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Eric, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 244
Experience:  Factory/company training at MAJOR retailer, now owns and operates an appliance repair business.
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I have a Maytag washer Model No. LA613, Serial No.204104 XT,

Customer Question

I have a Maytag washer Model No. LA613, Serial No.204104 XT, which I think is more than 10 years old. When I filled it with water & clothes it would not start, i,e., the agitator would not turn. It made a loud noise, which gradually went up in pitch and I could smell the motor heating up (it set off the smoke alarm). Before when the agitator wouldn't turn, I could get it to start by reducing the size of the load. Now the agitator won't move and it makes the noise even after I've reduced the load. My question is: Can this be fixed and is it worth fixing?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Eric replied 7 years ago.
HelloCustomer My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am happy to help you today!
Lets check that belt. Tilt the machine backwards, against the wall on its rear legs so its sittling about 45 degrees to your floor. You will see the belts. You will also see two screws at the BOTTOM of the front panel which can remove to allow you to rotate the front panel upwards and off the machine . Now you can see the belts on the BOTTOM of the machine, and also the INSIDE of the machine where the gearbox, pump and suspension are. Looking again at the BOTTOM of the machine, below its floor panel, there is one belt going from the motor to the pump, that goes off to the right, and one that goes from the motor to the larger pulley ion the center, which is your drive pulley. Remove both and check them for signs of obvious damage , glazing, pices missing, etc. Now, turn that drive pulley by hand. In one direction, it should turn freely which engaes the agitation mode of the gearbox. in the other, there should be some initial resistance, but as you rotate a little faster/harder, this resistance should be overcome and you will feel yourself turning something heavy, but it will turn, with little resistance if you are keeping a consistent rotation. What you are doing now is roatating the ENTIRE gearbox, which acts kind of like a driveshaft in this mode to turn the basket in a SPIN mode. Then, when you let it stop rotating, it will come to a stop pretty quickly. That means the brake works. My guess is that you will feel something OTHER than why I said was normal, and as a result, you now have belt damage, but please let me know what happens and we can move on. Thanks!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I opened up the front panel, removed both belts, which appear to be in good shape, i.e., flexible with no cracks or missing pieces. Then I rotated the center pulley, which turned easily in one direction. In the other direction of rotation it gave quite alot of resistance but then loosened up and turned alot easier for a bit and then stiffened up and resisted turning until I got past the resistance to where it turned easier until it started resisting again. I never got it to rotate very fast in that direction
Expert:  Eric replied 7 years ago.
You dont have to get it going very fast, but it sounds like the gearbox, at least with regards XXXXX XXXXX spinning (entire gearbox turns, internal gearing is not used in this mode) and tub bearing, brake assembly and everything above it are ok. You did not say you were having any drain problems, but turn that other pulley in both directions too. Thats the pump pulley. Check for obvious resistance or seizure in one direction. I dont think youre going to find a problem there, but if it was seized , it would bind up the motor as well during the cycle. Turn the motor pulley by hand, checking for noise/ resistance and damage. If you are SURE when you say agitator, you are in fact talking about the agitator (thing in the middle of the tub that sticks up and washes the clothes), not the spin basket, it sounds ALOT like you have an internal problem with the gearbox and it will have to be replaced. if the machine spins fine, pumps fine, but will not agitate and you hear all of that noise and smell the motor burning during the agitate phase, that is all it could be.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I think you're right about the gear box being the problem. I know the spin cycle works and the pump works because when I couldn't get it to go into the wash cycle I turned the control dial to the spin cycle and it emptied all the water. Now how do I go about replacing the gear box, about how much will it cost, and is that something I can do?
Expert:  Eric replied 7 years ago.


The gearbox in your machine has been subbed to the one shown above and is about $200. It comes as a kit with stem seal/boot/spanner nut. It is a big job but if you ar mechanically inclined, you can do it. Honestly, that old Maytag was a good machine but it's almost not worth it unless you REALLY love it. This is the Tall tub version which you should have in your machine. Short tub version is about $500 and comes with more parts in the kit (agitator kit) because the redesign. You could try and find someone to rebuild you box for you but more and more techs are no longer doing that and some of the rebuild parts are NLA.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks very much, Eric. You've been very helpful. I think I'll just replace it with a new washer. This one has served us well, but I think its useful life is over.
Expert:  Eric replied 7 years ago.
No problem and thank you as well! Good luck with the new machine!