Monday, April 5, 2010

How to replace clutch assembly on whirlpool top loading washing machine?

This advice explains how to replace the clutch on a Whirlpool manufactured TOP LOADING direct-drive washer. This includes Kenmore, Estate & Roper washers. If in doubt, please post your MODEL NUMBER when submitting questions. This is a repair of MODERATE difficulty that can be accomplished easily if you follow the steps provided:

1. Unplug washing machine.

2. Remove console. This can be accomplished in several ways depending on which type of console you have.

a. If the console has removable end caps, the caps lift off by prying on the top from the back of the washer. The cap will pull off towards you as you are facing the unit from the front of the washer. There will be a screw under each end cap that you will need to remove.

b. If the console does not have removable end caps, you will need to slide a putty knife under the front corner of each side and push in while lifting up. There is a retaining clip under each side that has to be released.


c. Some consoles have a series of screws located in the back. Simply loosen the screws to release the console.

3. Once the console has been released it will lift up and fold back over the back of the washer in its resting position. Use care not to stress the small plastic hinges that hold it on. They can break easily.

4. Under the console will be two large brass colored clips. Take a large flat blade screwdriver and place it in the groove of the clip on the washer top. With the screwdriver firmly in the groove, push away from you towards the back of the washer. This will release the clips.

5. Disconnect the lid switch connector plug. This is the white colored plug on the washer top under the console.

6. Remove the washer casing. Open the lid of the washer. Using one hand, grip under the front rim of the washer opening. Do not grab the wash tub, just the casing. Tilt the washer case from the back first towards you, slide forward slightly, and then lift up. The entire case comes off exposing the wash tub and components.

7. Remove the water pump. This is a small pump located in the front of the washer directly under the wash tub. It has two hoses leading to it. LEAVE THE DRAIN HOSES IN PLACE and remove the two retaining clips. The front of the clip pops off with a gentle pry of a screwdriver, while the back is in a keyed slot. Once released from the pump, turn the clip to remove from the slot. Pull the pump off the motor shaft and push it aside while leaving the hoses attached.

8. Remove the Drive Motor. Remove the electrical connection(s) first using care not to break any of the wires. Loosen the two 1/4" hex bolts that hold the Drive Motor retaining clips in place. Now, place one hand under the motor and lift gently while prying the top retaining clip with a screwdriver. This will release some of the tension on the clip and make it slightly easier to remove. (WARNING: the motor has some weight to it, so be prepared to support it when you release it). Once the top clip is released, the bottom one should come out fairly easy. The clips are similar to the ones that hold the water pump in place. They are inserted into a keyed slot and are slightly longer.

9. Once the Drive Motor has been removed, the Motor Coupling is directly behind it. There are two plastic three-pronged pieces with a rubber bushing connecting the two. One plastic piece is inserted on the Drive Motor shaft, while the other piece is inserted on the transmission shaft. You may have to use a screwdriver to remove the old pieces. Inspect both halves of the coupling for signs of wear. Replace if necessary (part #285753A).

10. Uninstall the motor mounting plate from the gearcase by removing the two bolts.


11. Remove the agitator by removing the center cap. Locate the center nut under the cap and loosen with a socket and ratchet. Lift both portions of the agitator straight up, exposing the gearcase center shaft. Remove the agitator clip and agitator washer from the shaft. NOTE: If there is a recessed square slot under the agitator cap, use a 3/8 inch to ½ inch socket adapter with extender to remove.

12. Now take the washer and lean it backwards so that you have full access to underside of the washer.Loosen the three bolts holding the gearcase in place. When you get the last bolt, loosen slowly as the gearcase will begin to drop from under the washer. Slide the entire gearcase and shaft out of the washer.

13. Remove the clutch and brake assembly from the top of the gearcase by removing the retaining clip.Do not forget to retain the washer that is under the clutch.

14. Install the new clutch assembly on top of the gearcase. Insert the band (this looks like a metal hoop) and hold in place. Then, using a pair of needlenose pliers, place the end caps on the tension spring and compress to insert into the open end of the band. Release the tension on the spring and the band will stay in place. With the parts assembled, make sure you insert the retaining clip on top of the clutch.

15. Reinstall drive motor mounting plate on the gearcase and insert the gearcase into the basket drive tube with clutch assembly attached. Slide all the way up and hold in place. Seat the gearcase and insert one bolt and get it started to hold in place while you insert the remaining bolts. Tigthen all bolts evenly.

16. Insert new coupling by tapping one piece onto the transmission shaft with a hammer. Use a dowel or something solid to tap the center portion of the coupling until the opening of the coupling is flush with the shaft. DO NOT hit the prongs or they will break. Do the same for the Drive Motor. Make sure you place the coupling on the correct side of the motor. If you forget, remember that the electrical connections are on the RIGHT HAND SIDE of the motor and that the coupling goes on the REAR shaft of the motor.

17. Place the rubber bushing over the side of the coupler that is connected to the transmission. Rotate the bushing so one empty hole is facing up and the other two are facing down. Now, rotate the coupler on the motor so the prongs will line up with these holes. It's a little tricky trying to get them to line of sometimes. I usually place the lower retaining clip in its keyed slot so that it is resting on the floor. That way, when you get the motor in place, you can reach down while holding the motor up and snap the lower bracket in. You will still need to support the weight of the motor until you get the top bracket keyed into its slot and snapped back into place.

18. Reinstall electrical connector to the Drive Motor.

19. Reinstall Water pump. You may have to rotate the motor shaft slightly to get the slot on the water pump to line up correctly. Make sure you re-install retaining clips.

20. Re-install agitator washer and retaining clip on the gearcase drive shaft and then re-install agitator.NOTE: DO NOT over-tighten center nut. You can crack or break the agitator.


21. Re-install washer case. With the lid of the washer open, grasp the case under front rim and place it on the washer frame. While looking down through the washer lid opening, make sure the front lip of the case is placed UNDER the washer frame and rocked back onto the frame to ensure that the small cleats on the frame fit into the slotted grooves on the washer case base. If you do not get the case seated correctly it will rattle and vibrate while the washer is in operation.

22. Make sure the back of the washer fits into the washer casing on each side by leaning over the front of the washer and grasping the back panel and pull towards you. Reinsert the brass clips by placing the clips into the slot on the back of the washer first, and then forcefully push then down into the opening on top of the washer.

23. REINSTALL LID SWITCH CONNECTOR. It is easy to forget. If you do not reconnect it, the washer will not work correctly.

24. Reinstall console.

This may seem to be a rather lengthy process, but it is a simple repair if you follow the instructions step-by-step. Read through everything thoroughly before beginning any repairs. I hope this information is found to be helpful.


NOTE: Searspartsdirect.com, Pcappliancerepair.com and Appliancepartspros.com have helpful exploded view diagrams you can use to properly identfiy the parts you need, and to see how the parts are assembled.

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