Whirlpool / Kenmore washer direct drive repair
In the early 80’s, Whirlpool completely redesigned their standard washing machine model. The result is the “Design 2000” series, known in the parts houses as “Whirlpool direct drive” models.
The most obvious feature of the design is that it does away with all drive belts. The motor is coupled directly to the transmission and pump. Other major changes include a new pedestal tub mounting system, a plastic tub with integral tub fittings, a liquid-ring basket balancing mechanism, and a mechanically direct-reversing transmission. Also, most of the component parts of the washer are held in place by spring clips or just a few screws, making them easy to replace.
NOTE: THIS chapter has info specific to Whirlpool/Kenmore direct-drive washers…how the drive train works, how the washer enters each cycle, how to open the cabinet and access internal parts such as the agitator, pumps and clutches, and the most common complaints (troubleshooting) of this specific design. The second menu item on the right (in red) contains information on problems common to ALL washers…fill solenoid valves, water level control, sources of leaks, and functions of the drive motor. If you do not read “Problems Common to All Brands” first, you may not be able to properly diagnose your Whirlpool/Kenmore direct-drive machine!!! CLICK HERE to go to this page.
(Figure DD-1) This design uses a direct-reversing motor. In various models, single-speed, two-speed and three-speed motors were used.
A pump is mounted directly on the motor by spring clips. The pump moves water only during the spin cycle; during agitate, it is turning but it does not circulate water. The motor is coupled directly to the transmission through a plastic and rubber flexible coupling.
Both the pump hub and transmission coupling will break away in the event of a pump or transmission lockup, preventing damage to the motor.
A clutch drum and shoes (mounted atop the transmission) allow the basket to come up to speed slowly during the spin cycle. The clutch drum rotates and is driven by gears inside the transmission. Similarly, a set of brake shoes (attached to the spin tube) contact a drum (attached to the bottom of the mounting pedestal) to provide a basket braking action to the tub whenever the washer is NOT in the spin cycle.
Changing between the agitate and spin cycles is accomplished mechanically within the transmission when the motor reverses.
In buying transmission and clutch parts for these machines, you may come across the term “neutral drain.” Early versions of these machines began spinning with water still in the tub, so-called “direct spin” machines. A redesign created a “neutral drain” machine, where the tub would start draining before spin occurred.
How to open the cabinet and console
To service the timer or other electrical controls, remove the two screws from the base of the control console as shown in Figure DD-2.
In order to service just about anything else in the washer, you must remove the whole cabinet as shown in Figure DD-2.
If you need more space when performing a particular operation, you can twist the tab in the bottom center of the back of the cabinet. This will allow the back panel to drop away from the washer a little.
To change the transmission, you will need to remove the bottom panel as shown in Figure DD-2. It is possible to service the pump and motor by removing the bottom panel only, but I do not recommend it.
Space is tight and it can be very difficult. The pump is especially difficult; getting the hose clamps on and off can be a real son-of-a-gun. Better to just remove the cabinet; it’s not difficult at all.
Whirlpool/Kenmore Direct Drive Washer Problems
After removing the cabinet, the machine can be started for testing by jumpering the lid switch leads. As always, when operating the machine without the cabinet, be careful not to touch any live electrical or moving parts.
Whirlpool/Kenmore washer noise during spin cycle
A grinding noise during the agitate or spin cycle may mean that the motor coupling is damaged, but usually it is coming from the transmission. If so, replace the transmission. (Sections 4-8 & 4-9 below).
Whirlpool/Kenmore washer leaking
Any leaks are likely to be coming from one of three places:
1) The pump. See section 4-4 below.
2) Early models had a small problem with the drain hose nipple (where the drain hose attaches to the back of the washer.) It used a spring-type hose clamp, which was prone to coming off. (Figure DD-3) Remove the clamp and replace it with a regular stainless steel worm-type clamp.
3) The centerpost seal can leak. Look for water coming from underneath the center of the tub. To replace, see section 4-7 below.
Whirlpool / Kenmore washer tub not draining
If the motor is turning, but the water will not drain from the tub, replace the pump as described in section 4-4. Often the pump has failed because the impeller has disintegrated, so make sure that you clear the hoses (especially the drain hose) when changing the pump Sometimes the check valve comes off the pump, and clogs the drain hose. If the motor is not turning, see section 4-8 below.
Whirlpool / Kenmore washer not agitating or spinning
Check the usual things, i.e. main power, timer, switches, etc. as described in “Problems Common to All Brands.” There is an unusual timer problem that sometimes pops up in these machines; see “Problems Common to All Brands.”
The red wire in the motor harness is known for breaking inside the harness, where you can not see it. To test, pull gently on the red motor harness wire (don’t yank it TOO hard!) If it comes off, you need to reconnect it or get a new wiring harness.
If spin is O.K. but the washer is not agitating, check for a stripped agitator spline or dogs as described in section 4-5 below.
Likewise, if the “ears” of the transmission spin tube have been known to break off; the symptom will be no spin.
If the motor is not turning, see section 4-8 below.
If the motor is turning, remove the motor as described in section 4-8 below and check the transmission coupling. If it is badly damaged or destroyed, the transmission has locked up. See section 4-9 below.
If the motor is turning, and the transmission coupling looks okay, the transmission may be broken internally, or the clutch or brake may be malfunctioning. Remove the transmission as described in section 4-9 below and check both the springs and linings on the clutch and brake.
If the springs are broken or the linings are worn, replace as described in section 4-10 below. Usually there will be a squealing noise associated with worn clutch or brake shoes. If the clutch and brake are O.K., try turning the transmission input shaft by hand. Turn in both directions and see if the agitator shaft and clutch drum are doing anything. If not, something has broken inside the transmission. Replace it.
Whirlpool / Kenmore washer tub won`t balance (Even after you redistribute the clothes)
See section 4-6 below. Also look to see if any of the suspension springs mentioned in section 4-7 below are broken.
Whirlpool / Kenmore washer pump
To get to the pump, remove the cabinet as described in section 4-2 above.
Have a bucket standing by to catch any left over water in the pump hoses, and remove them from the pump. The pump is held on to the motor by two spring clips. (Figure DD-4) Remove the spring clips and pull the pump off the motor shaft. When replacing the pump, make sure you check the pump discharge hose for any impeller pieces that may be clogging it. Also, when installing the hose clamps, put them in a position where they won’t hit the cabinet when the machine wobbles off-balance.
Whirlpool / Kenmore washer agitator removal
The agitator is held to the driveshaft by a bolt. To get to it, remove any softener dispenser by pulling it straight off. Remove the agitator cap by pulling or prying off with a screwdriver (depending on what kind you have; see Figure DD-5. Remove the center bolt and tug straight up on the agitator skirt to remove.
Inspect the spline of the shaft and the agitator for wear. If the agitator is slipping on the agitator driveshaft spline, replace it.
Whirlpool / Kenmore direct drive washer basket
The direct drive washer uses a liquid balancing system built into the basket. Around the top of the basket is a “ballast” compartment which is filled with a special liquid. When the basket spins. First, remove the tub ring from the top of the tub (Figure DD-6) and the agitator (Section 4-5 above.)
Next, remove the fill line vacuum break by squeezing the plastic mounting tabs together, and pulling outward and downward. (Figure DD-7)
Now, using the special tool, remove the spanner nut from the centerpost. (Figure DD-8) If you need to tap on the spanner to remove the nut, be careful not to hit the porcelain interior of the basket. It will chip.
On the outside of the basket near the top, there will be a fill hole which is plugged up. If the hole is leaking, the basket must be replaced. The balancing ballast compartment cannot be serviced.
Whirlpool / Kenmore direct drive washer- removing the tub
Remove the agitator and basket as described in sections 4-5 and 4-6 above. Remove the drive block by tapping upwards on the underside of it with a hammer. (Figure DD-9)
CAUTION: the metal of the drive block is soft, so don’t tap too hard, or you may damage it.
Remove the water level switch hose and the tub drain hose from the tub. Have a bucket standing by to catch any leftover water in the drain hose.
Disconnect the pump hose and water level pressure switch hose from the tub. Some water may come out, so be prepared. Remove the three suspension springs from the tub suspension brackets (figure DD-10)
There will be a fourth, counterweight spring attached to either the left front bracket or the center rear bracket. Remove it.
CAUTION: Mark all brackets and springs to be sure you get them back on the washer in exactly the same place.
Remove the brackets from the tub.
Scrape any soap deposits off the centerpost, and lubricate it with some liquid soap so the tub will slide off easily. Pull the tub straight up and off the centerpost.
To replace the centerpost seal, squeeze it from inside the tub and push it through the bottom of the tub to the outside. Re-assembly is the opposite of dis-assembly. Make sure all springs and brackets are in their original places. If any springs are broken, replace all four as a set.
Whirlpool/Kenmore direct drive washer motor and coupling
These machines have an external motor starting capacitor located in the console, not anywhere near the motor. To find it, open the console as described in section 4-2 above and look inside the left side of the console. Before handling the motor, you must discharge and test the capacitor as described in “Problems Common to All Brands.”
The motor coupling will break if the transmission locks up while the machine is running. It simply presses on to both the motor and transmission shafts. (Figure DD-11)
Do make sure the machine is unplugged before removing the motor. If the motor is humming but not turning, remove it from the transmission as follows: (Figure DD-11) Disconnect power and remove the cabinet. (Section 4-2 above)
Following the safety precautions in “Problems Common to All Brands,” lay the washer on its back and remove the two screws holding the bottom panel in place. Remove the bottom panel.
Remove the two spring clips holding the pump to the motor. No need to remove the pump hoses; just slide the pump off the motor shaft.
There may be two motor harness connectors, or only one. Disconnect it (them).
Two spring clips hold the motor to the transmission. (Figure DD-11) There may be screws holding the spring clips on; these are put on for shipping, and need not be re-installed. Remove the spring clips, and the motor will slide off.
Try turning the transmission by hand, in both directions. If it will not turn, it is locked up. Replace it as described in section 4-9 below. If it does turn easily, then either the starting switch or motor is bad. Test and repair as described in “Problems Common to All Brands.”
Whirlpool/Kenmore Washer direct drive transmission
Removal of the transmission is a relatively simple matter in these machines. Remove the agitator, basket and drive block. (Section 4-5, 4-6 & 4-7 above) No need to remove the tub; just the drive block.
Lay the washer on its back and remove the two screws holding the bottom panel in place. Remove the bottom panel. Remove the two spring clips holding the pump to the motor. No need to remove the pump hoses; just slide the pump off the motor shaft. There may be two motor wiring harness connectors, or only one. Disconnect it (or them).
Remove the three transmission mounting bolts (Figure DD-12) and slowly pull the transmission straight out.
Inspect the spin tube for scoring. Also inspect the brake spring for breakage and the shoes for wear. Replace the whole assembly if defective.
To re-install the spin tube, go slowly and be careful not to catch or gouge any seals or bearings.