Proper Operation
Learn how your appliance is supposed to operate so you can determine if it is malfunctioning.

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Sears and Whirlpool Direct Drive Washer

Whirlpool vs Kenmore

Belt Drive and Direct Drive Washer Backs

Whirlpool manufactures most Sears Kenmore washers as well as their own Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Roper and Inglis brands. The main difference between those brands' products is the control console configuration, markings and styling. The underlying mechanics are pretty much identical.

Belted vs Direct Drive

How do you tell whether you have a belted or direct drive washer? The direct drive washer's cabinet is usually a couple of inches narrower (27 inches or less) as opposed to that of the belted washer design which is 29 inches wide. The back panel of the direct drive washer covers the entire back of the washer from top to bottom and has no access panels. The belt driven washer's back has a small access panel toward the bottom and the control console has its own separate back panel.

Whirlpool completely redesigned their washer in the early 1980's. The first direct drive washers appeared in 1983. The new direct drive machines are a big improvement in reliability and reparability. Gone is the belt that was difficult to change, the failure prone control magnet and the leaky agitator shaft seal. The whole cabinet tilts from the front like a Peterbuilt truck engine cover to reveal everything that needs maintenance. You need less tools because the water pump and drive motor are held on by clips. These machines are great for leasing because of their customer acceptance, reliability and reparability.

Problem Diagnostics

The problems are listed in the order that they occur most frequently. In other words, the water inlet valves, lid switches and timers are failing with the same frequency as they did in the old belt-driven machines. They are the same parts. The repair procedures are designed to be printed out by your Web browser for reference while making the repairs.

Check Mark

Slow Fill

Check Mark

No Pump Out OR Spin

  • The motor doesn't run in drain or spin cycle and timer stalls right at that point in the cycle. Check the lid switch.
Check Mark

Skipped Cycles

  • The agitate and/or spin cycles are skipped (nothing happens). The timer may need replacement.
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Water Pump Problems

  • The water pumps out slow but the spin cycle works OK. The water pump impellers may be worn and the pump may have to be replaced.
  • There is a small puddle of water coming out from under the front of the cabinet. The water pump seal may be leaking and the water pump may have to be replaced.
Check Mark

Motor Runs but No Agitate OR Spin

  • The drive motor runs, water pumps out but the washer won't agitate or spin. The drive motor coupler may be broken.
Check Mark

Motor Runs but No Spin, Agitates Ok

  • The drive motor runs and the washer drains but it won't spin. A component in the gearcase may have failed.
  • The drive motor runs and the washer drains but it won't spin. The timer may not be pausing the motor between drain and spin.
Check Mark

Unbalanced Spins and Water Leak

  • This is the story of how a sheet metal screw falls out of the tub spring mount and/or the tub comes loose on one mount. The tub center post seal gets messed up and has to be replaced.