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How to Diagnose Drum Problems in a Washing Machine

If your washing machine is making a louder noise than normal when in operation, there are a few possible causes. In this video eSpares explain how to diagnose and fix many of the common noises.

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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Josh from eSpares, and in this video I'm going to be showing you how to diagnose drum problems with your washing machine.

One of the most common problems that drums can develop in a washing machine is noise. This can be either when the machine is on a cycle or if the drum is just spun by hand.

Now a major factor that can cause that noise is worn bearings, here I've got a machines this one has very, very, badly worn bearings and in this one the bearings are virtually brand new. If I just reach into the drum here and spin it by hand, you can hear it makes quite a noticeable sort of grinding noise. If I do the same thing on the drum on this machine, you can hear that it's virtually silent, so that would be the first indicator of worn bearings.

A second way to check for worn bearings is seeing how much movement the drum has got that it shouldn't have. If I go to this machine and press against the top is the drum, you can see how much the drum moves away from the door seal here. But if we go over to this machine and do the same thing, you can see there's virtually no movement between the edge of the drum and the door seal. so again that's another indicator of worn bearings.

There is one final way you can check for worn bearings in the machine and you going to need to have a look at the back of it.

So I'm just going to turn this machine round, now I've taken the back panel of the machine and the first thing I can see here is a lot of rust from water that's leaked out and dripped down onto the back and that's another sign of worn bearings. If I just remove this bolt and remove this part of the motor, like so, you can see here that there is loads of rust on the insides and if I just remove this part of the bearing assembly in the middle which is already falling off, you can see that the bearings are basically falling out anyway and they should be evenly spaced all around the inside, but they’re gathered at the bottom and so again all very, very ,strong symptoms of worn bearings.

Now the bearings can be changed on a washing machine but the procedure is quite complicated it can take a very long time however there is another eSpares video available showing you how to do just that.

Now although worn drum bearings are a major factor in noisy washing machines they're not the only cause.

If you get anything trapped in the drum such as a bra wire or a zip or in fact any sort of foreign object, it’s going to catch as the drum is spinning round, so do check your drum for anything that might be trapped and causing the noise.

Similarly if you're finding that your clothes are coming out after a cycle and they're either damaged or even ripped, there's a good chance that the perforations in the drum have been damaged by a foreign object such as a bra wire, and it can actually cause the edge of the metal to lift up and catch the fabric as it's going over.

So, one of the ways that you can test is to just grab a soft cloth or an old pair of tights and just rub it very carefully all the way around the inside of the drum, and just feel for where the fabric is catching.

Now on this drum there is actually a raise in the metal here, so the perforations obviously been caught by some think like a wire, so you can just get rid of that by grabbing at a crosshead screwdriver or wooden spatula and very gently pressing down onto the metal just and even out the edge, and then you can check just by rubbing a cloth back over the top.

Also if the paddle in the drum is damaged it can either be loose or cracked it’s going to catch you clothes while they're passing over it and you going to need to replace that. You can see how to do this in another eSpares video.

Now one final thing to check is the gap between the door seal and the edge of the drum. If the gaps to big your clothes can get caught in it, and this can damage them while there going round in the machine.

Another cause of noise in your washing machine is from loose weights.

The weights are attached to the drum and they help to control any excessive movement while the drum is spinning. But if the weights become loose they can produce a very solid thumping sound and you are going to need to tighten them up.

Now I'm just going to take the top of this machine and here we have the weights on the top, and you can just check whether the weights are loose by looking at these washers that are holding it down.

If the washers are loose then it means the weight will be loose as well and if I just shake the weight you can hear it makes quite a noise sound as well, so I'm just going to tighten the screws up and that should tighten the weight back up and help to control the noise.

Now one of the ways in which the washers on the weights can become loose in a machine is by washing with an unbalanced load. Now this means that you're washing a light load but you're throwing in perhaps one heavy item such as a pair of jeans, and this means that the weights isn't spread out properly around the drum which is what causes it to shake so excessively.

Now you can resolve this by washing several heavy items in your load which means that the weight is spread out or by keeping all if your heavy items of clothing together. Now I should also point out that the drum is held in place by springs here and here, and there are also dampers underneath and these all help to control the movement the drum is allowed and you can see how to change a washing machine damper in another eSpares video.

Finally you should also make sure that the machine itself isn't rocking, if it is then you need to level out the feet on the bottom and you can do this by either unscrewing or screwing them in as necessary and just making sure that machine is nice and sturdy and it's not going to rock.

Spares for washing machines and other appliances are available on the eSpares website.

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