The issue we are repairing today is how to fix the LF “Long Fill” “Low Flow” error on a Whirlpool Cabrio Platinum in about an hour for less than $100.
If you are reading this then you likely have a Whirlpool washing machine that is giving an LF error partway through the cycle, in which you have to push the start button again to get it to finish. I am writing this to help out because I had the same issue and had to do a lot of research to figure out what part number to order.
It really isn’t that big of a job to do and you can save yourself hundreds of dollars by not calling a technician or having to buy new. You will have to remove some screws and possibly extend some wires though. Having said that, try this repair at your own risk.
What is the LF error?
The LF error stands for Long Fill or Low Flow (not exactly sure which but either applies) what I do know is that the washer stops until you hit the start button again which is frustrating. From what I have gathered it throws the LF error after not detecting a change in water level over a period of 10 minutes or so.
How do I fix the LF error?
Well first we need to do a little diagnosing. Since the error has to do with the fill rate of water, lets start there.
Check the fill screens
- Unplug the washers electrical supply from the wall
- Turn off the water shutoffs at the wall then unscrew the hot and cold water supply lines at the washer (make sure you have a rag to soak up any extra water upon removal). You might need to grab some adjustable pliers to help you get off the hose.
- Once you get them off, look inside the blue connector they were screwed on to and you will see a little metal screen. If it is blocked with debris then this was likely your problem. Could have been from junk in the water lines or hard water. Grab a tiny flathead and gently scrape the debris off or maybe even use a can of air like you use to clean computer parts.
- Before reassembling, try the next step while you already have the hoses off
Check the water supply
While you have the water supply lines disconnected, we might as well test flow
- Stick the hot and cold line ends that were on the washing machine into a 5 gal bucket or the laundry room sink (if you have one that is close enough).
- Turn on the water supply and see if you have flow. Should come on just like a garden hose would.
- If you don’t have any flow or it seems blocked then your next steps are to check the supply lines, valves, or worst case further upstream like the regulator to your house which I won’t cover here.
If you have cleaned the screens and have sufficient water flow from the supply lines then reassemble and try a load or two of wash to see if the LF error goes away. In my case, it did not go away.
How to Find Your Model Number and Further Diagnosis
Since we checked the water supply already, we know it is something inside the washer that is not working. If the control board is not bad (which it probably isn’t since it is lighting up and giving you the LF error) then the only other thing that likely failed is the Inlet Valve Assembly.
Our washing machine is now 8 years or so old. This valve has gone through thousands of loads of wash (we have 2 kids and a dog afterall) and it likely either clogged with hard water deposits or is just worn out. There are 6 little electric solenoids on the valve and it is not surprising that eventually one or more of them would fail.
As a side note, if you only have one part of the washing machine that doesn’t work like the bleach or laundry softener cycles then the inlet valve can still be the culprit as it controls where the water goes when it enters the machine. So if just one of these six solenoid valves failed then just that one function might not work.
To determine what part to use to repair it, first grab the model number off your machine:
Ordering the Parts
I have a Whirlpool Cabrio Platinum, but the same underpinnings were used on the normal cabrio and some other models also. I found a diagram online of the control board and figured out the part number for the inlet valve for mine was PS11731257
Next do some googling. Here is where it got a little foggy for me and why I ended up writing this article. I had a hard time finding anybody that had that exact part number that actually had it in stock. Apparently the valve used on my machine is no longer made and has been replaced by a newer part number that is not a total plug and play solution.
Eventually I stumbled upon the below Amazon listing which seemed right but had some exceptions. The listing says it replaces W10853723 W10342320 W10326913 W10853723VP WPW10326913 PS11731257 (the bold one was the part number I was looking for).
After reading (probably too many) Amazon reviews I was able to determine that it was the orientation of the solenoid electric connectors that was the issue because some the wires don’t reach on certain models. There was some discussion of a replacement wire harness but it was hard to find and well over $100, I wasn’t going to spend that much. This is DIY Metal Fabrication and we ain’t skeered of some little wires.
So I took a small gamble and ordered this valve knowing it would take a little bit of modification to get it to work. Turns out it worked just fine with a tiny bit of modification on two wires.
How to Replace the Inlet Valve Assembly
Remove the lid
Remove the hoses
Remove the control panel
Remove the Inlet Control Valve
Now is a good time to take a picture of how all the electrical connectors were before you take anything else apart.
Extending the wires
Heat shrink butt connectors. Spend the extra couple of bucks and get the heat shrink kind. These add an extra layer of security because both the crimp and the heat shrink end will still keep the wire secure.
I didn’t take a picture of it, but to crimp the red connectors, there is a little area on the backside of the stripping tool with a blue, yellow, and red dot. This is the area you stick the connector in then squeeze the pliers to crimp (squeeze) the wire inside.
Reassembling the Inlet Control Valve
Once the solenoid connectors are back on, replace the control panel and tighten the 3 screws back down. Tilt back the top lid again and reconnect the 4 hoses underneath (again, make sure you put them back in the same spots!). Lower the lid back down, slide it back to engage the tabs then put the two rear screws back in with the 1/4″ nut driver.
Hope this helps you. If you can remove some screws and crimp a couple of wires, YOU CAN DO THIS. However if you do decide to, do so at your own risk, I’m only trying to help.
Now YOU go fix something!