Help me fix my washing machine!
January 12, 2009 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Washing Machine troubleshooting fun! Sometimes-not-working-pump!

Here's a long shot, but maybe someone knows their washing machines!

We have a Eurostar 1000a front loading european washing machine that we got from our private landlords. We moved in a month ago or so, and it worked a few times pretty well, and then every once in a while, it would end up all soaking wet. It's gotten somewhat worse, and with careful use of the scientific method aka writing everything down these past few days, we've found that there's something wrong with the pump.

The basic cycle seems to consist of 4 parts:

1. Water in
2. Agitate for a while
3. Pump water out
4. Spin and pump water out
-Repeat 4x, add high-speed spin at the end.

parts 1, 2, and 3 all seem to work.
Part 3 leading into Part 4, the pump tries to pump out water, but there's not much left, and so it keeps trying to pump but nothing comes out. Then it starts spinning, and water comes out of the clothes, but the pump still doesn't get anything out. As the spin cycle continues, the water from the clothes basically comes back into the washing machine, and sudsy water is spun around with the clothes. Then the next rinse cycle begins, with sudsy wet clothes instead of fairly dry clothes.

For a while, we thought this was due to the extremely small (maybe 0.5cm diameter opening) syphon connector thingy on our drain, because it would work better if we detached the hose on the washing machine side during part 1 each time and blew into it *hard*, seemingly dislodging whatever would get stuck in the connector each time. (seemed like if I didn't do this, it wouldn't fully drain on part 3 as well as part 4). However it wasn't a perfect fix, and to test it out, I tried running the hose simply into the sink, and got the pattern described above.

Seems like the pump gives out whenever there's not enough water to make pumping simple.

So! Now what? I don't want to buy a new washing machine, and if I can avoid it, I would like to avoid fighting with my landlord if there is an affordable fix (a big perk of this place is having a nice, friendly relationship with my landlord, and I have little to no idea how Austrian tenant laws apply in this case). Anyone know what's going on here?
posted by sdis to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
When ever that happens with our front-loader, it's something caught in the pump. There's a small trap right where the hose connects to it. But take the pump out, because there's one more area inside the pump where things can get caught too (which I learned on one visit after Mr. peagood had already checked the for trap problem, to the tune of $75 since it's not covered by warranty). It can be coins; another time it was a piece of plastic from a cut-up credit card that was in a pocket; and I forget what it was the third and fourth time - but that's usually it with us, though we have a different washer, but same exact scenario when it happens, and it's happened about four times by now).
posted by peagood at 3:19 PM on January 12, 2009

I had a washing machine act like this. The drain hose had some passive valve to prevent backflow; a cheap hose without such a valve fixed the problem for a year or so. Then the drain pump stopped working because a mouse crawled into it and drowned; de-moused, it worked for another year. Then the pump jammed on some long string from a towel and its motor burnt up; a new motor bought us another year. Then the damned thing quit draining again and also suddenly leaked from every joint and flooded my laundry room, so I threw it out the window. Its replacement is not nearly so fancy-looking, but hasn't had a year to break yet.

If you want to fix yours, you may wind up tinkering with it for a very long time. But maybe now you have some ideas.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:21 PM on January 12, 2009

Not sure if it's belt drive or direct drive, but if the belt is slipping, then you may not be getting enough power to the pump to get all the water out.
posted by electroboy at 6:58 AM on January 13, 2009

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