Thread Number: 82581  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Faulty Motor ?
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Post# 1066754   4/10/2020 at 11:50 (1,078 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hey there everyone. I have an Admiral LATA401AGE t/l washer. I have never had a bit of trouble with it...apart from now. Sometimes the motor works and sometimes it sounds as if its struggling and other times it doesn't move. It just makes a buzzing sound. Do I need a new motor ?



Post# 1066854 , Reply# 1   4/11/2020 at 06:05 (1,077 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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Hi John.  Two things are needed for the motor to start.  One is the centrifugal start/run switch inside the motor.  If it sticks in the 'run' position, 'start' doesn't happen.  When it is getting sticky, one time it may start and the next time it may not.


The other depends on the mechanical configuration of your machine (which I don't know).  Typical newer washers use a reversible motor; forward for agitate and reverse for drain/spin.  There would be a pause in between those functions when the motor does nothing for maybe 30sec. 


With the reversible motor there is a separate set of contacts in the timer for each direction.  So if the motor only has a problem in one function (agi or spin) the problem is more likely one timer contact going bad.


That's just an overview.  With more data we can narrow it down.

Post# 1066877 , Reply# 2   4/11/2020 at 07:23 (1,077 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hi there, thanks for your response. Well I have figured out that it is a reversible motor. I have just seen it stick on both agitate and spin cycles. It wont even work at all on the low agi/spin just makes a buzzing sound. It's one of those 4 speed combo washers.

Post# 1066892 , Reply# 3   4/11/2020 at 09:43 (1,077 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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OK, suggests the start/run switch inside the motor is gummed.  Are you good with tools?  The motor does come apart and the sticky mechanism can be sorted.  Or there are shops that can do it for you, if you can remove/replace it.


***Wait a tick.***  Worse on low speed?  It is probable that a single component can be weak and causing all this.  It is a common component to fail and not expensive.  It also comes out with one screw.  The wires pull off and push back on.  By far the easiest thing to try. 


Do you know what a start/run capacitor looks like?  There's one in your central air outdoor part and another in the indoor fan part.  If you have those, that is.  Otherwise, google 'start run capacitor' and have a look so when you see it you will know what it is.  The replacement must have the same numbers on it as the one you took out.  One number will be Volts (V) and the other will be MFD.  You can buy these online but only from a reputable dealer who won't sell you chinese crap.


Speaking of chinese crap, that's probably why yours failed.  Good ones can last 20-30yrs, but almost no appliance mfr uses good ones any more.


There is a difference between start capacitors, which only operate briefly at startup, and run capacitors which are engaged all the runtime.  Run capacitors must be sturdier because they are always on.  Best bet would be buy the exact part from a dealer.  Although it will still be chinese crap and quit again a couple years down the road like this one did, you don't need to futz with whether you have the right type or not.

This post was last edited 04/11/2020 at 10:05
Post# 1066897 , Reply# 4   4/11/2020 at 10:30 (1,077 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Parts diagrams doesn't show a capacitor unless it's not shown for being part/parcel of the motor.  The motor is tagged as NLA.  The start switch is shown to be separate (mounts to the bottom of the motor, which mounts upside down into the baseplate) but is also tagged NLA.  Which doesn't mean a motor or start switch couldn't be found, either used or new-old-stock, via searching appliance servicers and eBay.

Post# 1066903 , Reply# 5   4/11/2020 at 11:26 (1,077 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hi guys, I have checked the start motor switch on top of the motor. I cleaned all the terminals and put it back together again. I am now wondering if something is jamming in the agitator / spin transmission.

Post# 1066905 , Reply# 6   4/11/2020 at 11:32 (1,077 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Take the belt off and start/top the motor numerous times on spin at both speeds, see if it works consistently or not.

Check if the pump pulley turns freely and consistently.  An aunt had a similar Maytag model that went to making an occasional grinding noise that got worse until the machine seized.  Thought it was a bad transmission ... turned out to be a bad pump.

Post# 1066923 , Reply# 7   4/11/2020 at 14:19 (1,077 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Ok...I have run the machine without the belt on a spin cycle. Seems fine. I have taken the pump out, cleaned it all out and checked to see if it rotates freely, which it does. I have now reconnected the belt and put it on agitate then spin. Works fine on the normal speed. Changed the speed to low speed agitation/ spin and the motor has stuck again.

Post# 1066976 , Reply# 8   4/11/2020 at 21:26 (1,076 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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External start switch?  Honestly didn't know there was such thing.  I'm over my head on this model.


Still sounds like capacitor.  My furnace blower did this, start on high but not on low. 

BUT, I found a diagram showing LATA401AG has none.


If you can follow wiring diagram, perhaps find a problem with the speed switch

or read continuity through the motor on all 3 coils (start, fast, slow).

This post was last edited 04/11/2020 at 21:44
Post# 1067018 , Reply# 9   4/12/2020 at 05:11 (1,076 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Yeah, I saw the parts diagram for this model. It does have a capacitor mounted on the motor and yet it does not show you this in the parts diagram.

Post# 1067026 , Reply# 10   4/12/2020 at 06:20 (1,076 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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I smell conspiracy to sell you a whole new machine when a known high-failure part goes bad.  Not that that helps fix it.


The symptom points pretty clearly to that capacitor.  Now it's just a matter of figuring out what the value is and shopping for a new one.  The good news is you will have plenty of choices and it's not expensive.


Oh, we do know now (from the diagram) it is a start (not run) capacitor.  Makes it cheaper and less critical.


Hey Johnny, you're good at this.

Post# 1067029 , Reply# 11   4/12/2020 at 07:08 (1,076 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Lol...thanks man.I will have a look online and see what I can come up with. Thanks again for all your help. Much appreciated.

Post# 1067045 , Reply# 12   4/12/2020 at 09:34 (1,076 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

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Happy to jump in.  You made it easy, already had hands on and the important observations.

Post# 1067051 , Reply# 13   4/12/2020 at 10:33 (1,076 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Get you a .....

new start capacitor from ebay and try that. Sounds like it is weak. A cheap item to swap out and eliminate that possibility. I'll bet a dollar its a bad start cap, since I've had one go bad before and the symptoms sound the same.

This post was last edited 04/12/2020 at 10:49
Post# 1067059 , Reply# 14   4/12/2020 at 11:38 (1,076 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
No Low Speed Motor Operation

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Hi John, Does the motor just stall when you switch it from hi-speed to low when it is running ?


This type of motor always starts on hi speed even when the machine is set to low, when the centrifugal Sw opens the contact to the start winding it also switches out the high speed winding and completes the circuit to the low speed winding, this is more likely a motor or CS problem, the start cap does does make any difference, in fact the washer will run with the cap bypassed, it will just struggle to start under heavy load or low voltage conditions without it.


John L.

Post# 1067064 , Reply# 15   4/12/2020 at 12:26 (1,076 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hi John L. Yes, when you switch from hi agi/spin to low agi/spin, the motor comes to a halt and just makes a humming, buzzing sound. I really dont want to get rid of this washer as it has been in the family

Post# 1067095 , Reply# 16   4/12/2020 at 16:35 (1,075 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
You asked for help, here goes ......

Since it buzzes on low agi/spin ...  it sounds like the fast and slow windings are both energized at the same time when low agi/spin is selected. This will essentially halt the motor and just buzz. 


The start winding is actually what determines the rotation at start, CW or CCW.  The timer, as called for, switches the polarity to the start winding and either causes the motor to start to turn CW or CCW.  Motor at rest, the start switch (after terminal #4) is closed and supplies power to the capacitor and start winding circuit.  As the motor spins up the start switch disconnects the start capacitor and start winding.  The start windings really should be called "phase" winding. It starts the motor spinning in the direction called for,  and adds added torque to the motor until a certain RPM is obtained, ..... then is de-energized.


The other switch as seen on term #5 of the motor in the schematic (pic 1) is switched based on the rotation of the motor. When the motor is spinning CCW pin #5 is switched to the 6PM or slow speed winding. When the motor is spinning CW pin #5 is switched to the 4PM or fast speed winding.  Both the timer and speed switch can bypass this rotation switch to the 4PM fast winding.


Based on the info above, the buzzing is most likely being caused by the speed selector switch .... where 66 and 67 are stuck in the closed position all the time. Should be open when speed switch is on low and closed only when speed switch is on hi, (meaning why it works on hi but not low).


To test,  get the washer going in hi speed spin.  Then remove the yellow wire from term #32 (pic 2) on the timer and quickly (before spinning tub stops) move the speed selector switch to slow. If it runs correctly in slow .... the speed switch is the problem.  If it dies, the slow speed winding is bad OR the rotation switch is not supplying power from pin #5 to the 6PM slow winding (but I doubt this since you say the motor buzzes).


By doing this we are testing to make sure power is only applied to the slow winding, ..... by removing "possible" power being supplied at terminal #3 to the fast winding when the speed switch is on slow (possibly due to bad speed selector switch).


And as always, do this at your own risk. The yellow wire will be hot when you pull it off term #32 of the timer. Don't let it contact anything after its removal.  Or you could add a toggle switch into the yellow wire if that seems safer for testing. The red dot represents where you would add the toggle (pic #2).


Bud - Atlanta

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size

This post was last edited 04/12/2020 at 17:20
Post# 1067116 , Reply# 17   4/12/2020 at 18:29 (1,075 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
No Low Speed Motor Operation

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It is not likely that both speeds are being energized at the same time, If both the 4 & 6 pole windings are energized at the same time the motor will still run for a minute or so, the motor will draw high amps and will either go out on overload or trip a house fuse, we see this happen fairly often.


If this is what is happening the motor will not run again till the motor overload cools down and resets, can you immediately get the washer to run again when it bogs down on low speed or does it have to rest awhile ?, If it has to cool down a while Bud may have the answer, it could either be a bad speed switch or timer.


John L.

Post# 1067157 , Reply# 18   4/13/2020 at 04:03 (1,075 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hi John, yes I usually have to leave it a minute or two before I can operate the washer again.I have been looking on Ebay to see if I can get a spare motor, but I have had no luck.

Post# 1067158 , Reply# 19   4/13/2020 at 05:28 (1,075 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Bingo ....

After looking at the schematic some more, the timer, no matter how it could possibly malfunction (meaning if contacts were stuck closed) could apply power to  both the slow and fast windings at the same time. Because the speed selector switch is in series, after the timer. A speed selector switch or a motor rotation switch malfunction could only cause this situation. 


My money is on the speed selector switch where contacts 66 and 67 are stuck closed.  Johnny45, do the test I detailed in reply #11 and you might be pleasantly  surprised to find the motor is most likely not the issue. But won't know for sure till you try it.


Also since the motor starts and runs normally on hi agi/spin, the start switch and capacitor are working correctly.

Bud - Atlanta

This post was last edited 04/13/2020 at 07:20
Post# 1067168 , Reply# 20   4/13/2020 at 07:24 (1,075 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
no Low Speed Motor Operation

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Hi John, Yes Bud is likely correct, try his tests.


This is the problem trying to figure out failures on line, this is actually a fairly common problem on AWs with multi-speed motors, I am used to diagnosing things in person.


Usually when this happens the motor sounds strange, it only continues to run for a minute or two, the cord on the washer starts to get warm. 


We had a KA washer do this on Saturday that we were working on in the shop, in our case it turned out to be the timer.


You could probably disconnect the low speed wires and tie them together with the hi speed wires and keep using the washer without the low speed feature which would not be very important to me for example.


John L.

Post# 1067182 , Reply# 21   4/13/2020 at 08:31 (1,075 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hey Bud and John L, thanks very much for the extremely helpful advice. I will try the tests and let you know how I get on. John, something you said there has came to my attention. The motor is actually making more noise than it should.

Post# 1069062 , Reply# 22   4/24/2020 at 13:51 (1,064 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hey everyone. Managed to get a new motor for my washer. Already wired up and it is running great, like it should do. Thanks everyone for their help. Much appreciated.


Post# 1069097 , Reply# 23   4/24/2020 at 19:14 (1,063 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Glad they helped you

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I've learned to do something through the years - whenever people present me with multiple potential solutions to a problem I'm having (usually with a FilterFlo), I print out all their suggestions, seal them in a zip-lock bag and tape them to the back of the washer. All too often (these machines are all well over 40 years old), another similar problem arises soon enough and hey, presto!, I've already gotten advice on it.

Post# 1069133 , Reply# 24   4/25/2020 at 04:49 (1,063 days old) by Johnny45 (Glasgow)        

Hey there. Yeah that sounds like a good plan. My washer is over 20 years old and never had a bit of trouble with it apart from recently.



Post# 1069136 , Reply# 25   4/25/2020 at 06:09 (1,063 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

arbilab's profile picture

Glad for ya Johnny and thanks for the followup.

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