How To Repair A Washer That Won't Spin - Washing Machine Repair
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How To Repair A Washer That's Not Spinning

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  • Rated as EASY
  • 1492 repair stories
  • 6 step by step videos

Direct Drive Motor Coupling

If you have a top-load washer that won’t spin, 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 by removing the pump and the motor.

Door Lock & Interlock

In most front-loading washing machines, and in some top-loaders too, the door needs to shut fully and the door lock needs to engage before the washer will operate. Open the door and examine the door switch, which is either in the door frame or is part of the lock of the door. This part signals to the timer or the control board that a spin cycle should proceed, since the door’s safely locked. Make sure the strike joins fully in the assembly for the lock and that the door’s secure when locked. Unplug the washer, take off the front panel, and use your multi-meter to find out whether the switch has electrical continuity. If you have the sort of washer that displays fault codes, you can use our fault code glossary to see if the door lock, or interlock, is the reason your machine is not spinning. If there’s no continuity at the switch or if the fault code clearly indicates a problem here, you can replace the door lock assembly.

Wax Motor

The door lock for some models of front-loading washers is operated by a wax motor, which pushes a pin out to lock the door when a cycle starts. As a safety feature, washers will not spin without a signal that the door is locked. So the spin cycle would not start on a machine with a broken wax motor because the machine wouldn’t receive the signal that the door is locked. The best way to check if a wax motor is working is a continuity check with your multi-meter, since there’s not much of a visual sign when it breaks. A broken wax motor will have an open circuit; a functional one will give 1500 to 1900 ohms of resistance.

Lid Switch

When a washer’s top lid is raised, the lid switch will open and the motor circuit for the spin cycle will not operate. This safety feature is crucial to preventing serious injuries, and you ought not to bypass it. If your lid switch is broken, the spin cycle won’t be triggered, and repair is in order. Start by finding the lid switch, which is normally located beneath the main top. A pin or lever attached to the lid will activate the switch when the lid is closed. Unplug the washer and see if the switch is tripped by a lever or actuator when the lid shuts. Remove the wires from the switch and use your multi-meter to check for electrical continuity. If the switch is not supplying power to the motor circuits then you will want to replace it. If the switch has continuity after all, then you’ll need to check the direct drive motor coupling, and the rest of the components in this section, to pinpoint the problem.

Clutch Assembly

In top-loading washers, some models have a clutch assembly to attach the wash basket drive to the input shaft of the transmission. A problem in that clutch may be causing your washer not to spin, or spin too slow to take all the water out of the clothes. 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 will know the clutch is broken if it is making a scraping sound or a loud noise during the spin cycle, smelling burnt, or leaving brake dust—which looks like shavings—under the machine. You can unplug the washer, take off the cabinet, take out the drive motor then the 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.

Drive Belt or Spin Belt

If you have a top-load washer, a drive belt may be what’s connecting the transmission to the drive motor. A failure in the drive belt could keep the machine from spinning its load. Sometimes this problem will show itself with a burnt odor or an unusual noise. Your drive belt could 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. Unplug your washer and find your model’s drive belt at the bottom of the machine, behind the cabinet or front panel. Here’s a checklist of what to do: -Make sure the pulley for the transmission drive rotates smoothly and easily, in both directions if yours is a top-loading washer -Clean any grease or oil off the belts and pulleys for the drive and motor -Make sure the belt tensioner, motor glide (and idler assembly if applicable) moves easily and smoothly -If your washer is front-loading, use your hand to spin the tub to tell if it is blocked or impeded -If your machine is top loading, use your hand to spin the inner tub to ensure it isn’t impeded or blocked -Replace the belt if it is worn or damaged, using the precise same kind that your machine had previously -Follow the manufacturer instructions when adjusting and tightening the belt

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