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Hello -- Mark here.  Pleased to find this forum; I've been reading a lot of the useful information and experiences.  Plus I sense the folks here might share my dismay at some of the lack of repairability of modern appliances (but that's another story!)

My problem is a Zanussi, (ZWGB7140K, if you're interested); it's only 3 years old, used lightly (once every 2 weeks or less?) and now when I put it on 'spin' it walks around the kitchen like R2D2.

I'm a competent DIY-er, so I did some reading (and YouTubing) and logically assumed the dampers likely to be at fault. However with brand new replacements this doesn't seem to have a made a difference at all. I've already spent a lot of time and now this has become a challenge to fix the damn thing.

My issue is that, unlike most of the guides/videos it's not 'obvious' what's wrong:

  • Levelled it carefully with the aid of a spirit level
  • The two dampers are brand new now;
  • All the concrete is tightly in place
  • The two springs are not flopping around or anything, they're under tension (and will need quite a lot of effort to remove!)
  • The bearings spin freely, evenly and quietly -- tested with the belt detached. The worst I can find is a tiny (<1 mm) amount of play from the front of the drum and only if I'm really looking for it

The slightest imbalance in the load and it's struggling to contain it; the drum doesn't just wobble in the direction of the spin, but it twists a bit too.

I don't have an identical machine/parts for comparison or any other baseline. Before I spend a fortune on parts and get nowhere, maybe folks here might be able to guide me a bit.

How best to know if the springs have failed? Is it obvious, or do I just need to gamble on new springs and try it?  I know the machine has been moved around a few times without the transit bolts in (I've lost them), so I wondered if that had tugged one of the springs.

Does that bearing wear sound acceptable? It's a sealed drum anyway (grrr...) so if that's at fault I'm probably out of luck.

Could bad motor brushes cause any un-evenness like this? Or any other part for that matter?

I don't recall any mention of how a machine knows if it's shaking to throttle itself back. Should I be looking at this? I recall that in my tests with a damp towel, an unbalanced load was detected though -- the machine would not spin up very fast.

I love the guides online, they've been super helpful.  But in most cases the fault is quite apparent once you know what to look for -- whereas I can't see that here. Does anyone have advice/experience that may help? If it would be useful, I can record pictures or a video next time me and the machine spend another one of our evenings at home together.

Many thanks

 

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Hello Mark and welcome. I've put most of what I know about washing machine banging about and spinning my article here - Washing machine jumps and bangs on spin

I don't know if you've read it or not. I've just spent several minutes tidying it up a bit and trying to make it better. If the washing machine drum is banging from side to side the laundry inside is likely to be out of balance. Its all explained in the article. If it is banging about regardless of what load you put in there could be a fault but it can be difficult to diagnose. Walking about implies shaking from side to side. That usually happens when the transit packing has been left in which prevents the suspension from working. It's also sometimes caused if one or more suspension dampers has seized up. Normally with the lid off and the washing machine disconnected from the mains an engineer will bounce the tub up and down to check the suspension. It should bounce around evenly and firmly.

 

Please feel free to link to a video if none of this helps. I don't think you can host a video direct in these forums though. You could always email me one though if necessary. You just need to contact me using my contact details at the bottom of this page and add the video to my email reply stop

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Yes I have seen that guide; and it's been invaluable -- many thanks Andy.

In response to each of the points, I think I'm ok -- the machine was ok for the first 3 years and I definitely haven't changed anything about the way I load the machine (which seems to be in keeping with all the advice) so I don't think it's that. And yes the transit springs are definitely removed :) So much that I've lost them annoyingly. The dampers are brand new now, as well, after I replaced them.

The dampers seem to work well in the up-down direction; they bounce evenly and firmly like you say, I'm an untrained eye but I think they are doing the job.

Front to back movement and twisting leaves a little to be desired and I think this is what's making the washing machine a sensitive soul (If I reassemble the machine I'll make a video of it running with the lid off) The design seems rather poor (cheap), but it has been ok for 3 years. So whilst it might be the bare minimum, I know it does work.

Maybe the video shows enough for an experienced person to know whether the springs are worth spending on. Perhaps when they are anything short of perfect, the performance degrades a lot; it seems the tension in the spring is the only thing in the design to prevent the forward-back or side-side movement. How do they look?

And, based on your guide, I think I might re-seat all the electronics at the very least, since that's easy to do at no cost and rules out a poor socket connection or dry joint. How common is this relative to the damper/spring/drum faults?

Thanks again

 

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Hello Mark. That was interesting. Everything looked okay from what I could see. I couldn't see the video in my browser (chrome). For some reason it only played the sound. However I clicked the icon to download it and then when I opened it my PC played it okay.

The front to back movement shouldn't be anything to worry about. Washing machines shouldn't really be moving in this direction and they are not designed to restrict that kind of movement. If you can imagine the load spinning inside the drum all of the movement should be side to side movement and that is what the suspension and the dampers are designed to control. These machines are pretty cheaply made these days. I've never needed to replace any of those top springs they are one of the few things that seem to have retained their quality. Unless one was actually broken I can't see how it could ever need replacing.

The only thing you can really do is to reassemble the machine, put a load of washing in and video it on the spin cycle so I can see exactly what is happening. I look forward to seeing your next video.

 

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Yup, totally logical the machine designed only for movement up/down and side/side. Therefore any forward/back movement is likely to cause a disproportionate amount of problem, and I recall that's what's going on. I've re-seated all the electronics now so I'll pop it back together and video some spins this time to check. Thanks for the help and keep tuned for the next installment.

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Nice one. Yes front to back movement should be impossible. If you think about it the drum is turning and spinning from left to right or right to left. That lifts the drum up with the centrifugal force and it bounces up and down on the suspension in the same direction. Front and back movement should never be introduced. The only thing I can imagine that might cause that is if by any chance the main drum twisted forward or back. That might introduce a bit of forward back motion but the amount of force involved during spin is all lateral and should easily override any front to back movement. I look forward to your results.

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That's weird. The last 2 videos play in the browser but the others only play sound. Shouldn't there be a tub weight on the top of the main drum?

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Whitegoodshelp (Andy) said:

That's weird. The last 2 videos play in the browser but the others only play sound.

Just a technical thing I suspect; I re-processed the earlier videos to reduce their size in megabytes. The last couple are straight from my phone because they were small enough.

Quote

Shouldn't there be a tub weight on the top of the main drum?

 

Not on this machine; all the weight is around the front. See the attached photo.

Retro-fitting a load more concrete onto it is an option :) And I now have spare dampers too. But more realistically, that kind of movement I think this points to a bent axle or broken bearings; what do you think?

Trouble is, if it is, the sealed tub basically means it's game over for this machine. Which I'm rather angry about from an environmental waste point of view. So at this point I'm willing to try any reasonable options. Certainly wouldn't buy this manufacturer again since I got such a short life from the machine.

IMG_20170509_230053.jpg

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I can't get over how the top of the outer drum looks like it's designed to accept a small concrete weight. Washing machines usually have 2 weights. The massive weight on front of the drum is going to naturally unbalance the entire drum making it want to lean forward. A small weight on the top of the drum at the back seated on the moulds would counter balance it. 

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Drum bearings shouldn't cause the machine to wobble. An out of true drum could. Is the drum damaged in any way or is the opening elliptical and not a good round circle?

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I gave it some spins by hand and it looks to be 'true' in all directions -- checked it in the same way as I might check a bicycle wheel. It'd be a bit easier if I could lock it down with the transit bolts.

Also acquired some new springs on eBay as they were inexpensive so I'll give that a go, but as discussed before I really don't think this is the problem; they aren't going to be tight enough to 'pin' the drum in place. Still, at the end of this I'll have a whole bag of Zanussi spares to sell on eBay.

Might spin up the machine one more time just to see if I can identify what is causing the wobble. As you say, it has to be something off-axis from the central spindle. Even if I welded a lump of metal to the side of the drum, it still wouldn't be the cause of a forward/back movement in the tub like that.

Thanks again

 

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On 2017-5-12 at 16:41, wobblewash said:

And just for completeness, here's what happened when I put 4x dry towels in the machine so there's a bit more weight in the drum.

I know it's not going to be the perfect evenly-loaded test, but the machine did seem to evenly distribute the towels around the drum, they weren't all in a ball at one side or anything.

I would say if that washing machine had 4 towels inside than it was behaving perfectly normally. The movement of the drum during spin does not look wrong to me at all if it has got 4 towels inside. If the washing machine was on shiny tiles though I wouldn't be surprised if it moves about a bit. Have you got an example of what it is like with a full load of laundry inside? Unless the tub is hitting the side of the casing I wouldn't suggest anything was particularly wrong. Suspension these days is relatively crude and most washing machines and instead of trying to totally absorb all movement they just try to channel it into movement that doesn't cause any damage.

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Well, remember that the video was basically the same in both cases -- with or without towels it's shaking around the chassis like that.

I do also have the previous 3 years as a comparison; it didn't used to shake like this. I don't think it was gradual, either. There was a distinct day when I left it with a load in and heard a loud "bang", the machine had collided with the work unit and walked half a metre across the floor.

I took another look last night, running it slowly and looking for the cause of the wobble. I also ran the motor with no belt, and removed and inspected the wheel at the back of the drum. It still seems to suggest the bearings have gone allowing the tub to flap around, but in a way that is not visible at low speeds when spinning by hand or listening. If I can makeshift some transit bolts then I might try and spin it with the tub locked in place, and then see if I can use a video camera and some tracking markers on the drum to see what movement is actually happening.

 

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Hi. I've been watching all the videos again. The drum bearings are definitely not worn. I can't imagine how one bearings could cause the main outer drum to wobble even if there were almost completely collapsed. If anything the motor bearings sound a little worn, that's the high-pitched noise, although they don't sound anywhere near ready for packing in. If the drum bearings were worn it would be making a low frequency rumbling noise when you turn the drum.

Does this machine only have one drum paddle? Every washing machine I've ever seen has 3, evenly spaced. I can't imagine the point in having just one, which would surely introduce unevenness. Even with laundry in I would imagine it would gather more laundry behind the paddle making it less than ideally balanced.

Also I've noticed when you spin the drum by hand the drum doesn't appear to be running very evenly. It seems okay at the lip of the drum but unless it's strangely shaped inside back of the drum seems to wobble and run uneven. If you lock the drum in place the whole machine will shake about on spin, especially with laundry inside. It would effectively seize the suspension up and remove the springs. All movement would be translated into side movements of the entire washing machine.

I would like to see the washing machine spin with a full load of wet laundry inside.

 

 

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I think the phone recording distorts the sound a little so it loses all the bass and sounds whiny. I ran the motor yesterday and to the ear in the room it sounds like I'd expect. As you say, it's nowhere near packing in either way.

1 hour ago, Whitegoodshelp (Andy) said:

Does this machine only have one drum paddle? Every washing machine I've ever seen has 3, evenly spaced. I can't imagine the point in having just one, which would surely introduce unevenness. Even with laundry in I would imagine it would gather more laundry behind the paddle making it less than ideally balanced

Yes -- only one. Surprised me too. As you say, implicitly that means it's unbalanced -- but again not in a front-back direction that causes the wobble.

I'll check tonight what you're saying about the way the drum spins and what you can see at the back. I suspect it's just the way the tub bounces around on the springs as I spin it.

1 hour ago, Whitegoodshelp (Andy) said:

If you lock the drum in place the whole machine will shake about on spin, especially with laundry inside. It would effectively seize the suspension up and remove the springs. All movement would be translated into side movements of the entire washing machine.

Of course! I just meant for a test. Because a bit like getting a bicycle wheel true, you can't really tell if it's straight if the axle is pivoting. I want to see the drum spinning, relatively fast but from the datum of the tub.

Thanks for all your help -- my pleasure to supply video of a full load in there. It might be at the weekend. I'll just have to be prepared to sit my bodyweight on top of the machine while I let it finish the spin :)

 

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