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FIXED 110.20722990 Kenmore 70 Series washer won't agitate but does spin


Premium Member
Sep 25, 2015
New England
Model Number
My Kenmore 70 Series washer started making a grinding sound during the spin cycle a few weeks ago. It was agitating, draining, and spinning properly, just making a loud grinding noise during spin. After researching, I decided to crack open the transmission gearbox, and found that about half the teeth were stripped off the large plastic gear. Long story short, I replaced all the plastic parts inside the transmission case (including the agitate cam at the bottom of the shaft) as well as the neutral drain plate. Also replaced the motor coupling while I had it apart. But I did not replace the clutch.

Now that the washer is put back together, it will not agitate at all. It does drain, but does not spin while draining, as it used to. If I stop and then restart the spin cycle, it will then start spinning the drum, but it makes a new, higher pitched grinding/buzzing sort of sound. The brake engages immediately when the spin is interrupted. Also, removing the pump from the motor has no impact on the noise.

I have taken it all apart again, opened the gearbox again, and put it all back together again. One odd thing I noticed is that the agitator shaft agitates when I spin the motor coupling in either direction (clockwise and counter-clockwise) though the clutch only spins diring clockwise testing. I thought the agitation was supposed to stop wneh the spin cycle began. Isn't that part of the job of the neutral drain assembly?

I have video if anyone wants to hear the noise or see it not drain. ;)

I'm about $45 in now, and not sure how much further I'm willing to go at this point. Any thoughts about what might be going on?

And thanks in advance,
Did you lose the steel ball or spacer under the transmission shaft? It's easy to do if you took it apart and drained the oil.
WP Direct Drive Neutral Drain.jpg

During spin, the connecting rack drives the agitate gear in an oscillatory motion. Now since the agitate gear and agitate clutch are disengaged, this motion IS NOT transferred to the agitator shaft.
Thanks for the advice and diagram, Rick.

I did manage to keep track of the ball and spacer and they are in place.

You mention the 'agatitator clutch', but I don't see it in the diagram. You're not referring to the clutch that sits atop the transmission and engages the spin pinion gear, I assume? Is it a function of the cam/cam follower, spring, etc. at the bottom of the shaft? Or does it have something to do with the neutral drain kit as I have been assuming?

Thanks again,

PS. I can't believe how many typos I made in my original post. I was really tired.
OK my friend, here we go. When the drive motor rotates counterclockwise, the main drive gear in the gearcase rotates clockwise, putting the washer into the agitation mode. (A) The main drive gear will move the shift actuator forward so that it engages the agitate cam and pushes it into the agitate position. (B)
Direct Drive Transmission-1.jpg

The action of the agitate cam and cam follower allow the agitate gear to be forced down by the spring action. (A) This allows it to engage the splines on the agitator shaft. (B)
Direct Drive Transmission-2.jpg

Power for the agitate gear will be supplied by the connecting rack which moves back and forth as it rotates around the cam on the main drive gear.
Direct Drive Transmission-3.jpg

When the drive motor rotates clockwise, the main drive gear in the gearcase rotates counterclockwise, putting the washer into the drain/spin mode.
Direct Drive Transmission-4.jpg

This time the shift actuator moves forward on the other side and pushes the agitate cam in the other direction. This causes the cam follower to push the agitate gear up and then lift it off the splines on the agitator shaft.
Direct Drive Transmission-5.jpg

Neutral Pak:
neutral pak.jpg
Part Two:

The gearcase will always provide direct into spin without draining first, EXCEPT when reset, during a brief agitation period. During this agitation period, the main drive gear and neutral drain mechanism rotate clockwise and the spin gear is idle. The trip lever (A) holds the spin gear cam at the cam teeth, which causes it to slip on the spin gear hub. Each revolution of the main drive gear causes the trip lever to lift off and move one cam tooth as it contacts the bump (B) on the spin gear boss.
Direct Drive Transmission-7.jpg

To reset the mechanism to Neutral Drain, the trip lever must advance past all of the cam teeth and catch the (C) notch in the cam. This locks the cam to the trip lever and lets it slip on the spin gear hub. In this locked position, the spin pawl is held inward because the (D) pawl tail is riding on the cam
Direct Drive Transmission-8.jpg

During pump-out (drain), the motor reverses direction. The main drive gear and neutral mechanism will now rotate counterclockwise. During this mode, the spin gear is idle. During the first few revolutions, the trip lever (A) which is contacted by the spin gear bump, is lifted off and moves to the neutral lobe (B) of the spin gear cam. While in this position, contact cannot be made with the button on the spin gear. During these few revolutions, centrifugal force causes the latch to pivot outward at the larger end. The opposite end of the latch has a notch (C) which catches the cam and causes it to slip on the spin gear hub. The spin pawl tail (D) is still riding against the cam, which holds the pawl inward
Direct Drive Transmission-9.jpg

The motor runs and pumps out the water for a pre-set time controlled by the timer. At the end of pump-out, the washer will stop and pause for about three-to-five seconds. During this timer controlled pause, the latch (A) will release the spin gear cam. The spin gear cam is then free to rotate past the latch toward the spin pawl.
Direct Drive Transmission-10.jpg

Following the pause, the motor will restart, causing the neutral mechanism to rotate counterclockwise. The cam (B) rotates around and contacts the spin pawl moving it outward. This will allow the pawl to make contact with one of the three bosses (C) on the bottom of the spin gear, now causing it to spin.
Direct Drive Transmission-11.jpg

The spin gear drives the spin pinion, which rotates the clutch drum. The clutch lining spring contacts and rotates the brake release cam. When the brake is released, the basket spins. The clutch hub is attached to the spin pinion gear. As the spin pinion gear turns, the clutch hub also turns. The clutch lining is forced against the clutch hub by the clutch spring. As the clutch hub turns, friction between it and the clutch lining causes the clutch lining to turn. As the clutch turns, the tab that holds the clutch spring on the lining, contacts the brake cam driver, releasing the brake. The tab on the clutch lining remains in contact with the brake cam drivers, holding the brake released and then providing power to the spin tube through the brake release. The basket is attached to the spin tube with a drive block.
Direct Drive Transmission-12.jpg
Success! Thanks so much for posting those diagrams, Rick.

After reviewing your diagrams a few times, I inverted them and the transmission began working as designed. Now the washer agitates and spins like a champ.

Thanks again for the guidance!

Hi Rick,
One quick follow-up question for you, if you will.

Put the washer-with-a-tail on after the cam and cam follower (that is, at the bottom of the stack, just before the C-clip. Do you know if that's the correct spot?

Thanks again,
haha. The one with a tail, is the best way I could think of to describe it.

I think I have it right, since the diagram you linked in your first response shows it (red arrows) near the bottom of the shaft. Oddly, it also shows the cam and follower above the splines.

Like I said, the washing machine's working like a champ now, so I suspect it's in the correct position. Just want to be sure.

Thanks again.

Last edited:
gangofgarcias said:
....the washing machine's working like a champ now, so I suspect it's in the correct position. Just want to be sure.
It wouldn't work if it wasn't.

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