Question about Maytag Washing Machines

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Maytag Neptune MAH5500 smelled like burning plastic at the end of the cycle. (The whole basement smelled bad.) The smell seemed to be coming from the plastic part at the top where it latches.

I opened the back and it looks great back there. the belt appears totally fine. We ran it again 3 times and there is no burning plastic smell, so it happened suddenly once and has not repeated. Does this mean the tub bearings are bad, or could it be something else? The tub seems to spin easily and if I push down on it at the rear of the machine it doesn't seem to move much.

Posted by Anonymous on

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  • Anonymous Mar 22, 2017

    No signs of burning on the clothes. No signs of burning or damage around the tub rim. Right after this happened I sniffed all around the front tub edge and the burning smell was *definitely* coming out of the piece of plastic at the top where the door latch goes. Also that spot was hot (as shown by infrared camera). Maybe some component inside the washer melted and the fumes vented out through the latch mechanism?

    Is there some electrical part that could fail and the washer would *seem* to work?

  • Steve F Mar 22, 2017

    The door latch safety switch will be in that position. Its a switch that turns off the machine and locks the brake when or if the lid or door is opened during spin. On a front loader, the switch will lock as soon as the machine starts washing. You may have to lift the top of the machine to get access to it and look properly.

  • Steve F Mar 22, 2017

    If you look further down the page, someone wrote a post up about what problem you have had. It would be worth checking it out. Something about the wax drive motor in the lock and this could fail and cause damage to the power board. Check the door gasket and make sure it hasn't got a hole or tear in it which allowed water to spray on the electrical parts.

  • Anonymous Mar 22, 2017

    The post lower down says that if the wax lock motor fails, the machine won't run at all, which doesn't match my behavior where it now seems to be working fine. I guess I can try opening it up and looking for burnt or melted parts.

  • Anonymous Mar 24, 2017

    I opened up the machine and inspected the electronic parts. No sign of anything burnt or melted. Control board looks fine. Everything looks pristine. Machine continues to run normally without any problems or burning smell. And it doesn't seem to be particularly loud during spin. So I don't know what to think.

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  • Master
  • 899 Answers

Tub bearings get worse, if they faulty, the machine would be noisy and getting louder. Sudden burning smells usually mean an electrical failure of a component but if this has stopped and the machine is working properly, its possible that something has got caught up in the rim of the tub or gasket area and during spin it has got "burnt" by being dragged around the edge. Have a close look at your clothes that were washed on that day for signs of burning or damage and around the top at leading edges of the tub for signs of melting or damage.

Posted on Mar 22, 2017

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  • Steve F Mar 24, 2017

    Mystery?? I know it sounds crazy, but are you sure it was the washing machine? Its not the first time that ive come across a suspected failure (burning) on an appliance and it was something else nearby. (Hot water system, clothes iron and a toaster once. lol.All I can say, is to keep using it and hopefully it keeps working properly. Cheers.

  • Anonymous Mar 24, 2017

    Well, we had the fire department out to investigate and they went all over with IR cameras and fingered the washing machine. It was showing up as hot on their camera and the smell was really strong right at the latch area at the top of the door rim. Even after the basement was aired out, the smell persisted around that latch area. So it seemed pretty definite. We reached the same conclusion: keep using it until it happens again.

  • Steve F Mar 25, 2017

    OK, I would say that the door lock has shorted internally with no obvious external signs. As I read below, there s something about a wax solenoid that can fail on these machines which has something to do with the door lock. Rather than risk a fire or damage to the machine, It may pay to replace this. perhaps you could confirm over the phone with your local Service Agent who would be conversant with your make and model. All the best.

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