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Author Topic: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)  (Read 5563 times)

Offline jwawa

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Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« on: November 08, 2013, 03:03:50 AM »

This might be a dumb question, so if it is, I apologize ahead of time.  :embarassed:

My GE top loader started (occassionally) leaving clothes sopping wet and soapy, even after a long wash and/or repeated rinses.  So I started to look into it, and the first thing I noticed was a 'clunking' noise when I rotated the agitator back and forth.

Here's my possibly dumb question... Is this normal?

(By the way, I think I found the problem with the soggy/soapy clothes.  I found a piece of plastic (almost looked like a 4" piece of weedeater line) that was stuck in the hose entering the pump.  I'm hoping that's all that was causing the problem.  Except now, I wonder if I also have a clutch or something going out because of this clunking sound.

Any help is very much appreciated!

Oh, if it helps/matters, the washer is a GE Profile model #wpre8150h0wt top loader.

Okay, one last question...  Is there a tutorial anywhere on the site on 'how to use the forum' or anything like that?
http://youtu.be/iCiKXPbLXUI
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 03:06:37 AM by jwawa »

Offline olyteddy

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2013, 04:03:14 AM »
Take the front panel off and look for the tiny LED on the board at the top of the motor. Blinking 4 times? If so the clunk is the 'Mode Shifter'. http://www.appliancepartspros.com/suspension-pump-drive-parts-for-ge-wpre8150h0wt.html . More info in the cheat sheet hidden behind the control panel.

Offline jwawa

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2013, 04:40:36 AM »
I suppose I'll need to put the washer back together again first. :)  I took it apart to take a look at the clutch (aka mode shifter?) and the pulley so I've got the tub out and turned upside down in my laundry room right now.  I'll put it back together (minus the front panel) sometime tomorrow (er, later today).

Just to clarify though, the led should be on the control board on top of the motor, correct?  I don't see it, but I trust it's there somewhere. :-) But the cheat sheet should be hidden where?  I checked around the control panel (up top where the timer & all the buttons/knobs are) and can't find a cheat sheet tucket anywhere.  Is it literally a folded up piece of paper like I've sometimes seen in other appliances?  If so, I can't find it anywhere. :(

Oh, and once I get it put back together, will I just need to plug the washer in, to possibly see the LED blinking, or will I need to run a cycle or something?

By the way, I've attached images of what I found lodged in the pump.  Do you think that could possibly cause wet clothes and soap not completely rinsing?


Offline fairbank56

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 08:19:33 AM »

  That noise is normal. The mode shifter is in spin mode when the washer is off. The sound is the solenoid armature contacting the pulley as there is play within the teeth of the armature and pulley. In agitation mode, the armature is retracted and the teeth no longer engage the pulley. Here is the tech sheet for your washer.

http://home.comcast.net/~fairbank56/31_16544.pdf

Eric

Offline jwawa

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 09:14:48 AM »
Thanks for the explanation, and I think I even understand it! :)  Do you think that piece of plastic in the photos could actually cause the wet, still soapy clothes problem?  I tried to see if that could have been part of the washer itself - it's about the size of weed eater line, but just barely thicker - but I couldn't find anything resembling it anywhere else, and can't imagine a legitimate purpose for it.  It was sitting pretty much right where I put it in the first photo.

I'm going to put it all back together now (minus the piece of plastic line in it) and see how it runs.  And for good measure, I'll leave the front panel off so I can see the LED olyteddy mentioned.  I'm still not exactly sure when I should (or shouldn't?) see it blinking... or what it'll mean if I do.  ???

But I think I at least have a 'next step' to take at this point.
Thanks again!

Offline olyteddy

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 11:26:19 AM »
While it's still apart you can check the Mode Shifter with your Ohm Meter. It's basically just a solenoid and measures about 100 ohms as I recall. The usual failure is an open circuit.

Offline jwawa

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 11:55:38 AM »
Okay, so I've put everything back together and ran an empty speed cycle through.  I saw the green led flashing four times on the circuit board of the motor.

I'm looking at the tech sheet, and (if I'm reading it right) this indicates "mode shift circuit failed" with an action of "check mode shifter coil".

I did that (I think), and it certainly appears to me that when it's supposed to be agitating, the whole tub is spinning, not just the agitator.

Is it reasonable to assume based on that alone that the mode shifter is bad then?  Or should I still find my multimeter (and figure out how to use it :embarassed:)?

Thanks again for everyone's help!

Here's a really short video of the tub turning during agitation:
http://youtu.be/HY894lO3rts
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 11:56:54 AM by jwawa »

Offline fairbank56

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2013, 12:26:24 PM »

  Yes, the mode shifter is bad. An open coil means it won't engage which means the whole basket will agitate while in agitation mode.

Eric

Offline jwawa

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2013, 12:47:22 PM »
I can't thank you all enough for the help.  I've ordered part#WH38X10017 from repairclinic and hopefully won't have any troubles installing it.  The only spot I think will be a bear is the tub nut.  I don't want to spend $50 for a one-time tool.  In the meantime, I've learned some stuff I didn't know before, and if I weren't under the crunch of dirty laundry piling up, I might even say it was fun.

Thanks again, you all have been great.

Offline jwawa

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2014, 11:23:28 PM »
Just a final comment to let everyone know that I was able to replace the mode shifter myself, and it did indeed fix the problem.  But I can honestly say that it might've been worth a repair call to have someone else deal with just how stubborn that tub nut was!  But I did eventually get it loosened and the repair went fine other than that.
One last thanks for everyone's help and guidance.
 :thanks:

Offline olyteddy

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2014, 11:05:39 PM »
You might want to read this thread: http://appliancejunk.com/forums/index.php?topic=11579.0 for ideas about how to keep the mode shifter from dying again.

Offline jwawa

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Re: Agitator clunks when rotating back and forth (is this normal?)
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2014, 11:18:36 PM »
Thanks olyteddy,  that was a fascinating read.  I would have never thought of that.  I'll make sure to let everyone else in the family know not to open the lid during the wash cycle.  And if I ever get some free time and boredom sets in, I just might take apart the old mode shifter, just out of curiosity now!