Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

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It is no longer possible to imagine a normal life without a washing machine, which has become an indispensable assistant in everyday life. However, like any device, it can break. It is not necessary to immediately look for a service center, it is quite possible that the malfunction can be found and eliminated by hand.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

Diagnosing a problem is quite simple, it is more difficult to eliminate the cause and assemble the device so as not to miss anything. To avoid problems, we will try to put everything on the shelves and explain the procedure..

What breaks down in washing machines

The main elements of any washing machine are the mechanical part: the engine, the drum, the belt drive, the water supply valve and drainage, cuffs and seals. Next comes a number of sensors: temperature, filling level. Last but not least is the control unit, fully electronic or partially mechanical.

The drum, the calipers that hold it, the calipers with bearings on which it rotates are more susceptible to wear in the washing machine. Over time, seals and oil seals wipe, water enters the bearing, flushing out the grease and leading to active corrosion. The second option is corrosion of the tank support calipers, which are often made of aluminum and can crumble over time..

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

The second most important group of problems is related to sensors. The temperature sensor is quite stable and problem-free, but if it has a thick layer of scale, then its readings are greatly distorted, which leads to overheating of the water during washing and the rapid growth of new scale, problems and breakdowns. The level sensor breaks down much more often. If the chamber, the nozzle from the container or the hose to the sensor are clogged with powder, scale or debris, then the sensor stops responding, which is fraught with overflow and flooding..

Cuffs and seals on modern machines do not rot or dry out, so they can only be damaged by yourself as a result of carelessness or accident. They cannot be repaired, so only replacement.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

A fully electronic control unit breaks down if the conditions for connecting the power supply and grounding, which are strictly necessary for a washing machine, are violated. In addition, sometimes a defect or a malfunction in the memory of the controller pops up, due to which the normal operation of the device is no longer possible. For partially mechanical control, contact oxidation is characteristic. However, this is also only a consequence of external factors: high humidity, ingress of water or detergent, etc..

Diagnostics, troubleshooting

If the machine is controlled by a microcontroller, then it is important to pay attention to the service error codes. The decoding of the codes can be found in the instructions or in the service manual, which is quite easy to find on the Internet. Depending on the error code, you can already start repairing.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

If the machine is partially mechanical, then you can check its operation according to a simple algorithm by choosing the desired symptom-cause combination from the table:

Breakage symptoms Cause What to do
On, but not working, no washing modes start Defective socket
Broken power cord
Power button does not work
Cover not closed or cover lock broken
Check, clean, and ring all of the above. The door lock is either moved or replaced
After starting the wash, there are no characteristic engine sounds There is no signal from the control unit Check communication lines, repair / replace control unit
Used or broken engine brushes Replace motor brushes
Internal motor failure, winding breakdown, etc.. Replacing the complete engine
The engine hums, but the drum does not rotate Seized drum or thrust bearings Identify and remove foreign matter or replace calipers with bearings
The engine runs, but the drum does not rotate Broken calipers attached to the drum Replacing calipers
No reverse Error in the operation of the control unit Repair / replacement of the control unit (more often the power relays for the engine power are to blame)
Water comes in very slowly Coarse filters clogged Cleaning, replacement of input filters
Water does not flow into the tank Valve defective Valve replacement
Excessive water supply, up to the emergency discharge hole Level sensor defective Cleaning the channel from the container to the pressure sensor
Water leaks out Breakage of cuffs or drain hoses Locate loose connection and replace clamp. If damage to cuffs and seals is detected, replace
Strong vibration during washing, accompanied by extraneous sounds Broken shock absorbers or springs Replacement
Failed support bearing Replacing calipers with bearings

This is a quick checklist for diagnosing your washing machine..

Important note.If the machine washes normally, but incomprehensible red or brown stains appear on the linen, which are difficult to remove later, then the tightness of the main container is definitely violated, and grease flows out of the support bearings. Replace the calipers with bearings, all seals and the oil seal. They are almost always sold in one set..


Before proceeding with the repair, be sure to follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the machine. Remove the plug from the socket or turn off the machine and disconnect the wires from the terminals.
  2. Turn off the water tap. Disconnect the hose leading to the machine.
  3. Disconnect the drain hose and seal the sewer inlet with a sealed plug. Lowering the hose along its entire length as low as possible, drain all the liquid from it.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

For machines with horizontal loading, it is enough to remove the top panel and the back. For top-loading machines – side only. The panels are fastened around the perimeter with screws and special latches, which are often opened by shifting the panel to the side.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

Filters, valves, drainage

It is not even necessary to disassemble it to replace or clean all the filters in the machine. You should clean and check:

  1. Drainage filter. Located in the lower part of the case on the front side, hidden behind a hinged cover.
  2. Input coarse filter. There may be several of them. Check both fittings on the supply hose and the connector on the machine itself. In all three places there may be plug-in filter screens that must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

The drain filter is a chamber between the drain hose from the machine’s tank in front of the pump. The flow restrictor is fixed in it. It is necessary to open the compartment with the filter located at the bottom of the machine on the front side. Then unscrew the restrictor and clean the filter chamber.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

Support bearings, motor

In fact, the most difficult operation associated with the repair of a washing machine. After disassembling the machine, it will be clear what exactly needs to be changed. This can be a support with a bearing or a support that holds the tank itself on the shaft. At best, it is better to replace both.

The procedure is quite simple:

1. Open the body of the machine. With horizontal loading, it is enough to remove the top and rear panels, with vertical loading – the side panels.

2. Remove the belt from the wheel and motor shaft.

3. Unscrew the retaining bolt on the tank shaft with a socket wrench. For top-loading machines, remove two bolts on both sides. Be sure to keep the drum from spinning.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

4. For machines with horizontal loading, it is necessary to remove the fixing clamp around the circumference of the seal from the door side and remove the seal from the grooves. Disconnect all supply hoses and sensors from the container lid and from the rubber cuff so as not to damage them in the future.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

5. Remove the wheel from the shaft. It sits firmly on the shaft, so it is difficult to remove it, you need to slightly loosen it, pull it towards yourself or take on board a mallet and a strong block with which to knock out the shaft.

6. Unscrew two or three self-tapping screws holding the caliper with the bearing. Then pry the caliper plate around the circumference with a screwdriver and remove. Under the caliper there is a seal and a “mirror”, a metal disc concave inside the tank.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

7. Unscrew all screws around the tank that hold the lid. Check if the lid is sealed, usually these are two or three points from the end, they will have to be cut down or drilled.

8. To remove the cover, pry it around the entire perimeter with a slotted screwdriver, starting from the places where the heating element is installed. When the lid has already come off a little, pull it out evenly. The heating element more often comes to a special support for the clip, so there will be resistance from its side, you need to gently but persistently pull, moving a little from side to side.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

9. Next, take out the tank and dismantle the counter support on the other side for top-loading machines.

10. Clean the metal tank and general plastic container from scale and deposits..

11. Replace the caliper on the metal tank if necessary. To do this, unscrew the remnants of the old one or knock off the rivets, just so as not to damage the surface of the tank itself. Next, install new calipers. The insert with a smooth head is installed on the inside of the tank, a nut or bolt is screwed on the outside.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

12. Install new oil seals on the tank shaft. The thick side of the gland is oriented towards the tank, and the thin part, the “skirt”, is oriented away from the tank. It is necessary to apply lubricant along the outer edge of the seal, it is advisable to purchase it together with the calipers in a specialized store.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

13. Install a new mirror with a seal and a support with a bearing on the lid and counterpart of the container for horizontal loaders. For reliable tightness, it is better to coat all gaskets with silicone sealant immediately before installation..

14. Carefully insert the tank into place, it is very important to get strictly into the hole so that the shaft does not touch the surface of the mirror, otherwise the tightness of the main tank will suffer and all the work will be down the drain.

15. Secure the seal around the perimeter of the cover and coat it with silicone sealant. Reinstall the cover, pay special attention to the heating element hitting strictly on the clip and being securely fixed.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

16. Connect the ground wire to the caliper with the bearing. Replace the belt wheel. Screw the fixing bolts onto the shaft.

17. Place the belt over the wheel and motor shaft. When spinning the wheel, make sure that the belt runs exactly in the center of the wheel, correct if necessary.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

18. Reconnect all previously disconnected sensors and hoses.

To clean the drum and container, it is unacceptable to use abrasives, and even hard polymer sponges. It is better to spend more time and gradually dissolve scale and deposits with concentrated citric acid (200 g of acid per liter of hot water) or detergents containing hydrochloric acid (up to 15%). The process is slow, it can take several days, but it’s worth it.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

It is unacceptable to use “Litol” for the oil seal in contact with the mirror and installed on the tank shaft. Lithium grease will cause rapid and violent corrosion of the aluminum caliper.

To replace the engine:

  1. Disconnect the wires going to the engine, usually one bus and one ground wire.
  2. Unscrew one or two bolts visible from the outside that secure the engine to the tank.
  3. Unscrew the engine down and pull towards you to release a few more mounts from the slots.
  4. Transfer protective sleeves from the old engine to the new one.
  5. Reinstall the new engine, just do not tighten the main bolt.
  6. Put on the belt and check its tension, if it is easily pulled together by hand, then remove it and pull the engine further along the mount, where there is a special reserve for this. Tighten the bolt and check the belt tension again. He should only slightly give in to the sides.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

Replacing the heating element

It is necessary to remove the cover of the machine, back or side, in order to gain access to the end of the main tank, where the engine, the wheel for the belt drive and the terminals of the heating element are fixed. Further, the power and ground terminals are disconnected from the heating element.

There is a fixing bolt in the center between the contacts of the heating element. It should be unscrewed with a socket wrench. As soon as it is unscrewed, the pressure on the seal will loosen and it will be possible to get the heating element together with the mount.

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

Heating elements for machines are on sale already assembled with a plate and a sealant. It is enough to insert it into the place of the old one and tighten the fixing bolt so that the seal spreads to the sides, pressing firmly against the edges of the hole. Connect power and ground terminals.

Control block

If the machine control unit with a partially mechanical control is recognized as the culprit of the malfunction, then the maximum that can be done at home is to sort it out if possible and check the cleanliness of all contacts and switches. For fully electronic control, the only option is to check all pins and wired terminals. If this does not help, then only the option of a complete replacement remains..

Washing machine: troubleshooting and DIY repair

To access the unit, it is enough to remove the front panel from the machine, on which all machine controls are located. More often, the panel is attached from the sides with one or two self-tapping screws and a group of latches that can be easily opened with a slotted screwdriver.

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