How to Fix a Drive Motor for a Washer With a Burning Smell

When a motor is failing, it can overheat, which will result in a burning smell. If this is happening to the drive motor in your washing machine, you may notice that it also makes a buzzing or humming sound when starting up. Determining if your drive motor is failing requires the use of a multimeter, but it is a straightforward task. We’ll help you find out if the drive motor is causing the burning smell, and how to replace it if necessary.

What is a Drive Motor?

In most washers, the main drive motor is used to operate the mechanical functions of the wash cycles such as agitation or tumble and spin. It may also be used to operate the drain pump. If one of the motor-driven components is defective or broken, it may cause the drive motor to overheat and create a burning smell. If the problem is severe, it may also overheat the motor enough to cause it to fail. A common symptom associated with a failing drive motor is a humming or buzzing noise when the motor is starting.

Where is the Drive Motor Located?

The drive motor will be located at the bottom of the washing machine. Depending on your model, you may need either to remove the back panel or the entire cabinet or to tilt the washer on its back in order to access the motor.

A 3D diagram showing the components of a washer and specifying the location of the drive motor

How to Access, Remove, and Inspect the Drive Motor in a Washing Machine

  1. Disconnect the power source from your appliance before beginning as you will be handling electrical components.
  2. Remove the cabinet or the back panel or tip back your washer in order to locate and remove the drive motor. You will need to disconnect the wires attached to the motor in order to remove it from the appliance. Do this by pulling on the metal connectors, not the actual wires.
  3. Set your multimeter to the Rx1 setting. Test for continuity by placing the probes onto the terminals of the motor. You should receive a reading of zero or nearly zero.
  4. To test the ground connection, leave one probe on the terminal and place the other on the metal housing of the drive motor. You should not receive any reading from this test.
  5. If your readings differ from those described above, you will need a replacement drive motor.

How to Install a New Drive Motor

  1. Remove the motor base and the ground wire from the old motor, so they can be used with the new one.
  2. Reinstall the motor mount base and reinstall the nuts to hold it in place.
  3. Then reverse the steps used to remove the motor from your washer.

Go To Main Page: Burning Smell

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