DIY Appliance Repair | Top Load Washer Issues | Whirlpool WTW4850HW Series
In this edition of the DIY Appliance Repair Series, I will discuss three issues we’ve seen with this series of Whirlpool top load washer. The three problems are related to each other and caused by ONE thing. You’re probably going to hate me when I say this, but here goes. Overloading is the ONE thing that causes this problem.
In my other posts, I’ve stressed that overloading is the root cause of most washer problems. In the case today, it is the ONLY reason why the issues occur. They have nothing to do with quality or overuse. The machines will run a very long time if you keep the loads to standard size.
Consider the kind of mechanical forces at play when you’re washing a standard size load. You have a basket full of wet clothes, and a metal shaft in the center. The sheer weight of the wet clothes batters the shaft and continually pushes on the agitator as it moves to clean your clothes.
A standard size load is no problem for the washer and will do fine for years with that kind of use. I can say from experience what I’m saying is true, because I own a washer similar to the one pictured here. It’s September of 2020, and in January of 2021, that washer is six years old.
I haven’t touched the washer for any reason. It is never overloaded and doesn’t see king-size blankets, etc. It runs great, isn’t noisy, doesn’t leak, and shows no signs of slowing down. I’ve checked the machine several times, and I haven’t found anything that needs attention.
My situation isn’t unusual. I see machines like this every day. But, I also see worn out washers wobble and leak, and they are only two years old. My point is this. Your washer really can do an excellent job for you, but you have to treat it for what it is – a machine. Manufacturers design machines for specific functions, and if you push them past their designed-in limits, problems happen.
That’s a question I get almost every day. With washers today, a hefty dose of common sense applies. As a general rule of thumb for every load, a basket that is half-full of clothes is a standard size load for a top load. A front-load washer is a little more forgiving. After loading your clothes, you should see only about eight inches of clearance between the top of the basket and the top of the load. There are no exceptions to this rule. Please, heed the warning here. Too much weight causes early problems with your washer. Your washer today is nothing like the washers of fifteen years ago. Not even close.
If you ever have a noise issue or sometimes a greasy water leak under the machine, the first thing you want to check is the gearcase shaft (#5 in the picture). If it has fallen, it’s probably causing all of your issues.
By falling, I mean that the center shaft of the gearcase comes loose internally and drops down about a quarter-inch. That’s enough to ruin the bearing and cause it to start leaking oil. If you look under the machine (#16 in the picture), you can see a circle worn into the guard and an oily mess.
Because the shaft fell, everything attached to it also dropped. The drive belt pulley now makes contact with the guard, making a loud noise and wearing a circular hole into the bottom.
Unfortunately, the only fix for this problem is a new gearcase, belt, and cam assembly. I know this sounds like a big job, but the reality is that if you’re mechanically inclined and have power tools, we can walk you through this repair in about two hours.
Or, you can opt-out of the repair entirely and replace the washer. But, is that what DIYers do? The DIYers I talk to love to save money, and this is one of those times when you will save a LOT of money by doing it yourself.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it is worth the time and effort. When finished, you’ll have a great running washer and still have money left in your pocket.
The third and most troublesome problem is that the washer gets to the point where it won’t drain and spin any load, regardless of size. This problem creeps up over time and eventually shows itself all at once.
When the problem starts, you notice that once in a while, the washer won’t spin, won’t drain, or both. It is intermittent, so it doesn’t stick out as a problem that needs fixing today. Then, all of sudden, one day, it won’t spin, drain, or wash. Why? You guessed right this time.
Top load washers today won’t let you slide when there are mechanical problems. They stop working and won’t budge until you do something. That something is to reach out to Neli. We can diagnose the problem and have you up and running in the shortest time possible!
Troubleshooting Whirlpool Cabrio Washer Problems
The Whirlpool brand, maker of the Duet and Cabrio model, is a leader in washer and dryer sales in the United States. However, as with any appliance, there can be problems and a need for repairs.
When your Cabrio stops working, Whirlpool offers troubleshooting tips online along with other product information. You can call a technician and pay for a repair call and parts, or try your hand at repairing it yourself. Many problems are simple to diagnose and can be repaired with just a few tools and some easy instructions.
Washer Making Unusual Noises
Problem: Washer is making loud noises.
- If the noise is a loud thumping, the load is probably unbalanced. Stop the cycle and redistribute the wet laundry. You may need to remove some pieces if the washer was overloaded.
- If there is a clanging noise, the washer is not leveled or grounded on the floor. This should be corrected immediately to prevent additional damage.
- A high-pitched whine means that you will need to do a bit of exploring inside the washer. Find a repair manual or diagram of the internal workings of the washer on the Whirlpool site. Remove the outer housing of the washer and check the nut that holds the pulley in place. You may need to simply tighten the nut. If that does not work, the bearings will need to be replaced.
Washer Won't Start
Problem: The start button on the control panel is not working but the rest of the lights are coming on.
- Remove the control panel to diagnose the problem. To help you remove the control panel, you should consult a repair manual.
- Check for any loose or broken pieces. Sometimes a small piece of plastic will break off behind the start button and prevent it from working.
- Check all the wiring with a voltage meter. Unfortunately, if the timer/main controller/CCU has failed, the entire control panel will have to be replaced.
Lid Lock Issues
Problem: Washer lid locks but then unlocks so that cycles won't begin.
- The lid latch/switch will not engage if it is dirty and is not making good contact to signal the washer to begin a cycle. Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Clean all contact areas on the lid and the washer.
- Try unplugging the washer to allow the control panel to reset. Plug the washer back in and see if the problem resolves.
- If the door sounds like it is engaging, but doesn't, it is time to run a diagnostic test. There may be a larger problem. Here's how to run the test:
- Put the machine in standby mode by plugging it in with all indicators off, or with only the Clothes Clean or Done indicator on. Select any one button except POWER, START, or STOP then follow the steps below, using the same button.
- Press/hold for 3 seconds.
- Release for 3 seconds.
- Press/hold for 3 seconds.
- Release for 3 seconds.
- Press/hold for 3 seconds.
- All indicators on the console will be lit for 5 seconds with 88 showing in the Estimated Time Remaining two-digit display to indicate that the diagnostic mode has been entered successfully.
- If indicators do not display as described, the press/hold and release procedure may not have been performed within the time frame necessary for successful entry. Repeat the procedure and you may use another button to ensure this was not the cause.
- The program then checks for saved fault codes. After the diagnostic test, you can compare the error code displayed to determine what repairs are needed.
Deciphering the LD Error Code
Problem: LD Error Code appears during the spin cycle.
The "LD" error code refers to long drain. The washer stops because it is taking too long to drain out the water. This is usually caused by a clog in the drain line or something obstructing the pump.
- Clean out any lint or obstruction (coin, small button) that is clogging the pump filter.
- Turn off the water connections. Unhook the drain line from the back of the washer (keep a bucket handy to catch spills). Use a long brush or forceful stream of water to clean the line.
- If these steps don't solve the problem, the washer's water pump may need to be replaced.
Washer Leaves Deposits on Dark Clothes
Problem: Washer leaves white deposits on clothes even with different detergents.
- If the deposits only occur in the winter months, the problem may be that a powdered detergent is not dissolving completely in the exceptionally cold water. Switch to a warm water temperature cycle.
- If the deposits occur frequently, it's time to clean your washer. One of the downsides of high-efficiency washers versus standard washers is that there isn't a huge amount of water to flush away detergent and soil residue that clings to the washer. Think of it as the soap scum that can accumulate in the shower. You must clean the washer to get rid of the accumulation that is redepositing on your laundry.
Washer Has a Burned Plastic Odor
Problem: Washer emits an odor of burning plastic or rubber
- A burning odor cannot be ignored. Unplug the washer and open up the outer housing.
- Look for any discoloration. It is quite possible that the problem is the rubber drive belt. If the belt slips, stretches, or breaks, it can cause friction and a burning smell, most likely a burning "rubber" smell. The belt should be replaced.
- If the belt looks fine, there is probably an electrical problem with the motor, transmission, or control panel. This is a much more extensive problem and will require replacement of the burned out components.
- In either situation, do not use the washer until you have made repairs to avoid a hazardous fire.
Rust Spots on Washer Lid
Problem: Rust spots on the inside of the Cabrio Washer Lid.
- Rust spots never go away. They only get bigger unless they are corrected and can transfer rust stains to laundry. Start by removing as much of the rust growth as possible with a paste of baking soda and distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. Mix one-fourth cup baking soda with just enough vinegar or lemon juice to make a thick paste.
- Apply the paste over the rusted area and then use a soft cloth to rub away any loose rust particles. You may need to do this several times, rinsing with clear water after each treatment.
- Once all of the loose rust is removed, repair the rusted areas with an appliance paint following the product directions.
Common Problems with Whirlpool Washers and How to Fix Them
Replacing the Water Pump
Your Whirlpool washer water pump is the part that’s responsible for draining water out of the tub. Therefore, if your washer is leaking, and you’ve ruled out any issues with your waterlines and connections, a broken water pump might be the source of your problem.
To check a broken water pump:
- Turn off the power.
- Carefully remove the access panel.
- Unclip the drain hose from the tub and check for debris. In some cases, dirt, debris, or even clothing might be blocking the hose from draining.
- Carefully remove the belt from the flywheel and check to see if the water pump turns easily. If it doesn’t turn, the pump likely needs to be replaced.
While you can do this yourself, replacing your water pump requires professional repair knowledge. So, if you don’t have experience performing these types of repairs, it’s best to call a professional.
If your Whirlpool washing machine is not working correctly, resetting it can often be enough to get it back in running order. The best way to know how to reset your particular Whirlpool washing machine is to check the owner’s manual. You can also read on to learn the basic ways to reset Whirlpool washing machines.
Steps to Reset a Whirlpool Washing Machine
The following steps should be used to reset your Whirlpool washing machine:
- Turn off the washer.
- Turn the mode dial to NORMAL.
- Turn the dial counter-clockwise one click left, clockwise three clicks, counterclockwise one click, and then clockwise one click.
How to Confirm You Have Reset Your Whirlpool Washing Machine
Once you have taken the above steps, press the START button. Are all the cycle indicating lights illuminated? If they are, press START / STOP one time. Rotate your dial until you have the following three lights illuminated: RINSE, WASH, and STOP. Then turn off your washer and unplug it for ten seconds. When you turn it back on it should be reset.
You can run a test load without any clothing to ensure that the reset worked. If it did not then you can try to follow the above procedure one more time. If that does not work either, go on to the next step to try the Cabrio reset procedure.
Try the Cabrio Reset Procedure
If your washer is still not working correctly, you can try the Cabrio reset procedure. Touch any button that you see on your display pad. This will clear the error code. Or you can press PAUSE/CANCEL. Choose a cycle and press START.
Then disconnect the Cabrio from power if you see the issue or error come back. Wait five minutes. Choose a cycle again and press START. Run the load empty to test it and ensure that the reset process worked correctly. If it did not, then you can complete these steps again.
Top loader whirlpool washer troubleshooting
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