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Whirlpool Washer Repair

At the most inconvenient times our appliences have a tendency to break down.  Our clothes washer was making a grinding noise.  No agitation or spin.  Fortunately the water pump worked so I could remove all the water in the washer and move it away from the wall to inspect.

I placed the washer on its back to expose the bottom where the motor and pump are located.  The motor turned freely but it was not turning the transmission shaft. From what I could see, the coupler that connected the motor shaft to the transmission was broken.  This is a set of plastic links joined by a rubber center piece.

The part was only $12 from an internet parts provider but the next business day shipping was $25.  It was still a bargain.  

At first, the repair looked daunting.  It appeared a lot of disassembly was required.  It turned out to be pretty easy.

First, remove the screws in back of the control panel.  Lift off the panel and swing to the rear.  Disconnect the wire from the cover switch.  Remove the two clips with a screwdriver to release the main cover from the rest of the chassis.  You will feel the cabinet pop and release.  Swing the cabinet forward to release it from the front of the washer bottom frame and place it aside.

With the cover removed tip the chassis toward the rear and lay the washer on its back gently.  Be careful of the rear panel.  It is only mounted at the bottom and not very strongly. Don't bend it.

Release the two clips on the water pump and remove the pump by pulling it straight off the motor shaft.

Disconnect the wires on the motor.  Remove the two 1/4 inch screws and release the motor clips with a screwdriver.

Pull the motor straight off the transmission.  With the motor removed you can see the coupler on the transmission shaft.  Here you see part of the coupler still on the transmission shaft.  The other two pieces are on top of the drum housing.  The white plastic piece is broken.

Here's a close up view of the old broken coupler.  There were the pieces that remained on the transmission shaft.  The plastic piece has a keyway to prevent the transmittion shaft from spinning inside the coupler.

Here's a different view of the broken coupler.

And yet another view.  The other good unbroken plastic piece was on the motor shaft.  You can see the flat spots that formed the keyway to align to the shaft.

Here's the new coupler.  Notice they reinfiorced the center of the plastic pieces with metal.  You can clearly see the flat keyways that match the flat spots on the motor shaft and transmission shaft.

This is what the coupler looks like when the three pieces are merged together.

Here's the new coupler installed on the transmission shaft.

Now you can reinstall the motor using the motor clips and screws.  You will have to rotate the motor shaft until the keyways align and the motor drops down.  The shafts were worn on my motor and transmision so the new couplings did not slide on easily.  I elected to tap them down with a hammer and a large socket.  The socket allowed me to apply the pressure to the coupling's metal bushings while not hitting the end of the shafts.  Make sure the motor shaft rotates freely.  It will rotate easier in one direction.  The other direction engages the clutch and tries to spin the tub or agitator.

Next, reinstall the water pump and secure with the two clips.

Return the washer to the upright position, reinstall the cabinet and control panel, reconnect the water and drain lines, and hope there are no other problems such as a bad clutch or transmission.  My first thought was the possibility that there was a bind in the transmission or clutch.  If there were such a problem the new coupling could have been damaged.

Success!  Here is the washer in the middle of a spin cycle with the cover open!  If you bypass the cover switch to take a photo like this, don't drop your camera in or stick your hand in there!