How To Repair A Noisy Washer - Washing Machine Repair
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How To Fix A Washing Machine That Is Noisy

Pump & Pump Motor

If you’re hearing the sound around the washer’s spin cycle, it could indicate a problem in the drain pump. That’s because the drain pump is what takes the water back out of the wash tub, whether it is powered on your model by a belt, the washing machine motor, or a pump motor. To verify that the pump is the problem, take the front panel or the cabinet off the machine and turn the washer on. Make sure you do not touch the washer while it’s running, since you don’t want to get an electric shock or be hurt by a moving part. If you can tell that the pump is what is making noise, turn the washer off and unplug it. Get a container under the pump to catch any water, and take the inlet hose off the pump. Now you can check if the pump impeller is being impeded by debris, or see if it’s worn or broken. Try turning the impeller with your hand to check if it has seized up. If yours is a front-loader, the drain pump will have the motor attached; if that’s the case the whole pump and motor assembly can be replaced. Once you have cleaned or replaced the impellor or motor you can replace the hose, fix the clamps on tight, and run the washer again to safely check for leaks. If your pump is repaired, the front panel or cabinet can be put back on now.

Drive Belt

Belts, in general, are known for making noise when they are worn out or frayed. If you have a top-load washer, a drive belt may be connecting the transmission to the drive motor. It would generally be a rubber V-belt covered in fabric so that it can slip a bit. Or it could be a rubber belt aided by a tensioning device like an idler pulley, so that the motor doesn’t cause too much friction to the belt. For front-loaders, the drive belt goes between the drive motor and the wash basket. This type of washer usually features a belt with multiple ribs that’s more tightly stretched than the top-loading washing machine drive belt.

Direct Drive Motor Coupling

If you have a top-load washer and you’ve been hearing a vibration, there may be a problem with the direct drive motor coupling between the transmission and the motor. This coupling is two drive forks made of plastic, one attached to the shaft of the drive motor and one attached to the input shaft of the transmission. Then there is a rubber coupling between them that protects the forks by absorbing the torque. But over time, the coupling can wear out and allow those plastic forks to slide and vibrate. The coupling can also get broken when the spin basket is impeded or the transmission seizes. You can enter your model number in the search engine here to find the exact location of this coupling, unplug the washer, and access the direct drive motor coupler behind the cabinet of your washing machine to check on it.

Shock Absorbers

If you have been hearing a loud banging noise from your front loading washing machine, you’ll want to check on the shock absorbers, or struts. These go between the outer tub and the base frame to moderate the shaking of the tub during the spin cycle. If the shock absorbers aren’t doing their job any more, you’ll hear the banging of the tub against the frame while the clothes spin. And that tub movement could break other parts of your washer. So unplug the washer, find the shock absorbers behind the front or rear panel, and check them for signs they’ve become worn, loose, or are leaking fluids. It’s best to replace both or all of the shocks at once.

Tub Dampening Strap

When a loud banging noise comes from your top-loading washing machine, you’ll want to check to see if your model features tub dampening straps. These are rubber bands stretched between the top of the tub and the four corners of the cabinet to moderate the shaking of the tub during the spin cycle. If the tub dampening straps are too stretched out or worn to do their job, you’ll hear the banging of the tub against the frame while the clothes spin. While the straps wear out eventually with normal use, yours may have worn out faster if you’ve been doing a lot of wash or sending heavy loads through. You can check on your tub dampening straps by unplugging the washer and raising the top of the machine. If they are torn, slack from being overly stretched, or worn, replace all four at the same time.

Drive Motor

No matter what type of washer you own, if you have heard a loud buzzing or humming at the same time as the motor starts, or smelled a burning odor coming from the machine, you have reason to suspect a problem in the drive motor. A top-loading washer runs the transmission and sometimes the pump off its drive motor and that is also what spins the clothes basket. If you have a front-load washer, the pulley for the wash basket is driven via a belt that is run by the drive motor. When the drive motor cannot rotate easily it may buzz or hum until the motor’s thermal overload senses that there’s too much current, and it will stop the motor. That current overload could stem from a seize in a driven component as well as from within the motor. So if you determine that the drive motor itself hasn’t seized or gotten worn, and that it can rotate unobstructed, check the following two groups of parts that could malfunction and keep your drive motor from functioning. Since the drive motor powers the transmission and the pump, unplug the washer and make sure those two parts can rotate unobstructed. Make sure none of the bearings has seized. Rotate the clothes basket in the direction it’s supposed to spin, to make sure that hasn’t gotten stuck. Check for clothing stuck between the basket and the tub. If your model features a start capacitor, check it for signs or arcing, corrosion, or wire connections that have come loose. The start capacitor can be found adjacent to the drive motor, and connected to the start switch of the motor via a wire harness. If the capacitor is swollen or cracked, switch it out for the correct replacement, which you can locate using our parts search box.

Drive Motor Pulley, Transmission Pulley & Pump Pulley

Has your washer been thumping or squealing when spinning, draining or agitating? Is it driven by a belt? Sometimes the motor pulley that drives that belt, and often the pump belt as well, can get gummed up with dirt, grease, or rubber compound. Check the transmission pulleys and the pump pulleys, too, for this problem. Replace any or all of these pulleys and belts if they are rough, dirty, worn, distorted or damaged.

Pump Belt

Symptoms that the pump belt is failing on a top-load belt-driven washer include a noisy drain or spin cycle (you might hear thumps and squeals), an odor of burning rubber, or water left standing at the end of the drain cycle. Has the pump belt gotten frayed, abraded, overheated, or cracked with age and use? Is the pump pulley turning unimpeded? If you need to replace either of these parts, make sure you get the precise replacements and ensure that you adjust the belt to the degree of tension required by the manufacturer, since it may not be meant to be snug.

Tub Bearing

If your tub bearings have gone out, you might be hearing a loud rumble or roar coming out of the washing machine when it is trying to spin. Also, the clothes basket, or inner tub, may be too loose, and it’s possible that water is leaking out of the area of the seal. The tub bearings are meant to ensure free movement of the wash basket. In top-loading washers, there will typically be two bearings: one where the shaft connects to the clothes basket and one at the bottom or transmission input. In front-loading washers, both bearings will be supporting the clothes basket shaft at the back of the outer tub. In both sorts of washers, the bearings have a tub seal to keep them dry. But laundry soap, heavy use, and the passage of time can erode that seal and then the bearings can stop working. Unplug your washer and take out the inner tub, or clothes basket, to get to the bearings and the seal. If yours is a top-loading machine, you often have to remove the transmission too. Check your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website to see if anything beyond normal hand tools will be needed to remove or replace the bearings. And always replace the tub seal at the same time, since a flaw in the seal was probably how the bearings got damaged in the first place.

Agitator Directional Cogs & Dogs

When the washing machine is making a crunching or grinding noise, and the agitator’s upper part isn’t moving smoothly, or is actually frozen in place, it is a good idea to examine the agitator cogs (also known as dogs). These are hard plastic cogs, resembling cams. They click into a corresponding row of teeth to rotate the agitator one way and then release to allow the agitator to return to its original position. That’s how a dual-direction agitator can make the top of the clothes basket jerk in one direction and then click back, while the bottom spins one way around and then the other way around. The engagement and disengagement action of the cogs wears them smooth eventually, and then the upper half of your clothes basket won’t agitate any more. Simply unplug the washer, take off the agitator’s top portion, and look to see if the agitator cogs have worn smooth and need replacement.

Clutch Assembly

Does your top-loading washer have a clutch assembly? It may have a problem if the washer is making a scraping sound or a loud noise on the spin cycle, spinning too slow to spin all the water out of the clothes, not spinning at all, smelling burnt, or leaving brake dust—which looks like shavings—under the machine. The clutch assembly is designed to latch the clothes basket to the transmission input shaft so that the clothes basket spins. The pads rub against the housing and, eventually, that wears them out. You can unplug the washer, take off the cabinet, take out the drive motor then transmission assembly, and usually find the clutch assembly under the outer tub, connected to the basket drive assembly. Replace a clutch assembly that appears worn or broken.

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