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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnston, Home Appliance Technician
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Experience:  20 years experience
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My washer wont agitate. It fills with water but then nothing

Resolved Question:

My washer won't agitate. It fills with water but then nothing happens...it makes an odd buzzing sound like the motor is seized up. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Hi welcome to just answer my name is XXXXX XXXXX i will be helping you today with your problem.
Can i have the make and model # XXXXX



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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Whirlpool, model SM8280869. Does that sound right? It's on the inside of the lid.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
If you advance it to the spin cycle what happens ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Same thing with the buzzing sound, but the water does slowly drain. Yet neither the agitator nor the tub spins.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
That is not the model # XXXXX should start with a L
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There is no number starting with an L on the washing machine anywhere.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Is there another number under the lid?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No. The front of the washer says all this: 8 cycles, 2 speed combinations. Commercial quality, super capacity. There are two dials on the left for load size and temperature and then the main dial is on the right, with three options - Normal, Casual and Gentle.

The inside lid just says Porcelain on steel wash basket and then the SM number. The rest of the inside lid is just how to get out stanis, etc.

It came with the house so unfortunately we don't have an owners manual.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
While it is either a bad timer or there is something stuck in the pump. To get at the pump you need to remove the outer shell. There are two screws that hold the control panel to the top. Under that are two clips that hold the shell to the back. The pump is attached to the motor at the front below the outer drum. It is held by two clips. Remove the hoses and see if there is anything in it.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't know what any of that means. How do you remove the outer shell? What IS the outer shell? I don't see any screws anywhere.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
How old is the machine ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't have any idea...I'd say at least 10 years.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Where the control panel meets the top of the washer just behind the lid. Look for two star head screws on the corners holding the control panel to the top are they there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
OK. Found the clips, have the top flipped down. See the pump. How do I remove the hoses and/or check the inside of the pump? Now what?
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Ok there are clamps hokding the hoses they should be squeeze clamps. Use a pair of pliers to squeeze them and slide them out of the way. Water is going to come out when you remove the hoses so be ready with a couple towels.



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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
OK. Hoses removed. Nothing but a bunch of water. What else can I check?
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Ok remove the pump from the motor there are two clips. First put the hoses back on. Then put it in wash on just a small load. When it starts to home spin the motor shaft with your fingers does it go.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The motor shaft is spinning. I didn't even have to move it with my figers. It spins but somehow doesn't tell the agitator to spin.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Ok on the top of the transmission behind the motor there is a silver plate is it spinning ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
yes. the whole mechanism is spinning. now that the cover is off the washer there sounds like something is definitely in there. Like when you get a rock stuck in your tire, you can hear it rattle after the motor stops. Where else can i check for a piece of debris?
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Inbetween the motor and tranny is the drive coupler check that it is intact. You can reach inbetween the two and feel it. Also is there any black rubber shavings on the floor ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Everything feels fine (although not sure what I am looking for.) No black rubber shavings on the floor.l
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Ok from what you have told me it sounds like the tranny has failed and needs to be replaced.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
would that explain the clattering sound of the debris? Might it not be a penny or something stuck somewhere?
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Ok if you still have it apart remove the motor and physicaly check the coupler.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This is too complicated for me.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Why is that you already had it apart ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't know what a coupler is, nor do I know how to remove the actual motor. before I just took off the plate on the front of the motor and took the hoses off to see if there was anything in there. I don't think this is doing me any good. Without more detailed instructions there's no way to know if I am actually doing what you are suggesting (like yesterday when you said to check in between the motor and the tranny. I don't really even know what the tranny is or what it looks like so how can I be sure I checked it?) This is a great concept in theory, to do this online, but for someone like me that barely knows a flathead from a Phillips screwdriver, this is pretty ineffective. I'll still pay you because I know you took the time to try to help me but for me this forum is way too vague.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Is the machine still apart if not are you willing to take it apart again and I will walk you through it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No, I put it back together to get the front part out of the way, because my laundry room is pretty small. Thanks for the help but I am going to call a repairman. I have a 2-year old, and she was in daycare yesterday but home today, and I can't be online for two hours messing around with the washing machine. Thanks for trying.
Expert:  Tom Johnston replied 3 years ago.
Ok thanks.
Tom Johnston, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 8007
Experience: 20 years experience
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