Question about Kenmore 3.2 cu. ft. Plus Top Load Washer

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My Kenmore 3.2 cu. ft. Super Capacity Plus Top Load Washer has stopped agitating. It spins fine, but doesn't agitate. If I push down on the agitator while it is running, it tries to agitate, but not otherwise.

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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.

This problem points to a couple of places:



The first unfortunately is the motor. Kenmore / Whirlpool top load direct drive washers use a reversing motor.

When in agitate mode, the motor turn one way, When in spin mode it turns the other way for draining and spinning.

I'd check the following first before assuming that it's the motor though.


First, I'd pull the agitators and check for worn or damaged splines inside the agitator or on the agitator shaft.

Following is a description of how to take them out.

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

If the agitator and shaft are OK, the problem may be in the transmission.

See the following Whirlpool / Kenmore installation and service manual for top load, direct drive washers.

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

I'd also look at the troubleshooting section of the manual.


Starting at page 10, you'll see a description of how the transmission changes from agitate to spin mode.

The key (and likely problem) is the "agitator spring".

The spring holds the agitate gear down so that the two sets of splines on the agitate gear are connected and the agitate rack can turn the agitators.

See the following Whirlpool parts list for a blow-up of the transmission and how the various gears and springs connect.

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

See the following for how to remove the transmission and clutch.

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

Tearing apart the transmission is a bit messy but if the problem is the spring or agitate cams, it's a lot less expensive to fix than a $170 transmission.

Remove the clutch (the spring holding the clutch to the spin pinion is a bear to replace.

Remove the 8 transmission screws carefully, the transmission is full (15 oz.) of 80-90 weight gear oil (I replaced mine with gear oil from a local auto parts store).

Remove the transmission cover (8 bolts) and drain the oil.

Pull off the spin pinion.

Carefully remove the clip that holds the main Spin Gear on and remove it.

Push down on the agitate spring and remove the spring clip. Note where is attaches to the main shaft.

Check the spring, Agitate Cams and the cams in the Neutral Drain Assembly.

Re-assembly is obviously the reverse of taking it apart.

If you're reasonably comfortable with tools you can fix it yourself.

When we had a problem with ours, we ended up spending less than $30 replacing the agitate cams, neutral drain assembly and oil instead of $170 for a transmission. It was worth fixing.

As an aside, tearing the washer apart will give you the opportunity to completely clean it.

Posted on Sep 13, 2010

  • hiramrussell Sep 14, 2010

    Well, thankyouverymuch oldguy5! I haven't had a chance to use your advice and instructions yet, and have only read about a quarter of what you have given me, but with all of this information I am SURE I will be able to giterdun! Thank you sooo much. I will repost later in a few days after I have dug in and figured out what issues my washer has.

  • hiramrussell Sep 14, 2010

    Now looking more closely, mine actually is belt driven.

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