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A washing machine is a device that basically does four things: it mixes hot and cold water, agitates this water with detergent and soiled clothing in a large tub, rinses the clothing in fresh water, then spins it damp-dry.

The mixture and flow of hot and cold water into the tub are controlled electromagnetically by inlet valves. An agitator washes the clothes by rotating back and forth and is drive by a motor and transmission. The water is wrung out by spinning at a faster speed. The motor might drive the
transmission directly or by means of a belt. Water is recirculated through a lint filter during the wash cycle by a pump, which then empties the tub for a spin cycle. The sequence is controlled by a timer and selector switches.

If the machine does not seem to be washing properly, check the owner's manual to make sure you are using it properly. Should you need to attempt your own repairs, unplug the power cord, turn off the water faucets and drain or bail out any tub or hose water.

Control panel

If the timer, temperature selector switch or water level switch do not seem to be functioning properly, test each with a Volt Ohm Meter (VOM). But first check the water level air hose that is connected to the water level switch for deterioration or a loose connection. Check all controls for corroded terminals and clean with emery paper.

Water inlet hoses and valve

These are commonly the cause of water flow or temperature problems. But also make sure your water heater is delivering water that is hot enough. Sufficient water pressure is another item to check for. If it seems low, have it checked by the water company or have a plumber check for an obstructed pipe.

The tub and agitator

Leaks can often be caused by a bad gasket around the agitator driveshaft. To replace, remove the agitator, splash guard, basket and tub. Many are the single unit type held by a nut or bolt under a cap. Some have a side screw.
If the agitator or tub is difficult to remove, use a penetrating oil and tap the edges with a rubber mallet.

a.. Lift off the softener dispenser or pry off the agitator lid. Remove the stud and seal.
b.. Lift out the agitator.
c.. Remove the splash guard by prying off the metal clips with a screwdriver. Replace the gasket under the guard if it looks rotted or cracked.
d.. Wear safety goggles and gloves to remove the locknut by tapping with a hammer and drift punch. Be careful not to hit the basket.
e.. Remove basket by carefully lifting it straight up.
f.. Unclamp and remove the drain hose and water level air hose from the tub.
g.. Again with safety goggles, use locking pliers to remove the springs at the bottom of the tub. Label the spring brackets (so you know where to replace them), then unscrew the brackets and tub from the frame.
h.. Take the metal drive block off the agitator shaft. If stubborn, heat it with a propane torch and tap upward with a hammer.
i.. Rock the tub side to side and pull up. Squeeze the gasket and push it out of the bottom.
j.. Replace gasket and reinstall tub.

Motor components

The motor drives the drain pump, and through the transmission, the agitator and basket. Motor problems can be caused by the capacitor, which helps the motor start; or the centrifugal switch, which distributes power to the start and run windings on the motor. Test these with a Volt Ohm Meter. If you can't isolate the source of the motor problem, remove it and take it to a repair shop for a more complete test.

Belt drive washers

Many washers, especially older ones, are belt-driven. On many models, there are no other parts in the way and the belt can be accessed simply by laying the machine on its back. Other models require the removal of several parts. Sometimes the belt just needs to be tightened, or depending on its condition, completely replaced.

To adjust:

a.. Open rear access panel
b.. Loosen mounting bolt
c.. Move motor until belt deflects + inch when pushed in
d.. Retighten bolt

To replace:

a.. Loosen tension on belt using above procedure
b.. Lay machine on its back
c.. Remove bolts holding pump and braces
d.. The front support posts has a spacer. Remove the bolt holding the post and take out the spacer. Then unhook and remove the nearby clutch spring.
e.. Rotate the main belt pulley until the cam bar begins to move out of the clutch shaft.
f.. Lift the plunger on the wigwag
g.. Using a large screwdriver as a lever, force the bar out of the shaft completely.
h.. Remove the shaft
i.. Rotate the pulley to remove the cam bar back to its former position.
j.. Slip the belt out
k.. Put the new belt on the pulleys
l.. Reassemble parts, set machine upright and tighten belt tension.
If you have any other problems, or problems with these tips, contact a qualified repairman.