Thread Number: 90382  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Kenmore DD Neutral drain issue
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Post# 1149426   5/24/2022 at 15:03 (700 days old) by norgechef (Saint George New Brunswick )        

I have a Kenmore direct drive that is very finicky about when it will do a neutral drain. I have found that it will only do a neutral drain on a fast/fast cycle. If slow agitation is used, it will not engage. And fast agitation or not, it has to run the “extra” 14 minute wash cycle, plus a pre-wash (I don’t drain the pre-wash water) for it to engage, it’s almost like it has to “warm up” enough to work, which is fine by me because that’s the cycle I usually use anyways as I only wash XL heavily soiled loads. 18 minutes is the minimum of what is required to get out tough stains imo. Sometimes I give it an extra 4 on top of the 18. Don’t even understand why 14 minutes is considered “extra”. That should be normal, for XL loads anyways. Maytag Atlantis machines had a 35 minute timer programmed agitation for the extra heavy cycle when you added pre-wash.

Side note- Never had a shredding/holes or excessive wear issue I must say, not sure why so many people call these “shredmores”. It’s gentler than an LG top loader I used to own even on fast speed agitation.

Anyways, once in a while washing delicates or bedding when a lower water level is used and I use slow agitation, no matter how long the wash cycle, neutral drain will not engage. This is frustrating because the softener will dispense too early if it missed the neutral drain. I thought the neutral drain packs on these washers either worked, or they didn’t. Clearly that’s not the case with mine. Also have found the machine leaks, only very seldom, on large unbalanced loads. Doesn’t happen often and I can’t find the source, so I’ll leave it be unless it becomes a regular occurrence.





Post# 1149427 , Reply# 1   5/24/2022 at 15:11 (700 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
 
The fix is servicing the transmission with a neutral drain kit.


Post# 1149428 , Reply# 2   5/24/2022 at 15:20 (700 days old) by norgechef (Saint George New Brunswick )        
I think if the neutral drain kit goes completely

Unless I have to get down there to replace the drive coupler, transmission itself or the clutch I’ll just leave it be. I rather like spin-drains, it’s just annoying since the softener dispenser will be useless once it goes. Still very rare that it will happen however.

Here are some pics of the machines. It’s a set. Refurbished (new coupler with clutch and agitator dogs is what the guy who did the refurbishment said. They appear very new. Dryer drum still white with no staining. No rust. Quite rare I think, have never seen ones with the wording and decals like this on the control panels. 1996 Canadian Kenmores. Still trying to figure out why instead of “off” there is grey and a red “H” in place of an off indicator. Also the “S” heat on the dryer console. Have no idea what that means.


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Post# 1149429 , Reply# 3   5/24/2022 at 15:27 (700 days old) by norgechef (Saint George New Brunswick )        
I think if the neutral drain kit goes completely

Unless I have to get down there to replace the drive coupler, transmission itself or the clutch I’ll just leave it be. I rather like spin-drains, it’s just annoying since the softener dispenser will be useless once it goes. Still very rare that it will happen however.

Here are some pics of the machines. It’s a set. Refurbished (new coupler with clutch and agitator dogs is what the guy who did the refurbishment said. They appear very new. Dryer drum still white with no staining. No rust. Quite rare I think, have never seen ones with the wording and decals like this on the control panels. 1996 Canadian Kenmores. Still trying to figure out why instead of “off” there is grey and a red “H” in place of an off indicator. Also the “S” heat on the dryer console. Have no idea what that means.


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Post# 1149432 , Reply# 4   5/24/2022 at 16:10 (700 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
 
Your neutral drain technically is already failed since it's not working consistently.  Improper function of the centrifugal softener dispenser is perhaps the main problem it causes.

"S" Heat presumably is a reference to Kenmore's Soft Heat feature.  It (originally as designed) reduces the heat input level and/or reduces the drum air temperature for more gentle treatment as the load progresses toward dryness.  A 1990s model dryer may function in a different (simplified) way regards to that feature.

The timer markings probably are just a design variation for different market areas.  The red H symbol is not clear in the photos.  Large images as are produced by phones nowadays are shrunk to a maximum of 900px on the longest dimension when uploaded into a post and may be displayed smaller, which often makes them grainy and pixelated.


Post# 1149448 , Reply# 5   5/24/2022 at 17:55 (700 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Soft Heat on your dryer means the last 5 minutes before the cool down, the heat is reduced to low/delicate.

I found a solution that worked in my situation when the neutral drain began to fail on my 1986 DD Kenmore. I'd do a load of wash that had a high spin speed. I'd start the next load immediately after the first load finished using a gentle agitation and the neutral drain worked properly. Another approach I would take is take the machine through the 2 minute drain(which was actually spinning) and the following 6 minute spin on the normal cycle. Then immediately begin my delicate cycle after putting the laundry load in there. It seemed to warm up the transmission and allowed the neutral drain to work properly also. It's worth a try.


Post# 1149472 , Reply# 6   5/25/2022 at 02:41 (700 days old) by norgechef (Saint George New Brunswick )        
Interesting stuff...thanks for the info guys.

I am surprisingly new (late to the party) when it comes to DD machines of my own. Besides a low-end Roper DD made in 1998 which had a straight vane agitator, smaller capacity (not sure of drum size, but was a 24 inch model) and not even a bleach or softener dispenser on it, that came with a house I bought in 2011, I immediately replaced it after a few loads with a Maytag Performa/norgetag-style machine as I needed the huge capacity, better cleaning and features. Along with just being super familiar with them and the more quiet wash action.

So I thought to myself a few months ago as the snubber balance ring was failing on my daily driver the Maytag Performa, it's an involved repair on an old machine that I've done before on a few different machines and did not care to do it a 5th-6th time, I might as well try a direct drive after avoiding them all these years, since parts are so plentiful and cheap, and literally EVERY SINGLE refurbished appliance seller recommends them, whereas not so much with the Performa/Atlantis platform machines. So far, haven't regretted the switch too much.

I do wish Whirlpool would of designed the neutral drain packs to be a bit more reliable as the same as the rest of the components in the machine. I've seen them fail in others washers without a whole lot of heavy use. But if it starts to get really bad, I may use some of the advice you've provided. The only thing, I like to let all the washers and dishwashers I've ever owned (not so much a dryer) cool down after each load for 45-60 mins or more to extend the life of the motor and transmission, etc. Find they get more noisy from running hot when used for one load after another consecutively. So running one cycle after another without a cool-down probably just wouldn't set right with me.


Post# 1149499 , Reply# 7   5/25/2022 at 10:26 (700 days old) by philcobendixduo (San Jose)        
Neutral drain.....

philcobendixduo's profile picture
.....on my 1987 Kenmore seems to not work when there is a light load in the tub.
Washing towels, jeans, sweatshirts and the the like - neutral drain works fine.
Washing thin, light fabrics or small load - neutral drain likely to not work.
On the "spin only" cycle, the neutral drain never works since there is no water in the tub to "weight" it.
The first action in the "spin only" cycle is to drain the tub but spinning starts right away instead.
I can live with it the way it is now. Machine has been in service since 1987 with no repairs.
I will say that when the machine "spin drains", it dislodges a LOT of lint from somewhere and deposits it on the clothes and the wash basket making a huge mess!



Post# 1149506 , Reply# 8   5/25/2022 at 11:56 (700 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
 
Weight of clothes in the basket has absolutely 100% no relation to neutral drain function.


Post# 1149511 , Reply# 9   5/25/2022 at 12:56 (700 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
It sounds like these machines properly neutral drain once the oil thins out a bit when they begin to wear. I wonder if using a 75/90 synthetic oil would prolong the neutral drain feature?

Post# 1149533 , Reply# 10   5/25/2022 at 16:35 (699 days old) by Jben (AL)        
I would not go that thin...

If you are anyone wants to try an oil change I'd go 85/90.

I would be interested if it helped with the ND, however if the machine is going to be used often I would spend another 30 minutes after you get the top cover off and just install the new ND kit.







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Post# 1149540 , Reply# 11   5/25/2022 at 18:32 (699 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

maytag85's profile picture
As much as the direct drives are a favorite of mine, seems like a lot of them are having chronic issues with the neutral drain failing and since Whirlpool made the neutral drain kit NLA, I don’t see many being left in the future other than collectors/enthusiasts/ or anyone who takes really good care of their appliances.

The neutral drain never fails on the belt drive washers (older belt drive washers) since everything for the neutral drain is external and it’d be obvious if it weren’t working since the tub would be spinning while agitating.


Post# 1149549 , Reply# 12   5/25/2022 at 20:18 (699 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
 
Neutral Drain Kit P/N 388253A is not NLA at this time.

Among other sources ...

PartsDr

AppliancePartsPros

RepairClinic

PartSelect

VirginiaServiceSupply

GenuineApplianceParts

ApplianceParts365

Encompass

WhirlpoolParts


Post# 1149594 , Reply# 13   5/26/2022 at 15:10 (698 days old) by norgechef (Saint George New Brunswick )        
Of all machines that do a neutral drain

Which is almost all now, with the exception of some Speed Queens, I have never heard of such a complex set-up in a washer. Why they didn’t just use an electric pump to begin with or use some other way to provide a neutral drain function puzzles me. Maybe Whirlpool didn’t foresee the neutral drain packs being a weak spot. Still seems like a strange addition of parts that do not need to be there, given the technology the appliance world had at the time to use another method of providing neutral drains. One that is fail-safe.

Just a huge annoyance they never bothered to do upgrades to. You shouldn’t have to tear the machine apart and deal with opening up the transmission/gear case to get it to drain properly. At the very least, they could of made the neutral drain external like the clutch. Who wants to deal with that mess of gear oil, etc just for that? And then maybe god forbid get it all back together and have a crucial component in the gear case fail within a few months or a year…

I contacted the guy who refurbished this machine to let him know the neutral drain wasn’t working properly and he said that function isn’t necessary and they don’t even check to see if they still work as it’s a waste of time, unless the transmission itself needs to be replaced they don’t bother. Wonder if another appliance repair person would have a different opinion. I just like things to work exactly as they should, but really don’t feel like doing that myself. Or paying a repairman an arm and a leg to do it for me. That is, if they’d even bother. Probably would tell me to use it as is. Id be more inclined to just replace the entire transmission at the age of the machine now. Wouldn’t be as messy and more straight forward.


Post# 1149596 , Reply# 14   5/26/2022 at 15:27 (698 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

repairguy's profile picture
As someone who has repaired and sold many many direct drive whirlpool built machines over the last 30 years I have only replaced a few neutral drain assemblies. The gearcase has always been reasonable in price and it’s just too easy to change the whole thing. I can have the job done in 30 minutes with no mess. That being said the new gearcases simply aren’t built like they used to be due to worn out machinery that casts them.

I’ll still install new ones with the lesser quality before I’ll change the neutral drain assembly. The time factor just doesn’t work out for me to do so. Most of the so called rebuilders that are left simply install a new clutch and let them spin drain because it’s just so easy and quick to do and they don’t replace the spin tube seal when doing so but I do.



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