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Tyler Z.
Tyler Z., Appliance Doc
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 79588
Experience:  9+ years being an appliance technician with factory training.
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I have a Kenmore 500 Washer (Model # XXXXX) and today

Customer Question

I have a Kenmore 500 Washer (Model # XXXXX) and today during a wash, it just stopped working.

It had a full load, so I removed it, manually drained the water. When I tried a spin cycle or agitating, it did nothing. The only thing it does do is fill with water. When I tried anything else, it just had a buzzing noise that seemed to be coming from the motor in front.

I opened it up, checked to see if the hoses were clogged with debris or baby clothes and everything was clear. Removed the pump, checked to see if there was anything inside preventing the pump from spinning. Nope. Removed the motor and to see if the coupling broke, but all spokes are in tact as well as the rubber center portion. I put it back together ensuring the rubber portion was properly lined up, but still getting the buzzing and nothing else works.

Today I tried replacing the capacitor and having the same results. When I turned it on, the buzzing was still happening (couldn't tell if it was louder or not) and if I let it go, it began to smell as if something was burning.

Where do I go from here?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
Hello, and thank you for using this service. I'll be helping you with your problem today.

Make sure the red wire is secure to the motor as this is the one that comes from the capacitor and tends to get loose causing the motor to not start up. Remove the motor and set it in a plastic tub. See if the motor will turn on when it's not attached to the transmission. If it does, then your transmission is locked up and needs to be replaced.

If the motor doesn't start up even when not attached to the transmission, you either have a bad motor or a timer, so test and make sure you're getting power to TWO different wires going to the motor when it should be running. If not, then you may not be getting power from the start winding which is why it just hums. If you are getting power to two different wires, then you need to replace the motor itself.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Doc,

I removed the pump and tried turning the black shaft it attaches to. I can turn it counter clockwise without issue. When I turn it to the right, it will turn but after a few rotations, does not allow me to freely turn it anymore.

I'm not super technical, so I'm not sure how I'd do the tests you are asking (I don't have a volt meter or anything). Plus, I can only power the machine when I move the cover into position and reconnect the lid switch. Tight spot, so I can't really move around that too much.

Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
that's normal, that's just the transmission reaching the point where it should release the break and turn the basket which takes a lot of force.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The capacitor wire is attached so that doesn't seem to be the issue.

So I'm down to the motor or transmission. How else can I test either to see what's the culprit?

Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
you remove the motor from the transmission and set it in a plastic container as advised earlier. Then see if the motor will run when it's not connected to the transmission.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Doc,

Removed motor from clips and put it in plastic tub. After reconnecting the lid switch, I tried it again and exact same sound. Nothing happening but a loud buzzing sound.
Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
ok perfect, so now you'd need a multimeter to make sure that 2 different wires going to the motor are getting power. If not, then you need to replace the timer. Otherwise you need a new motor.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is the timer part of the motor? Looking on the parts list, I don't see that - I only see the motor and the switch to connect it to the power.

Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
The timer is not part of the motor. Is the main control up in your control panel that you're pressing to select and start your cycle.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for all your help. I don't have a meter at home, so i'm curious your opinion - what's more likely the culprit - the motor or the timer? Does one have more of a tendency to go over the other?
Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
It's really hard to say to be honest, but generally I'd say the motor would be the culprit if it won't work on any setting at all.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Doc,

Replaced the motor. Was working fine for about 5 days. My wife did a load today, and during the middle of it, the same buzzing sound occurred and now nothing is working again - back to from where I started.

Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
It sounds like it's time for a new washer then unfortunately. Your motor sounds like it's bad again, but something is causing it to go bad and there isn't going to be anything that you can test to know what's causing the problem, it's just a guessing game.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Doc, Just for the hell of it, I unplugged the new motor and replaced it with the old motor and sure enough, the motor was running. So it seems like the motor wasn't the culprit after all. Do you think it could be the timer? Or transmission? Or maybe a bad connection in the wiring which caused the buzzing?
I'm debating trying again or just getting a new washer. Thoughts? Thanks!
Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
You said before that you removed the motor and it wouldn't run, it just buzzed. How could that possibly be the transmission?

That being said, it sounds like you have an intermittent issue which is either the motor or the timer---so since it's intermittent, it's a guessing game.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
hahahah. good point about the transmission! This repair has driven me crazy!

Since both motors worked and then buzzed, it's my guess its either wiring or the timer. Argh. So frustrating. Wondering if it's worth ordering the timer and seeing if that does it. Or just biting the bullet and buying a new washer. This one is less than 3 years old so it just seems like if I can salvage it, I'd prefer that.

Have you seen intermittent timer issues before?

Expert:  Tyler Z. replied 5 years ago.
Yes, intermittent issues with the timer happen a lot actually. But the most common cause is the plastic molex connection to the timer. Sometimes you'll want to bend all the little prongs on the plastic connector closer together with a tiny screwdriver so that they grip better and make a better connection. If that doesn't work, then the timer would be the next thing to replace.