For the time being, my washer is working again. It might be a fluke, or due to something I did.
Notes below for reference.
Washer model: Whirlpool 2.9 Cu. Ft. High Efficiency Front Load Washer ENERGY STAR®
Model #LHW0050PQ (more specifically, LHW0050PQ5)
Manufacture date: 2007/04/06
Purchase date: 2007/August
Made in Italy (reputedly
by the company "Antonio Merloni") for Whirlpool.Use & Care guides, Parts Lists, etc.Repair Manual
Ever since getting this washer, starting it was tricky. Closing the door and pressing Start often did not suffice. I discovered a method which worked most of the time: give the door one or more small shoves in the upper right-hand quadrant. Sometimes an audible click could be heard when doing this. Then if necessary, press the Start button again.
If this worked, after a few moments, the basket would turn slightly in one direction, stop, and then turn again. Then the machine would pause for an indeterminate amount of time before letting water fill in, and starting the wash. As long as the basket had done its little turn-turn thing, I could generally assume that it had started successfully, and walk away.
The filter is in an awkward position, in the lower right corner of the washer. A shallow pan is required to catch water that drains out when the filter is removed. But that seems to be the case with most front-loaders.
Other than the above, I felt the washer did a good job. It washed fine. It spun the clothes nicely dry. We always sponge-dried the rubber gasket and the detergent drawer after each use, and left the door open so that the inside of the washer would dry out.
We did not have mold problems, nor funky smells, nor problems with the washer moving around. Nor problems with breaking counterweights, nor with smoke coming out the machine, nor flooding. Qiao's relatives have experienced all of those problems with their front-loaders! In comparison, my washer is a gem!
My washer has 2 round vents on the back side. One is connected to the top of the washer drum. I'm not sure where the other one goes to. None of the diagrams in the Repair Manual, nor in the "Use & Care" guide show these vents.
So I suspect that the original models (PQ0, PQ1, etc.) did not include these vents. They were probably added to the design later on to combat mold issues. With these vents, perhaps when the door is open, air can flow in through the front and out through the back of the machine, making the inside of the washer dry faster. Perhaps this is why I haven't had a mold problem with the washer.
2012/Nov (~5 years after purchase; 3 months after end of extended warranty) - 1st recorded instance of washer not washing correctly. The load was still wet after the cycle was done. I ran an extra Spin cycle, but even after that, the load was still dripping wet on the bottom. I checked the filter, but only water came out - it wasn't full of lint. I couldn't find any other problem. Eventually I somehow got it to work again.
2014/Jan (6.5 years after purchase) - The LED indicator was stuck on "Spin", and did not progress any further. The washer wasn't doing anything. I turned the power off in order to get the door open. The load was wet on the bottom and dry on top, as if it hadn't been washed or spun at all.
I tried to do a Spin cycle, but it kept making a chugging noise as if trying to drain the water without success. Finally I turned it off, and checked the filter. This time there was a clump of lint in it. I cleaned it out, and restarted a wash cycle. This time it worked.
2014/Feb - LED indicator was stuck on "Spin" again, and when I got the door open, the clothes were still wet. I checked the filter, but there was no lint. I did a Spin cycle. It worked again.
2014/March - The washer did its turn-turn thing, but never started washing. I turned it off and on, opened and shut the door, and restarted it. It sounded like it was starting ok, but then stopped. After a while it made the chugging/draining noise. But it didn't start washing. I turned it off and checked the filter. No blockage. I started a wash again - it let water in but never started turning/washing. I tried several times, but couldn't get it to work. I believe the cycle knob was set to "Regular/Color" the whole time; I didn't try any other cycles.
There are many reports of other people with this washer model who've had similar problems:Amazon user reviewsApplianceGuru.com #1ApplianceGuru.com #2ApplianceGuru.com #3JustAnswer.comFixya.comCNet reviews
I did the diagnostic cycle as described in the manual.
On my first attempt, I couldn't enter the diagnostic cycle - the LEDs did not all light up as they were supposed to. On my 2nd attempt, they lit up correctly.
The 1st test (with Cycle button in 6pm position) failed at first - the top LED did not go out. This was because the door was not shut right. After giving the door some shoves, the top LED went out, indicating a successful test.
I turned the cycle knob counterclockwise one position for each subsequent test.
The tests didn't match up exactly with the ones in the manual. (I believe my washer doesn't have a heating element, so that test wouldn't be applicable for my machine.)
For my 2nd Test, the washer filled with water successfully.
For my 3rd Test, the washer basket turned about 15 times in each direction, repeatedly (not matching what the manual indicated). It did this for quite a while, and I wasn't sure it would ever stop on its own. So I turned the knob to the next test. I'm not sure if interupting it like that messed up the remaining tests or not.
For my 4th Test, the washer spinned and drained successfully. When it was done, only the "Wash" LED was on (not matching what the manual indicated).
Turning the knob to the next positions didn't have any further effect.
All this at least proved that the washer was still able to turn and spin, and fill and drain; that no motor was broken.
I unplugged the machine.
I removed the top cover of the washer, and inspected the inside.
I didn't find any obviously loose connections.
I took out the Wash Selector switch. It looked fine.
I popped the Control Board out to look at its back-side. It looked fine.
I reconnected everything and replaced the cover.
I tested washing a small load of clothes without detergent.
I turned the cycle knob to "Regular/Color", and the spin knob to "Extra High".
Test failed. The machine filled with water, but it never started turning & washing.
(Ergo unplugging the washer for a while, as suggested by one of the pages I had read, wasn't enough to fix the issue.)
I turned the cycle knob to "Regular/Normal".
The washer started draining, but then continued to make the draining/humming sound a long time.
So I turned the cycle knob to "Stop".
The Start button started blinking.
I opened and closed the door.
I turned the cycle knob to "Rinse", and the spin knob to 9pm position.
This time, it worked! The machine filled with water, washed/turned, and drained, 3 times total.
I added more clothes to the load, and added detergent.
I turned the cycle knob to "Regular/Normal", and the spin knob to "Extra High".
This time also, it worked!
At this point, I wasn't sure if the sporadic problem had resolved itself temporarily, or if only the "Regular/Color" cycle was having a problem.
A post on this page
indicates a method to "reset the (control) board".
So I followed the instructions. I unplugged the machine for 5 minutes, then plugged it back in. I pressed and held the On button for 15 seconds.
Then I tested washing a load of clothes on the "Regular/Color" cycle, with spin knob on "Extra High".
To be continued, maybe.