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Author Topic: Whirlpool Front Load Washer WFW92HEFW0 - grinding noise during spin cycle  (Read 414 times)

Offline lowracer

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  • Member Since: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 5

I have a Whirlpool front-loading washer (model number WFW92HEFW0) just under 2 years old. Sadly, it's out of warranty now. Did not buy the extended warranty (and you can bet I'm now wishing I had).

The machine started making a grinding/whirring noise during the rinse/spin cycle. MP3 file, click here (http://www.exilemachine.net/images/idaho/Whirlpool.mp3) to hear the noise

The machine still washes the clothes, drains OK, all functions normal except the horrible noise (and the sound file above is only a small sample, it gets really rolling sometimes so long and loud we have to shut the door to the laundry room to be able to hold a conversation elsewhere).

The noise does not seem to be tied directly to drum motion, as the drum spins in both directions during the cycle without making any noise.

I called a repairman out who discovered the bolt holding the rotor assembly to the motor/drum assembly had busted off. He wrote an estimate for $1400 to repair (since the tech isn't empowered to remove the busted bolt, his only option is to replace drum/motor assembly entirely.)

So I called a machinist friend over for a consult. He got the busted screw out in a jiffy using a left handed drill bit. I ordered a genuine factory replacement M8 x 25 x 1.00 SEMS bolt, installed that, and unfortunately still have the noise.

This morning my oldest son and I removed the drain pump assembly, and checked for any obstruction. We found 31 cents worth of coins, one of my wife's missing hairbands, and a corroded .22LR shell casing in the filter box. Nothing was blocking or interfering with the impeller.

We reinstalled the pump and the washer is still making the noise.

Noticed during installation of the rotor bolt that there is evidence of the rotor and stator rubbing.  That can't be good.

I'm scratching my head on this one. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Offline johnboy3

  • Technician
  • Member Since: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 335
  • Country: us
You can check one possible source of noise by removing the heater (back of outer tub, below motor), and see if anything has snagged on the element or bent it or the support wire frame.  That's about all I can think of that you haven't already checked.  I've found them rubbing the spin basket as it turns.  Good luck!

Offline lowracer

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  • Member Since: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 5
Thanks for the tip on the heating element.  Pulled the element out and put a bright light in there, rotated the drum by hand.  Can see no evidence of any scraping by (or on) the element or its support wire structure.  Drum has no markings indicating interference with the heater assembly.  From my vantage point looking into the heater access port, saw no foreign objects between the inner and outer drum.   The baffling problem still remains.  I think the rotor/stator interference is a big clue but so far I'm drawing a blank.

Offline Thorning

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  • Member Since: Jun 2013
  • Posts: 705
If this front load unit is making the noise only during the spin cycle which is at a high speed the most likely cause is the main bearing assembly.  The unit should last longer than a few years IMO. This is a significant  repair and a fairly high cost job. To my knowledge , The supplier will only sell the tub and bearing together with the bearing installed.  If this unit has a variable speed setting for the spin cycle run it at the lowest speed until you can afford to repair it using an aftermarket kit. You will need some special tools however.  It sounds like you had a bad failure if it broke the bolt to start but it will continue and you should look at a replacement top load machine such as a Speed Queen which are more reliable.

Offline smart19777

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  • Member Since: Jul 2019
  • Posts: 11
Bad bearings or dram is broken.

Offline lowracer

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  • Member Since: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 5
Thanks for the suggestions.  I have a replacement drain pump coming in today, will see if that fixes the problem.  If not I have to agree the bearing is the likely culprit.   Running the machine on LOW spin cycle it does not make this noise.

Suxx that after less than two years it would require a major repair, but I am learning this is par for the course for Whirlpool brand, which is completely unacceptable lifetime for a major appliance, and perhaps why they are so insistent on the customer purchasing an extended warranty.  Must have received a letter every two weeks imploring me to purchase the service plan.

Speed Queen makes an excellent top loader, we actually had one before moving to a new place a couple years ago, but gave it to a relative instead of moving it.  Bad decision because they don't make that model any longer.   The TC5 looks like a good choice.

I found an aftermarket bearing replacement kit from Yellow Van Handyman for $80, will research to see if there are other suppliers of bearing replacement kits as well.  Does not look like too difficult of a repair, just time consuming as you have to completely disassemble the washer. 

Offline smart19777

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  • Member Since: Jul 2019
  • Posts: 11

I probably changed the bearings on a hundred washers. Need experience for this job. You may not pay attention to any detail, but this may be the reason that the bearings will soon fail again. I do not know if there are professionals in America who can qualitatively change bearings on such washing machines.

Offline lowracer

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  • Member Since: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 5
I hear you regarding experience.  Best teacher out there.  However, some considerations:

1) If the bearing is indeed shot, this washer is totaled.  I won't lose any sleep if I screw up the bearing replacement on a machine that's totaled.

2) I'm an engineer.  If I can't fix a washing machine, I'll call my alma mater and surrender my diploma.  :-)

3) I've got a neighbor who's a mechanic.  He'd be happy to help if necessary.

Offline lowracer

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  • Member Since: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 5
Contacted a place that supplies aftermarket washing machine bearing replacement kits.  Sent them the noise file.  They said the noise was not from a bad bearing. 

Tore the machine back open and re-checked the torque on the stator. Tight as could be. 

Then tightened the bejeezus out of the rotor mounting bolt. 

Ran a half dozen cycles, various spin speeds.  No more noise. 

Offline johnboy3

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  • Member Since: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 335
  • Country: us
That explains the rotor dragging on the stator!  I've had some of those act like the rotor bolt was cross-threaded, they are so hard to get off and on but have yet to find one actually cross-threaded.