, this top load washer would fill with water but would never begin the agitation portion of the cycle. The timer wouldn't move on it's own and would just stay in one place. The customer did notice that if they advanced the timer to the drain and spin part of the cycle, the lid would lock and the unit would begin to spin basket and drain the water. Clothes were piling up and they needed to get this fixed quickly.
This washer like most others that rely on a mechanical timer for component control, follows a predetermined series of steps during the entire wash process. These steps or portions of the cycle are controlled by electrical contacts within the timer housing that send electrical current to the various components within the washer. As the timer advances, each switch contact will power another component until the entire cycle is complete and hopefully your clothes are clean. Often as part of this process, the timer will pause or jump ahead due to inputs from various control and safety switches in the washer. This allows for changes in the basic operation of the washer to allow for different types of cycles, water temperatures, spin speeds, or even halting a cycle because the lid is open. Knowing a bit about how the timer operates and how the various washer parts interact with each other makes looking for the problem a bit easier.
When a wash cycle is started, the timer will power the water valves to begin adding water to the wash tub and will wait until the pressure switch is activated before continuing on with the cycle. Once the desired water level is achieved, the pressure switch will change positions creating an electrical circuit through the lid switch to the wash motor. The timer motor will begin to operate and slowly advance the timer one step at a time through the wash process.
Because this washer would fill but not agitate, I began by looking at the circuit diagram to see how the circuit was routed immediately after the water fill portion of the cycle. This lead me to the lid switch, which provides the current path to the motor once the pressure switch moves to the full position. If the lid switch didn't close, the circuit would remain open and the motor would never start the agitation process.
I removed the front panel and using my meter, did a resistance check of the switch. Finding an open circuit in both positions, I knew I had located the problem. The switch is part of the lid lock and needs to be replaced as an assembly, but it is easy enough to do after removing a couple screws and four wires. With the new switch in place, this washer is now washing clothes from beginning to end.
Just a Note: Most top load washers now use the lid switch as a safety interlock anytime the motor is to be energized. Older washers may only interrupt the spin cycle allowing the washer to agitate with the lid open. So if you find your washer motor is not operating in any of the cycle settings, start by looking at the lid switch as a possible problem. There are many types of lid switches available if you look at a list washing machine parts, so be sure and get the correct switch for your washer. Because as we have seen above, without the lid switch completing the circuit, nothing is going to happen.