Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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We have a fairly new Kenmore Elite front loading washing machine. We also have rather hard water here in Indiana. Problem is, water softeners do not seem to work. The manual says that the liquid water softener goes in at the rinse cycle. We have observed, however, that it goes in at the wash cycle. The result is wash clothes and towels that rival sandpaper. Our old washer did not do this. Is there some wiring or mother board problem?

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It appears your timer/main controller/CCU has failed in this instance.

For replacement parts - head on over to PartSelect.com or RepairClinic.com and enter in your full model number for a full parts listing.
I recommend both sites because ...


FixYa has no affiliation with either site - I have been using and recommending them for years - trouble free.

PartSelect has a great schematic database for locating the part on your unit and great "testimonials" for each part that often times includes HOW-TO information.
RepairClinic has pictures of each part they sell and also a great how-to and troubleshooting for basic repairs.


If your unit has never been serviced - there should still be an original service manual enclosed in plastic taped to the inside of the shell.
In the service manual are Error codes, maintenance procedures, and troubleshooting steps you can follow.


Anything too complicated or beyond your scope should be handled by a professional.

If you think you want to tackle the repair - and have gotten stuck on a step - reply to your question and I will be glad to help you out.




Thanks for using FixYa - a 4 THUMBS rating is appreciated for answering your FREE question

Posted on Sep 14, 2010

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Hello, I would like to help with your dilemma. First, adding a Liquid or Powder Softening agent to the Wash or Rinse Cycle of a Washing Machine when using extremely Hard Water as the source is trying to treat the symptom and not fix the cause. These pre-packaged Softening agents are filled with Salts that attempt to mix with the Hard Water Minerals and Neutralize them so the soaps can saturate the water and supposedly clean the clothes more effectively. However, the Hard Water Minerals are still trapped in the water supply with these Salts because they are not removed. And, the manufacturers of these Salt Based Softening Agents have no idea of what level of Hardness (Calcium and Magnesium Carbonates) exist from City to City, State to State, or in private Well water supplies. So, if they provide 200 parts per million of Salts in their package, but the Water Hardness is 600 parts per million of Calcium and Magnesium Carbonates, there is no way the Salts will be effective. With "Traditional" Whole House Water Softening, the Water Treatment Appliance actually removes the Hard Water Minerals before the water is distributed to the entire home or business, then allowing the Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Water Heater, Showers, Bathtubs, and other water bearing appliances to perform their tasks as specified by their manufacturer. These Water Softeners typically attach to the main water line of the entire home or business, and virtually exchange equal amounts of Salt for equal amounts of Hardness regardless of the incoming hardness rating. Then, as the total capacity of the Softener becomes exhausted for the batch of water it has treated, the Control Valve automatically Regenerates the system with a new batch of Salt-Softened Water to use in the home or business. And, when you treat the water for the entire home, you reap the benefits of Protecting ALL of the Plumbing, Fixtures, Faucets, Valves, Appliances, and other household items from Scale and Hard Water Destruction. Visit our Web Site for more information: www.puresafe.com Thanks and Hope this helps. Victor Kernes

Posted on Sep 17, 2009

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1 Answer

Where does the detergent go and where do i put the fabric softerner? I am using a Kenmore Elite front load washer. thanks, Adriana


Hi from retired Englishman in SW France,

A quick and easy way to find out which tray is which is to pull the detergent drawer out just so that you can see into it. Start a pre-wash and see where the water runs in, then advance to the main wash and observe. Finally start a rinse cycle and where the water goes in is where the conditioner/softener goes.
In a few cases I have come across the pre-wash tray shares with the conditioner/softener part but the pre-wash powder goes in the front and the softener in the back.

Cheers,
John C

Mar 16, 2011 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

I purchased the Kenmore Elite washer approximately five years ago. I have had no problems with it operating. However, since purchasing this washer I have ruined almost everything white I owned and avoid...


There has been many reports of complaints regarding this problem and it was found out that the gray spots on white clothing are caused by the fabric softener. The Kenmore Elite is a "highly efficient" machine that it uses very minimal amount water when washing and rinsing. The minimal use of water results in the fabric softener not being diluted completely and eventually makes gray spots on white clothing. The ridiculous solution to this problem, as Sears "advised" is not using fabric softener for white clothing. But you may also try putting the fabric softener in a small plastic bowl just enough to hold it and place it inside the machine prior to the final rinse. Using only the suggested amount of detergent and avoiding the use of detergent powder with speckles reduces the possibility spot occurrences in your while clothing.

Aug 27, 2010 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

My sister pours a lot of liquid softener into our Kenmore Elite front load dispenser. I said to only use 1/4 cup as recommended. Will using too much fabric softener cause problems?


YES!! This machine uses an average of 14 gallons of water per load as compared to 40 gallons for a top load!! Less water means less detergents!! Excess detergent and softener can create build up withing the machine that will cause unpleasant odors and eventually rear bearing failure.

Jul 03, 2010 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

My kenmore elite HE, smart pack is not dispensing the fabric softner? Can you help?


The softener water flow is clogged. You know, open the dispenser while it's filling in the final rinse and look over the softener dispenser. Is there water flowing?

Jun 09, 2010 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

2 Answers

Water doesn't empty out of the softener compartment.


clean the syphone cap it is more than likly clogged with softner. some water being left in there is normal though.

Jun 01, 2009 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

Water softener goes in at wash cycle rather than rinse cycle


if it has to go in the rinse,,this means you have to put it in the fabric softner compartment of the dispencer,,,also do not fill pass mark fill line in dispencer or it will sphion down by itself before time..onthejob

Jan 25, 2009 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

Softener tray filling with water


open the dispenser all the way,place your finger towards the back left of dispenser.you should see a tab,depress the tab and pull entire dispenser cup out.the bleach and fab soft part of the disp has a removable tray.clean all pieces out including the long shafts on the insert.you will more than likely find a build up of softener,this breaks the siphon and does not allow the water to drain out.good luck

Sep 23, 2008 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

Kenmore Elite fabric softener won't drain


Is the dispenser full? It could be that it is a bit clogged. I would try just pouring a little very hot water in for several loads and using dryer softener sheets during this time. Let's see if we can unclog it .

Aug 21, 2008 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

HE washing machine


As you look at your dispenser. The Left compartment is for Detergent. The Right Front compartment is for the Fabric Softener Liquid. The Right Rear compartment is for Chlorine Bleach.

Jul 27, 2008 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

Water collects in the fabric softener cup


drawer should be removed and cleaned there is a small hole that has to kept free,I use a leanth of wire,or pipe cleaner hard to find these days.see how you get on,bye eire

Dec 10, 2007 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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