Question about Kenmore Washing Machines
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:
and you'll see a list of major sub-components with diagrams and parts.
Four possibilities: (Ranging from easiest to messiest) None of the suggestions are very expensive.
Newer model Whirlpool / Kenmore washers use a Lid Switch as a safety device. Unless the switch senses that the lid on the washer is closed, the washer will neither agitate nor spin.
Older models only used the switch during the spin cycle.
Try to bypass the Lid Switch by removing the Console and jumping the two outermost pins on the switch.
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.
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.
With the jumper in place, try to re-start the washer.
If it works, the Lid Switch is a relatively inexpensive part.
If the washer still doesn't work, check the motor coupler.
Kenmore / Whirlpool top load, direct drive washers use a "Motor Coupler" between the motor and transmission.
It's used as a fail safe device and consists of three parts.
Two of the parts are the same, plastic units with three prongs that fit on one of the motor output shafts and the other on the
transmission input shaft. Between them is a rubber piece with six holes.
The power from the motor is transmitted through the rubber piece to the transmission.
The other shaft on the motor directly drives the pump.
If the motor coupler is broken, or worn, the motor may not be able to send full power to the transmission for agitating or
See the following for how to remove the cabinet, pump, motor and motor mounting plate to inspect and replace the motor coupler.
If the coupler looks damaged, it's a relatively easy fix.
Pry the plastic pieces from the motor and transmission. Some people use a claw hammer but I've found that using a small (6 inch) pry bar works well.
Carefully fit the plastic pieces over the motor and transmission shafts and press them in place (Use a 1/2" of larger socket to put pressure equally around the pieces.
Put the rubber piece on the transmission plastic piece.
Replace the motor mounting plate.
Carefully line up the plastic prongs on the motor based plastic piece to the three un-used holes in the rubber piece. If they don't line up right, the coupler could be damaged.
Mount the motor, don't forget the two screws, put the pump back on the motor and use its' clips.
Put the cabinet back on, don't forget to plug the lid switch back in and re-mount the console.
If the motor coupler is OK, the problem could be the clutch:
Sears has a replacement clutch band kit.
See the following for how to pull the pump, motor and transmission.
You DON'T HAVE TO PULL THE AGITATORS OR TUB.
Also see the Whirlpool / kenmore service manual for these washers.
Both the Motor coupler (available from most appliance parts stores) and the clutch band kit are relatively inexpensive.
See the Following Whirlpool parts list for alternatives to the Sears part numbers.
If you've tested the Lid Switch and the Motor Coupler is fine, and the clutch bands and springs are OK the problem could well be the transmission. "Neutral Drain Assembly".
See the Whirlpool / Kenmore Service manual for transmission operations on top load direct drive washers.
WHIRLPOOL TRANSMISSION DESCRIPTION AND SPRINGS
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.
When ours had a similar problem, we looked at the transmission parts list (available on a number of sites) and on the Whirlpool site (Whirlpool makes Kenmore) and 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
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.
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 15Oz of 80-90 weight gear 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, or the main spin gear is 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 Jul 20, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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