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Spins sometimes, sometimes doesn't

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My Estate (15 months old) washer seems to work correctly much of the time. BUT, sometimes it will not spin

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Old 11-06-2012, 10:11 AM
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Default Spins sometimes, sometimes doesn't
Model Number: ETW4400XQ0   Brand: Estate   Age: 1 - 5 years   

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My Estate (15 months old) washer seems to work correctly much of the time. BUT, sometimes it will not spin on one of the spin cycles (wash or rinse)....
1- Usually fails on rinse spin cycle.
2- All other functions are normal.
3- When it fails to spin, the motor continues to run and sounds like it is still pumping though there is no water left in the tub.
4- Water level switch and timer were replaced.
5- Spin cycle times out normally and the machine goes into the next cycle.
6- There is no drain obstruction.
7- Lid switch is ok
8- May be more apt to not spin when load is heavier.
9- Seems to be louder with a muted knock as it agitates

What is most likely the problem?

Thank you for this great help for those of us who find it very hard to pay the repair costs today. Will definitely buy parts from you!


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Last edited by Joseph42 : 11-06-2012 at 10:49 AM. Reason: add detail
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2012, 01:21 PM
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Most likely it's the clutch slipping, less likely a bad drive block/spin tube tabs. Replacing the clutch requires removing the gearcase. Inspecting the drive block requires removing the agitator.

Eric
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:45 PM
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Thanks Eric. I have done a lot of mechanics but not much on washers. I would have expected a clutch but didn't think this direct drive machine had one. I couldn't find much on the way of machine operation, just parts diagrams. Are you talking about a clutch inside the transmission case?
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:38 PM
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The clutch is on the outside of the gearcase. You'll have to take the agitator off first to be able to pull the gearcase so you might as well inspect the drive block first. The drive block fits over the spin tube and has two slots in it that engage two tabs on the spin tube. The inner tub fits over the drive block and is held tightly in place by the spanner nut. Remove the top cover of the agitator to gain access to a bolt down in there to remove the agitator. This is what the drive block should look like.



Just make sure the tabs and slots are in good shape and the nut is tight. You should be able to turn the basket by hand against the brake to ensure the the basket, drive block and spin tube are turning in unison and not slipping. If it looks good, suggest you search on youtube for procedure to replace the clutch. Just search on Whirlpool Clutch. Your Estate washer is made by Whirlpool. Being mechanically inclined, it should be a piece of cake for you.

Another thing you can do if this is happening pretty regular is to operate it with the cabinet removed and lid switch defeated. This will allow you to observe the clutch hub when the basket should be spinning but isn't. The clutch hub is driven directly by the gearcase and should be spinning if this is a slipping clutch issue. If the motor is spinning in spin mode and the clutch hub is not, then you have gearcase or drive coupler issues.

Eric

Last edited by fairbank56 : 11-06-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:39 PM
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Default Thanks again!

Thank you. I won't have the opportunity to work on it for about a week but this is tremendous. I am sure the trouble can be found with your info. I had thought of taking the cover off to inspect it but never thought i could operate it with the cover off. This is my first chore. When I get the problem solved I'll get back to you. Your information is great.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:02 AM
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Ok, one more thing to be aware of when you go to observe the clutch hub. Right after agitation stops, the motor pauses for a few seconds and then starts back up in the opposite direction to start draining. The clutch hub should not be turning during this drain period. After a couple minutes of drain, the motor pauses again. Then it starts back up again in the same direction as during drain and this is when the clutch hub should start spinning. Now the washer is draining and spinning at the same time.



Eric

Last edited by fairbank56 : 11-08-2012 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:08 AM
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Eric,
Thanks for all your help. I removed the cabinet and watched it through several loads of wash for a week, both small and large loads. It is working normally. I cannot find a thing wrong. It works as you said it should. I guess I'll wait for it to quit and then try again. Now that I know the workings of the thing it seems to be a pretty simple mechanism to troubleshoot. I have only one more question. The clutch seems to be a centrifugal clutch, right? Is the motor multi-speed? My info doesn't make it too clear. If so and it doesn't hit high speed, no spin right? Switch has been changed by the repair service 3 times...no changes. Could there be a problem with motor speed causing this (bad connections on the motor connector because I did take it off and re-plug it). Fixed it? Whatever it is seems to be something that works/ed sometimes and not at others. Thanks again for all your help. I WILL get it sooner or later if it wasn't the plug.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:16 AM
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The clutch is not centrifugally operated. A spring keeps the clutch lining against the clutch hub at all times. The motor is 2-speed and spin should occur at either speed. You said the motor was still operating when spin wasn't working so I don't think its a wiring connection issue.

Eric
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