Fisher Paykel GWL11 diverter valve allways on - bad controller?

northbearNovember 22, 2013

The problem started when we ran an empty cleaning cycle. Set to hot and told to fill the tank full. It ran for quite some time, but never finished the cycle as it was stuck on the beginning of the rinse cycle and there was quite a bit of water on the floor. Instead of draining, the diverter was having the pump recirculate. After looking on here and several other internet sites I figured it must be lint stuck in the diverter valve. Took out the diverter valve and it was clean, nothing stuck in there. But I did notice it was diverting to the drain which it was not when I unplugged the washer the night before. I plugged the washer back in, the valve slowly moved to the recirculate position (didn't press any other buttons) Unplugged the machine and it moved back to the drain position. I removed the diverter and found that there is 167Volts applied to the diverter connection whenever the machine is plugged in. Diverter measured 2.7K ohms when cold, less when warm.

Based on this information and a post here:

I think my diverter is working just fine and I have a bad controller board. Any other thoughts of what this could be, or anything else to test? I think my next step may be to follow the instructable here

to see if I can fix it myself. If not buy a new controller board.

Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated

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One additional item, I did check and there were no fault codes.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Bad board, yes. The procedure you followed by unplugging/replugging the power to check diverter operation is a correct diagnosis for that problem.

May be reasonable to change the diverter as well in case some flakiness on it caused the board problem.

Your "How to Repair" link is for an older Aus/NZ model which may not be exactly relevant to your newer U.S. unit.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Thanks for the confirmation of the bad board. Any idea on if it was the cleaning cycle that did it or just coincidental?

I did see that it was a different model, but I couldn't find any better information online. (Anyone have a suggestion?) I know there are no "serviceable parts" on the board, but figured I would at least open it up and take a look for any obvious problems (bad capacitors, blown resistors etc) before having the cost of a new board.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 12:30PM
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The clamp connecting diverter valve to the recirculation tube was a bit rusty (item #7 circled in blue below) . More rusty was the clamp for the small tube the goes back into the control panel (item 15 circled in red below). Is this typical or something I should be concerned about?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Coincidental .... unlikely the cleaning cycle had any relation to the failed board. The cleaning cycle on GWL11 works off the Perm Press cycle. Perm Press doesn't activate the diverter, it skips the Eco Active wash phase.

Neither clamp should be exposed to water under normal use. Any evidence of leaking from the diverter? That would account for #7 being rusty. #15 clamp is for the water level pressure tube where it attaches to the tub air dome, shouldn't be any water in that area ... unless perhaps there's a drip coming down the drain hose, or from the tub cover. You can substitute appropriate-size spring- or screw-clamps. Don't overtighten them.

You mentioned water on the floor. Coming from the recirculation stream splashing ... or somewhere as yet unidentified?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 5:57PM
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Thanks for the response!

I didn't see any evidence of leaking from the diverter, but just tilted the washer back slightly to work on it so I didn't have a great view. I figured there shouldnâÂÂt be any water in that area, but I am not sure where it would be coming from. I till take a look at the area around the diverter, the drain hose and around the cover to see if I can determine anything.

I am not positive where the water on the floor came from, but I think it may have been from when the pump was recirculating instead of draining at at beginning of the rinse cycle. My theory is that the recirculating water hit the rotating inner drum and splashed outside the outer drum. Water seemed to be more towards the back which would make sense if the spin cycle was counter clockwise (not sure which direction the spin is)

Again thanks so much for your help!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Spin is clockwise.

The machine physically can't spin (not more than ~25 RPM) until the water is drained. The basket floats upward about 1/4" to disengage from the drive cog when the machine fills for agitation. The water must drain almost completely for the basket to drop down and re-engage the cog.

Spray-over can occur if the diverter is partially clogged ... such that the machine can drain but there's also a little recirculation. The water does drain but slowly. Some recirculation occurs, hits the rim and splatters around when the basket kicks up to a higher spin RPM and water extraction commences from the clothes.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 11:35PM
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hmmm. Then I really am not sure why there why there was water on the floor. The diverter was not partially clogged so I it shouldn't have been any over-spray.

When we ran the cleaning cycle we set the water level to "high" rather then auto. Could that have been part of the problem?

I thought I read somewhere on this forum the Perm Press cycle does not use the diverter valve. If I put everything back together and then leave the diverter valve disconnected could we wash on perm press until we get a new board?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 10:30AM
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The programmed cleaning cycle defaults to high water level by design.

Regards to washing on Perm Press with the diverter disconnected -- should be doable if the machine doesn't throw a fault code for detecting that the diverter is missing from its circuit. The F&P electrical design is somewhat sensitive to the expected resistance loads from the various components. For example, a fault code will trigger immediately upon connecting to power if either of the water valves is disconnected. The diverter may not be referenced that way, I haven't tried it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Well I put everything back together but didn't electrically connect the diverter valve and have now run three loads on Perm Press without issue so it looks like perm press works without the diverter valve being connected.

Any idea if this kind problem with the controller board can be fixed or is only solution a new board?

New thought on the water on the floor. When the basket is floating up it closes the gap the recirculating "shower" flows through. When we found the washer initially it was recirculating water, but not very well as the gap was very small. When the tub is full of water the water may not have been able to get through at all and could splash out of the outer tub and onto the floor. It probably spilled enough water on the floor until the tub was low enough that it was able to recirculate continuously which is how we found it. Not willing to try it again and have water on the floor again to find out!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Just want to add a note to this excellent thread (which helped me get my washer going again!).

My GWL15 had the same problem: endless recirculation, no drainage at all. When cool, diverter valve switched to open drain side, then quickly switched to recirc when wax warmed.

BUT the diagnostic code I got was #37--pump blockage. Didn't seem right, as the pump worked to recirc and in diagnostic mode>Regular. Pulled the pump anyway & cleaned out some minor lint gunk, but no change.

In the end I bypassed the diverter valve as northbear did, and it's working fine on Perm Press. That's enough of a solution for me, as 98% of my loads are standard size w cold water, not different enough from Regular to matter.

In spite of some bad opinions on some of the forums, my GWL15 has performed well for 8 years. If/when there's another problem I'll decide then whether to fix or just replace the washer.

Main point of my post is: Don't accept the diagnostic code as gospel. Use your head and try stuff. I'm a 67-y.o. woman, and if I can stumble through some troubleshooting, anybody can. Thanks, northbear and dadoes, for sharing your experience.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 4:02PM
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The trick about Fault 37 (Pump Blocked) is that the machine does not directly monitor pump operation for blockage. It infers that there's a problem with the pump by way of noting that the water level is not dropping when it should be dropping during drain. So anything that prevents draining will trigger Fault 37 even if the pump itself is OK. The cause in the majority of incidents is a problem of some ilk related to the diverter.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 4:49PM
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Makes sense. Thanks.

Do you happen to know if any other of the wash cycles--Wool, Delicates--are usable with the diverter valve disconnected?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Perm Press is the only cycle that doesn't use the diverter. All other cycles start with an Eco Active wash phase which requires the diverter be active for recirculation.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:47PM
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Thought I would give a quick update 9 months later!

Still running the machine with the diverter valve disconnected with no issues. I have thought about replacing the board several times, but they are harder to find (can be found mostly on e-bay). Not sure about buying used and new can be quite expensive.

I guess I kept waiting for something else to break or to have another problem before working on it again and but it keeps running just fine in its limited capacity. We setup the favorites cycle to use perm press so we could adjust more of the settings (ie use fast spin speed)

Not sure what the disadvantage of running the machine this way semi-permanently is (uses more water?) But at this point I think we will just continue to wait and see what happens.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 12:44PM
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NorthBear and VioletCrumble,

Try this workaround for using other cycles -- Let the machine fill to the selected (or auto-sensed) water level on Perm Press. Then either pause it or kill the power and restart on whatever other cycle is desired (manually select the water level to match the filled level). The Eco Active recirculation phase will be skipped since the machine is already filled.

The diverter is used only during Eco Active, except for a few seconds during the agitated (softener) rinse fill to flush the recirculation hose. There's a slight chance an error may occur when the machine tries to energize the diverter during the rinse fill. If that happens then the workaround won't work. I haven't tried it, am conjecturing based on how the diverter is used and the cycle functions proceed. This shouldn't be an issue on Heavy or Regular if the Softener Rinse option is not used.

Additional for VioletCrumble -- a drawback to using Perm Press is that Warm is the highest temp allowed, unless Perm Press is programmed onto the Favorites button as NorthBear has done.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Thanks to both of you. I programmed a favorite cycle yesterday but will try some changes today.

I'm less concerned about hot water than I am about a spin duration of just 2 minutes. One of the amazing features of this washer is how the thorough spin reduces dry times.

I'm with northbear on the fix/don't fix question. I'll be happy if the washer keeps going and will weigh what's worth doing next time.

Dadoes, do you agree with the "expert" in the post referenced by northbear that the GWL15 was a weak/vulnerable machine deign in the first place?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:02PM
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You can spin on Regular after a Perm Press run is finished. Select Regular, press the Advance button to the final Spin light, then Start.

All washer designs have engineering weaknesses. Six of one, half-dozen of another. Whirlpool had some models that used a diverter for recirculation and drain, of a traditional solenoid design rather than a wax motor. Those also fail, I replaced one on a friend's machine last year.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Well I guess I have waited long enough for something else to break ;-)

Starting today, when the machine is first turned on the it will "growl' at you - which I believe is the pump trying to pump out water that isn't there. Even more exciting is if you turn off the machine it will continue despite there being no led's lit on the display. I even unplugged the machine (it did stop then! - so we can rule out that it is possessed by evil spirits) , waited a bit and then plugged back in and the pump turned back on again. I was able to get the pump to stop by briefly starting a cycle then pausing and then turning the machine off. Or maybe it just decided to turn off on it's own, who knows!

No error codes are being displayed.

I am thinking it is the control board getting worse causing this issue.

Any opinions on what is wrong - or simply confirming that it looks like the control board is the problem - would be great!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 10:37PM
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The board apparently has deteriorated further ... either sending power to the pump when it shouldn't ... or erroneously sensing an overfill/flood condition which will trigger the pump to run even if the machine is otherwise off.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:32AM
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Sorry to hear of continued woes, northbear. My question to dadoes is:

Given that the pump, also, is or will be shot from running without water, is the wisdom to replace both parts now or just junk the machine?

If the latter, are these F&P Eco machines worthy of our hard-earned dollars?


    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 12:31PM
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Washing machines and dishwashers, it's not possible for the pump to drain 100% of the water. There is some residual water that always remains in the tub sump area ... the pump never runs dry unless the machine sits unused for a VERY long time such that the residual evaporates, or a newly-installed machine or replacement pump is run directly without some fill first. Either way, it's not likely to be a problem.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 12:57PM
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Thanks for the responses. Glad to hear the pump is most likely just fine.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 5:15PM
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I decided to go ahead and replace the control board.

I purchased the board from ( because:
1) It was new and updated control board (old board was sd11 new said sd12)
2) Price competitive.
3) Answered my questions promptly before I purchased.
4) Included a safety fuse to protect the control board in case of a short in the water pump.

They also shipped very quickly and I received it in two days.

Installation was straight forward. I checked the components it said to in the instructions with my multimeter - mostly checking resistance of different items. Then took my time to make sure I didn't make any mistakes when disconnecting and connecting wires.

Plugged it back in, set the washer size (per the instructions) and has been working great ever since! We have ran 6-10 loads in the last week since it has been repaired with no issues. We noticed the clothes are actually getting cleaner now! We think that the washer was randomly draining the water during the cleaning cycle and with it the soap! Washer would refill with more water to compensate, but this means we were washing at first with soap, then would basically as the cycle went on and more of the water was drained and refilled at the end we were probably more rinsing rather then washing. Not sure if this was the case or not, but it makes sense to me what what we were seeing the last couple of weeks.

Based on my experience I would recommend fixing or replacing the washer right away rather then trying to limp it along. Once the control board starts going bad with one thing who knows what else it is doing wrong in the washing cycle!

Thanks again to Dadoes for all the great help here!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 10:32PM
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