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I have a Kenmore washing machine that will wash, but will not drain or spin

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This assumes that you have a basic Kenmore / Whirlpool top load, direct drive, neutral drain (it doesn't spin until the pump removes most of the water) machine.

First, see the Sears parts site for your washer:
http://www.searspartsdirect.com/partsdirect/index.action

Enter your model number (###.#######) and you'll see a list of major sub-components with diagrams and parts.


The Kenmore / Whirlpool top load uses a reversing motor to initiate the pump for draining and the transmission to spin.

If you cannot hear the motor trying to turn the pump, (but the washer will agitate) the problem points to the Timer, or the Lid Switch.

Try to bypass the Lid Switch by removing the Console and jumping the two outermost pins on the switch.

Following is a description of how to release the console for access to the pins.

http://www.american-appliance.com/catalog/newsdesk_info.php?newsPath=16&newsdesk_id=137

This is a Whirlpool PDF on how these washers operate. It has a diagram on jumping the switch as well as a detailed section on how the transmission works.

https://secured.whirlpool.com/Service/SrvTechAdm.nsf/2cd44500d572193285256a45004fd9d6/f7e2147fa98b28cf85257122007475cb/$FILE/L-55.pdf

It also has a troubleshooting guide.

To bypass the switch, you only have to disconnect the power to the washer, tilt the console back, unplug the switch and using an short piece of insulated wire, jump the two outermost contacts on the connector coming from the console and plug the washer back in.

Following is a description of how to gain access to the console and how to remove the cabinet if necessary.

http://www.american-appliance.com/catalog/newsdesk_info.php?newsPath=16&newsdesk_id=131&osCsid=913ba652cd504fb162f87d892bcb427b

With the jumper in place, try to re-start the washer.

If it works, the Lid Switch is a relatively inexpensive part.

If the problem isn't in the switch, and the Timer continues to move, the problem is likely in the transmission.

We had the same problem:

If you lift the lid, put it down again and the washer begins to spin, the problem is likely in the transmission "Neutral Drain Assembly".

Those cams/gears etc. in that assembly keep the washer from spinning until all of the water is pumped out and then go into spin mode. Apparently, by opening and closing the lid, torque from the motor starting throws the cams into the right gears so that the washer will spin.

Ours had the same problem, no spin unless the lid was raised and lowered or we shut off and re-started the cycle.

After looking at the transmission parts list (available on a number of sites) and on the Whirlpool site (Whirlpool makes Kenmore) we noticed that the one of the cams in the neutral assembly which is supposed to have a small spring, didn't on ours when we tore the transmission apart again

http://shared.whirlpoolcorp.com/assets/pdfs/literature/Repair%20Part%20List%20-%20W10114743.pdf

Found the part number for a kit (Whirlpool part number 388253 Neutral Assembly) for $15.00 and replaced the cams and gears.

In order to get the transmission out, you have to remove the cabinet, the fabric dispenser and both agitators. The top agitator uses a plastic 1/2" drive bolt (a 1/2" socket extension works well).

You don't have to remove the drum.

See the following

http://www.american-appliance.com/catalog/newsdesk_info.php?newsPath=16&newsdesk_id=137

Lay the machine down (after disconnecting power and hoses, remove the pump (two clips), the motor (two screws hold two clips on the motor), lift and set the motor aside, remove two 1/2 inch bolts for the motor mounting plate and three 1/2 inch bolts for the transmission. Pull the transmission, remove the clutch (there is a spring clip that holds the clutch on the main agitator shaft, remove the 8 screws carefully the transmission holds 14 - 15Oz of oil, remove the clip holding the main spin gear on and check the plastic cams.

If the cam that should have a spring doesn't, or the others look damaged, the washer won't go into spin mode.

If that's the problem, install a Neutral drain kit, put everything back together carefully and the problem may be solved.

As an aside, fixing ours cost less than $30 including 80-90 weight gear oil vs. $170 for a new transmission.

Posted on Nov 12, 2009

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