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MrBill
MrBill, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 409
Experience:  Electrolux Authorized Servicer, 7 Years of in home experience
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Frigidaire Gallery Front load washer bangs violently ...

Customer Question

Frigidaire Gallery Front load washer bangs violently on high speed of final spin. Removed back panel and nothing obvious is broken. Shocks look OK. Any suggestions? Can shocks collapse without appearing so?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

I will be happy to help you out. Can I get the model number to the Machine?

Thanks for using JustAnswer.com!

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to MrBill's Post: Purchased from Sears, so this is THEIR model # XXXXX Serial # XXXXX XXXXX if that helps. Thanx - sorry for the delay...
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Does the metal tub feel loose if you reach your hand in and shake it. If you spin tub by hand, does it make any sounds?

Let me know what you find.

Thanks Again for using JustAnswer.com!

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Forgot to mention that we have the washer/dryer stacked, so I can see into it from the top as well as the back (have removed back panel. No excess movement of drum. It bounces somewhat but from what I can see, it's just the action of the coil springs that makes it move. Also, no noise whatsoever when drum is manually spun.
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

There are a number of things that can cause the machine to be off balance during sping cycle. I just went on a service call yesterday to a ladies house with the same problem. She has had her machiine for 9 months now. When she was having the problem, it was when she was only putting one or two things in the machine.

Can you run the machine in the spin cycle completely empty and see if the machine still appears off balance?

Let me know what you find.

Thanks,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The condition was exhibited with a FULL load of clothes, but I'll try it if you say so. Can I run it without the back panel on so when it starts banging I can see what's going on??
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

You can run the machine without the back panel. However, this is dangerous. As long as you don't stick your hands inside the panel at all while the machine is running you will be fine. Just be careful.

Let me know what you find.

Thanks again for using JustAnswer.com!

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ran machine empty thru last rinse and final spin - with top off and back panel on. Everything seemed OK until it entered the last few minutes of the final spin and was at its highest speed. Some knocking started, then subsided, then began again and the drum (which up to this point had been stationary) began to wobble back and forth 4-5" either way. At that point, I shut it off.
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Can you inspect the belt of the washer and look for any frays or missing ribs on the inside. Also when the machine is starting to wobble, look at the feet of the machine. See if you can notice if the floor is giving at all. The slightest movement of the floor will send these machines offbalance.

Let me know what you find.

Thanks Again,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The belt is in beautiful shape - looks new. Checked all the way around. By "feet", do you mean the external ones used for leveling? While you answer, I will check.
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

I called the Frigidaire Tech Support on your machine. Given every bit of information here. There is nothing that would cause the machine to only go off balance at the end of the spin cycle when it reaches it's highest speed. With any off balance issue the problem will be aparent throughout the entire spin cycle. The Tech support guy could not suggest any issue that would decribe the problem you are having. The tub will rock back and forth somewhat during the spin cycle when the machine is empty. This will not cause any banging or movement of the machine however.

Just to clarify. After the washer balances the load. The tub will spin clockwise and counter-clockwise for a few minutes. The machine will start to spin. Every few seconds it will increase in speed. Until the last couple minutes of the cycle when it will be at its fastest.

Is the machine machine off balance at the beginning of the spin cycle when the tub is spinning in one direction. Or does this only happen after the machine has been spinning for a couple minutes?

Thanks Again for your patience,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The machine makes only normal noise at the beginning of the spin cycle. It is only when it has been spinning for a couple of minutes and begins to reach maximum speed that the imbalance takes place. I think (unless you tell me not to) that I'll fill the drum with clothes, get them wet and allow it to go into a final spin, making sure that there are enough clothes in it that the load is not out of balance. I'm going to "let 'er rip", so to speak, and see if something breaks... I'm wondering if one of the shock brackets is cracked and only causes a problem at high speed. Can I remove and inspect the shocks (maybe one is collapsing?) without causing any additional problems? Leveling feet are not loose, by the way. Sorry to be such a prob...
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

You are no problem whatsoever! The Factory support guy said there could be a very slim chance that the shocks are the cause. But he said not too likely. Other than that the tub is held up by springs and rests on shocks. What type of floor is the machine setting on?

When the machine is off balance is there any movement of the floor underneath?

I will get down with my eyes about 1 foot from the legs and watch very closely, sometimes in this case you will see the floor underneath, ever so slightly rise and fall.

Thanks for your patience!

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Would you believe about a month ago we installed ceramic tile (with concrete board underlayment)in the laundry room so for the first time I can honestly say the floor DOESN'T move! That's also how I know that the washer is level because we took extra pains to make sure that it was level before and after plopping the dryer on top of it. Just got home from chasing errands so now I'm going to find enough dirty clothes for a load and try it out...wish me luck! Will let you know what happens...
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Good Luck. LOL

Thanks Again,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Mr. Bill!
Well, I couldn't get anything done yesterday because I wanted to make ABSOLUTELY sure the machine was level and I needed another pair of hands to do that (it's heavy...). Found enough dirty clothes to make a moderate sized load and ran it through the whole cycle. It worked beautifully! The drum wiggled through every spin but not excessively. You're gonna LOVE this! Within the last 30 seconds of the final spin all hell broke loose! I mean it sounded like there was a brick in the drum. So I shut it off...The clothes were spun dry enough to hang all over the deck railing (don't have a dryer because it sits on top of the washer, remember?) Actually, I was kind of excited because I thought that AT LAST I would find a broken something or other. NOTHING. No broken parts lying under the motor, no broken shocks or brackets, no loose counter weights, nothing. If I grab the drum from the inside and pull and push, it has about a half inch of back/forth play and makes a little clunking sound. Does it have a brake? Does the brake engage BEFORE the machine shuts down from the spin? Can something be wrong with the brake? Can you think of ANYthing internally that could have broken loose that I'm not seeing? God, this is making me nuts! Am going to go look at the microfiche blowup @ Sears website to see what I can see till you get back to me. Many thanx!
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

That is very interesting. If you reach in and can move the tub a little bit and hear a clunking sound, that is your bearings. The movement is different than the normal movement on the shocks and springs. This movement will be smooth and make not sound. But if the tub feels loose and clanks a little bit, I think you have a broken bearing or something. There is no brake on your machine. It is odd that you cannot hear the tub grinding around when it moves during agitation or spin. Usually a bearing noise is consistant throughout any spin motions of the tub during a cycle.

This is an odd case.

Can you clarify on the tub movement again just to make sure.

Thanks for your patience,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
If it's a ball bearing that's going out and the balls are falling on top of each other, I should be able to hear some kind of grinding, even when turning the drum by hand and that's not the case. Operation is smooth BUT I'm going to try it again. RE: tub movement: If you grab the vanes on the inside of the drum and push/pull, there is a slight back/forth movement of the drum and a slight clunking sound. It was really just a long shot (but then, so was the brake idea)and probably not important. I've looked at the parts blowup and am stumped. The thing is really pretty simple. Is the bearing you're talking about the one that would support the shaft that the belt rides on? Are there any other bearings?
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

You are pretty much right on. I would check the nut on the big pulley on the rear of the tub. Long shot but could be slightly loose. The shaft that pulley rides on are the bearings in question.

With the clunking sound only in the front and back motion and not up and down, is a rare case. Check the nut of the pulley and let me know what you find.

Grab the pulley in the back and see if you can push and pull it and see if it appears loose. Throw a wrench on it and make sure it is tight.

Again, let me know what you find.

Thanks,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The nut on the pulley is reeeeelly tight. If I grab the pulley and rotate it with my ear up close there is NO noise from the bearing. I think we're back to a chassis problem. Re: the shocks: they're not that sophisticated, are they? I mean, they're just the kind with internal springs, right? Since the big coil springs support the drum from the top, is it possible that one of shocks is collapsing under load but looks OK just sitting there in its bracket? How much grief am I going to get into by removing the shocks (one at a time?)and manually checking them for equal resistance?
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

The shocks are relatively easy to remove and inspect. If it is wore out I will mark this down as a first for me. I've only ever replace broken ones before due to off balance loads or moving the machine to a new location.

I am very curious to hear what you find!

Thanks,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Glad that you brought that up! We had to move it to put the new floor down, but didn't lift it, just scooted it around, if that matters at all. I'm just trying to give you all the information I can. Regardless, when you did replace them, we're they obviously broken? Where did the breaks occur? The piston itself, or the end where the mounting bolt goes through the bracket? You know, this machine was mfg. in 9/98 and is in a two-person household, so the use makes it only about 4 or 5 years old. That's what bugs me. I was really planning on an obvious structural failure rather than something worn out. Oh well, like you said, one for the books. I hate the thought of spending my economic stimulus check on a new washer, which would mean a new dryer too because they probably don't make a washer anymore that will stack with the old dryer...So tell me - what did the shocks look like that you replaced?
Expert:  MrBill replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

Sometimes the sleeves would be cracked, but most of the time it broke were the mounting bolts go. They could be cracked around the bolts, put some pressure on them and see if they move around. Grab the shock with your hand and push and pull on it a little bit.

This is one for the books for sure.

Thanks Again,

Bill

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I already did that part - the pushing, pulling, wiggling, YANKING...
Can't work on it anymore today - company coming for dinner any minute. But I'll attack it first thing tomorrow - with a vengeance! Oh yea, will the springs on top hold the drum up while I'm doing this? Or should I block it up (the drum).
Have a good rest of the day - and thanks for all your help.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hey Mr. Bill!
I'm currently trying to wash another load and am finally starting to hear a constant rhytmical squeaking when drum is rotating. On spin, the drum wobbles a lot and the squeaking becomes worse. What puzzles me and why I can't believe it's a bearing, is that the drum wobbles as a unit with the motor, so there is no change in alignment of the shafts (drum and motor). In other words, the belt continues to run true. So it's back to the chassis again. Unfortunately, I don't have enough guts to stand behind it when it spins to get a good look-see because I wouldn't be able to jump out of the way (it's in a corner)if something let loose. So it's back to taking things apart, right? Just thought I'd keep you posted...

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