Question about Kenmore 3.8 cu. ft. HE3 Front Load Washer

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Kenmore HE3t front loading washer

Well its going on 4 years and the true colors seem to be showing in Sears "better deals".
This washer on a daily basis will either give you the error code F DL (which ofcourse *should* mean door lock problem) and F 11 which is just a great generic error for "communications error".
I have taken the top off so many times that I don't even put the screws back in anymore.
F DL and I reach down and wiggle the three connectors on the door latch and that *usually* fixes the problem for that wash load.
Other times I get the infuriating F 11 error code and you can hear a relay in the MCU click a few times 5 or 10 seconds apart and the error comes back. Sometimes changing to the F DL code but usually back to F 11.
Now for a while I was using the Caveman method I had read a couple months back about smacking the right rear corner with your fist. (Worked most of the time but now even that is failing) but that isn't fixing the problem and my hand is suffering from un-needed abuse.
The big problem that although it is getting more frequent it still is sporadic and so hard to pin down (plus I have no idea where to start checking or for what). If its just the door latch is it a bad connector and if so on the wire or the switch end? and since there is three plug to the infernal switch, which one if its the wire end?

Frustration runs amok in my household tonight.
HELP !!

Thanks in advance for saving what hair I have left.

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  • WMetter Jan 17, 2008

    Same problem with F dL code. Have no idea how to proceed. I tried the sharp rap on the right rear of the top and now the thing worked - but for how long?



    wmetter

  • seshetta Feb 17, 2008

    I have the same washer and have recently been having the exact same error, intermittently, but getting worse. Today I jiggled the whole machine and it worked for one load. Then jiggling didn't work anymore. Haven't called for repair yet...

  • dmilano Mar 04, 2008

    Have the same problem. I took the top cover off, smacked the control unit and got the washer running for a while. But the error codes come back. The control unit has to be replaced as somebody recommends below.

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I have a Kenmore HE3t (mfg by Whirlpool) that is 2 years old and started getting the F/DL error message. Very disappointing considering this thing cost $1000 and had one warranty repair during the first year. After reading a few reviews I attempted to fix myself and was done in 15 minutes saving at least $70 service fee and $125-250 in parts and labor. This fix was trivial. Read through and then proceed with confidence. Most importantly, UNPLUG the unit before proceeding. You absolutely don’t want to get hurt or fry the electronics inside. Also, there is no need to don't pound on the door or the back corner to fix as others have suggested...the solution is so much simpler although not as fun : )

Optional - Open the bottom front cover by removing 3 Torx screws. On bottom right side sealed in plastic is the tech's manual explaining all the codes. F/DL is a Door Lock Failure. These codes should be in the user’s manual but isn’t, necessitating a service call just to tell you what the error code means. Thank goodness for the internet and these postings.

The solution my grandmother could perform. Double check that you UNPLUGGED the unit. Open the top by removing 3 torx screws on back and lift off the top. Look in the back middle where all the wires connect to a CCU (central control unit). Find the large blue wires along the right side of the CCU, then go immediately to the left to the first set of small black wires in a bundle of 3. Just above the connector it will read DL and some # (I can’t remember the #). Jiggling the connector I realized it was simply loose and not making good contact. I removed the connector and upon inspection found the connections very clean. If yours are dirty or corroded, now would be the time to clean them. Take a flashlight and look closely where the connector was connected to the CCU and you will see three metallic plates. The connector has 3 sets of metallic “alligator jaws” that grip the CCU plates when installed. Note the opening between each set of “jaws”. Assuming these were only loose, I took a sharp tweezers, got under each “jaw” and lightly pushed each “jaw” toward the middle, narrowing the gap between each set of “jaws”. You will do this 6 times total. Notice the gap has narrowed. When you reinstall the clip, be gentle and jiggle slightly to be sure the part gets seated correctly and you don’t bend of the metal parts on the connector. With a secure connection, the covers reinstalled, and the washer plugged back in, the door lock mechanism engaged and the machine fired right up.

Posted on Apr 03, 2008

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I had a similar problem, my Kenmore HE3 Elite was flashing F11 and F DL codes regularly. We muddled through for a while (regularly taking the bottom panel off and manually releasing the door). Finally, the machine refused to start up and only flashed the F DL code. I cleaned out the filter ( easily done once the front bottom panel off- yielding several dollars of coins, paper clips, half a tooth brush etc- this may have explained the F11 code). I then followed the advice of slmgmiller (on this page) and had great success. I pulled the wire harness that ran to the door (it had a d3 marked on the CCU) adjusted the alligator clips as s/he suggested and when I turned on the machine again... the door clicked shut as usual. What I found however almost immediately was that it didn't always work, but if I wiggled that connector again, the door lock clicked into place immediately (I left the top in place but unattached for easy access for the time being). I suspect that it may be the connection or (as I read in a post at some other site) possibly a faulty solder joint on the CCU board itself. I'm not sure but I'll wiggle for a while until I'm forced to buy some new part. As I've read elsewhere, the first suggestion for this problem is often to replace the door lock, but it may well be that the problem is in a connection in the CCU. Thanks a bunch to slmgmiller for your very coherent and helpful diy description.

Posted on Mar 03, 2009

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I have the HE3T unit (Dec 2004) and I'm getting the DL error. The smack on the back right side does work occasionally. I just had the Sears repair guy out and for $73.00 he was at my house for 1 minute to say "It's the CCU board" ... I can order it for you for $273.00 or you can order it yourself - it's part number 8182687 - I found it online for here for http://www.repairclinic.com/SmartSearch/SSPartDetail.aspx?PartID=1025824&PPStack=1 $163.00. The repair guy said it was easy to install. I haven't ordered it yet. He also said "Well, you might just want to keep smacking the back right corner too." That might work for a while. Oh, the total repair w/parts and labor ... $473.00 !

Posted on Mar 13, 2008

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I did what slmgmiller (on this page) suggested but it did not work. So, based on that advice, I took the door latch apart again and opened up the prongs on the connection to the door latch. I put it back together and it worked. Success.

Posted on Jul 08, 2013

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I have another dilemma after following the advice to unplug the DL connector and move the metal jaws closer-------when I did this, the washer started clicking into action and actually started working again, then I got the errors again. I pulled the connector out again and moved jaws again, when I plugged it back it, one of the teeth in the jaw bent back. When I tried to straighten it out but it broke off. Does anyone know if just the connector and wire can be replaced? I was going to break down and get a new CCU, but realized that wouldn't fix my problem if the connector is busted off.

Posted on Oct 25, 2012

  • Sheri M Nov 04, 2013

    I ended up calling a local used appliance repair shop. He happened to have the same style washer in his junk/spare parts area so he pulled the connector wire from his unit for the one that ended up bending on mine and replaced it. For the cost of a service call, the problem was solved and the washer started working again. Now, a year later, I have a couple more that are causing error codes so I need to call him again. At least it beats buying a whole new washer, which we were very close to doing!

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I have a Kenmore Elite and never had any problems until today when i gave me a F DL error code. I should have removed the top first and done what wtmattson said and just reseat the connector. However I did replace the locking mechansim which cost me $75. After installing I still got a F DL error code and thought that the CCU might be the next place to look. I unplugged the machine, removed the top panel and followed the electrical "pink lines" that connected to the locking mechanism up to the CCU. I unplugged them and reseated them. I tested the washer and worked like new.

Hope this helps someone else save a few bucks!!

Posted on Nov 26, 2011

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Thanks slmgmiller! My 3 black wires were to the right of the blue ones and I used a safety pin to push the connector 'alligator' clips closer together through the little holes from the front of the plastic box which they're in. The unit works now.

Posted on Aug 27, 2010

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I have a HE3 and it has started to leak from the bottom during a wash cycle only, other than that it runs fine , I'd like to get this to stop before I stack the dryer on top of it...

Posted on Nov 28, 2009

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I had the same problem and just replaced the pump. Works perfectly now.

Posted on Nov 21, 2009

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I also just had the Sears repair guy here to look at my HE3, which was getting the F DL errors (same as reported by all above). Just by me describing the errors/clicking sound and without any further diagnosis he said the Control board would need to be replaced. I bought this machine in Nov. 2004 for $999. and I do not have an extended warranty. Here is all the information I got from him:

The labor would be $161 (includes the $72 visit charge).
Buying the board from him would cost $349/new or $139/rebuilt. Both only have a 90 day warranty.

Alternatively, I could buy the board on my own from elsewhere (even directly through Sears it's much cheaper, about $250) and Sears will still install it (but no 90 day warranty).
He said that the new boards being made today have "fixed" the problem, however there is no recall on the old boards.

Since my door latch also busted from slamming the door so much trying to get the machine to work (we were getting the errors before that), a new door lock would cost $70.

All-together new parts and service from him = $581, only guaranteed for 3 months.

I have 30 days to decide - if they come back within 30 days to do the work there won't be another trip charge.

Also, if I decline the service all together, I can use the receipt for a $65 store credit (you have to ask them to print it on your receipt). However, this expires within 2 weeks. It doesn't say if
there any rules about what I can use this credit for at Sears.

I really don't think I want to spend this kind of money on repairs without a good warranty. Will probably just buy a new cheap top loader instead..

Posted on Mar 28, 2008

  • Sheri M Nov 04, 2013

    I was told that by Sears too but thought I would try other options first. I ended up calling a local used appliance repair shop. He happened to have the same style washer in his junk/spare parts area so he pulled the connector wire from his unit for the one that ended up bending on mine and replaced it. For the cost of a service call, the problem was solved and the washer started working again. Now, a year later, I have a couple more that are causing error codes so I need to call him again. At least it beats buying a whole new washer, which we were very close to doing!

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Just replaced the door latch and so far so good. Did re-seat all the connectors on the CCU.
Before I replaced the CCU I think I would try to clean up the contacts on those mini relays. I think that board was about $200. Or maybe dig out the old soldering iron and make a trip to Radio (Can I help not help you) Shack.

Posted on Jan 18, 2008

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You need to replace the ccu. If you get dl & f-11 the internal relays are failed/failing. Many people replace their door latch, and much to their frustration, have the exact same problem....so save yourself a bigger headache and get the control board. If you don't mind reconditioned parts, I believe they are available....The ccu for the He3t is quite a bit less than for the HE3, if that helps... ; )

Posted on Jan 17, 2008

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