Broken Washing Machine help.
October 1, 2004 5:41 PM   Subscribe

My washer is broken. It will fill with water, and drain the water normally, but it will not agitate or spin. It is a 3.3 gallon high quality non-digital model. What should I do?

The motor appears to work, because the washer will vibrate and make normal noises as it goes through the predetermined wash cycle.
posted by Keyser Soze to Technology (15 answers total)
broken belt?
posted by konolia at 5:50 PM on October 1, 2004

What should I do?

Call a repairman? They'd probably have some small tips to check what the problem is before commiting to coming out to fix it.
posted by mathowie at 5:51 PM on October 1, 2004

I am pretty poor, but ill give a service call a shot.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:58 PM on October 1, 2004

what konolia said.

is this top or front loading? i'm guessing americans still use top loading in general - have you tried tipping it on its side and looking underneath to see if the belt is there? i'm a bit confused how it can be vibrating yet not moving.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2004

Top loading. Maytag model. The vibration isn't from the spinning, it seems to vibrate by action of the motor spinning.
posted by Keyser Soze at 6:09 PM on October 1, 2004

If it's a broken belt I bet you could replace it yourself. Maybe ask at the place you buy the replacement belt from for some tips. I doubt it's particularly tough, although I'm sure it'll require tools. :-)
posted by shepd at 6:11 PM on October 1, 2004

I am pretty poor

The first thing you might want to hit is your filing cabinet. Sometimes washers have long warranties. Hopefully, there's a slip of paper somewhere that can score you a repair (assuming this is a machine you purchased). If you can't find that, check your old credit card statements (assuming you charged it). The store you bought it from might consider that a receipt and help you out. All else failing, you could always just call the manufacturer and see if they're helpful. You never know, they might be cool about sending someone out.
posted by scarabic at 6:37 PM on October 1, 2004

Actually, come to think of it, my Mom once called the manufacturer of her washer, described the problem, and they sent her a part in the mail and then walked her through the repair over the phone once she'd received it. Worth a shot?
posted by scarabic at 6:38 PM on October 1, 2004

Update: When I attempt to force the agitator or the internal holder around (the part that spins), it won't budge.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:15 PM on October 1, 2004

I hope you're doing all this unplugged.
posted by scarabic at 7:21 PM on October 1, 2004

I recently had an agitator problem with my standard top loading washing machine. The agitator seemed to not turn any more or just very little. I popped off the top of my agitator to reveal the inner mechanism and found that some of the parts were worn out that connected the inner drive shaft to the agitator. Its a Sears (kenmore) washer so a few minutes on the Sears parts web site and the parts were on the way. Received them a few days later, installed them and all is well again.

But if yours wont spin at all, it may have bigger problems.

Of course now that I have talked about my working washing machine the next time I use it will probably break down into a smoldering pile of parts.
posted by CJB at 7:45 PM on October 1, 2004

My stepdad had the same problem with his Maytag, and when he examined the bottom of the drum, he discovered a nail had fallen in one of the drain holes and gummed it all up. He pulled the nail out, and it worked fine, so you might want to get a flashlight and check to see if there's anything stuck down there before you start taking things apart.
posted by headspace at 10:44 PM on October 1, 2004

You may have a broken belt as others have said or a defective transmission or shift mechinisim. Depending on which model of Maytag you have checking the belts is really easy. The belts are are under neath the washer. Tip the washer on it's front (rest it on a towel or bath mat to avoid scratches) and have a look. You used to have buy the belts in pairs even though you don't need the pump belt and they were expensive. However that may have changed in the ten years since I've been out of the business. When you go to the parts store bring your model number and both of your old belts. They aren't all the same.

Depending on your model you should also check to make sure your motor mount rollers are in good shape. If the wheels are flat spotted or broken it'll eat belts because proper tension isn't being applied.

If it's not the belt it's probably beyond the average persons ability to repair unless they are fairly mechanically inclined.

CJB problem is fairly common with Inglis washers but your Maytag doesn't have that kind of set up.

Checking the tub for interference would be a good idea too. A common item that gets stuck is underwires from bras. Usually that won't cause a no agitate though just no spin.
posted by Mitheral at 8:06 AM on October 2, 2004

Keysor - look for water seepage from the center shaft that comes out the bottom of the drum/tub (as you're looking under the washer).

Maytags sometimes develop problems with the seals that keep the water from leaking out of the drum/tub (that holds the clothes) and then it can run down and cause the transmission (metal chunk directly below) to rust and lock up.

A broken or slipping belt you should be able to diagnose yourself. I don't know your model, but Maytags typically have only 1 belt.

If you need parts, find out where in your local community, washers and dryers get disposed of. You can probably pluck what you need there for free.

Oh - and also remember to work on your washer with power cord unplugged. Good. Luck.
posted by troutfishing at 8:56 AM on October 2, 2004

Now - as I think of it - Mitheral is right. 2 belts. I haven't worked on the beasts in a bit either.
posted by troutfishing at 8:58 AM on October 2, 2004

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