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Struggling To Turn Drum During Wash Cycle

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Hi, I have a 20 year old Phillips Whirlpool 997 washer-dryer, fantastic machine. Over the last few months it has been struggling to turn the drum during the wash cycle. Removing one or two heavier items usually works. I wondered whether the motor was worn, so I have replaced it with a new one, sadly the problem persists, although it is a lot quieter now. It spins normally at both speeds. Am I always going to have to use small loads from now on or is there a cure ?

Many Thanks, Chris

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Hi Chris, unfortunately your experience shows why you should never fit new parts speculatively, especially expensive ones. This article gives advice on the subject of Washing machine drum not turning or won't spin including how tight a belt should be. A slack drive belt can cause washing machine to spin only with light loads so it's worth making sure the belt is properly tight - but don't over tighten it.


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Hi,

I have tightened the belt as recommended, things are a bit better but still the drum fails to turn properly during the early part of any wash cycle unless I reduce the weight of the load drastically: spin cycle works (but of course by then the load has already been reduced......hmmmm...I am puzzled.

My next thought was to replace the belt (the current one is 20 years old !!!) but, it actually sounds like a 'mains hum' as if the motor was trying to but not turning ? If the belt was slipping would I be able to hear that ? ...still puzzled, any ideas out there ?

Chris

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Sounds much more like a faulty motor, start capacitor or control module etc. I do sympathise with your predicament but guessing at parts is folly as you've already found out. Don't be one of those blokes that's stubborn enough to keep guessing rather than admit defeat.

Does the motor have carbon brushes?


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Hi, the motor does have carbon brushes, but I replaced the motor with a new one a couple of days ago and the fault is the same.

Is there any way of testing the start capacitor or the control module, as that sounds expensive too...

I am also worried that for such an old machine they might not be available.

Chris.

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Yes Chris, a washing machine that old usually has most parts unavailable by now. It will only have a start capacitor if it had an induction motor fitted (that is, no carbon brushes). The capacitor-like thing you'll be able to see is a suppressor.

The main suspect for a motor struggling to turn under load (as long as the belt isn't very loose and slipping) is a faulty armature in the motor or the brushes so you were making a good guess when you changed the motor but assuming the replacement motor was new the next suspect has to be the control module. They are usually very expensive and they are the kind of part you can't test. All you can do is replace them and if it doesn't cure the fault scratch your head and look elsewhere. This is fine if you are an engineer and have access to one to try but not if you have to buy it with no prospect of returning it.

If you aren't ready to give up yet I would recommend seeing if QER (Quality Electrical Repairs) can test or even repair or supply a recon control module


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Hi the drum on my 4/5 year old washing machine will not rotate. Its like it has got jammed as it won't even rotate when turned off. Any pointers would be much appreciated.

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Hi the drum on my 4/5 year old washing machine will not rotate. Its like it has got jammed as it won't even rotate when turned off. Any pointers would be much appreciated.

  • If it was very noisy prior to seizing up, making a rumbling noise then the bearings may have seized up.
  • If it's all happened suddenly and you can feel slight soft resistance in the drum a sock or some other item of laundry could have got stuck between the tub and drum or if it's solid it could be a coin
  • Other possible cause could be if the belt came off and jammed up the pulley at the back

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On 6/7/2012 at 19:33, Whitegoodshelp (Andy) said:

Hi Chris, unfortunately your experience shows why you should never fit new parts speculatively, especially expensive ones. This article gives advice on the subject of Washing machine drum not turning or won't spin including how tight a belt should be. A slack drive belt can cause washing machine to spin only with light loads so it's worth making sure the belt is properly tight - but don't over tighten it.

Exactly same is happening with my front load washer HAIER HA655T, its purchased in 2007. Its having all mechanical controls.

The problem actually started after timer replaced by company technician. The machine works well without any loads of clothes, but when clothes are added, drum struggles to turn.

It turns during rinsing, when water is drained and also spins well.  The tech guy says its bearing problem, but bearings were replaced 5-6 months back and does not seem to be worn out. (I removed back cover and checked by turning by hand.)

Is it something related to timer replacement? (The timer shorted due to some outside water entry, and machine was working when even with shorted timer).

Or its merely co-incident that something else happened that does not have any relation with timer?

The belt, pully also seem OK.

Will be happy to have your opinion on this.

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If the drum is struggling to turn with laundry inside you need to try and observe if there is any big sparking from the motor and an accompanying crackling noise. If so check carbon brushes. If the motor is juddering it could be a connection fault but equally there could be a fault on the pcb or motor itself. If it spins OK it can't be drum bearings. Also if it was drum bearings the machine would be very noisy especially on spin. 

 


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thanks for your help!

 

no, there is no any cracking or odd sound during whole cycle. We opened the back panel and checked while working..but it seems like its programed for what its performing now.

since it was working perfect with old shorted timer( we cant go ahead with shorted part), but changed its behaviour after replacement, can I suspect on new timer or any repairing error while replacement? Or its co-incidence and all it is a matter of motor? We feel motor too ok as its otherwise performing well while spinning and rinse cycle.

Is there anything that judges or allows specific load? And is associated with timer or adjoining parts in mechanically controlled machine?

when I talked to company technicians..they refused upon timer and now they are not ready to take any repairs, because I doubted on their bearing judgement and asked to replace in front of me. It smells like they just want to do trial and error without transparency..

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If the fault was due to the timer replacement it would have started the symptoms the first time it was used afterwards. If the machine was taken away for the timer replacement you can't know what was done and whether the timer was replaced or not unless you can see it has a new one fitted somehow.


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Yes, The symptoms started exactly  after the replacement of timer.

The replacement was done in front of me; so am sure that only timer(or parts/ cables near timer) were touched.

Unfortunately  I went for "tank wash" by using descale powder without adding laundry, so it didn't catch the fault.
Afterwards when machine was run with laundry, the fault was observed.

 

I have asked them to fit old timer again to clear my doubt. Will update what happens.

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If someone carries out a repair and immediately afterwards the washing machine isn't working properly they have to come back and sort it out. If by any chance they can show it's a totally different fault then they might refuse to accept any responsibility. But that would be a very rare and unusual circumstance if a totally separate fault has occurred so quickly.

The idea that it's the drum bearings is frankly bizarre. If bearings have gone they must have been severely worn when they fitted the timer. No reputable company would fit such an expensive part without checking the rest of the machine out to make sure it's worth spending the money on. 

One possible explanation for your fault is a poor connection somewhere which struggles to supply the motor when it's under strain with laundry in.


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Many thanks Andy for taking time to respond our issue.

Just thought to update here, as if someone with similar problem could get some clue.

We had bad luck in repairing machine and we have decided to scrap the machine by grabbing some exchange offer.

Meanwhile we learned few things as below:

1. The service centers here(in India) are having their monopoly over market. We have to agree for what they say, and to pay for what they ask.
We got to know that the timer costs not more than 250/- Rupees; for which they charged us 3500/- Rs.
More than 10 times higher...ofcourse without any receipt by timer manufacturer; however got invoice by service center.

2. Since they were unable to solve the problem, they told the problem of outer drum, which is not available!
We asked refund for the timer, for which they agreed(after deducting good amount for servicing); but we are yet to receive.

3. We approached 4-5 other generic service centers; but all of them showed their helplessness as they can't get part. The timer manufacturer company (Invensys) will supply it to only company service center. We approached Invensys too, but they do not provide it to single customer.

Finally the complete troubleshooting was not possible and we would be selling off the dead(but otherwise in good condition) machine.

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Thanks for the update. The main lesson for people to me is to always buy a brand of appliance where there is proper aftersales available if possible. Many brands sell all over the world but have very poor third party service afterwards. If there is a decent brand that makes appliances in your country or is at least based in the same country try to go for them. It might not be possible as so many brands just operate essentially from one country and send them all over Europe. They then just have a very patchy and unsatisfactory network of independent engineers or whoever quoted them the cheapest price.


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