fisher & paykel L08 burning smell

todathomeDecember 7, 2010

Hi there. Hope someone can enlighten me. Just noticed a smell, like burning plastic, coming from our washer and we have not used it since. We have had no problems until now; machine is about 10 years old.

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DO NOT use the machine until the problem is investigated.

Check the pump. A small electric motor with a cooling fan, mounted to a metal plate under the tub. Unplug the power cord, of course. Do not remove the plate. Disconnect the pump wires. Locate a small plastic latch on the plate, hold it released and rotate the entire pump body counterclockwise to detach it. Have towels ready to catch any residual water from the tub sump.

If there's evidence of leaking, rusting or corrosion or mineral deposits, or the pump has bad bearings / doesn't turn freely, it must be replaced. A shorted/bad pump can kill the machine controller board in some cases ... hopefully that hasn't already happened. If you have a volt/ohm meter, the pump should read 7 ohms at normal room temp (~68ðF). The controller board is sensitive to high resistance on the pump windings, that's what may blow the board.

If the pump checks good electrically, and doesn't appear to have worn bearings, but does not seem to turn freely ... check for lint/strings wrapped around the shaft under the impeller. That can put it in a bind, cause overheating.

The pump is Part Number 426375 (original), which substitutes to current 420324P or 420324P-D. carries it for $55. Lubricate the seal face (around the impeller) with a bit of liquid detergent to facilitate rotating it into position.

Another potential leak source is at the thermistor seal on the water valve mixing chamber inside the control console. The board will get zapped if the console floods.

Interestingly, GWL08 also has a water-cooled controller board. The board module attaches to the right side of the mixing chamber so water in the chamber can cool the board's heat sink. A seal there can also leak.

I have a GWL08 that's 11+ years old, have had no trouble with it thus far. I need to examine the pump ASAP so as to avoid trouble!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 5:03AM
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It's been a very busy few days and I have not had a chance to look at the machine again. Will get to it in the next few days; we have not used the machine since the original posting. I'll respond again when I get further into this...

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 12:04PM
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Well, I just removed the pump and it seems fine. No corrosion, no lint, no clogs, nothing. There is another issue, and it appears that something has melted onto the bottom of the main motor. There is red melted plastic that appears to have oozed down around the housing (visible from the bottom). At first I thought it was pieces of cloth but it is actually hard melted plastic. I have a photo and perhaps I may be able to post it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 6:09PM
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GardenWeb/THS doesn't take picture uploads on the main forum sections. Best is to upload your pic to Photobucket or other such free photo hosting site and link it into your post. Or, there is a separate Gallery section for the Laundry Room forum that can take picture uploads, but that'd be a separate thread from here. There's a link to the Gallery on the main index page, just above the topic list.

The SmartDrive motor rotor is easily removed by unscrewing the (spiral) bolt. There are VERY strong magnets in the rotor, but it'll back off the shaft as the bolt is unscrewed, then carefully pull it off, and keep stray metal objects and debris away from the rotor magnets.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 7:13PM
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Are you referring to the plastic bolt at the bottom? The entire assembly rotates when I spin the bolt.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 7:34PM
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Hold the rotor (bottom of the motor) still and loosen the bolt.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 7:59PM
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Got it. Have since removed the motor and found that there is moisture in the general area and the burning smell is from the motor itself. The bottom portion of the outside of the stator has some rusted sections, there is a scorched area on the underside of the stator, smoke stains on several areas of the stator, and 4 separate cracks on the stator running radially from the outside to the inside, nearly through to the metal clamp ring. It is apparent that water is getting through somehow but I cannot yet identify the source.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 8:58PM
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I have been looking at a diagram on the Sears parts web page and see that there is a part called a "lip seal". Is it likely that this is the source of my leak? If so, what is the best way to replace it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:14PM
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I've not done a seal replacement so can't offer any specific advice/tips on it. The service docs I have advise that specific F&P tools are needed to replace the seal and bearing, although workarounds are usually possible for an inventive/competent DIYer. I also can't say whether the stator is still usable with the damage you describe. You don't have an email contact on your GardenWeb profile. Contact me via my profile page so I can send the info to you.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 12:22AM
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I have a new stator and rotor which I will install. My concern is whether the seal is leaking and the best way to replace it is necessary.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 1:59PM
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After much research I found that the cost of the bearings, the seals and the tools required would be far more than the machine was worth. I also contacted a local tech who informed me that the labor cost alone would be roughly $150 to replace the bearings and seals and install the new stator and rotor. The tech stated that if he were me he would discard the old machine and put the money towards a new one. I could not have said it better. I decided to install the new stator and rotor but I noticed that the new stator also has several cracks in it, much like the old one. Bummer. Looks like a new machine is in the near future for us. At this point with nothing left to lose I decided to epoxy the cracks in the new rotor and reinstall. It's working now and I hope this will last until after the holidays when appliances will be on sale.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Slight cracks in the stator may not be a problem. The stator doesn't move during operation. The SmartDrive motor is fairly robust. Main thing to check on the stator is that resistance readings are within the norms and that the brass star point isn't damaged. One of the service docs advises that "A rotor with cracked or chipped magnets will work fine. A rotor should only be replaced if it has been run over by a bus."

Yes, it really does say run over by a bus, LOL.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 7:29PM
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Have done a few loads since replacing parts. There is a water leak at the bottom of the motor. Water is dripping from the drain holes although machine appears to be operating well. I have elevated the machine slightly and have bent the bottom tray such that any water dripping will flow to the middle and drain into a small bowl. We will definitely be looking at replacement very soon!

Thanks for all your wise advice!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 9:06PM
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Well, the "thinkable" has happened. It is now time to pitch the machine. I knew my repair would not last and it hasn't. Machine is leaking and the burning smell is back. We will be looking at a replacement and are leaning towards a new F & P as we have had great luck with the old one.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 3:16PM
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