My GE Profile Washer Won’t Drain
Posted by middlerage on March 23, 2010
Recently, my clothes washer stopped working right at the drain and spin part of the cycle. With the help of the internet I was able to fix it. What a great age we live in (and how do repairmen make money anymore?). In this one post you will find, I hope, a helpful, detailed explanation of how I fixed the drain problem of my GE Washer; with pictures!
[Readers who pop in here after doing a web search should note this is a blog, and particularly not a blog about general household fixits. If you explore beyond this one entry, it is recommended you read the "About" tab at the top.]
[Update 11-30-2011: This post is very popular, and many folks leave comments. People are finding help, even if their Washer is not the same model as this. Others leave helpful advice, e.g. comments 54 and 56 and 64. Know that I read all your comments, and appreciate them. Cheers, and good luck with your repairs!]
So this concerns the GE Profile series. My model number is WPSR3100, but the owners manual also lists all of these models, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the drain pumps are very similar (if not the same): WASR3110, WMSR3110, WPSL3120, WPSR3090, WPSR3100, WPSR3120, WPSR4130, and WSSR3120. In my case, the model number was very easy to find – on the back of the instrument panel, and printed in a direction that made it very easy to read while leaning over the washer. Kudos to GE for that. There’s actually no need in this how-to for the model number unless your machine is broke enough to require a part order.
Well, after doing a web search on the phrase “My GE Profile Washer won’t drain” I quickly hit on several forums where the answer was resoundingly – The PUMP! Either the pump is clogged or possibly the drain hose leading from the tub to the pump is clogged. I want to give credit where credit is due – I’m no repair technician – I got my answers from these two forums: here and especially here where a technician gave a great summary of how to tackle problem.
Before we start a NOTE! I wouldn’t have bothered with repairing it myself if I didn’t already own a wet/dry vac for sucking out all of the undrained water. It made the mess factor way more palatable. It’s not a requirement, but without one be sure to have plenty of towels on hand.
Like mentioned before, the washer not draining is most likely a malfunctioning pump. In my case the washer ran great, then did nothing during the drain cycle (and subsequent spin cycle), except for a barely audible humming noise. The timer ran all the way through, however, and completed a full cycle. It just left me with a tub full of soapy water and soggy clothes.
NOTE: clicking on pictures will take you to a larger pic.
Step 2: Remove the front panel. There are two tabs at the top sides of the front panel, underneath the top deck. The tabs can be pushed in with a putty knife or slot screwdriver. I used a screwdriver and did end up with some minor scratching. The washer is 10 years old, so I am not so worried about scratching. If it is important to you, then a putty knife will probably result in less scratching. The tabs are odd things, and it takes some effort to push them in. The front panel then just lifts up off bottom hooks and can be set aside. The tab is the blurry (sorry), silver thing in the top of the pic. Getting the tabs to release and reattaching the drain hose (at end of story below) were the hardest parts of this project.
Once I had the front panel off I instantly knew what the culprit was. About a week prior, we had washed a children’s stuffed toy, and it had burst a seam and the batting (stuffing) had leaked out. It seemed like no big deal at the time, but when I got the front panel off, I found the interior of the washer, between box and tub, was filled with the batting. How it got into that space is anybody’s guess. I shoulda taken a pic before I cleaned it out, but here is a pic from the trash can.
Step 4: Tilt the washer back. This was helpful advice from the technician in the forum, and it serves to keep any remaining water from the front, where the drain hose connects. When you disconnect, this will cut down on soupy mess to clean up (in my case there was only a dribble, so I had no mess at all. Yay!). I used a car jack stand, on its side, to keep the washer propped up. Again, if I didn’t have a supply of tools around anyway, I may have just punted and called a repairman.
Step 5: The pump is a surprisingly small thing located at the bottom right of the washer box (see picture to left). Disconnect the tub drain hose (black and flexible) and the house drain hose (hard, white) from the pump. Here I really wished I had an angled set of pliers. I was able to make do with regular pliers set on wide. The hoses are held by pinch hose clamps.
In this next picture I am looking inside the black drain hose for anything that might be a clog. Nope, nothing there. Now to unbolt the pump from the box floor….
Step 7: The pump is half motor and half housing. The housing incorporates the two hose connections and the impeller that drives the water. The housing is easily opened up by locating the stop that locks it together. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the stop is the center of the picture to the right. Just bend that stop up and twist open like a bottle cap. Below, you can see the big wad of compacted batting that was stopped up against the impeller (hidden under my hand), and preventing the pump from operating.
Step 8: Throw away the clog (I know, duh. Remove foil before inserting suppository.) Then put everything back together. Except I advise to leave the front panel off so you can watch everything work while you run one or two test washings. This is to be sure you have the hoses connected tightly enough to prevent leaks. The one bump on my path to success was that the drain hose clamp was extremely hard to pinch back on. I got it well enough, and had no leaks. When I ran a test cycle the pump worked perfectly, and I had the problem solved for no money. Be warned that the washer has a long pause between filling and clicking over to draining, so don’t get anxious and think your hard work didn’t have results.
I know I can get wordy, so let me know if there is a better way to explain a step or clarify something. I hope you have success and many happy home repairs :-)
Update 04-05-2010: A commenter adds some helpful advice:
When I removed the clamp from the black drain hose, I had quite a bit of water leak out even though I had emptied the water from the tub and used towels to soak up the remaining water. Be prepared for this when removing the clamp from the black hose. Pinch the black hose with your thumb and finger, and then have the remaining water drain into a container.
Update 03-02-2011: Reader Steve has a helpful tip:
BTW, I found a pair of vise-grips works well to set the clamp. They let you easily hold the clamp in an open position while you get it place on the hose.
Update 04-18-2011: Reader Shon has a clever way to re-attach the drain hose – which was a hassle:
The other end was connected to the bottom of the tub with a screw clamp, which was easy to remove and install. Outside of the washer, the pinch clamp was easy to position.
Update 12-22-2011: An appliance repairman in the comments suggests Vaseline as a clever way to re-attach the drain hose:
To make it easier to reattach the hose and the clamp, use a bit of vaseline inside and outside the rubber hose. The hose will slip onto the pump with ease, the clamp will slide into place easier, and the pump will be a wee less likely to drip.
And if you have a wet vac, use it to empty the tub, and then empty your vac, and use it again as you disconnect the hoses from the pump, for there is still half a gallon of water in the washer. Turn on the vac, position the vac hose close to the washer hose, and gently pull the washer hose free from the washer pump. Slide your already running vac hose into the washer hose and catch 90% of the remaining water!