multiple simultaneous washing machine problems

My washing machine (Siemens Siwamat 2105, about 5 years old, fairly standard type of machine I think) has suddenly developed a number of problems. Surely this is not several components failing at once.
The first problem I noticed was serious overheating on a 90 degree wash, so much so that the plastic drawer where the detergent goes in is now warped.
On the next attempt to wash (at 30 degrees) there were the following problems: a. Water level seems very high. b. Cold water input and drain pump are switching on/off repeatedly in very quick succession, as if they are fighting with each other. c. Glass on front of machine feels rather hotter than 30 degrees - but that might be my imagination d. The machine doesn't switch off at the end of the programme; it just continues on to the next one. Some experimentation suggests that (b) is caused by (a): on the next wash, I shut off the values on the input pipes when the water reached a normal level, and (b) didn't happen.
There must be a further connection between these problems. My guess is that it is one of the following: 1. The overheating, perhaps caused by a faulty thermostat, caused something else to break, maybe several things. But what? 2. Some single fault (with the timer? or maybe the pressure system?) is causing all these symptoms. What does the panel recommend? Obviously I don't want to just replace everything in sight if there is a single cause. BTW I don't see any loose or burnt wires, at least none are visible when I take off the top of the machine.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Don Sannella Univ. of Edinburgh
P.S. I am in a very soft water area, in case that is relevant.
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Can I ask if you've been turning the timer control while the machine has been doing a wash ? Especially forcing it backward against its normal direction.
It does sound as though the machine has developed a fault in the timer control, but you'd need to rule other parts by doing tests on them.
Turn the power off first, before beginning any tests. Stand well back from the machine while tests are being carried out on parts that you have repaired or replaced. Don't allow anything to drop down or dangle over the machine while carrying out any tests or repairs on it.
Take the back off the machine and look for a thin tube connected to a plastic bottle which should be on the back near the bottom of the main drum. Look inside the bottle for any sludge which has blocked the inlet points and is stopping the water pressure from activating at the correct water level. If it does have sludge in it, wash it out with hot water under the sink tap and replace it back in the machine. Set the machine to a cool wash setting and test that the water level is now coming up to the correct level.
If the above test hasn't done the trick, then the next thing to look at is the timer control itself. Again, stand away from the machine while carrying out these tests and make sure you don't have anything dangling into the moving and live electrical parts.
Set the machine to a warm wash setting and allow it to fill until it stops. Listen for a sort of hissing sounds, which should mean that heater element is starting to heat the water. When you're sure you can hear this sounds, gently turn the control knob, in its proper direction, only a couple of clicks and watch the machine going into a normal tumble cycle. Allow the machine to continue with this part of the wash, but every time your hear the machine trying to heat the water, turn the control knob just a couple of clicks at a time to stop it from getting to its proper temperature.
When the machine reaches its rinse cycles, allow it to continue through this part unhindered and see if the control knob continues past the end of the final spin and on to another full wash cycle. If it does, then it is the timer that is at fault.
Timers are expensive if bought new, so you might be able to pick up a reconditioned or second and unit from an appliance repair shop.
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