So Your Cabrio's Got the F51 (AKA Cabrio Flu) -- The FAQ

You've probably found this page because you've been trying to find out why your washer repeatedly quits mid-cycle and starts displaying an F-51 message. Well, I've created this blog in the hopes of sorting out the facts and getting the word out on this apparent major defective part with a $700+ consumer product.

Basically, the F51 error is a rotor position sensor error. And from everything I've gleaned from my research it is becoming a growing problem as more and more owners reach the 1st anniversary of becoming a Cabrio owner.

What has to be fixed?
Well per the service technician I spoke with and my aformentioned research, two parts really need to be replaced. 1) the rotor sensor itself ($43) and 2) the control board ($197). Apparently, Whirlpool has yet to officially recall these parts, but there is a new board that has a reduced or no sensitivity to the rotor sensor and thus the problem should be corrected.

Can I fix it myself?
That depends on your level of handy-skills. If you're one who can work on late model foreign cars with ease, then this probably won't be a challenge. But for most amateur handy-"people" this will require a professional.

Will Whirlpool pay for the repair?
If you're under warranty (either 1 year or extended), then, of course. If you're not, then maybe. Some people have reported online that Whirlpool has allowed a "policy adjustment" for this repair. In some cases this has meant a total repair free of charge. In other cases, this has meant parts or labor free, but not all free. Regardless, you'll have to call Whirlpool and try to get farther with honey. If that doesn't work, then make sure Whirlpool knows how much you know and that you really want to be able to recommend Whirlpool in the future, but this doesn't help. You will do the opposite (i.e. tell everyone to avoid Whirlpool) if this isn't resolved.

Why doesn't Whirlpool recall the part and fix everyone's Cabrio?
This is the ultimate $64k question. First, it would cost Whirlpool nearly $400 per unit to repair, this could amount to well over a million dollars in just repairs, not to mention the embarassment of a recall. The second theory is that this isn't the only problem with this washer. Recent reports of rusting and other error codes may be preventing Whirlpool from wanting to set a precdent. Finally, this is a trend with Whirlpool as can be seen with the model previous to the Cabrio, the Calypso. It began experiencing problems shortly after its release, for which Whirlpool had little to no response. The situation eventually landed in court with a class action suit and multi-million dollar settlement (see http://calypsosettlement.com/).

What should we do about it?
First, continuously encourage Whirlpool to do what's right and recall a defective part for one of their flagship products. Second, as long as Whirlpool continues to do this, make certain that every Cabrio owner knows of the problem before paying for repairs. Third, make sure every consumer considering an appliance purchase knows that Whirlpool should be avoided as long as this issue remains unresolved.

Who are you, and why are you doing this blog?
I am a simple consumer (married, father of 4) that paid over $700 for a product and then found myself with a $380 repair bill a little over a year later. When I began researching and learned that this problem is becoming common with this product, I felt the need to educate as much as possible.

Monday, January 28, 2008

My F51 Experience - Day 6

Ok, so today is Saturday, January 26, 2008, and it is Day 6 of my F51 experience. I must say today was the day that things really turned up. Jerry arrived from A&E Factory Service at about 1:30pm which was well within the promised time from Mr. Piraino at Whirlpool Corporate. Jerry was extremely great to work with, very knowledgeable of the appliance, and conducted the proper due diligence to ensure that it was repaired.

Jerry replaced the circuit board. Then he checked underneath the washer to look at the parts underneath there and make sure that everything was clean and looking good. He got it all back together before he realized that he wanted to check one more thing where the circuit board hooks back up. After he was finished, he ran the washer on Normal cycle with a towel that he brought.

While it was doing its thing, he gave me a couple of pointers. First, he said that the HE detergents are probably more efficient than we gave them credit for. At most you might need 2-3 tablespoons of detergent per load. Using any more could gunk up the washer and at best just be a waste of detergent. He proved this when watching the washer suds up, despite the fact that we hadn't put any detergent in the washer. To clean out the washer he recomended put a small amount of vinegar in the detergent compartment with an empty load. Then run another rinse. This will neutralize any remaining detergent and should get the thing running clean.

The cycle finished and the washer worked like a champ! After all was said and done, I actually elected to purchase the extended warranty coverage on this washer to cover myself if there are any future problems with the washer. With that said, I will continue to update this blog as long as Whirlpool refuses to recall the circuit board or any part related to the F51 error. Consumers shouldn't have to scream and stomp their feet to have a reliable product or reasonable service.

1 comment:

Jeff Roble said...

Sensors are transforming the way engineers think about position sensing


Linear Potentiometer