Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer
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The "F21" on your model of washer indicates the machine has detected a fault or obstruction in the drain process. This is also the reason for the "suds" message.
Chances are the pump itself is being obstructed by debris or some other foreign object as opposed to being faulty, although the faulty pump can`t be ruled out...yet.
Here`s how to check it and clean it...
Though it being full of water may make it messy. A wet-dry shop vac is handy in this situation.
If it is in a position that allows you too lean it back against something strong or a second set of hands it will help if tilted back almost all the way.
Careful not to hurt the machine or yourself, and undo the fill hoses and drain hose.
**Turn off the breaker at the service panel or unplug the washer from the wall socket...safety first**
1) locate the screws in front at the very bottom of the panel below the door and pull the panel down and forward until it is off. They will be either 1/4" hex head or #20 torx head screws.
2) You will immediately see the drain pump in front of you with a large removable filter. ( **see image below...this is were a wet-dry shop vac and towels come in handy, also the use of the removed panel as a catch pan is beneficial...but you may still get wet )
3) Turn it counter-clockwise should allow you to remove it and inspect it and clean it out. Make a good thorough inspection inside the pump as well not just the removable filter.
4) Re-insert the filter and before placing the panel back run a test rinse/drain cycle to inspect for leaks and to verify the unit drains and spins now.
( If the problem still exist`s the "F21" will re-appear. If so you`ll need to check the hose/rubber bellows from pump to tub...back-flow ball...for other obstructions ).
5) If all appears OK after your efforts, well your efforts paid off...pat yourself on the back. You just saved yourself potentially a couple hundred bucks !
Now You should be good to go. Re-attach the lower panel and you`re back in business.
**NOTE: if this still fails to remedy the F21 or if it returns immediately during the next drain you may require a pump unfortunately...part # 280187 available at "searspartsdirect.com" "repairclinic.com" etc.
**This however can also be caused by the back-flow ball inside the bellows which connects the tub to the pump. There is a large clamp which secures it to the tub, but if you remove it to clean out all the dirt built up inside, make sure you get it good and secure when putting it back.**
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Posted on Oct 08, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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2. Remove the lower toe panel.
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You did not mention whether the washer actually pumps the water out of the washer when you are getting the F21 code. If the washer pumps the water out okay, then the pump and drain system are okay.
Excessive suds can prevent the pump from evacuating the water properly and will sometimes result in an F21. When the suds dissipate, the washer will then be able to pump out the water. Look for this type of condition if necessary.
If the drain pump runs but the washer will not drain the water, see if the washer will gravity drain. Pull the drain hose out of the stand pipe or sink and place it in a shallow pan at floor level. If the washer will gravity drain okay but will not drain when the drain pump is running then you will likely need to replace the drain pump.
If the washer will not gravity drain, then you still have a clog somewhere in the drain system. If you have not pulled the hose between the tub and the pump, then you could have a clog in this area.
If the washer does drain normally, then you could have a failed pressure switch, air pressure hose problem, wiring failure or a failed control board.
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