Washing Machine Vibration Problem


We have a Whirlpool Gold Catalyst Three-Speed Electronic Washer Model No. GSX9885JQ1, Serial No. CP4602130 installed in April 2003. On the clothes washer's slowest spin cycle, vibration radiates out to 15' enough to loosen drywall screws and cause moldings to separate at seams. On the regular spin cycle, the vibration is awful.
The problem was obvious immediately. The dealer returned to check the installation and leveling and said it was OK. Then we had a Whirlpool service call and the technician said the machine was operating properly.
The house was completed in April 2003. The 3,000 sq ft ground floor is supported by an 8-course block foundation and TJI's over a crawl space. The laundry room and clothes washer is located in an area resting on an 18' TJI span supported on the foundation at each end.
To damp the vibration, we braced one of the two TJI's right under the washer with a 4x4. There is some improvement but not enough. We are looking for more ideas as to what can be done.
Should we try installing additional bracing under the TJI's in the location of the washer: more 4x4's, several permanent jacks, concrete block columns, etc.?
An additional possibility is to install vibration-absorbing pads. One product aimed at the retail market can be seen at http://www.kellettent.com/ (very slow loading website): the "LP-13 Shake Absorber® Vibration & Isolation Pad" described at http://www.kellettent.com/mountingpads.html .
The IQS Directory lists many suppliers of vibration absorbers, but they seem to be mostly industrial: http://www.iqsdirectory.com/pagetwoads.aspx?CatID 7.
We would be grateful for any thoughts, ideas, suggestions.
Thanks in advance.
Al B.
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See if you can search usenet for this problem, I recall someone building a vibration dampening base with heavy duty springs and a bit of plywood. Al B wrote:

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I suspect structural conditions in the home, rather than the washer. That's a hell of a radius. Perhaps the washer is vibrating at, or close to, the resonant frequency of some component of the structure.

That's a pretty long span! How deep are these joints, and how far apart on center? Is there any bridging to brace adjacent joists against each other?

If bracing one joist helps, it stands to reason that bracing two joists would help more.

That would be my first step, yes -- 4x4s spanning not only the joists under the washer, but also one more joist to each side, with jacks underneath. See if that helps.
If my guess about resonance is correct, you do *not* want to put the 4x4s at a distance from the end of the joist which is any integer reciprocal (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc) of the joist length, because the resonant frequency of such segments would be merely the second, third, fourth, etc. harmonics of the resonant frequency of the entire joist.
So for an 18-foot span, don't put your supports at 9', 6', 4'6", 3'7", 3', 2'7", 2'3", or 2' from either end.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Al B wrote:

W/O seeing it, obviously can't comment definitely, but that certainly doesn't sound like what a "properly operating" washer spin cycle should do. I'd have sent the thing back the first time if they couldn't get it to run smoothly, but that is obviously too late after over 2 yeears. Still, the easiest/most satisfactory solution might be to just get a new washer.
If the washer really isn't any more imbalanced and causing more vibration than in a normal washer spin cycle, then the underlying structure may be amplifying the input by hitting a resonance. In that case, figuring out a mode of motion and stiffening the structure to shift that could help.
I suppose one could manage to build a cradle to hold a base platform and suspend it from a flexible strap (like, say, a muffler hanger) to isolate the machine from the floor, but seems like a lot of work to get around what sounds like a manufacturing or design defect.
I guess one could try to check to see if there are any consumer complaints on this particular model and I would definitely contact the manufacturer directly starting w/ the complaint place and moving on up the feeding chain until I got a satisfactory response. Such things need to be in writing, not just phone calls, to have any chance of being effective. Again, by waiting this long, you've kinda' lost some leverage.
Also, guess you could do a few simple diagnostics tests -- disconnect the drive belt and run the motor alone to make sure it's balanced. Check the belt for defects and the pulleys for roundness. Rotate the tub and check for concentricity there. Make sure the dampening system is actually working. Don't know what Whirlpool uses in theirs these days, old systems often had a weight on a sling. Someone already mentioned that such systems were typically strapped down for shpping -- despite a service call, it's still possible you got a dummy and he didn't catch something even that obvious.
One last consoling thought -- If it is really this bad, seems like it would tear itself apart in a fairly short time, so you can get it gone soon, anyway! :)
Just some semi-random semi-ideas....
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Al B wrote:

Try running the washer through its cycles, first with no water, then with. This should eliminate any possibility that the load is the culprit.
In both these tests you should be able to balance a coin on edge throughout the entire washing process. Well, maybe not a coin, but you get the idea.
If the machne shudders like the hinges on the gates of Hell, you should call Whirlpool and fuss like the third monkey on Noah's gangplank.
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First, let's verify that the washer is in fact the culprit in any way -- at least one other person besides me has suggested the possibility of a resonance with the structure.
To the OP: take your washer out to the driveway, where it's sitting on a solid, hard surface. Run an extension cord to it. Fill it with water from a garden hose or a bucket, point the drain hose out into the yard, and put it on regular spin.
If it walks across the driveway, then make a fuss at Whirlpool.
If it stays put... the problem is most likely structural: a resonance with the floor joists, or a defective joist, or underengineered construction.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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HeyBub wrote:

You get a problem and the repairman blames YOU.
It's so insulting.
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Likely a defective design that leaves the clothes bunched up on one side when it spins.
Meanwhile, jack up your floor about 3/8 to 1/2 inch under the washer and the vibration should stop. You might crack some sheetrock but not enough where a little paint won't cover it.

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You need to know the story about the cat that walked across the suspension bridge. The harmonics of the footsteps were amplified and destroyed the bridge.
That just may be what is happening with that machine and your floor.

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DK wrote:

_I'd_ like to know about that one... :)
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How Resonance Can Break a Bridge
The power of resonance goes beyond shattering a glass or torturing eardrums with feedback; it can actually destroy large structures. There is an old folk saying that a cat can destroy a bridge if it walks across it in a certain way. This may or may not be true, but it is certainly conceivable that a group of soldiers marching across a bridge can cause it to crumble, even though it is capable of holding much more than their weight, if the rhythm of their synchronized footsteps resonates with the natural frequency of the bridge. For this reason, officers or sergeants typically order their troops to do something very unmilitaryto march out of stepwhen crossing a bridge.
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wrote:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lQaIdDI5OE

--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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Mike1975 had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Washing-Machine-Vibration-Problem-176892-.htm : I had a similar problem with my LG Front Loading washer model WM0742H. The only thing that I could find that really stopped the vibrations easily were Silent Feet. They are special vibration isolation pads designed specifically for washing machines and dryers. I ordered them online from Amazon.com but you can buy them from their company site too: www.VibrationSolution.com. After installing them and running a load of clothes, I noticed that almost all the vibrations and much of the noise was gone.
-Mike
------------------------------------- Al B wrote:

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