Fixing the GE WBVH6240 front-loading washing machine with Hanning pump
Contents: pump problems • shock absorbers • out of balance • modes • gasket • diagnostics
WARNING: Do not put too much time or money into this machine. In my experience, GE does not honor its drum warranty, and the drum is very likely to separate from the support after around five-six years. When this happens, you have a large expensive piece of trash. This means you should not bother replacing expensive items like seals or bearings after four years, because you will need a new washing machine very soon anyway — unless you can get GE to supply you with a new drum assembly. Good luck with that.
Recently, our front-loading GE WBVH6240 washing machine (essentially the same as the GE WBVH6260 and GE WHDVH626) stopped pumping out water, leaving the machine filled with soapy suds. Internet research showed that the solution was to pop off the front panel, open a drain, and then take apart the motor. Fixing it took much longer than it should have, because we could not find any photos or clear instructions as to where the screws and cleavage points were. Therefore, I'm posting some instructions with photos, with due credit for the basic process to http://forum.appliancepartspros.com/washer-repair/1482-ge-front-load-washer-wont-drain.html
Ours came without any serial number or model number label on the side or back. We got the model number by looking it up in the manual, matching the drawing to the machine.
First, a word on the pump. This is a DP40-018 Hanning Elektro Werke design - you won’t find that on the Internet easily. However, a search led me to hanning.de, which sells this assembly under the Hanning DP40 label. I suspect you can find a reseller eventually, for the pump itself; the rest of the assembly is unlikely to ever be damaged. The pump is made in China but we’re assured of Quality German Supervision (those of us who have relatives with Volkswagen and Mercedes cars are no longer convinced that German Supervision and Quality belong in the same sentence... come to think of it, Chrysler quality fell under Genuine German Supervision and rose again when German Supervision ended...).
The working parts of the machine are accessible once you’ve removed the front panel. Underneath the front of the machine, if you bend down far enough, you can see three white-painted screws. Use a good, standard Philips screwdriver on these (#2 in our case). Get a good amount of pressure on the screws before turning because GE was foolish enough to get paint into the working part of the screw (that is, the cross-hatch), and you don't want to strip these. They are not that hard to get out, but again, you don’t want to strip them. Take out the three screws, pull off the panel, and you can see everything.
The pump is on the right-hand side, right in front. Get a big bucket - preferably several - and open up the drain valve (righty-tighty, left-loosey, so go counter-clockwise to open it). Gallons of water will shoot out along with whatever rubbish is in the machine - pebbles from your child, emory boards from your wife, coin-batteries, small change, etc. This in itself may solve your problem! but we might as well check the pump.
The pump screws are invisible unless you've taken off the hoses from the pump. There are two of these, and if you take them off before you drain the tub, you will have pretty well damaged the inside of your washer. Try to catch the water that comes out when you take off the hoses. My system is to use a locking pliers (vise-grips) to compress the two parts of the clip together - set the vise-grips so the two parts of the clip will just about touch each other. That will give you enough wiggle room to slide off the hose, gently, while holding the clip loose (there are tools designed just for this that are probably better). Do not let the clip come back together over the hose. Gently open up the vise-grips once you're out of the washer and drop the clamp somewhere. Remember which clamp belongs to which hose (there are two hoses). Also remember which hose goes to which part of the pump. You should really be writing this down or something as you go. Photos of inside-the-washer are difficult to get.
Now, you should be able to see one of the screws. It's a bit of a job to get the screwdriver vertical over the screws, but you can do it. Do not try to hold the screwdriver at an angle; you really do not want to strip these screws and you don’t have to. They are not in very tight, and should come right out. One screw is pretty far to the left; the other is roughly in the middle of the pump; they are both on the far side of the pump and screw it down to the floor of the washer. Don’t try for the screws that hold the two parts of the pump together. The pump includes the drain-pipe! It’s all one assembly and it’s sold that way by Hanning. You can see it in the illustration at the top of this page. The pump is held in place by fairly firm supports that, when you look at it from the front of the washer, are behind the pump/pipe assembly.
To get the wires off, -- remembering which side each color wire is on! -- squeeze hard and pull carefully, working each terminal off, but without using so much force that you might break something or, when it releases, slam your hand into the sharp metal edge. Pull at the terminal, not at the wire - you don't want to break these, either, unless you like using solder guns in tight spots. Now you can gently push the pump/pipe assembly back, so that the white stubs on the drain-pipe clear the little rubber washer things, and when it’s free carefully lift it out of the washer.
Okay, now the pump is out. First, find the three visible screws that hold the motor to the pipe assembly (two of them are visible in the first photo, partly unscrewed), get a laundry marker, and mark the plastic where the screws go in so that when you re-assemble, you don’t have to figure out which holes they go into. Then separate the two parts of the pump - the motor and the rest of it - by undoing the three screws. We kept using our #2 Philips but a #1 might fit better; the screws came right out so it wasn’t an issue. And look what we found: a safety pin blocking the impeller (the moving part) from moving! No wonder the pump was warm. (If the pump is not warm, that indicates no current reaching it. However, on this washer, the pump does tend to get blocked more than anything else.)
A new pump will run you at least $170, probably more, from GE, so it’s well worth taking it apart and fixing it yourself, especially with service calls at $70 per hour.
I tried to get some of the lint out, with moderate success. This is a badly sealed pump and frankly I'm not impressed by the filter design, either. Someone got cheap in the engineering process and did not consider that owners do not want to take their pumps out every two years. Be careful with what you put into the machine!
When you re-assemble the pump, make sure you put the screws back into the holes that have threads.
Putting everything back was easy enough - be careful about pushing the white stubs into the black washer things (for the drain-pipe), and you may find the wires a little short, but it’s easier than getting it out. I had a photo of what the pump looked like before I took it apart, and now you do to, so you can easily put it back together the right way. The hardest part of getting everything back together was wiping up the water that spilled from the hose, and then getting the outer lid back on without someone to hold it in place.
We started getting a loud clicking noise every time the drum rotated, especially on relatively unbalanced loads (e.g. white laundry including a big heavy towel). A repairman who was visiting to fix our KitchenAid dishwasher under warranty kindly diagnosed it as one bad “damper,” or shock absorber.
I ordered two of these; they come with replacement clips as well. They seem pretty light duty for something that gets flexed constantly while the machine is in operation, and are very light. Watching the machine I saw that the noisy shock was the one all the way in back, on the left (as you face the washer).
The parts cost around $35 through Amazon. I believe they are WH01X10343 but I could be wrong.
The way this works is you first use a monkey wrench to grab the top of the existing shock, turn it clockwise by 90 degrees, and gently pull it out of the tub; then you somehow get the holding pin out and put the new shock in.
- Make sure you have a six inch adjustable (monkey) wrench that can open to 7/8” or just larger. I had to buy a new one though I already had two monkey wrenches; I got an American-made one at Sears that seems better made (less play in the gear) than my existing ones. The size difference was quite small. (Test it on the new shock if you’re in doubt).
- Remove the lower front panel.
- This would be a good time to get replacement screws and sand any rusty spots, covering them with rustproofing primer, e.g. Rustoleum.
- Clear out the drain while you’re here.
- If you are removing the rear left shock, remove the single visible screw which holds in the big silver box (“inverter”) and then slide the box towards the back of the washer, away from you. This is a bit counter-intuitive but that’s how it goes. Then gently move the box onto the floor in the middle of the washer.
- This is a good time to have a portable CFL-equipped light in the washer with you so you can see what you’re doing. Why a CFL? So you won’t burn yourself or anything else.
- Get the monkey wrench fully onto the top of the old damper/shock. It should be as far on as it can get and as tight as it can reasonably be. This is probably the hardest part. It should only be touching the grey part on top.
- Turn clockwise by 90 degrees. It will require some muscle or force, especially the first bit and the last bit of the turn. You may not be able to use the wrench to get it all the way off. You may have to use your fingers because the wrench probably will not fit in the machine when the shock is turned 90°!
- Gently pull down the shock so it leaves the opening in the tub.
- Look at the new pin. Notice how there's a little flap you can gently push in. Push it in and while you’re doing that, push the pin into the hole. Once you get it in a little bit so you the flap doesn’t pop out, you can use a small hammer to push the pin the rest of the way.
- The new shock goes up into the tub first. Ignore the directions where it says to use the monkey wrench if it won’t fit; this is easy to do with your fingers, it requires very little pressure to turn it 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Then gently turn the bottom of the shock so it fits into the mount, and put in the new pin the same way the old one went.
For the front left shock, it’s similar except easier to reach and harder to get the pin out, because the flap is facing the other way. You can turn the pin to get the flap to the right spot. I ended up brute forcing it out with a vice-grips. Don’t do that if you can avoid it! I just could not get the flap on the pin down. The front pins seem to be put in backwards to make them harder to remove.
For the right hand shocks or dampers, the process is similar but with less space and a hose in the way. Sorry, no pics.
If your shock absorbers (dampers) are all good, your machine is at least five years old, and it makes a rattling noise as it spins, with slightly vibration visible on the shocks, the problem is probably corroded spider gears. These are made of a cheap aluminum alloy, and are a known problem on customer forums. The issue is “the spindle that connects the drum to the shaft that goes thru the outer tub and connects the pulley;” the arms break off. Frigidaires have the same problem.
Bearings apparently hum, growl, or whistle, with basket wobble; “slam, slam, slam” is the spindle/spider bracket, costing around $400-$500 plus installation (it is only sold by GE with the tub, but may be covered by warranty — a ten year warranty). On these machines, that is probably more money than one would want to put in, especially because it is a very hard job to replace it, and the door seal will probably have to be replaced as it gets damaged in disassembly. The door seal is a job in itself.
To see the drum spider, you need to remove the rear access panel. Take out the drum pulley, then the nut and C-clip; pull the drum out the front. To take out the springs, depress them on the pin side.
Out of balance problems
A number of these washers have out of balance problems... caused by using the company’s $400 bases. We built a two-foot-high platform using blocks and cement. It provides greater stability than a wood floor, and seems to make a huge difference. We also balanced the machine carefully, which the installers did not do; and since it moves a little from time to time, rebalancing helps if you don't have a perfectly even surface.
Andy Bare wrote:
Hi, I found your site trying to fix our washer. The wife said the front seal twisted on it. It did look all twisted but when I undid the lip of the seal I realized that the washing drum was hanging about 4 inches below where it should. I took the top off the washer using your instructions and found one of the two black springs on top had broken on the right side. It is about $10 plus shipping. It was pretty hard to get back on as I had to lift the washing drum and pull on the spring to stretch it a little to get it on. Probably would have been much easier to do with two people [or perhaps a small hydraulic jack?]. (GE WH05X10009 Suspension Spring from Amazon)
What the #@$&*^! are all those modes?
Tap Cold means it takes cold water from your tap at exactly the normal temperature; with the standard Cold setting, it heats your water to 80°F by mixing cold water with hot water. Warm water is mixed to 105° (hot goes up to 160° if your water heater can deal with it).
If you were wondering what “easy care” means, it means “wrinkle-free / permanent press.” Active wear covers items like Spandex.
The low spin speed will take clothing up to 525 rpm; medium goes to 750 rpm; and high goes to 1,000 rpm. These numbers don’t apply to delicates, which hit a mere 350 rpm low, 450 rpm medium, and 525 rpm on high.
If the machine finds that the load isn’t balanced, it will slow the spin speed down to the highest possible point and increase spin time to compensate. First, though, it’ll try to rebalance the load by slowing down, tumbling the load for a while, and trying high speeds again. If five tumbles fail to work, the spin speed will go to the highest speed that worked without problems (or 90 rpm, whichever is faster).
Replacing the gray plastic tub gasket
The tub gasket is the big gray thing that keeps all the water in; it's held onto the front panel by a spring and wire in the gasket fold, and to the outer tub lip with a wire and bolt.
First, remove the front panel — remove the plastic fairing in back (it rolls out toward the back of the machine), then remove the top steel panel by removing the three sheet metal screws in back. Slide the top sheet metal cover back, then lift it out of the way (watch out for the sharp edges). Remove the remaining two screws on the back of the control panel and one screw on the soap dispenser cover.
Looking at the control panel from the front, remove it from left to right, then fold up and secure it to the top of the machine with an easily removeable tape. Remove all outer perimeter screws around the front panel, and lift it up and off. Unplug three connectors, and set the front panel aside.
Pull down the gasket gently so it separates from the nozzle (coming from above), and remove the nozzle from the hose. Make sure the washer is on the outside and that the nozzle is lined up with the indent on the inside part of the gasket.
Now, separate the gasket from the water inlet pipe; then loosen the bolt (7 mm) that holds the wire to the tub, shown above.
Take the wire and bolt off of the gasket. Now you can pull the tub gasket off.
To install the new tub gasket, first make sure to align the notch in the gasket with the arrow on top of the tub; only after you do that can you reinstall the wire/bolt assembly, tightening to a gap (within the two bracket ends) of exactly 1.25 inches. The book warns you to not overtighten this.
Re-insert the water inlet pipe and the nozzle, making sure to have the washer and gasket as they were before.
If you do this yourself, please send me any additions you may have. I haven't gotten to that point yet — I thought I'd have to do it, but I didn't. I discovered that my wife was putting in liquid detergent (I use powder to save on packaging and cost) before adding the laundy, so that the detergent dripped out of the machine... and I'd thought that was a seal problem!
GE washing machine diagnostics (WBVH6240, WBVH6260, and WHDVH626)
GE has an extensive list of test codes in their technical service bulletin issued in December 2005. For copyright reasons, we cannot reprint these (buy one yourself!). However, we can tell you how to read the error codes.
General Electric prints a warning that you should never test by unplugging components, since this can damage connections or other systems. The machine must be in idle mode, with water pumped out and all cycles ended. If the water level switch shows that water remains in the machine, you cannot enter test mode.
To get there, first read this: if the power goes off during test mode, the washer will be locked with bad consequences. Now, to be in test mode, press Power to shut off the machine; remove power to the machine for 30 seconds; and then, after plugging the machine back in, within 30 seconds...
- Press Signal
- Press Delay Start
- Press Signal
- Press Delay Start
The door will now lock and t01 will appear; the washer will now spend some time testing everything, resetting after two hours (so don’t just set it to test and come back the next day). Once you have a result from the test process, which includes standard computer self-checking, pumping to various fill levels, operating various valves and motors, and timing itself as it pumps water out and such, as far as I can tell the machine will show error codes starting with the letter E. There are many faults possible, such as problems with the drain pump, too much electrical draw from various components, slow filling, etc. The test mode also allows testing of individual components so if you suspect a problem, you don't need to waste water and time this way.
To exit test mode, simply follow steps 1-4 above. If you use this mode, you really need the service bulletin, though.