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Tricky problems with washing machines. All the secrets of washing machine repair.

washing machine repair. coin in the drain.
Article of Serge, a local appliance technician from Ottawa, ON. Serge Appliance Repair.

About this article

I repair home appliances every day. This is my job. So I decided to share my experience with new home appliance technicians and everyone who wants to understand and do it himself. There are enough articles listing all the washing machines’ problems. I’m trying to help you know some complicated cases I have met in my washing machine repair practice, their causes and their results. You never find such detailed information when you read an article written by a copywriter.

1. Drain system of the washing machine failure – one time well, next time terrible.

This problem occurs in 40% of all service calls for washing machine repair. Why? The washer drain system directly interacts with all debris from our clothes: coins, pins, socks, ropes, bolts, lint, and hair. As a result, the drain hoses will be clogged, or the drain pump will be stuck or broken. This problem seems straightforward. Clean it. But to diagnose and repair the problems of the washing machine drain system, an appliance repair technician needs to understand more about it.

What will we see?

  • The washer isn’t starting and buzzes. Why? Before beginning the cycle, the washer checks the drain. No drain, no start.
  • The washer stops in the middle of the cycle. Usually, when the drain is not blocked completely, it starts but stops during the evacuation cycle.
  • The washer’s door is locked. When some water remains in the washer, it will block the door.
  • Noisy drain cycle. It could be a coin in the pump or a broken pump.
  • Your washer sometimes works fine and sometimes stops in the middle. This is the tricky thing. My coworker showed me the secret when I was a young appliance repair technician. The 2$ coins have the same diameter as the drain hose. This coin will get stuck in the hose. It will spin and switch: sometimes to the position when it closes the water flowing, and sometimes exit will be free.

In this picture, you can see a coin in the hose connected to the pump.

washing machine repair. coin in the drain.

But how can these objects get out through the small holes of the drum of the washing machine?

This is a good question. They don’t. After all, it was constructed so only water could go out and clothes stayed inside. I can discover the secret. The drum of the front load washer is opened on the front side. This door rubber should protect against water leaking from the side of the door and against small objects exiting from the drum side to the drain system. This task was difficult because the drum spins, so there is a small gap between the drum edge and the seal. The older the washer, the more rubber will have lost its flexibility and the more the gap. Another thing you have to keep in mind is to avoid overloading the washing machine. With more clothes in the drum, more pressure on the front side of the washer so that panties and socks can get out by the drum-rubber gap.

The arrow points you to the space between the rubber and the drum where some clothes can enter.

rubber-drum gap. washing machine repairirg

What happens then?

All this junk with water drawn by the pump goes to the washer’s tub, then through the thin hose underneath to the filter, to the pump and the drain hose. So the bigger objects (socks) will block the thin hose, and the small ones will clog the filter, the pump and the drain hose. Sure, there are several variants of the drain system: without the filter and without the thin evacuation hose (the pump is connected to the tub). But the strangest system is in some Maytag-washing machines. Their filter is inside the thick hose connecting the tub and the pump!

This sock was in the drain hose near the pump, watch video on my Facebook.

washer's drain clogged with a sock

How can we avoid drain problems?

  • Check your clothes for contents

  • Don’t overload the washer

  • Check the filter 

Why washing machine doesn’t do the final spin?

First, we need to understand why the washing machine doesn’t spin. 

To start the spin, two conditions have to be met:

 The water is drained from the drum.
  • The drum with clothes is balanced enough to allow a fast spin. 

When the washer stops and water remains inside, it will be the drain system issue, which I explained in the first part of the article. 

If the washer empties water and doesn’t stop but continues to turn around, it will be a balance issue. So you can try all the advice for balancing and levelling that you can find in every single article devoted to this topic: to adjust the legs of the machine, to put fewer clothes, to spread clothes properly in the drum. But when people call a washing machine repair technician, it won’t be for these things. 

2. Shaft-Spider problem


The diagnostic

The top cause of no-spin problems for front-load washing machines is the drum/ shaft/ spider problem. This is a widespread dysfunction of LG and especially of Samsung makes. These are the symptoms of this problem:

  • The washer drains water fully, but water remains in the clothes. 
  • The drum turns slowly first, then tries to get a speed; sometimes, it bangs the walls and stops.
  • Usually, we can see about 8-10 minutes of digits on the display when it stops. Then the numbers change to the start of the drain/spin cycle, about 15 minutes, and the washer starts once more this way, trying to balance the drum. 
  • Clients often tell the appliance repairman that their washing machine smells during the high-speed spin. This is the second variant of the same problem.

The understanding

To understand this problem, we have to look at the back of the drum of the front load washer. The washer’s drum turns on the shaft. Through its three arms, the spider provides a connection between the shaft and the drum. When the spider is broken, the drum will be unbalanced during the spin cycle, but it will be ok for the wash cycle when it doesn’t need perfect balance. Another result could be the drum moving forward and touching the door rubber. While fast spinning, the drum edge will heat the seal and emit smoke because of friction.

Broken spider of washing machine LG

Broken spider of the LG washer

The repair of the spider

To fix this problem, we must completely remove the washing machine and replace the spider with the shaft and usually the bearings with their seal. It takes about 4-5 hours ( $300) and about $300 for parts. So it will cost about $600. To prevent the problem, try not to overload your washer. You can find more information in this article: What is the cost of Samsung appliance repair in Ottawa? The video shows the spider issue.

3. Tricky leaking.

Washing machines always leak underneath, wherever the source of the leaking is. So, we start to check from the top. If it leaks when the washer doesn’t work, it should be water-supplying parts: outlet/inlet water valves or hose connections. If it leaks into the washer drum, we need to replace one of the inlet valves. It does not always leak immediately when water drops down slowly. For example, leaks on the left side of the washer – it could be the hose between the detergent box and the tub or the box itself. One of the tricky cases is when this hose is clogged partly by the dry detergent powder or other objects that are falling down to the detergent box. In this case, the washing machine will fill up with water without leaking but will spill plenty of water from the detergent box later. The next leak could be tricky even for a service technician. Sometimes you examine all the parts of the washer, every pipe and the seal and all is ok. And it leaks when it works. This is another problematic leaking. It leaks when it moves. The leak could be from the drain hose or the thick tub-pump hose on the bottom of the washer. You must stretch or bend it to distinguish a tiny hole or cut. The picture is below.
leaking drain hose

This is the last tricky leak in my collection. We see the leak but can’t find its cause in the washer. It happens that water comes from the blocked sewer. Move aside the washer to see the sewer cap on the floor. Usually, the water will go out from it during the drain cycle. 

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