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FIXED Washer motor won't start on my Kenmore Series 70 - 110.20702990


Premium Member
Oct 8, 2022
Model Number
Sears Kenmore
More than 10 years
Faithful Kenmore Series 70 direct drive washing machine, 22 years old.

Oh I need some encouragement. My washer died mid cycle last week when full of water when it should have started a spin and drain cycle. It was running fine prior, no odd sounds or issues. The motor (I assumed, not up top) was humming pretty loudly and when I got to the washer to inspect I smelled an electrical hot/burning smell. Immediately shut the washer down and unplugged it. Only maybe a minute passed between the washer stopping on its own and me shutting it down and unplugging.

The lid switch has been disabled from a prior issue.

I read and first tried checking the pump after draining all that water out by hand. There was nothing blocking the pump and I could turn it using the handle on my pliers.

I used my multimeter on the mF setting to test the start capacitor and it tested on the lower end of the specs listed on the capacitor. Granted I'm no professional, but the capacitor looked and smelled ok.

Cleaned everything and reassembled. Motor still only hummed. Would not spin, agitate, or drain water. Only would fill with water.

Checked the coupler between motor and transmission. It was fine, not broken. Motor and transmission will turn independently of each other.

Tried an older timer I had that was malfunctioning in advancing through cycles but would still work if it was manually dialed to whatever cycle, which is why I replaced it. No change, motor only hums, no drain, agitate, or spin. No sounds at all other than the hum down low.

Ordered new motor. Installed new motor. Still no change, just a brief hum as i didn't want to mess up a new motor I quickly turned it off again. Was going to try the new motor independent of the transmission, but upon removing one of the wires from the capacitor, one of the terminals broke off of the top of the capacitor! Ordered a new capacitor as that is the only other thing I can think of anyway that could be my problem.

Can anyone please advise any other reasons why my washer won't do anything but fill with water and hum? Or should the new capacitor fix me up? Any advice?
Sounds like your motor capacitor is weak or you have a broken wire from the timer to the motor.

Here's the capacitor for your model:
WP8572720 Capacitor

Did you test the capacitor with a digital meter or analog?

For others following your thread--->Watch the video it will show you how to test capacitor. Unplug the washer first.

Thank you for the response, Jake.

My meter is a digital one. I did not test anything using the multimeter other than switching to the symbol for capacitor (sorry for my ignorance) and place the leads on each side of the capacitor after I discharged it with a screwdriver. I can't even recall what the mF was but it was higher than the low number listed on the side of the capacitor, but not by much.

After having one of the male terminals break off the capacitor, I'm wondering if the capacitor possibly tested good with my meter yet had failed in making good connection internally. I'm really hoping the new start capacitor will fix the problem! If not, I really don't know where to go from here. The new motor has a new switch/plug on the front, just didn't have a new start capacitor.
Yes, its most likely the capacitor then, if you find no frayed, broken, or shorted wires.

Excellent, glad to hear that.(y)

Thanks for the update!


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