Maytag washer won't fill tub

According to my wife, my Maytag washer, during the Rinse cycle, tries to fill the tub with water, but it drains out as quickly as it enters. It never proceeds beyond this point when the problem occurs.
Unfortunately, this problem only shows up once every month or so, and every time I try to provoke this problem or witness this, the machine runs fine. Since she does about 5 loads a week of laundry, this failure only occurs roughly 5% of the time, and is hard to trouble-shoot.
Is there a solenoid or timer-controlled valve which is closed to prevent drainage during the Rinse cycle on most washers? Or is the empytying of the tub merely controlled by the pump which is only activated when it is needed to empty the tub after the Rinse process has been completed? My impression is that the draining is not just done by gravity but by pumping when the drum is being spun. My wife says the water just drains out even if there is no spin taking place.
I have tried to find a complete schematic but have not found one searching with Google and searching some appliance parts sites.
Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
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How high up is your drain tube is it at the top of the machine, if not raise it, its probably a different issue but that gave me problems
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AFAIK, they all use the pump to empty as it would require a siphon action otherwise. If it were the height of the drain tube as Ransley suggests, it wouldn't be intermittent.
Since the water is apparently "draining" as fast as it is introduced, that implies to me the pump isn't turning off after the initial empty prior to the rinse start on occasion. I'd spray contact cleaner on timer circuits and the pump contacts.
I'd suspect whichever set of contacts aren't opening every time will eventually fail and you'll be able to find the particular portion whether it's in the timer or the pump itself.
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One last thought re: diagnostics. _Perhaps_ if had the missus just turn the water off at the inlet and let it sit until you could arrive to check it out might be able to catch it in action. If the pump is running, of course, wouldn't want that to be from 8AM until 6PM or so when you arrive home from work... :)
Pulling the plug would probably negate any chance by releasing the contacts so on re-power the symptoms would probably disappear, but it would leave the control timer in the as found state for a post mortem that might be of some benefit, sorta' like looking at the flight deck controls positions, etc., at Denver after the aborted takeoff.
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wrote:

Thanks Ransley and dpb for your excellent ideas. I spent some time watching the machine go through the entire wash cycle from start to finish, and chose the full tub "Oversized" fill setting to get the water level as high in the tub as it will go. The discharge hose height is something I played with as the discharge took place, and it seemed to empty fine regardless of whether the hose was at the height of the water level or below.
Based on your description dpb, I am guessing that the timer contacts may be sticking to keep the pump running too long after the first spin cycle, and that the pump must therefore continue to operate when it should be off during the subsequent fill in the Rinse cycle. I originally thought there might be a solenoid or water valve which was operated by the timer which determined when the tub drains. From what you are saying, the emptying of the tub is done by turning on the pump, and this alone will determine if water filling the tub is retained or not. That being the case, the theory best describing what is happening here seems to be a sticky set of timer contacts holding the pump on too long.
Since the timer is on top of the washer, I can easily get a voltmeter onto the pump terminal and see if the timer is indeed keeping the pump energized. Also, the sound of the pump should be obvious now that my wife and I know to listen for it,
As you have already stated, getting this problem to happen and freezing the conditions so I can get a look at the timer position, pump voltage, etc. will be a bit of a challenge. Given the low failure rate, it makes it frustrating for my wife who starts a load of laundry but cannot rely on the machine to go through the complete wash process without checking it.
It's a pretty recent Maytag, only a couple years old as I recall. My prior Maytags went for over 25 years, needing very little do it yourself attention, and handling all the wash for my kids, wife, and myself without any major issues.
A sad sign of the times is that the replacement Maytag begins to act up in less than 3 years, and only recently has it been used often, to handle grandchildren stuff....
Thanks again for the help. I certainly welcome any more help or suggestions.
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That's my first conjecture. I've not ever seen a drain valve, only fill. Drain is pump only. Then again, I've not had a Maytag but seems excessive complication for no good purpose so can't imagine it.
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While there does appear to be some basis for the complaint re: reliability of appliances, there can be (and were) early failures forever as well as lemons and the occasional "100,000 miler"...
Luck of the draw...
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dpb said:

Nothing wrong with your suggestion but I'd like to add the experience of an intermittant syphoning since it happened here. It was syphoning; I raised the hose. Seemed fixed, but every once in awhile it'd syphon again. Raised the hose some more; never syphoned again. The last time I put the hose right up far as it would go and attached it to the undercounter with a clamp; had to buy another, longer hose in fact since I'd cut the first one. The easiest way to sometimes get it to syphon in between was to fill the sink, empty it, and then force the dishwasher to empty. Apparently the water load in the piping was enough to pull the water thru. Got the hose high enough to create a bubble when the washer was emptied, and it broke the suction, I guess. Not sure; am sure it worked though.
Twayne

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Smarty wrote:

Try changing the spark plug?
http://home.comcast.net/~jwisnia18/temp/MaytagPlug.jpg
More details at:
http://home.comcast.net/~jwisnia18/jeff/plug.html
Jeff
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(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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