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  #1  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:16 AM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Help me Diagnose my Broken Washing Machine

My washer won't spin. It just suddenly stopped and when I found it, there was a burning rubber smell emanating from it. Thinking it was the belt, I opened my machine.

When I popped open the front panel, I noticed that one part was particularly hot. It was radiating heat. It's the brown heatsink-looking like thing in the picture below.

http://min.us/lK2RF4jPmI5MG

Dopers ... what is that brown thing? Is that the motor, transmission, or something else? And what's wrong with my washing machine? I checked the belt already, and it isn't broken, and it looks to be in place.

Last edited by IceQube; 11-11-2012 at 09:16 AM..
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:28 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Make/Model?

It's part of the motor, you can see the windings, the whole thing probably needs to replaced as a single unit.

Last edited by Joey P; 11-11-2012 at 09:30 AM..
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:33 AM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Make: GE; model: WDSR2080DAWW

And Fudge. Is replacing the motor expensive?

Last edited by IceQube; 11-11-2012 at 09:34 AM..
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:34 AM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
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I'm going on my own experience as a consumer, I lack the technical expertise to give a guaranteed factual answer. I hope somebody comes along and contradicts me....
Having said that -- I don't know for sure whether that's the motor, but the burning smell tells me it probably is. Basically, either something gunked up the shaft on the drum, or your belt went (neither of which would be a huge problem on their own), but then the motor either spun out of control (belt torn, no resistance) or tried to spin the drum against too much resistance (stuck shaft).

Sorry, but I'm afraid your motor is probably FUBAR. Still hope I'm wrong
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:44 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
Make: GE; model: WDSR2080DAWW

And Fudge. Is replacing the motor expensive?
Sometimes, no, your's....yes.
http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDeta...r=WDSR2080DAWW

It's about $300. You need to make sure it's the motor before buying this. That's an expensive part and if the washing machine is more then 5 years old or so it may be worth it just buy a new one, I mean, your pretty much there with this part (or half way there depending on what you buy).

Can you spin the drum freely or is to frozen in place? I'm guessing it's stuck. Take the belt off. It should spin freely (at least in one direction, the tranny probably has it locked). Now, with the belt off, can you spin the motor. If you can't, the motor is shot. If you can, the motor is probably good.
Start there, if the motor spins freely, we can keep troubleshooting (but I'm guessing it won't).
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:53 AM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Great! Will do. One question: how do I remove the belt if it's not broken?

And how do I spin the motor? Or do you mean spin the drum?

Last edited by IceQube; 11-11-2012 at 09:57 AM..
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:58 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
Great! Will do. One question: how do I remove the belt if it's not broken?
The same way you would do it if you were replacing the motor. It's probably just going to take some muscle. There may also be a tensioner in there somewhere. A spring-loaded pulley designed to keep tension on the belt as it wears out and stretches. You can push it back in to create some slack.
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:01 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Also, if you do replace any parts on this machine, take a look at the condition of the belt, if it even looks like it's starting to age, now is the time to replace the $5 part. Hell, if the machine is more then a few years old, for $5 I'd replace it anyways. Might as well do it now then have to take it all apart again in a few years.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:06 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube
When I popped open the front panel, I noticed that one part was particularly hot. It was radiating heat. It's the brown heatsink-looking like thing in the picture below.

http://min.us/lK2RF4jPmI5MG

Dopers ... what is that brown thing? Is that the motor, transmission, or something else?
the brown "heatsink looking thing" is the stack of iron laminations which make up the motor's stator poles. I would expect them to be warm-to-hot during normal use, but if they're really hot then the motor is overloaded. What do you see if you watch the motor while trying to operate the machine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noone Special View Post
I'm going on my own experience as a consumer, I lack the technical expertise to give a guaranteed factual answer. I hope somebody comes along and contradicts me....
Having said that -- I don't know for sure whether that's the motor, but the burning smell tells me it probably is. Basically, either something gunked up the shaft on the drum, or your belt went (neither of which would be a huge problem on their own), but then the motor either spun out of control (belt torn, no resistance)
it's an induction motor, there's no such thing as "spin out of control." The maximum speed is dictated by AC line frequency divided by the number of active poles, minus slip. an unloaded induction motor will happily sit there running at a constant speed all day long.

Quote:
or tried to spin the drum against too much resistance (stuck shaft)[/B].
I think this is what's going on, but the "burning rubber" smell could be coming from the belt slipping on the pulley. It's pretty hard to kill an induction motor.

Last edited by jz78817; 11-11-2012 at 10:06 AM..
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:06 AM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Looks like I'll have to tilt the washing machine at a 45 degree angle to access the belt, which is located on the bottom of the machine.

Well, hopefully I don't lose any toes!
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:14 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
I think this is what's going on, but the "burning rubber" smell could be coming from the belt slipping on the pulley. It's pretty hard to kill an induction motor.
That's a good point. Not much rubber inside a motor.
It probably is just a bad belt. They don't always look bad, but if you touch the inside of it, I'll bet it's greasy/slick and gets a bunch of crap (residue from burning) on your hand.

Before you go tilting that machine around, did you try turning the drum?

Of course, since I'm betting on the belt at this point, it's going to need to come off anyways.
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  #12  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:31 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Before removing he belt, take a few pictures. Sometimes tensioner pulleys go a certain way and it may not be obvious/intuitive. Having a picture or three can be a lifesaver.
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  #13  
Old 11-11-2012, 11:00 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
That's a good point. Not much rubber inside a motor.
It probably is just a bad belt. They don't always look bad, but if you touch the inside of it, I'll bet it's greasy/slick and gets a bunch of crap (residue from burning) on your hand.

Before you go tilting that machine around, did you try turning the drum?

Of course, since I'm betting on the belt at this point, it's going to need to come off anyways.
It should be difficult to turn the drum with the machine off, as the brake will probably be engaged.
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  #14  
Old 11-11-2012, 11:04 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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You may find it cheaper to replace the whole thing. My last washing machine cost me less than 200.
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  #15  
Old 11-11-2012, 11:18 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
It should be difficult to turn the drum with the machine off, as the brake will probably be engaged.
That's why it was just the first part of the troubleshooting flowchart. It depends on the machine. On mine, I can turn it (in one direction only) with the machine off. If it didn't turn, the next step was to have him disengage the motor from the rest of the unit and attempt to turn it by hand. It should freewheel. If it doesn't there's likely a problem with it. Assuming it does easily spin by hand, then we start moving forward, towards the drum. Next, and most likely culprit...the belt.

My money is on the belt. It's cheap, designed to break first and you can pick it up locally somewhere.
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  #16  
Old 11-11-2012, 11:21 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
Great! Will do. One question: how do I remove the belt if it's not broken?

And how do I spin the motor? Or do you mean spin the drum?
With the belt off...just grab the pulley and turn it. It'll either spin nice and freely or it won't. You'll be able to tell the difference.
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  #17  
Old 11-11-2012, 02:16 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is offline
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Mine once got a sock wedged between the drum and the housing, the whole thing was lodged and burning belt smell filled the basement.

Again, see if you can turn the drum by hand.
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  #18  
Old 11-11-2012, 06:08 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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All right ... I never got around to tilting the machine up to access the belt ...

Because I checked the belt, and ran my hands along both sides of it, and I didn't get any greasy black residue on my hand. The belt seems OK. I know I should probably replace it anyway, but if it ain't broke, I ain't gonna do anything about it just now (especially since I'm on the edge of just buying a new washer).

I did try running the washer again, and it ran normally. It filled with water, agitated, drained, but then it stopped.

It wouldn't spin. This was the original problem with it. It would drain but it wouldn't perform the final spin.

I know that if the washer doesn't spin it's likely the lid sensor or the water level sensor, but I've checked both.

What now?
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  #19  
Old 11-11-2012, 06:32 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
All right ... I never got around to tilting the machine up to access the belt ...

Because I checked the belt, and ran my hands along both sides of it, and I didn't get any greasy black residue on my hand. The belt seems OK. I know I should probably replace it anyway, but if it ain't broke, I ain't gonna do anything about it just now (especially since I'm on the edge of just buying a new washer).

I did try running the washer again, and it ran normally. It filled with water, agitated, drained, but then it stopped.

It wouldn't spin. This was the original problem with it. It would drain but it wouldn't perform the final spin.

I know that if the washer doesn't spin it's likely the lid sensor or the water level sensor, but I've checked both.

What now?
A)Are you sure you didn't bump any wires?
B)Do you have the panels all put back together (in case there's another sensor)?
C)Sounds like it's all back to normal, might have just been an odd one time thing.
D)Are you SURE you didn't bump anything? It would be a very strange coincidence that you were doing something inside the machine and then right when it needs to to something that requires a sensor to be tripped, it stops working.

Wait, I thought the original problem was the burning smell? Is it doing that again? Is the motor making any sound? Is the motor heating up?
This is where it gets important...

We need to know where the drivetrain is stopped......
Does the motor heat up?*
Does the motor spin?
Does the belt spin?
Does the drum spin? (we know it doesn't)

*I'd rather know if it's getting power, do you have a AC tester? Otherwise, let it cool from the previous cycle, turn it back on and see if it heats, unless it spins, then just move on to the next step.

The more info you get us the better, it's hard to diagnose things over the internet. Sounds, smells, vibrations anything, even if it doesn't seem important.
FTR, I do like troubleshooting, keep tossing the info at me, I'll do what I can with it and I know we have some other people on the board that can help to.

Last edited by Joey P; 11-11-2012 at 06:33 PM..
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  #20  
Old 11-11-2012, 08:16 PM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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I had a washer once that would stop at the spin cycle. If I bumped the knob forward one "click" it would spin and finish its cycle. So, rather than replace the control I just checked the machine periodically and advanced it when it went dormant.

Then I sold the house, washer and dryer included. Years later I remembered about the messed up washer, and realized the buyer probably was a bit pissed off at me.
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  #21  
Old 11-11-2012, 08:29 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I had a washer once that would stop at the spin cycle. If I bumped the knob forward one "click" it would spin and finish its cycle. So, rather than replace the control I just checked the machine periodically and advanced it when it went dormant.

Then I sold the house, washer and dryer included. Years later I remembered about the messed up washer, and realized the buyer probably was a bit pissed off at me.
I bought a house (the house I'm in), three days later the garage door opener stopped working so I did it manually until I could figure out what was going on. Finally got a few minutes to work on it...no power. After some testing I found out the moron who installed it wired it into the front porch lights which I had turned off. A few weeks later I saw the old homeowner and mentioned the story to her (leaving out the moron comment) and she said "Oh, well you could have just called me" Yeah, like my first thought was that the garage door opener might be on a switch in the living room and I just needed some help finding it. Idiots.

Also, written into the purchase contract was that I got to keep the washer/dryer in the basement. A few days before I moved in, at my lawyers request, I did one last inspection. When I did that I found that there was a brand new washer and dryer in the basement, still in the box, with a bow on top. They called it a housewarming gift. I called it an insanely ballsy move. They said they wanted to keep the old one because it was a gift to them, but they just gave me a bottom of the line one (no big deal, cleans clothes, works fine, brand new instead of 7 years old)...but if I was having any kind of remorse, I could have walked out on the contract for that. The washer and dryer I bought had been removed from the house. If I knew of all the problems I was going to have with the shoddy workmanship the idiot did around the house that I had to clean up, I'd have hired an electrician and a plumber to hook up the washing machine and dryer up and sent them the bills for their gift. I wonder what his plan was if I didn't know how to rewire the outlet for the new dryer.
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  #22  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:29 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Here's the full trilogy:

A month ago my washer wouldn't perform the final spin - the spin cycle that occurs after the clothes are washed and the water is drained. As a result, all the clothes would still be extremely wet and the washer would just sit there (the final spin cycle helps dry the clothes to a considerable extent).

I found that it was likely the lid sensor or the water level sensor. Other suggestions included a faulty timer, or a clogged water pump.

I ruled out the lid sensor because if the lid sensor were faulty, the washer wouldn't be agitating (it did agitate). I tested the water level sensor with an ohmmeter and even brought a new one, and replaced the old one with the new one. I also cleaned out the water level sensor's hose. Nothing changed.

I also cleaned out the water pump as some people said it could be that there was something stuck inside the water pump. Nothing changed.

I did try testing the timer, but I never got done with that. I couldn't quite jam my voltmeter's leads into the necessary spots ...

----

All of a sudden, my washer starts working again. Fill, agitate, drain, and spin. This lasts a few weeks.

----

Now, my washer is broken again. This time, when I found it, there was a burning rubber smell emanating from it. I popped open the front lid and found the motor (that brown heatsink thing) to be rather hot. I'm not sure if this is normal.

I've checked the belt, and found the belt to be clean, with no significant amount of residue rubbing onto my hands.

I've tried running the washer again, and it runs through every step except the final spin. It'll just sit there draining water continually. I've disconnected the drain hose and it'll just keep pumping even when no water is coming out the drain hose. So looks like we're back to the original problem - the washer wouldn't exit the drain cycle and enter the final spin cycle.
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  #23  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:33 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
A)Are you sure you didn't bump any wires?
B)Do you have the panels all put back together (in case there's another sensor)?
C)Sounds like it's all back to normal, might have just been an odd one time thing.
D)Are you SURE you didn't bump anything? It would be a very strange coincidence that you were doing something inside the machine and then right when it needs to to something that requires a sensor to be tripped, it stops working.

Wait, I thought the original problem was the burning smell? Is it doing that again? Is the motor making any sound? Is the motor heating up?
This is where it gets important...

We need to know where the drivetrain is stopped......
Does the motor heat up?*
Does the motor spin?
Does the belt spin?
Does the drum spin? (we know it doesn't)

*I'd rather know if it's getting power, do you have a AC tester? Otherwise, let it cool from the previous cycle, turn it back on and see if it heats, unless it spins, then just move on to the next step.

The more info you get us the better, it's hard to diagnose things over the internet. Sounds, smells, vibrations anything, even if it doesn't seem important.
FTR, I do like troubleshooting, keep tossing the info at me, I'll do what I can with it and I know we have some other people on the board that can help to.
A) I'm pretty sure I didn't bump anything important.

B) No the front panel was removed all this time. But there's nothing on it; it's literally a sheet of rusted metal. It hooks into the washer very simply (I don't think it activates any switches).

C) Well, the washer won't spin, so that's a major problem.

D) Pretty sure.

Should I run the washer again and check for these things?
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  #24  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:42 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
A) I'm pretty sure I didn't bump anything important.

B) No the front panel was removed all this time. But there's nothing on it; it's literally a sheet of rusted metal. It hooks into the washer very simply (I don't think it activates any switches).

C) Well, the washer won't spin, so that's a major problem.

D) Pretty sure.

Should I run the washer again and check for these things?
I really doubt there's any kind of sensor on the front panel, just thought I'd toss that out there.

What I'd suggest you do, from here....With the front panel removed....Turn it on, get it running.
Does it agitate?
Does it spin?
You can just let it get filled and start agitating, then move the timer to the spin cycle, you don't have to wait it out.

If it agitates, the motor is fine. I'm going to, for now, say you can ignore the heat build up from earlier. Motors get hot, usually to hot to handle.

Watch it while it's agitating, does the motor spin? That should confirm that it's in working order.
When it spins, watch what happens? Anything, does the motor spin?
The fact that you said it did nothing at all last time worries me. I'm almost wondering if some insulation burnt up somewhere on a wire. Be it on a sensor for the door switch or on one of the other speeds for the motor. It's just such an odd coincidence that you noticed a burning smell, usually associated with a bad belt and now the motor isn't working in the spin cycle.
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  #25  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:13 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Thank you Joey for bearing with me.

The washer agitates just fine. I haven't monitored the motor when it agitates but I will later.

It's just the final spin cycle that doesn't happen.

Last edited by IceQube; 11-11-2012 at 10:14 PM..
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  #26  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:39 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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I missed your "Trilogy" post somehow. It provides some insight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
I did try testing the timer, but I never got done with that. I couldn't quite jam my voltmeter's leads into the necessary spots ...
Regarding this, if it's a connector with holes that are to small to push the leads into, sometimes it's easier to put them in through the back where the wire enters. There's a metal clamp that comes pretty far up the back. You can usually make a good enough connection to get some testing done. One of my multimeters has a alligator clip for one of the leads. It's nice to clamp that onto a ground and be able to prod around with the other one and use my (now) free hand to be able to turn things on and off.

Okay, regarding the trilogy you posted. Kinda sounds like the timer. If you nudged it forward a bit, would it move to the next part of the cycle. For example, if the draining never stopped and you moved it forward, would it advance to the spin cycle?
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  #27  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:43 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Okay, regarding the trilogy you posted. Kinda sounds like the timer. If you nudged it forward a bit, would it move to the next part of the cycle. For example, if the draining never stopped and you moved it forward, would it advance to the spin cycle?
Never tried that .. I guess I'll try it now.

Anyway, it does seem to be the timer, as the motor can apparently agitate normally. But I'm still confused regarding the burning rubber smell.
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  #28  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:50 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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OK I've nudged the timer forward after putting it in the drain cycle and nothing happens. I nudge it step by step until the washer shuts off and the washer never enters the spin cycle, never mind that it has already drained all its water.



Very interesting note: If I push the knob halfway down, the washer will make spinning noises - it appears to spin just fine. Further investigation needed. (Note: Pushing the knob all the way down turns the washer off; pulling it out turns it on; I never knew that pushing it halfway down had a function ...)

Last edited by IceQube; 11-11-2012 at 10:55 PM..
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  #29  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:59 PM
IceQube IceQube is offline
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Oops false alarm the washer started agitating when I pushed the knob half-way down, not spinning ... problem still not solved.
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