Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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SUD light keeps flashing, water won't drain, won't turn on or off

Put a load of towels on to wash. Didn't hear any noise so assumed laundry was finished. Found SUD light flashing - cannot drain & spin, cannot rinse, cannot cancel, cannot even start over... machine will not do anything.

Wondering if it is a similar problem to another from June 30/09 where something was clogging the drain???


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The "SUDS" or "SUD" error can be caused by too much detergent, improper detergent, drain pump/drain line problem, or pressure switch malfunction.

1. If you are not using HE detergent, you need to be. These washers are designed to use HE detergent which is formulated for wash tubs that use 5 to 7 gallons of water. If you use regular detergent, you are, in affect, placing a higher concentration of detergent in the washer that is normally formulated for wash tubs that have a 35 gallon capacity. The manufacturer should have a disclaimer in the owner's manual explaining this. In most cases this will also void your warranty. NOTE: Prolonged use of the wrong detergent can damage the drain pump components and or wash tub seals.

If you are using the correct detergent, double check the label to make sure it is not double (2X) or triple (3X) concentrated. You could still be placing too much soap in your wash.

To get rid of excessive detergent, place the washer on a RINSE & SPIN cycle, then run it through a normal wash cycle with NO detergent added. You may have to repeat these steps depending on the amount of detergent used.

2. If you do not have a detergent issue, double check the drain pump and drain lines to ensure they are not obstructed in any way. Click on the following link for step-by-step instructions:

Obstructions in the drain pump and/or drain lines can attribute to air getting trapped in the drain pump and cause the error code. Double check all electrical connections to the drain pump and Central Control Unit (CCU). You will need to remove the top panel of the washer to access the CCU. This is accomplished by removing the three screws in the back of the washer that hold the top panel in place. With the screws removed, slide the panel back, then off. The CCU is located directly behind the wash tub in the center of the washer. The Drain Pump connector will be the 6th connector (facing from the front L to R) in the center of the CCU.

3. Check the Pressure Switch to ensure it is good. The Pressure Switch is located to the right of the CCU as you are looking from the front. It is a small cylindrical shaped device with a connector plug and an air hose attached. The switch can be checked at several water levels by removing the plug and taking resistance readings at the connector pins. Readings are as follows:

(Pins are numbered R to L facing the from the REAR)

Pins 1 to 2 (SUDS Detect) – 0 ohms
Pins 3 to 4 (Overflow) – 0 ohms
Pins 4 to 5 (L1) – 0 ohms
Pins 4 to 6 (Empty) – 0 ohms

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Posted on Sep 11, 2010


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