Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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Door won't open, F & dl error message

I loaded a comforted on the HE4t Kenmore elite washer but after closing the door and starting it on the bulky setting, it started flashing F and dl alternately. I press cancel twice but the door won't open. Please help.

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  • elsamaria Feb 10, 2008

    I'm having the same problem with my washing maching but only happens when we do alot of laundry and the message always comes on 10 minutes before it supposed to finish. I'm not sure if it has to do with the same items as mentioned or if there is something else that is causing this. Please!! let me know what I can do to correct this.

  • xavy1 Feb 21, 2008

    my kenmore elite front washer keeps stoping and flashing F and DL. I can not open door even if I press cancel .

  • MaddMat May 11, 2010


    I am hearing the clicking sound from the ccu. Does your solution also apply to my problem or just the F dl code without clicking?

    Whoo Hoo, and the worst part is, my wife is Soooo irritated! Our girls really would like their dad to fix this one because they can't lift the dryer off the top of the washer. Please help.



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F & DL code is a door lock failure. However, it can be caused by the door lock itself, or the CCU. The least expensive of the two repairs would be the door lock (which runs about $40). However, you will need to partially remove the rubber bellow (door boot) to get to the lock easily. Feel around the lip of the rubber door bellow. You will see a wire hoop, fitted in a groove that runs all the way around the boot. At the bottom of the door opening there is a tension spring. Find this spring and carefully stretch and lift from the groove and lift the wire hoop out of the groove. Remove the bellow from the outer lip so you can access the inside casing of the machine. You should now be able to reach inside on the door casing to replace the switch. There are three torx screws that hold the switch on from the outside of the casing, and three wire connectors on the inside. Be careful with the wire connectors. The wires are delicate. Once the switch is back in place. Refit the bellow snugly around the lip seal of the door opening. Place the the wire hoop in the groove, starting from the top and work your way all the way around the seal on both sides with both hands until you reach the tension spring at the bottom. Keeping tension on the hoop, stretch the spring apart enough to allow it to snap back into the groove (this part can be a bit tricky - you may need a secind set of hands). NOW WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR DOOR IS LOCKED AND YOU CAN'T OPEN IT? Easy. Just follow these simple steps: 1. Unplug machine. 2. Remove the kick plate from bottom front of the machine. 3. The door lock is on the right-hand side of the door. With your hand, reach up inside the casing behind the door and feel for a round plastic tab. It should be somewhere near the bottom end of the door switch. 4. Grab this tab with your fore finger and thumb and gently pull down towards the floor. This will release the door locking mechanism and the door will swing open. Now, if you go through all of the trouble to replace you door switch and the problem doesn't go away. The problem is with the CCU. Which generally, runs about $265. Check the interconnecting wiring before giving up hope, though. I hope this helps.

Posted on Mar 23, 2007

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*****Unplug the power cord from the wall****** While the people above me who posted expensive and complicated directions I believe they have best intentions but not the best solution. if you received the code F-DL on your front panel that means there's something wrong with the locking mechanism I read the service manual which is different from the owner's manual first thing you need to do is make sure you Unplug the clothes washer from the wall. now look on the back side of the clothes washer there (3) 1/4" screws holding the top plate in place after removing them placed them somewhere safe where you'll find at the end of the job, now slide the top plate away from you and lift up; set-asides somewhere safe. From this point on I would suggest standing on the side of the clothes washer with the door to your left and the back of the clothes washer to your right remember you're looking for the top down into the clothes washer so far so good? With a flashlight you'll notice three sets of harness wires leading to the locking mechanism of the door each set is color-coded I forgot to take notice of the colors but all I can remember is one of the sets was blue the service manual tells a technician that the majority of the service calls are due to two things loose wiring or corroded connections in my particular case it was loose connection, push on all (3) wiring coupling closest to the door then follow the wires from the door to the back of the clothes washer and push on the connection even if you do not feel any movement is still may be a loose connection that was the case in my particular situation now carefully re-plugged the clothes washer into the outlet and try turning it on if it starts to fill up with water, problem solved! Hit the cancel button because you do not want the clothes washer filling up with water making it too heavy to move. On the other hand if that was not the problem you will need to remove the connections one at a time, with the flashlight look at the plastic wire harness to see if there is any corrosion if you do see some corrosion use a toothbrush with nylon bristles to gently remove as much as possible check all the connections and then push the button to turn on the clothes washer if that does not work you may need to call Sears because it is not the typical loose connection/corrosion as indicated in the service manual.

Posted on Jun 11, 2007

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  • glen webber Jul 01, 2007

    Here is a photograph

  • glen webber Jul 01, 2007

    Here is another photograph showing the locking mechanism from inside the machine closest to the door.

  • glen webber Jul 01, 2007

    Close-up photograph showing the main connection located in the back of close washer

  • glen webber Jul 01, 2007

    Here's a photograph showing the top view looking down into the washer machine. If I have made any errors in spelling and/or punctuation please forgive I have dyslexia my intentions are only to help you do this yourself.

  • glen webber Jul 11, 2007

    In this photographs we can see the locking mechanism has a dark area with wiring leading into it is these wires harness You need to gently press.

  • glen webber Jul 20, 2008

    If anybody needs the service manual simply e-mail me at this disposable e-mail address I will do my best to send PDF out as quick as possible.


  • glen webber Aug 15, 2009

    Some updated photographs.

    (the above photograph) you can see the Black arrow that points to the slot that controls the door locking mechanism. If you jiggle this and it starts up again it is a highly probable you are experiencing the the same problems I had. .

    ( the above photograph) I removed the motherboard from the plastic housing, take your time and be careful. the red arrows point to the broken connection.

    ( the above photograph) Same photograph, closer look.

    ( the above photograph) Show the broken and the unbroken connections.

    You can also see through the motherboard where it connects with the slot .

    The photograph below shows the same slot in a profile view.

    ( the above photograph) plastic quick connections have two metal post that runs through the motherboard and then soldered In to place allows the CCU to control the locking mechanism. You can also see above the lettering/numbers how each slot has a unique pattern on the bottom that allows only one particular connection to be inserted make it very easy to reconnect .

    Since I last posted a Sears repairman came out and diagnosed what was wrong, it was the Central Control Unit (CCU), which I have included pictures; a black/red arrow pointing to the wire that controls the locking mechanism on the door when the clothes washer starts up you hear a clicking noise that is the locking mechanism. When the Central Control Unit (CCU) cannot communicate with the door it will not start or shuts down clothes washer with an error message.

    All the wiring connections for the CCU have special slots so you cannot plug in wrong (unless you use brute force) look at the photographs and notice the different patterns of slots in each plug receptacle.

    I replace it myself for about $150 because Sears wanted just under $500. I have not had a single incident in the three weeks since I purchased it. I took apart the old CCU and discovered what was wrong. The plug that controls the door has posts that runs up through the motherboard and is soldered in place, I suppose the vibration caused it to break - you can see a dark ring around the solder.

    I had my son-in-law solder it and test the connection reassembles it; I now have a great backup. Of course if I had known this in the first place, I would have never bought the first CCU that is why I am sharing my experience in the hopes that perhaps you can avoid purchasing a new one. Just remember if you think about buying a new you have nothing to lose by trying to fix what you have. Included are two websites one for fixing the motherboard and make sure you check out the video on you tube that shows you how to use the solder ring. The other website is one of many places you can buy a replacement part. I do not have any firsthand experience with either website.


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99% of these issues will return , pushing on the plugs is only part of the issue. this is a german manufacture CCU board .
I have traced the failures to micro fractures around the legs of the small white relays on the board.
re-solder of the joints is the only true fix , even new replacement boards have the same issue . its a QC issue in the wave solder bath.
Remove the board and resolder the connections on all the relays and the fix is permanent.

Posted on Mar 31, 2008

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Thanks for all the great info here. I had the same problem--dl/f code, clicking from back of washing machine. I opened the top and pushed in all the wore connections, but it didn't fix it.

I called Sears and the woman on the phone told me to make sure the waste water hose was only six inches down the drain. It was more like 12 inches. When I pulled it out to the proper level, the machine started. Phew!

Just thought I add that info for anyone else who might need it.

Posted on Nov 10, 2007

  • KatieHammer Nov 10, 2007

    I was having the same problem--dl/f code and clicking. I removed the top of the machine and made sure the wire connections were tight and it still didn't work. So I gave up and called Sears and they had me check to see that the waste water hose was only six inches out the drain. It turns out it had slipped 12 inches out and when I pulled it out to the proper level, the machine worked.

    Thought I'd pass that on!


June 02,2008

Thanks to all who shared their suggestions. I checked the water hose to make sure that it was only aprox 6 inches down the drain and it worked for me!!!!!

This is great, it saved me a lot of money!

Posted on Jun 02, 2008

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Brilliant! It worked for me too.
The one detail I would mention that others have not: The error code doesn't necessarily go away immediately when you plug the washer back in. You have to hit "cancel" to clear it.

Posted on Mar 23, 2008

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Dear Antiseizure,
THANK YOU!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! It longer to find the tools than fix this! When I opened it up the connector was not plugged in. Pressed it back in place and everything works fine! I really appreciate the help!!


Posted on Feb 09, 2008

Thanks to all of you! I tried all the suggestions above. In addition I was told by Sears to shut down the actual breaker switch in the breaker box for the maching plug (while the machine was plugged in) for 10 mins. As well, I did what sparkspa suggested about the door latch. Sure enough ours was loose. My husband took it off and put some backing onto the back of the latch to rasie it up to stiffen it. Not sure which fix worked but I have a strong feeling it was the tightening of the door latch (on the actual door). I had already checked the plug connections before.

Posted on Jan 29, 2008

Thanks antiseizure!!! Busy mom of 3, and I did just what you said and the washer is fixed!!!!  Idid it with no husband at all!!!


Thanks!!!!! Jennifer

Posted on Oct 18, 2007

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Good solution, connectors were loose for the door lock. Hopefully no more suprises.

Posted on Sep 09, 2007

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Thanks to all posts. Saved me $$$$. Mine was flashing the dl f code intermittently, so I found it hard to believe that the CPU was the issue, despite what the SEARS repair people told I decided to try out some of the suggestions above. I UNPLUGGED it, then I removed the top cover and pushed in all the connections as suggested. Then I went the extra mile by re-seating the door latch switch by un-screwing then re-tightening the door switch screws!....and the best part, I am a girl! Whoo Hoo!!! Who needs a man?

Posted on Aug 01, 2007

  • Katy Sparks Aug 01, 2007

    Thanks to all posts. Saved me $$$$. Mine was flashing the dl f code intermittently, so I found it hard to believe that the CPU was the issue, despite what the SEARS repair people told I decided to try out some of the suggestions above. I UNPLUGGED it, then I removed the top cover and pushed in all the connections as suggested. Then I went the extra mile by re-seating the door latch switch by un-screwing then re-tightening the door switch screws!....and the best part, I am a girl! Whoo Hoo!!! Who needs a man?


Thank you Antiseizure! It took me longer to find the tools I needed to take the top off than it did to fix the problem. Saved me a service call.

Posted on Jul 10, 2007

Thank you so very much Antiseizure. I fixed my problem by taking off the top of the washer. Simply, by pushing on the wires my machine turned right on. The entire job took me 30 seconds. I would like to add one comment. For those of you who think the screws on the back of the machine are long, they are not. They are very short and may fall under the washer. If you are looking for a long screw be prepared for 3 short ones.

Posted on Jul 07, 2007

Big Thank You to AntiSeizure! After removing the top panel (1 minute,) I simply pushed in ALL the connectors, as they had become loose from the intense vibration. The washer started without hesitation. HOLY CRAP! Sears wanted $400 for a CPU and the charged us $72.00 for an estimate without even taking 5 minutes to do what I just did. AntiSeizure, I owe you a lunch if you make it to SF. Thanks again, Ted Stanley

Posted on Jun 29, 2007

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If u hear it trying to click over and over again from the top rear u need a new ccu unless u feel brave enough to take it apart and clean the relay on the ccu. if the noise is coming from the door u need a new door lock. beware a new ccu is around 200- 600 dollars depending on model.

Posted on Mar 21, 2007

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