before moving back to Korea on Tuesday. We offered $200 for the washer & dryer they're selling, a Maytag top-loader with "quiet package" or something like that. :) I ran the spin and it's SOOOOOO much quieter and smoother than mine was even when it was working properly. No one bought it at the garage sale, so if they don't find another buyer I would think they'll sell it to us Monday. My husband hasn't ruled out further attempts to fix ours, but he has another hunting trip coming up next week, so he's running out of time for now (we're out of town tomorrow).
In the meantime, my solution for the problem is
- set up the normal cycle I need
- leave the lid open so it will stop after agitating
- set a timer for the soak time I want
- then go manually set to spin on Delicates (slower)
- leave the house (dogs are getting lots of walks today, thank goodness it's not hot)
- come back to clean clothes
- hope the floor and framing can handle the shaking
I'm also trying to think of a heavy weight I could put on top of the machine that might dampen the shaking.
Thank you guys for your help! I can't believe none of those things were the problem.
IMHO....if you've got a $200.00 solution next door, go for it.
I'm curious what's the model of the neighbors' Maytag [or it may be your Maytag by now :-)].Â It can be of several different mechanical designs depending on the age and model.Â Maytag toploaders on the market for the last few years, since Whirlpool bought the company, are the *same* mechanism as your SAWS800JQ2 Kirkland/Whirlpool.
Well, unfortunately while we were out of town yesterday, someone else beat our offer. I think we shouldn't have been so cheap. :( Don't know the model, but it was at least 4 years old, super capacity (looked larger than our KS-Whirlpool super capacity), and said something about a "quiet package."
I've got a bunch of craigslist ads printed out, so I'll start checking into those, including another heavy duty Maytag set that sounds similar. I have no idea what would be good or what to avoid. I've got a bunch of Whirlpools, couple Maytags, and Kenmore to check out. Also an LG front loader.
- a WP with 4 little knobs and 1 large dial (I figure more knobs is more options which is good?)
- WP, 3 little knobs, 1 dial (several)
- WP, 2 knobs, 1 dial, 2 years old
- Kenmore Total Care System Ultra Quiet, heavy duty, king size capacity, good condition, retailed $2200 (seriously?!?!), $299
- LG front loader, $350 like new ("really good conditions")
There are some Maytag toploaders that should be avoided. They're based on a Norge mechanical design that Maytag obtained when they bought another company some years ago, and are notorious for mechanical failures & leaking at the main seal. One clue is look under it to see if the machine has one belt (bad) or two belts (good).
Umm....just how tight is the money situation there? IMHO dependable laundry is basic household requirement. You seem determined to lowball whatever the situation there may be. OK, if you're game for it. Just seems to me there are a lot hassles between here and where you probably want to be.......and that's what money's for.
Not beating you up...really. Just saying. If you're game for the shopping and aggravaition that's OK, too.
I know, you're right. We have money to buy a new washer, any washer I might want. I didn't like that this old one only lasted 7 years. And I fear that the newer ones are even more prone to even more expensive repairs, like for the electronics that my husband can't fix.
Without a lot of time to research a new one, I figured we could grab a used one instead for cheap enough to be a no-brainer for now, and stick to the old technology I'm familiar with.
However, yesterday I went to Pacific Sales and learned that there are significant rebates for certain efficient washers, from the local water district, the metro water district, and then the state of California (from the federal goverment). Basically it seems that we could get $350 from the water district and $100 from the state. So it's a no-brainer to get a new one, and I'd rather get a more expensive model if it means features or quality that are meaningful to me. But I know little about these machines, so I'm trying to research which one to get, of the subsidized models.
Pacific Sales has the low-end Cabrio on sale for $510, so with the rebates that would cost $60 plus about $50 tax.
Costco has a Duet that's supposed to normally be $1299, for 899 minus 50 instant rebate, so 849, and lists a $200 mfg rebate on the tag, so 649. Minus 450 in other rebates means net $200 (plus $90 tax).
So I'm now trying to learn about these machines and which would be the best buy. I'm a little scared of the new machines because one reviewer of CR's top-rated Kenmore FL said that the way it shuts the valves can cause problems for plumbing that isn't robust. That's scary, because I know for a fact our plumbing is not good. Plus we have a 2nd story condo. Any leaks can cause disastrously expensive repairs not only of our unit but of the unit below us.
Also trying to figure out how these things work and what features of different-priced models might be worth the money. For example, I noticed more expensive models with an Oxi dispenser. I use Oxi all the time; can I not just throw it in? Do I have to pay extra hundreds of dollars for a dispenser for Oxi? Stuff like that.
Reading between the lines, I'm thinking you are unfamiliar with the new HE machines. Sorry if mistaken. If not, be advised the new HE machines are MUCH different from the old top-loaders. We're not talking apples and oranges. More like apples and kumquats.
I made my switch 5 1/2 years ago (Duet 9400) and will never go back. However, the "surprises" of a new HE machine for you may lead to consternation if you're you're not ready to make a mental adjustment.
There are tons of posts here about that exact thing. Suggest searching/finding.
Yes, that unfamiliarity, plus hearing friends' complaints, had made me mentally reluctant to switch just yet. However, almost $500 in rebates obviously makes it worth my while to switch now.
I read a front-loader manual (Duet 9400) and a top-loader HE manual (some Cabrio model), and yes, I do see the differences. These HEs are much more complicated to use. Or different, anyway. Seems like a lot more can go wrong.
I read in another thread that you like your Duet 9400. That is the model at Costco. Looks like I could get it for $255 (including tax) after all the rebates (washer only). But I might have to haul our old one to a recycling center and not sure how that works. And I gotta do it ASAP before the rebate money is gone. It sucks that it's hunting season right now so my husband is away.
So far can't decide between the Duet and an HE top-loader like the Cabrio or Bravos. The Bravos is supposedly shipping ALL NEW Bravos made from a brand new assembly line starting August. I haven't seen any discussion of it here. Seems like the main reason to go HE TL rather than FL would be less vibration -- this is a 2nd story condo, and the floor is NOT level or solid. The FL manual emphasizes the floor must be level and have no flex. Also the TLs don't have the door seal to be cleaned of mildew. I hate mildew. However, that Duet sounds like a good bargain.
One thing that I think is pretty dumb is that the low-end models mix cold with the hot to make a certain "hot" temp that's not as hot as your water heater temp. But then you can spend a ton more money to buy one with an internal heater that heats it even hotter than your water heater temp. The manuals make it clear that the hotter the temp, the better the cleaning (which I know is true).
Sorry to say we're all on our own learning about the new stuff. However, I will offer these few sentences that I regard as generally true across the board:
Any machine that says "HE" is going to use less water. Less water means less mass of water compared with mass of drum and clothes which means whatever heat the water brings with it will be severely attenuated. Translation: get one with a built-in heater. If you don't, you'll never get a truly hot wash temperature...EVER. (My idea of "hot" is 130F or so. Current Mfg's idea of "hot" is, apparently, anything above 100F. However they won't tell you unless you call.) I regard the obfuscation of this simple, demonstrable fact to be a travesty of non-disclosure among all the manufacturers. What they advertise as "ATC" (automatic temperature control via mixing, as you described) is actually a dysfunctional joke in these machines. It doesn't work because it can't. There's not enough water used to have any meaningful effect. I encourage you to pay attention to this issue. I have never encountered a salesperson who had a clue. You'll be on your own to determine the truth of it.
You are wise to consider vibration issues in a suspended-floor installation such as your second-floor residence. These issues emerged early among the new-machine owners. TL buyers complained much less frequently than FL buyers.
The net prices you're describing make me jealous.
The rebates being offered here are ridiculous. It's unfair to people like you who were earlier adopters of the more efficient technology. If I were queen of the world, it wouldn't work this way. :)
I've just read a lot of manuals and learned a lot about Cabrios and Bravos. At first I thought I could still get as good cleaning from a TL. But the Cabrios all have the ATC you describe for all hot and warm. The manuals clearly state that hot and warm won't be as hot and warm as in a traditional machine, as they are mixed with cold to achieve some secret target temp.
The Bravos, though, give you hot = tap hot. BUT then I realized they are not on the rebate list, except for one model which is different from the others and is really a Cabrio.
So it turns out you guys were right about what the problem was!
After failing thus far to fix our old washer, and with the fat rebates, we decided to buy a new HE machine. So we carried the old machine down the stairs and hoisted it up into my Jeep. Well, what do you know, in the bright sunlight and ideal viewing angle of the bottom of the machine, we could see those skate pad thingies in some places crumbling to dust.
I was like, "You said you looked at these and they were fine!!" In the very dim lighting of our laundry room, and the viewing angle when the machine is upright, he didn't notice the deterioration.
There is also a lot of black greasy dust, so some of the metal parts might also need replacing before it would spin nicely again.
However, by this time we were already the owners of a new Whirlpool Duet 9400SZ. I thought the deal at Costco was too good to pass up for a HE machine with these features. We had to bring it home and install it ourselves, so we definitely earned the savings. (Other stores have "free" install and haul-away.) We have a 180-degree turn in one doorway, 90-degree in anothers, and stairs. However, I was unsure whether I'd like this new washer, so I appreciate the insurance of Costco's 100% satisfaction guarantee, plus 2-year warranty. (I wouldn't be surprised if they let us return the old washer, but that doesn't seem right to me.)
So far, I am not thrilled with the Duet. I want to like it, and I REALLY don't want to carry it back down the stairs to return to Costco. But towels, especially the Turkish ones, emerged with a horrible new texture, like the loops are hardened, flattened, and clumped. There were lines or even whole areas with loops pulled completely out of some towels so that only the woven base remains. With clothes, using the normal or delicate cycle and cooler wash temps, I'm not seeing damage, but they're not getting as clean as I'm used to, either. And yes, I read the manual, and yes, I'm using HE detergents. I was already using Kirkland Free & Clear Ultra HE and OxiClean even with my old machine, and I relied heavily on long soaking (done manually) to get everything clean as gently as possible. I don't know if I can get as good of results with this machine even though on paper it has great features.
I'll start by stating that I'm a retired manufacturing engineer that spent many years analyzing equipment issues. I noticed that over the last several months our Cabrio has been developing a problem that's been getting progressively worse. It seemed to be a balance issue resulting with a "UL" error. I've had all the described issues mentioned in other posts. Bottom line I identified and put in place a fix that so far has resolved the problem. THE PROBLEM: The 4 rods (1 on each corner) become worn in an area located just below the top of the spring located at the bottom end of the rod. Also the plastic piece that rides up and down on the rod and guides the spring located at the top of the spring became worn. These two peices work together to create a friction/damper much like the shocks on a car. When these two parts wear there is a reduced friction/damper function getting progressivly worse (won't complete a spin cycle at all).
THE FIX: Buy and install new rod assemblies at $45 or more plus shipping. Or impliment a minor no tools required fix that I did. I'm confident this issue will come back again and when it does I will duplicate my efforts again. I made 4 spacers, removed each support rod installed a spacer in a very certain place and replaced the rod before doing the next one until all four are done. Less than $6 and 20 minutes time. Email for more detail.
Oh you engineers, always capable of finding the sure fine fix at a bargain price.
I always wonder why the engineers who design these things cant think so clearly and make some easy fixes for their original designs before they go to market. Way too many falures and the manufacturers just abandon the product and sell you something else.
Maytag might have fallen for too much to swallow but they tried and tried to improve the front load Neptune continously till they were run out of business by the whiners and thier class action suit.
2014 washer model just installed with a plastic pan under it to catch drips and under that is low pile carpet. Does the rocking cause more wear? I could have handyman cut out the carpet. It is a concrete garage floor.