Brother Brnt dispenses some pearls of wisdom on this topic:
kenmore model 417..... made by frigidaire you say you caught the machine filling and draining endlessly?
known frigidaire problem you need a speed board, also called the motor control unit
and yup a bad speed board can do all sorts of flakey stuff another symptom .... timer knob gets stuck at around the 5 o'clock position
another common problem i saw with these machines.... the tub can go out of balance bad enough to smash into the bottom of the timer. Remove washer lid, closely examine the bottom of the timer and where that molex plug connects there, look to see if it looks squashed or out of place
but filling and running the drain pump forever is the speed board for sure frigidaire blamed this on electrical interferance comming from other outside sources, they say they modified later boards to prevent this this was like 10 years ago or so
In this exciting episode, the Samurai shows you how to use the tech sheet schematic to troubleshoot a newer Whirlpool front load washer (one of the new Alpha2 platform washers) that acts like it wants to start but won’t. Watch with shock and awe as I ruthlessly hunt down the miscreant part and guide you through the troubleshooting process both on the machine itself and on the schematic diagram, demonstrating killa troubleshooting techniques that every tech should know. Come with me now on a journey of Total Appliance Enlightenment:
Many important questions have plagued mankind since the dawn of time. Questions such as, "Why am I here?", "Who is God?", and, most importantly, "What causes SUDs and SD error codes in high-efficiency front-load and top-load washers?" Here now to guide us into the truth and understanding of this important epistemological question is Brother Delawaredrew:
Suds errors are often detergent related. It's not so much that the pump doesn't pump suds (although it doesn't) but that the pressure switch can't tell the difference between suds and liquid. So the computer doesn't see an empty tub.
An easy explanation of when computers generate a suds error is that the program has a set time allowed for the drain part of the cycle. For instance many whirlpool front loaders allow 4 minutes. After that time if the cpu has not seen a change in the pressure switch reading the SD or Suds or whatever error is displayed (this is why clogged or bad pumps show Suds) ... some machines will have some sort of suds killing routine that is initiated and some will just stop. If the CPU still doesn't see a change in water level after continued pumping you usually see a long drain code like LD or F01 or F21.
When I see repeat drain errors I first try to tell if it actually is draining at a good rate... if so I will check the pressure hose for clogs by first blowing into it at the switch end. If that is okay test the switch itself (if no fill errors are happening this is less likely) then the wiring. On models with integrated pressure sensors obviously you can skip testing the switch.
About the Cabrio/Bravos/Oasis models - lint, socks and other items sometimes gather at the sump cover and block the pump intake. Also coins and other items can damage the plastic impellors of the pump; decreasing pump rates yet still moving water.
I only get about 30 minutes per call so I have a pretty set method of diagnosis for problems to eliminate common issues. It works for me but we all think differently. In general I go for simplest solution first unless I know that a certain component is likely; like the analog pressure switches and F35 error.
First, lemme start off by saying I love front load washers. I think they offer the best clothes washing technology out there combining low water use with a gentle tumble wash that's easy on the fabrics, making your clothes last longer, and does a very thorough job of cleaning the clothes compared to the high efficiency (HE) top load washers.
We're a family of five with dogs and cats. We've used a front load washer for over 16 years at our house and, aside from routine repairs, have never had any washability or odor complaints. You'll hear some people complain about these issues with their front loader but, in almost every case I've seen during service calls, it's been due to user error-- usually using too much or the wrong type of detergent.
The Economics of a Repair
Okay, so front load washers: rah-rah, go team go. Why have a special post dedicated to front load washer drum bearing and inner basket failures?
Because these failures are usually considered a "total" event (as in "Dude, I totalled my car last night") by professional Appliantologists due of the huge cost of the repair. Not only are the parts expensive (sometimes more than $500) but the job itself can take more than three hours (depending on the particular nightmares you run into) and usually require a second man... or one with a very strong back, though it may not be after completing one of these repairs solo!
Everything is repairable. The question is: does it make economic sense to do the repair?
There are two circumstances where it may make economic sense to repair a failed drum bearing or inner basket support spider:
1. You are going to do the repair yourself, so you're only paying for parts. 2. The machine is still under full or partial manufacturer's warranty and some or all of the cost of the repair will be covered.
So, if you're in a situation where neither of the above conditions apply, wouldn't it be nice if you could positively diagnose a bearing or basket failure on your own and at least save yourself the cost of a service call? Ya sure, ya betcha! And hence, the raison d'être for this post.
How to Tell if Your Washer has Bad Drum Bearings or a Broken Inner Basket
Okay, enough talk. Let's do some basic watching and listening.
1. Broken Inner Basket
The inner basket is supported in the back by a special metal structure called a "spider." The spider has three support members that extend from the basket hub to the outer perimeter. A common failure is for the support members to corrode by galvanic corrosion, eventually weakening the metal to the point that it breaks. Here's an example of what that looks like, this particular washer is a Frigidaire but this is typical regardless of brand:
Here's another example, but this is from a GE front loader:
What you see in these photos is called galvanic corrosion. Various theories abound as to whence cometh this galvanic doo-doo. Some of the more plausible ones include:
- Dissimilar metals used in the support members vs. the basket metal itself. - Certain combinations of hard water and detergents. - Running the washer on a non-grounded or improperly grounded outlet.
Regardless of the cause, which is a whole separate and interesting engineering discussion, if this happens to your washer, your immediate tasks are to 1) properly and positively identify this failure and 2) decide whether to repair or replace based on the economics of the situation.
2. Bad Drum Bearings
This failure usually manifests as a roaring noise during the spin cycle. This first video demonstrates the tell-tale sound of bad drum bearings:
In advanced stages of this failure, you can also diagnose bad bearings manually using this technique:
Ruh-row, trouble in washer-land! These drum bearings are factory-pressed into the back half of the drum. So it's not like you can buy a set of OEM bearings, pop 'em in and off you go. You have to replace the whole drum, at least the back half, with the factory-installed bearings. Problem is that you'll usually find the drive shaft on the inner basket so corroded that you'll need to replace the inner basket at the same time. Double whammy!
If you look around the Internet, you'll find third-party bearings that claim to be a drop-in replacement for the factory-installed bearings. I've not heard of a single case of this repair lasting more than a few months. If you've done this repair and have gotten longer than a year out of it, send me proof and you'll be a rock star.
The reason these third-party bearings have such a dismal reliability record is because the tolerance on these bearings is astonishingly tight. When you consider the pressure and speeds that these bearings need to work in, it's amazing they last as long as they do. These bearings are actually a precision-machined piece and that's why they have to be installed at the factory for maximum reliability.
The F35 / Sud error code is one of the more common codes to pop up in the display of the late-model Whirlpool Duet front load washers. There's a lot of urban mythology out there on the Internet about these codes, their causes, and how to fix them. I'm going to deal with the two most prevalent myths out there and inoculate you against their error.
Urban Myth Number 1: "The F35 / Sud error code is caused by a clogged drain pump and to fix it, you have to clean out the drain pump cleanout port."
Reality: The drain pump and its cleanout port have absolutely nothing to do with this particular error code. The control board is programmed to display completely different error codes pertaining to the drain pump such as:
- F01 Pump driver error - F21 Long drain time - F27 Overflow condition
You can find these yourself on the tech sheet located inside the washer, either under the top panel or behind the bottom front panel. On that tech sheet, you'll see over six pages of very specific error codes-- 30 in all! -- dealing with distinct, specific aspects on the machine's function and operation.
The F35 error code specifically deals with faults related to the Analog Pressure Sensor (APS). The Sud error code pertains to excess suds detection in the machine. When these two codes occur together (and they don't always), it leads you to a very specific diagnosis but one which has nothing to do with the drain pump.
I know there's a video out on Youtube with a lot of views where the guy claims this fixed it but I assure you that was purely coincidental. He was a DIYer who was just guessing. Saying that a poor drain caused the F35 / Sud error combo is like saying a flat tire caused your car engine to quit starting.
Urban Myth Number 2: "To clear the F35 error code, try pulling the rubber tube off the APS and blowing hard into the tube nipple on the APS to reset it."
Reality: Blowing into the APS does absolutely nothing good. But it does ruin an APS that was already good. These are not like the old bellows pressure switches. Analog pressure sensors are digital transducers that convert an analog pressure into a digital information stream for the CCU. Telling people to blow into the APS is simply going to make them ruin a hundred+ dollar part.
There is some merit, however, to pulling the black rubber tube off the APS and blowing into it back toward the drum (NOT into the APS) to clear any gookus that may have gotten lodged in there and is interfering with the changes in air pressure being sent up the tube to the APS.
The Light of Truth
Let's take a walk through a Whirlpool Duet washer with the F35 / Sud error code combo and investigate its real cause and how to fix it:
As mentioned in the video, a defective APS is the single-most common cause for the F35 / Sud error code combo. There are at least two variations on the APS theme, so be sure to look up the correct sensor based on your complete model number and buy it here. That way, in the off chance that the APS doesn't fix it, you can return it for a refund and buy either the CCU or the Steamer board.
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