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Author Topic: Direct drive coupler fails every couple of years  (Read 380 times)

Offline eric8324

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Direct drive coupler fails every couple of years
« on: October 01, 2021, 06:42:22 PM »

This is a 24-year old Whirlpool 110.16512690 that I'd like to keep running as long as I can.

I've gotten pretty good at replacing the motor coupler! It failed first after over 10 years of use, the next time was 4 years later, and this time it lasted just over a year. So it seems like something's deteriorating and causing it to fail prematurely. I suppose I could just live with it and keep a coupler on hand but it would be nice not to have to do it.

Any hints on how to diagnose this? I've read that one common cause is the brake slamming hard but that doesn't seem to be the case. The transmission seems to move OK when I turn it with my fingers (one direction to agitate, the other to spin), there doesn't seem to be unexpected resistance. When the washer runs I don't hear any suspicious noise and it seems to spin and agitate as it should.

Offline Blaiser

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Re: Direct drive coupler fails every couple of years
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2021, 09:52:05 AM »
So a couple questions - you said you have a 24 year old washer. If a Coupling fails there's additional stress being put on the motor and transmission - parts wear down. You might want to 1st replace the neutral drain kit (Part # 388253) which is located inside the transmission itself - this allows the water to drain out of the tub 1st before it goes into the spin cycle. While you open up the transmission you might want to check the 90 Weight Gear oil that it uses. (16 ounces of 90W Gear Oil). You could be low on Gear Oil also - double check it.


If you have a bad neutral drain you'll be able to tell by watching/hearing the washer drain and spin at the same time! It should drain 1st - (NOT SPIN) empty the tub then shut off and re-engage the transmission (via the timer) and go into a Spin Cycle. With a Bad Neutral Drain Kit it SPINS AND DRAINS AT THE SAME TIME PUTTING EXCESSIVE STRESS ON THE TRANSMISSION AND MOTOR AND COUPLING AND WITH THE ADDITIONAL WEIGHT FROM THE WATER IN THE TUB IT COULD NOT ONLY SNAP THE COUPLING IT WEARS THE CLUTCH PADS FROM THE ADDITIONAL WEIGHT IN THE TUB UNTIL IT DRAINS. The coupling is designed to snap and break to protect the transmission and motor. There are many different couplings plastic and plastic coupling with metal inserts - i personally do not like the Metal Insert because it could rip up and round out the transmission shaft if left unaccompanied. A new transmission in my opinion would be a wise because these washers are that GOOD!!


Change out the Neutral Drain Kit (about $20.-$30) and I think you will find you will cure the coupling problem! There are video's on youtube on how to change out a neutral drain kit on a Whirlpool/Kenmore Direct Drive transmission. Let me know how you make out!
« Last Edit: October 05, 2021, 09:56:23 AM by Blaiser »

Offline eric8324

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Re: Direct drive coupler fails every couple of years
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2021, 09:22:33 PM »
Thanks for the advice! It does spin and drain at the same time (slowly at first, then faster as the water empties out). I'll look for drain kit replacement videos. Also thanks for the tip  about the metal center in the coupling, the part I used does have it.

One more question if you don't mind: while watching the washer spin, I noticed something else: for a few seconds during the spin cycle (the real spinning I think: after it drains and stops for a second), the water inlet turns on. Not for very long mind you, but it doesn't seem normal! Does it sound like a bad contact in the timer ?

Offline Blaiser

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Re: Direct drive coupler fails every couple of years
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2021, 07:01:00 AM »
No that's normal it adds water to balance the load in the event that all the laundry is on one side of the machine so it does not bang and go off-balance. Water is added as a lubricant in the beginning of the final spin cycle for about 1 minute - it adjusts the clothes and lets centrifugal force re-distribute them while spinning.


It sounds like you have a bad neutral drain that needs to replaced. While your at it replace the clutch with a 6 pad clutch for under $15. (just google whirlpool 6 pad clutch). The 6 pad clutch has 6 gripping clutch pads instead of 3 - more biting power! All the commercial washers have these. Stock machines only come with 3 pad clutches!


Let me know how you make out!