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 7

So, today is the first day we've been able to use our washer since the F51 error began. We've ran 9 loads, including 3 heavy loads (2 towels, 1 jeans), and one comforter. The washer has worked perfectly. I even think the clothes are coming out cleaner.

Will continue to update as things progress with our washer and any news on the F51 error, the defective parts involved, or any recall announcement from Whirlpool.

71 comments:

Marko said...

I have exactly the same issue with my Cabrio which is 7 months old. The washer stops mid cycle and displays the F51 error code. I contacted Whirlpool who sent out a technician today and he supposedly fixed the issue by re-connecting some loose connections. After he left I used the washer only to get the same F51 error message. When I re-contacted the service company, they said they would need to order new parts, specifically a new motor sensor, however they can't come back out until 20th Feb.
I have read that both the motor sensor and control board require replacement in order to resolve the issue, so I am all set to request the service technician for a 3rd time...what a joke, will never touch Whirlpool again.

C Wilson said...

Yeah, I've heard differing answers to the true resolution. I think the most reliable is that the control board is the main problem, and that if it's replaced the problem does not resurface.

It's been almost 3 weeks now and our washer has worked great ever since the control board was replaced.

For those out of warranty, Whirlpool (or its authorized repair center) charges $200 for the board.

Marko said...

That is interesting, as the service guy is coming out today to replace the motor sensor only. Hopefully this will resolve the issue. I will keep you posted as to progress.

Scrappinfor3 said...

Not sure if you're still watching this or not. . .but I'm on hold to talk to a supervisor about this very problem. . .of course, we've been dealing with it for a bit b4 calling. . ..the machine is 2.5 years old. . .hmmm, seems interesting that I was told that the problem did not affect my model & serial number. WHATEVER! I've been on hold several minutes already - probably hoping I just hang up!

Marko said...

Since my motor sensor was replaced I have been trouble free, touch wood!

sharon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sharon said...

I'm having the same error code (F51) after owning the machine for almost 3 years (no extended warranty).

I called Whirlpool about it and was told that there is an authorization to replace the failing parts and labor at no cost to me. I was told they discovered that the conyrol board was the main problem and it can cause the subsequent failure of the sensor. They are purchasing the board from a different supplier now and assure me that there shouldn't be any further problems. They are sending a tech tomorrow! If I have any further issues, I will update this post.

If you are having this F51 problem call Whirlpool before trying to fix it on your own like some other websites have suggested.

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just me said...

I am on my third go-around with this issue. Glad I discovered the issues on the Web. In Jan 2010 we had a technician out on whirlpool's dime, both labor and parts, and he supposedly replaced the control board. The issues started more than a year before the washer finally malfunctioned completely. My washer is out of warranty.

Within one week it malfunctioned again, same F51 code. I called and rescheduled service. Then it started working so I cancelled. I guess hope springs eternal.

Problem began again. Technician out again. Whirlpool was called while he was here - said they would only pay for a replacement part if it was the SAME part. Said I would have to pay for labor (fixed rate 129.00).

Anyway the technician replaced the control board again, free of charge to us after we raised a bit of hell with whirlpool.

but I am here listening to the beep beep F51 code. Just called to have him back.

When the technician was here, he said we might need replacement of the wiring harness which is part of the rotary position sensor.

Now I see on other posts that the same things are discussed.

I am not paying a dime and I hope us Cabrio users get to a class action soon like calypso! I am sick of wasting itme on this, not to mention running loads of laundry and using water and detergent for loads that get half way done.

Power to the people!

uphold birth said...

my cabrio is exactly 1 month old fresh out of the box and spitting out this error code.

wish I would have found all this information when I was researching the washer to buy this tax season...

Mine has completely stopped working at this point, as trying to finish the load left me to no alternative but to try the drain n spin and rinse n spin options (yes in that order as I hoped it had enough of a rinse when it shot out the code before). the machine shut down completely and is stuck locked with a load of laundry still in it.

Fortunately, I called whirlpool immediately and they are sending someone later today to service the unit.

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Jim Paroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriel said...

Sweet! I called Whirlpool at 1-866-698-2538, and once past the automated recognition of address and phone number. Be patient it works, if not it will transfer you to a live person. After getting the Model Number and Serial number to the service rep (Located under lid of my top load Cabrio)the rep told me they have had issues with the F1 and F51 error and they would be out to fix it at no charge. Thank You very Much! So be nice on the phone!
jimdenver@yahoo.com

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Tracy said...

My 3 year old Cabrio gave me the F51 message today. Thank you first to C.Wilson for this educating blog and for letting Whirlpool know that customers talk. Second, thank you to Gabriel for providing a phone number and hope for a positive resolution, and third, thanks to Whirlpool for standing behind their product and my purchase decision and promising a ST within 2 days at no charge to me.

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danbig said...

Ha, the dreaded F 51 code:On a 4 year old machine, I called Cosmotech, a repair firm in Gatineau, QC, tech cleans and checks connections, does a short cycle and leaves with $ 100. of my hard earned cash.
The very next day, do a wash, get the F 51 code. Am very pissed off.
Check websites, find the secret warranty, call Whirlpool, they send tech over. He replaces the wiring harness and control board.All for free. Yayyyyy.No more F 51.
Whirlpool did the right thing,
Bravo for consumer blogs and the pressure it puts on big corporations to make it right.

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boots911 said...

I have a Cabrio set as well and I love them, until they got the F51 Flu. I went to website and it advises you contact retailer; so I did and they were very rude. So I then called Whirlpool 800# and they couldn't have been nicer. They knew right away what was wrong. Told me I only had to cover Technician's travel fee and Whirlpool covered parts and labour. They are sending a Technician tomorrow so I will let you know how it goes. :)

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Casey said...

Call the number that Gabriel left. Mine is out of warranty but Whirlpool acknowledged that the Cabrios have an issue and they are sending a tech in two days at no charge.

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Todd said...

Here's a late entry. My Mom's Cabrio agi, purchased in 2006, started kicking F51 errors a few months ago. She washes *very* few loads through it. I called the local non-chain appliance store where she had purchased it for advice. They had seen plenty of these and recommended I call Whirlpool to see if they would help with the repair cost. I contacted Whirpool through their recall line (866-769-7260), and explained the situation. The woman asked if I had had the machine looked at and I explained that I was referred to them first. The repair was authorized, parts and labor, on the spot with no further discussion. Whirlpool contacted the dealer while I was on the line to supply them with the authorization information for the repair. We contacted the store and the work was just completed. It was painless.

I want to that you, dear Blog Author, for putting up this site. The information you provided here made me the informed convincing customer I needed to be to get this done quickly. Thank you!

5184cc28-767d-11e0-a622-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I had the same F51 Error Code. It was going to cost $129 plus parts ( another $250 in parts ). I talked with Whirlpool directly, and they don't really care. Talk about a monopoly. They own Maytag and you are screwed either way!!! I guess it's time to go look for another company that might have a longer warranty. This one broke 6 months out of the 2 year warranty that I had for it. OUCH!!

devin said...

I have this same problem on a fairly new machine and Whirlpool is a lot less accommodating.

They won't do anything. They won't pay for parts or labor and they won't tell me anything.

I am NEVER buying from Whirlpool again.

donna said...

I bought my Cabrio about 5 yrs ago. Today was the second time I had to have someone come out to fix my washer because of the F51 error code. About a year ago they replaced the control board and something else...I can't remember what it was but today the tech replaced the control board again and also the pump. About 2 hours after he left I did a load of laundry and got the F51 again... Guess I will be calling them in the morning. At least my washer works. I just have to reset it.

Cathy M said...

6/21/11 - This site was a life saver - I was ready to call service and actually PAY for them to come out and fix something that was their fault. I called the 866-698-2538 Customer Line and got the nicest CS rep (Melanie) no questions asked - I told her I was getting the infamous flashing code 50/51 and she said - we can take care of that - 5 minutes later I have a tech coming out for absolutely NO COST to me. This has got to be the most painless experience I have ever had with Customer Service. I do believe getting the RIGHT phone number the first time is the key to a successful call. Thanks for posting.

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El said...

These new fangled washers suck. The ones at laundry mats work great and they are basic Speed Queens without all the BS technology.

Whirlpools and Maytags are junk.

High tech washing machines are really stupid.

If there is a way to bypass all the BS do it.

El said...

Get rid of that captcha BS.

mom said...

I have a Cabrio purchased in Sept 2010, giving the F51 error code this week. Called the CustomerService Experience line and asked if they would send a ST to repair. Their reply was that they would not take responsibility for the failure. Said without extended warranty they could offer nothing. I explained that history on this error code is clearly a mfr quality issue, they replied that only applied to earlier models, but that the 2010 model was improved with different parts. Perhaps I am among the first ones to have this issue with the newer model? Anyone out there have suggestions?

john parkinson said...

Havein same problem with my 2010 unit and whirlpool doest want to stand by unit

O Eugene said...

O Eugene said

please do not buy a whirlpool cabrio.
I repeat those are the worse washing machines ever

O Eugene said...

Please do not buy a whirlpool cabrio washing machine. I repeat those are the worst washing machine ever.

Jerri Jensen said...

I too hope we can get a class action lawsuit going. Getting Whirlpool to stand behind their expensive and defective cabrios is like pulling teeth

Jerri Jensen said...

I encourage everyone who experienced problems with the Cabrio to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint. Individually, its easy for Whirpool to discount us as minor annoyances. However if enough of us file complaints with the BBB, we may be able to pressure Whirlpool into taking responsibility for their defective product. I have personally dealt with the F50 code; the F51 code; pump relacement (twice); the Start button no longer engaging; and the tub leaking. While Whirlpool has selectively and reluctantly authorized 'some' repairs, they completely disown any responsibility for the chain reaction that the failure of one defective component causes to other components. The Cabrio is a top-end expensive product and should perform reliably. The expense of the myriad of problems with the Cabrio should not fall on the backs of we consumers. Consider filing a complaint with the BBB today. It can be done online and they respond quickly. The address of Whirlpool's corporate offices (necessary in the complaint filing process) is: Whirlpool 553 Benson Rd. Benton Harbor Michigan 49022

WPK Tech said...

As a service tech I would caution that these manufacturers do not, as a rule, recall anything unless there is a safety issue (eg fire of flood risk). Furthermore, they are under no obligation to do so. Their products are guaranteed for the period of time stated in the owner's manual, its that simple. So what does that mean for consumers? Call Whirlpool and be VERY nice if you want their help, but also be persistent. DO NOT threaten to call BBB, the news, your local politician, etc. If all else fails call Sears/A&E and buy the extended warranty before they send a tech out. At least then your costs will be capped.

dmoore1c13 said...

F51 this time. Called the service number from above (866-698-2538) sw Tom. Very friendly and scheduled a FREE service call asap (parts and labor)! We purchased it in 2006 (7 years ago) and they are STILL standing behind their product without warranty!
So thankful for this site and the company standing behind their product, however this will be the 3rd major repair to this washer. First was F1 error (couple years ago -and also free), then replaced the bleach cup and hose (cracked hose - bad leak - used Consumers Energy appliance coverage), now F51... UGH!
Hope this will be the end of this washer's problems. I would NOT recommend a Cabrio to an enemy if I had one.

Grace Church said...

We own a Cabrio. I got the F51 code. I replaced the rotor sensor myself. It's not difficult. Part cost around $95. Still got the code. I called Whirlpool and informed them of the issue. They claimed ignorance. Service rep said she had never heard of the problem. I proceeded to kindly tell her of all the forums and negative posts that exist online. She is sending me a control board at no cost. I'll replace it myself. Here is a fantastic YouTube video on how to replace the RPS. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=L0p1VGSTzdU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DL0p1VGSTzdU


Here is a YouTube link on control board replacement:
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=BxXuJ7y1pBg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DBxXuJ7y1pBg

Looks easy enough. Hope this all helps. By the way, I'm not an appliance repair guy. I'm a youth pastor who does DIY. So, it's easy enough for me. You should be fine. Blessings!

csize10 said...

4 yr old Cabrio put out a F51 late in the spin cycle out of the blue on a medium sized load. It was too late in the day for service help, and my wife had already moved the soaking wet clothes to the middle of the kitchen floor (thanks, honey) to help motivate me. So I followed several YouTube videos (sadly, there are many for Cabrio problems) to troubleshoot. After opening the top (whole top, not lid) and removing the tub trim piece (5 min job tops) I found a pair of soccer shorts, a washcloth, and a bleach eaten tank top trapped between the drum & tub. There was also excess gray water that hadn't properly drained. All of these were putting extra load on the drum motor (and causing the washer to stink, another indicator of something down in the cesspool under the drum), presumably keeping it from reaching target speed, which is what triggers the F51 fault. After running the drain & spin cycle to clear the old water, I was able to run the diagnostics cycle with no faults. We have since run more than 20 loads with no further issues.

Gorgon987 said...

Own a Cabrio which is approximately 4 years old, and got the F51 error randomly one day. After reading this blog I called Whirlpool, they stated that there is a "special project" authorizing repairs for models produced between 2004-2006 for this issue. As mine was built in 2009, they would not help. I'll never buy Whirlpool again and I'm filling out a complaint with the BBB.

Kebra Henderson said...

What model # do you guys have who previously posted and stated whirpool handled the issue free of charge?

MamaK said...

I've been dealing with the F51 issue for a few months. My washer is just over a year. After reading all this I think I'll just go buy a commercial grade washer/dryer set.