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Does not agitate

I have an 18 year old whirlpool top load washing machine. it fills and drains ok but does not agitate. drums spins fine during spin cycle. model number is LA5578XTWO

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Agitation is the most complex operation in any washing machine. There are several components working together to make it agitate and as a result it is a challenge to isolate the problem or problems involved. Here is what to look for:
If your washer doesn't agitate, check these:

Lid switch
Motor coupler
Belts
Clutch
Drive motor
Drive pulleys
Transmission
Agitator
Lid switch If the lid switch is defective, the washing machine may not agitate or function at all. The switch is inside the washing machine main housing near the door frame. Often you have to raise or open the top or front of the washing machine to get to the switch. If it's defective, you need to replace it.

Motor coupler Many washers produced by Whirlpool® use a small, relatively inexpensive motor coupling. It's plastic and rubber and is mounted to the shaft of the motor on one side, and to the transmission on the other. Over time, the coupler wears out and fails. If this happens, you need to completely replace it.

Belts Many washing machines have one or two belts. If a belt is broken or badly worn, you need to replace it with a genuine belt from the manufacturer. (Some washing machine belts are designed with special characteristics not found in automotive belts.)

Clutch If your washer was made by GE®, it may use a clutch for agitating the clothes. As the clutch wears out, it may prevent the washer from agitating well or at all. If the clutch is worn, you need to replace it. For this job, you probably want to hire a qualified appliance repair technician.

Drive motor Many washer brands use a reversing motor. For agitation the motor runs in one direction, for spinning and draining, the other. It's possible for a motor to burn out in one direction and continue to operate in the other. If this happens, you need to replace the entire motor.

Drive pulleys The motor or transmission drive pulley may be worn and unable to turn the drive belt. If so, replace the pulley.

Transmission The transmission could have either of these problems:

  • Older washers produced by Whirlpool® have a transmission with an electro-mechanical shifter. If the shifter becomes even partially defective, the unit may not agitate properly or at all.

  • The transmission may have a worn or broken gear, or some other internal problem.

If you suspect a transmission problem, you may have to call a qualified appliance repair technician to repair it.

Agitator The inside of the agitator--where the transmission shaft attaches--can become worn, and strip out the spline that allows the agitator to properly grip the shaft. Then the transmission shaft rotates back and forth as it should, but the agitator doesn't move properly. If this happens, you may need to replace the agitator and/or the transmission spline.

Posted on May 31, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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Hi, This washer does not have a belt. While the washer is agitating, if you lift the lid will it stop? Some models will agitate but not spin if the lid is up. It sounds to me like the lid switch might be going bad.
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Vic

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it sounds like a bad lid switch if it will not drain or spin,the switch controls that-mike

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i also had the same problem, and it ended up being the coupler. It was not hard to replace, it cost me about 19.00. I didn't follow full recomende instructions. I tipped the washer backwards. Removed the drain pump and the motor itself. Then I removed the old coupling and placed the new one. The washer is working like new...

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