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Tyler Z.
Tyler Z., Appliance Doc
Category: Appliance
Satisfied Customers: 80270
Experience:  9+ years being an appliance technician with factory training.
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(Appliance Doc Only) Working on a Kenmore Washer top loader

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(Appliance Doc Only) Working on a Kenmore Washer top loader and it won't agitate, drain or spin. It fills to the proper level, then you can hear a low-level metallic grinding when it should agitate, not the plastic clacking, of, say agitator dogs. One of my books says it could be a sheared coupling if it didn't spin, but I think they assumed the agitator was trying to work. It's just sitting as the grinding sound comes out. What's your best guess?
Hello, and thank you for using this service. I'll be helping you with your problem today.

So are you positive that the washer is not draining? Most of the time when this issue happens on this model the unit will still drain the water out even though it won't agitate or spin.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hmmn. Well, I thought it might not be spinning because the water would not go out on rinse or spin, so I bailed it out to about an inch an a half of water. Then I tried to make it spin and it still wouldn't. I can take a shop vac back and suck all the inner tub out or disconnect the pump hose and drain it if necessary, but I thought with not much water it would spin in a rinse mode.

OK so I understand it's not spinning, but are you saying that the tub is left full of water as well? Not just a little water but completely full of water because it won't drain?

If that is the case, are you sure it won't agitate?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes. I put it on a small load and it filled up to what looked like the proper level. Then it tried to agitate, but the agitator just sits and you can hear the grinding sound.

OK, turn it to spin now and does the water drain out even though it won't spin?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, it doesn't. I did try that.

So hopefully you just have 1 issue, but you could have two. The first thing you need to do is check your motor coupler. As for the agitation portion, you could have a bad motor coupler or a bad transmission. So below is a video that shows you how to replace the motor coupler so that you can see what you're looking for.

CLICK HERE for motor coupler video

Now if the motor coupler looks broken, replace it and the part number is XXXXX

Here is the thing, that motor coupler doesn't stop the unit from draining. If the coupler fixes the agitate, it won't fix the draining. The only thing that would affect both agitate and draining is the transmission.

If you have 2 problems, possibly there was an out of balance or large load that broke the motor coupler and then also broke the lid switch causing it to not drain/spin.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well, I actually have changed couplers a few times, but I've always thought that when you have a metallic sound (rather than just slipping or a plastic clattering sound) that you probably have issues as you said--that might be some kind of overhaul problem. All it really does is fill with water and then sit and make the grinding sound. Doesn't seem likely that both the pump and the coupler would go out at the same time. Sounds like that is what you were thinking?

Um no. I wouldn't say that the pump went bad if you hear it grinding. I don't believe I mentioned a pump? I'm saying that the coupler could go bad due to being overloaded and that could break the lid switch as well. Other than that, your transmission would be the issue where it's acting up during agitate but completely seizing the motor from running when spinning. The drain pump is attached to the motor so if it's not draining, the motor isn't even moving during the spin cycle.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

You've been great, so only a couple of more things. It's easy enough to check the lid switch and I can even change the coupler. I guess I'm worried that I could end up doing all this and it still not work and then have to inform the customer that he needs a new transmission. That's more of a business question, but by your credits you have lots more experience than I do. How do you go about such a situation--and I'll leave you alone after that.

So if it were me, the first thing I'd do is take the washer apart and just look at the motor coupler. If it's broken, you'll see that it's physically broken and obviously would need to be replaced. Is the motor coupler is in tact, you know right there that you need a new transmission because nothing else will cause the agitation issue.

You can worry about checking the lid switch after finding out for certain if the coupler is broken or not. But since the big expense would be a transmission and likely not worth repairing, you want to see whether you need a motor coupler or transmission to start.

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