Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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Kenmore elite smartwash quietpak 9 he4t eating holes in clothes

It appears that the clothes are getting hung up in the rubber seal around the door because around the torn holes in the articals are grey smudges that appear to be burnt or melted rubber. Sears has been out twice and says that they don't see a problem with the unit, yet more amore clothes are getting ruined. Any solutions???

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  • erikvan Feb 09, 2009

    Seeing the same damage to clothes, but not sure if the washer or dryer is doing the damage.

  • papergirl1 Mar 19, 2009

    I wish I had a solution. My washer does the same thing. I had Sears out. Of course, they didn't find a problem. Then I tried our home warranty, they came out but didn't cover the part. I had to pay a couple of hundred to replace it. Looks like the soft plastic seal gets torn and needs replacing. They said that My loads were too heavy(not true), and that we should not use fabric softener because it might break down the rubber. My opinion is if you shouldn't use fabric softener, then don't put a fabric softener dispenser in the machine!! Well, a year has passed and I need to replace it again. I would get a different machine if my husband would let me!

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A lot of concerns have been raised about door bellows molding, mildewing, and/or ripping and needing replaced. A replacement bellow isn't cheap (prices vary, but are around $75-80), so hopefully these helpful steps will eliminate the need to call a repair service and pay the additional labor charges. This is a repair of MODERATE difficulty. Just follow these steps:

1. Unplug the washer.
2. Remove the washer top panel by removing the three torx-type screws (or 7mm) where it attaches in the rear of the washer. The panel should slide back, and then lift off.
3. Remove the operator console by removing the dispenser and the scew(s) behind it. Take a putty knife and insert it under the console seam right above the door. If you push in slightly while pulling outwards the panel pops off. Use care not to pull or damage any of the wiring. You can leave the wires attached and simply lay the console across the top of the washer out of the way.
4. Locate the wire hoop retainer around the rubber door boot. It is located behind the rubber seam where it attaches to the door frame. Follow this hoop around to the bottom of the door opening and locate the wire tension spring. Gently pry this spring apart and pull the wire hoop from the groove. Pull the rubber boot from the frame and push it inside towards the wash tub. You will also have to remove the door boot from the fill tube on the left hand side of the door opening. There is a small wire clamp holding it in place.
5. Remove the three screws that hold the door latch assembly in place. This is on the right hand side of the door opening. You can leave the latch in place as long as you remove the screws and push it inside slightly to remove it from the front casing of the washer.
6. Remove the door by removing the screws holding the hinges in place. Use care to support the door hinges when loosening. They can bend. Set the door aside in a location where it will not get stepped on or broken.
7. Remove the lower kick panel under the door. There are 3 screws under the bottom edge holding it in place. Sometimes the panel can stick. A slight tap on either side will knock it free.
8. Remove the front washer casing by removing the four remaining screws that are holding it in place. There should be two at the top and two at the bottom. Set the front casing aside.
9. Remove the old door boot by locating the large clamp that attaches it to the wash tub. Loosen the 7mm nut and the boot will detach from the tub. Also remove the boot from the fill tube coming from the dispenser.
10. Install new door boot on the wash tub and install clamp. There should be instructions that come with the door boot with guide marks to ensure you align it correctly. Once you have the boot in place, tighten the clamp enough to where it is snug. DO NOT over-tighten or you may damage the tub and or clamp. In most cases the clamp will break.
11. Once you have the boot in place, re-install everything in the reverse order of how I explained to disassemble. Make sure you connect the door latch assembly BEFORE you re-install the outer portion of the door boot. Also, make sure you install the boot completely over the fill tube. There should be a ridge on the tube where to stop. Sometimes the tube is not inserted all way into the boot and water will leak behind it. The clamp is always difficult to get back in place. If you cannot get the clamp to go back over the tube, you can live without it. Some newer models do not have them installed. Just make sure it is a snug fit where the rubber boot fits ALL the way back to the plastic ridge on the tube.
12. When you get the point where you are ready to install the door boot back over the frame of the door opening ensure you fit it snugly all the way around the door. Beginning at the top of the door, start inserting the wire hoop back into the groove. Make sure to wire spring points towards the bottom. As you work your way around the door to the 4 and 8 o'clock positions, you will need to maintain some constant downward pressure while pulling the spring apart in order to snap it back into place. It would be advisable to use a second set of hands to hold the wire hoop in place while doing this as it has the tendency to want to come out of the groove.
13. Once the door boot is back in place, re-install the operator console and washer top.
14. At the operator console, select DRAIN SPIN, NO SPIN and press any button under OPTIONS 4 times (has to be the same button, though). This will place the washer in diagnostics mode. You should hear the door latch lock and "C00" will be displayed on the console. The washer will run through a series of tests filling the tub, tumbling, draining, and then a final spin. If you do not wish to wait for the test to complete you can press CANCEL at any time. The test checks out everything and takes about 15 minutes. Look for any leaks.


Step 6--Removing the door. After you remove the three screws in Step 5, there is only one screw to remove in step 6 on my model. It was hidden behind a plastic cover that makes the hinge look pretty. You'll see on the inside of the door that two plastic prongs/tabs extend into holes in the hinge. If you push on them laterally and pull out, the tabs will pop out. Outside the door on the left side of the machine, you'll see the plastic cover that is connected to those plastic tabs and is hiding the hinge. On the outside cover piece, there is a flat tab that extends up into the plastic housing above it. If you gently pull the cover downward and out the whole plastic cover will come off revealing the one screw that needs to be removed to take the door off.
Step 7--Removing the Kick Panel. The middle screw is more difficult to reach than the sides. You may need an extension for your screwdriver and/or shims or a helper to prop up the washer while you remove the middle screw.
Step 8--Removing the washer casing. The step says to remove the screws and set the casing aside. My model (2005-ish) has wires connected to it. Rather than being able to remove it, it swings open like a door with the wires as the hinge. I simply used a box to prop up the outside part of the door so it did not sag and stress the wires.
Step 9--After you remove the old rubber bellow, you will likely see a lot of dirt, mold, and junk where the bellow was. Clean that stuff off with a cloth sprayed with a gentle cleanser before installing the new bellow. We replaced our bellow because of mold and mildew and bad smelling stuff. That dirt and junk is part of the problem. Clean it up before you install the new clean bellow.

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Posted on Sep 14, 2010

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