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Maytag MFW9700SQ1 Error FH (HF?) and Leak


The one they call... Tim

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Good afternoon, and Happy Thanksgiving to all, 

We are having a bit of an issue with our newish-to-us Maytag (MFW9700SQ1) front loader. We have had it for over a month now, and it’s done great for us until recently. 
 

A couple weeks ago, we noticed that the drum would collect some water if it sat unattended for more than a couple of days. That time frame has since gotten shorter, like 6-12 hours, but it varies. 
I am sure it is leaking into the drum, rather than an incomplete drain, because I can remove a thoroughly spun-dry load, then come back later and there is water standing in the drum. 
So far, this sounds easy enough: there is a blockage in the inlet valve or a broken spring or something that won’t let the valves close all the way. Clean or more likely replace the inlet valves, right?

 

Next symptom, which may or may not be pertinent. In the day or two after we were hit by Tropical Storm Nicole, there was water on the floor around the machine. I shut the water off to the machine, set up a fan to try to dry out the floor, and went on my merry way, not having time to address it further at the moment. I figured the leak into the drum had had also started to leak outside the machine as well? Could be a leak from the storm-driven rain, but we’ve never had that before, including from Hurricane Ian just a few weeks before.

I was able to turn the water on, run a load normally, then shut off the water again. I did not see any more water in the floor, but then I didn’t let the water stay on too long. 
The big trouble started the first time I started to run a load while forgetting to turn the water on. I think I caught the problem pretty immediately when I did not hear the rush of water into the machine. In any case, ever since that moment, the machine has aborted at ~30 seconds into a load and thrown error code FH more often than not.

I know this is fill, or sometimes drain-related. Both when filling and when draining, the flow of moving water is good and strong as it ever was. 
I started with the easiest stuff.
I checked the inlet screens. They are fine. 
I checked the flow meter. It spun up just fine when I blew into it, but it sounded rattly as it spun back down. I’m thinking that’s not normal, that it should spin down quietly and smoothly? I disconnected and reconnected both places where the flow meter connects to the wiring harness. The contacts had the barest traces of corrosion. 
I had a bit of a struggle verifying that the resistance in the flow meter changes as the meter spins up, but I chalked that up to not having 3-4 hands available to hold good contact between the electric meter leads and the flow meter contacts. 
At this point, I reassembled and tried to run a cycle. Everything worked fine! Yippee! The first thing I touched fixed it. Maybe a bad electrical connection to the flow meter, maybe the looseness in the meter axle, but that should be that, right? Probably replace the meter at some point if the problem recurs?

That worked for about a week. Now it is throwing that code on almost every fill. 
by messing with the electrical connections for the flow meter, and giving it a few taps prior to and during filling, I have gotten it to fill properly and run a cycle only for it to sometimes abort at the next filling phase in the cycle. Sometimes not.

So far, the flow meter is the only thing I have messed with, and only once did the aforementioned messing about not result in at least one successful fill. The time it didn’t work, a repeat messing about did the job.

So, to summarize my thoughts: 
I know the inlet valves can cause error FH, but I’ve only heard it in the context of failure to open properly, whereas my problem seems to be failure to *close* properly. And the error occurs during a time they should be open.

I know a plugged drain or siphoning drain can flag FH, but drain flow is strong, and there is no siphon. I don’t see a need to investigate this further.

I know the pressure switch can flag FH. It appears I have temporarily cleared the error by messing solely with the flow meter, so I’m thinking I don’t need to investigate this further.

It’s looking to me like I need to replace both the inlet valves and the flow meter. Would you just go ahead and replace both? Would you do the valves first and try it? Then do the meter too, if just the valves don’t clear it? After all, the two are only a few inches apart. Tapping on the flow meter might effectively transmit the tapping to the valves, too.

Could the main board or some other single component make both the above items look bad? If so, is there a way to rule that out before I start replacing parts?

What would be your next step to resolve this as quickly and also as inexpensively as possible?

Thanks in advance!

The One They Call… Tim


 

 

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I forgot to mention I have gone back to leaving the water on all the time. 
The leak into the drum persists. 
The leak on the floor does not. So that must have been storm related.
 

So that doesn’t exactly make me happy, but it’s not part of the washer issue.

One other final thought. Since this error code started when the machine tried to fill for a few seconds with zero water pressure, might there be an air bubble someplace that needs to be bled? I can’t think it would be the case, since nobody says anything about bleeding the lines on initial set up, but I can’t think of why else a brief no-pressure situation would start triggering FH forevermore.

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Bad inlet valve or supplied water pressure too low. 
 

 

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18 hours ago, The one they call... Tim said:

I forgot to mention I have gone back to leaving the water on all the time. 
The leak into the drum persists. 
The leak on the floor does not. So that must have been storm related.
 

So that doesn’t exactly make me happy, but it’s not part of the washer issue.


Wrong.
I ran several loads yesterday. After the last one stopped, I could hear a drip-drip-drip from somewhere inside. I shut the water off again and looked around the machine. There were signs of fresh moisture under/behind. So it looks like a *do* have a leak to the exterior as well. Right now I just have the top off, and I can’t see where it is coming from, so will have to pull the bottom panel off, and probably the back, to investigate that further. 🙁

However, a leak in the machine has got to be easier to fix than a leak in my house, so there’s that. 😁

The last several days, it’s thrown the error code *every* time it starts to fill the drum regardless of what part of the cycle it is. Yesterday, I was able to get through 4-5 loads with no problem by tappity-tapping the flow meter the entire time water was flowing through it. That tiny bit of extra agitation seemed to keep it sweet somehow. Maybe just a coincidence, but with that many loads following the pattern, the correlation starts to look like causation.

 

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After doing some cost comparison, I think thing to do is to go ahead and replace both the flow meter and the inlet valves, but with secondhand parts. It’s a risk, sure, but new parts are more than I want to spend right now. Looks like new can easily be 5x the cost of used. 
 

Now, to find out where that leak is coming from!

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Well, the parts arrived today. I bought a kit of used parts that included the flow meter, inlet valves, pressure switch and the servo dohickey that controls the water flow through the dispenser. Just got lucky with a kit with more than I needed for the best price.  
I was not happy with the “new” flow meter. It had some pretty bad iron stains and when I blew through it, it only spun slowly and rattled the entire time. My existing one is squeaky clean, spins up great, and only gets rattly when it was slowing down again.  So I swapped the new little teenie circuit board (with the induction sensor on it) to my existing flow meter. So far, I’ve run 3 loads through the wash, and I have not come up against the FH error once. 

I’m not ready to call that problem solved, but it’s sure looking promising. 🤞

Next up, swap the inlet valves and trace the leak.

 

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