Model #WTW5800SW0, this top load washer was having difficulty removing all the water from the wash load requiring the customer to run an extra spin cycle before putting the clothes into the dryer. The problem was annoying, but tolerable compared to paying for a service call, but then it seemed to get worse. Sometimes requiring more than an extra spin or even removing some of the clothes to get a small enough load so the basket would spin at all. When the noise and what looked line metal filings started to show, service didn’t seem like such a bad idea.
The drive system in this washer uses a motor driven gear case to transfer the rotation of the motor to the back and forth agitation we see at the agitator. This occurs as the motor drives counter-clockwise(anticlockwise)when looking at the pump end and the breaking system which is mounted just above the gear case holds the basket steady. When it’s time for the washer to spin, the motor will reverse direction and the gear case will apply drive to the clutch which will then release the brake and transfer drive to the basket drive. This basket drive setup slides over the shaft of the gear case and mounts within the machines tripod assembly. When the basket drive starts to move, it will transfer this movement into the basket which is connected to the shaft by the drive block and spanner nut. Two metal ears at the end of the shaft slide into corresponding slots on the drive block to ensure a positive grip on the basket. It sounds complex when you break it down, but once you understand how it all works, trouble shooting a problem is as simple as looking at each part of the system.
The complaint was a slow or no spin on this washer so we can automatically eliminate an electrical problem. After all, the motor works and tries to spin, so take that part out of the equation. With the motor turning, the agitation process works fine as evidenced by the agitator working, and it tries to spin so the gearbox seems to also be working. This will leave the washer parts associated with the basket drive including the clutch, the break, and the drive block. A good test to try at this point is to attempt to spin the basket by hand. If the brake is working, the basket should not move, because if it did, then the brake could be slipping. But when I tried moving the basket on this washer, it began to move with little resistance, indicating a possible brake failure, but the noise coming from under the agitator made me think of something else.
As I said above, at the end of the basket drive is a set of ears that the drive block connects to and then the basket attaches to the drive block. Because of the noise and the ease of movement of the basket, I decided to remove the agitator and have a look. With the ends of the gear case and basket drive clearly visible, I could see the drive block and the spanner nut securely holding the basket in place, but what I also saw was the drive block had slid down the shaft of the basket drive and off the ears at the end of the shaft. Without this positive contact, the basket would easily spin free of the shaft and make some noise at the same time. Once the spanner nut was removed (a spanner wrench makes this easy to do) I lifted the basket out of the tub and found the inside of the drive block completely smooth. It appears the inside of the block had simply ground away with time leaving metal filings in the bottom of the tub, and a washer that no longer spun the clothes.
With the problem identified, I replaced the drive block and installed it onto the end of the basket drive ensuring the ears were fully seated. If you notice the ends of the ears damaged or rounded off at all, the basket drive may also need to be replaced. This one looked good so with the new block in place and the basket back mounted to the end of the shaft, I put it all back together and took it for a spin. The basket took off running without any noise, and it came to a quick stop when the lid was lifted indicating the brake works good too. Now the customer can wash clothes and do it with only one spin cycle at the end.
By the Way – the information for this drive is good on any Whirlpool made direct drive washers. This includes Kitchenaid, Estate, Roper, Kirkland, many Kenmore models that start with 110.xxxx, and even the new Maytag washers. So if you find your washer not spinning and it seems to be mechanical in nature, take a look at the drive system as a possible problem.