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The knob wears out and won't grab. It is easy enough to replace if you know the trick. Take pair of tweezers and remove the clip behind the knob, just push on the replacement knob and oil the timer then move the timer around several times to help the shaft turn easier.
You gotta pull out a rod behind the timer and that releases the knob. The rod when pushed into the timer spreads the shaft and holds it on there. To get to the innards you gotta flip up the controls. I have a cool video that shows how
We have a GE WJRR4170 washer, with the same problem. At first I
thought I might have to unscrew the entire control panel just to
replace the knob. However, replacing the knob turns out to be easy.
Right behind the knob, holding it in place, is a nylon/plastic retainer
clip. If you pull out the knob (into the "start" position), you will get easier access to the retainer clip. You can
use a flathead screwdriver to push the clip out. The knob then will
slide easily off the metal stem. A GE replacement knob costs $9 or
$10, depending on the source.
Shame on GE, but the knob is designed terribly. The part of it that
engages the dial has eight, flimsy plastic teeth. At any time, four of
these are supposed to engage four little slots in the dial. However,
the way the knob is designed, there will be a lot of wear and tear on
these plastic teeth, so they'll wear out on every single machine.
Good luck to the many people who will have this problem!
it's possible go to www.repairclinic.com and enter the numbers you have posted and it will show you what they are. I have the same problem. What I did was not pretty but it works for now. I broke a piece off of your part#387997 and simply turn my dial that way and then pull the center out to start the wash. Considering a new timer is close to $100+ and it works fine this way , well you know...
the timer knob has a clip that will allow you to remove the knob from the timer. it is between the knob and the dial. what happens is the knob has gear like teeth that will become stripped out.it is easy to replace but alittle hard to remove. you need to get a small screwdriver and go behind the knob, pull on it alittle and you will see the clip, then use the screwdriver to push the clip out of the knob, then the knob will pull of and you can replace it.
You don't state your exact model number, and the number off the timer is not the actual part number (it's some sort of part stamping number). Most likely what has happened is a plastic tab on the timer housing (which normally goes into a slot in the metal, and thus holds the timer at that point) has broken off. The fix is to replace the timer, but instead of buying a new timer, I usually fashion a Z type piece of metal which I can put one screw though into the metal and the other side holding the timer against the metal. Takes a little work, but it's a lot cheaper than a new timer.
If you want to take the timer knob off, you have to pull it out and use a thin tool, like a small screwdriver, to push the plastic clip off the shaft behind the knob, allowing the knob to then come off the shaft. Push the clip back on the knob when off, so that all you have to do to reinstall the knob is push it on and it will lock on the shaft again.
The clip pulls straight up off the shaft directly behind the knob. You can use a small screwdriver or a pair of needlenose pliers to pull it out. Once the clip is removed the knob will slide off the timer shaft.