How to Replace the Bearings on a Washing Machine Published 23/02/2011
If your washing machine is making an extremely loud rumbling noise when in operation, there may be an issue with the washing machine bearings. Find out how to replace these, by watching this eSpares video.
Hi I’m Matt from eSpares and in this video I’m going to show you how to fit new drum bearings to a washing machine.
The drum bearings sit at the back behind the drum and allow the whole things to spin nice and smoothly. So how do you know if you need new drum bearings? Well one customer described it sounding like a concrete mixer on overdrive; it can make a real racket if the drum bearings have gone. The other thing is to look for the amount of movement between the drum and the outer tube. Now the bearings on this machine are fine, you can see there is no real movement there. But if your bearings have gone, the inner drum will move a lot in relation to the outer tub.
So here we have the front bearing, the rear bearing and the bearing seal, and they come as a complete set for this Bosch washing machine. You may find that for your make and model you do need to buy them separately, but do buy all three as we want to replace the lot.
We also have a tub seal in this set, because we're going to need to remove the whole tub, split it in two and when we put that back together again it’s important that we put a new seal on so that it’s nice and water-tight. Now this is a big job, not for the feint hearted, you are going to need a little bit of space to work in, but it’s going to save you a fortune compared with buying a new machine or calling out an engineer. Safety first, make sure you are unplugged from the mains. So let’s get on with removing the tub from the machine.
Now we’re using a Bosch WFL series machine for this video, the layout is going to be a little bit different depending on your make and model, but it should give you a good idea of what you need to do. I’m going to start by removing the top panel which is just held in place by a couple of screws. They’re Torx-head screws and you can get a full set of Torx keys on the eSpares website. I’m actually going to us a Torx-bit on an electric driver.
So that’s the lid, remove the soap dispenser, there’s just a little catch there that comes away, then I’ve got three screws here and one on this end to take the fascia away. Do keep all your screws separate so it’s much easier to remember where they came from when you are putting them back.
So now the fascia just comes away and you can see the control module here. If you do need to disconnect everything, do make sure you take a few photos beforehand so you remember how to put everything back together again. I should just have room to rest that on top, so I don’t need to disconnect everything.
So next the kick plate, or plinth, that should just come away. Take that drain hose off, now, you should just have probably four screws holding the front panel on, I’ve got one here, and here, and then some up at the top. Start getting those undone.
So now I’m just going to remove the seal from the front panel, this one has a spring and a retaining band. They vary a bit by make and model, but it should just pull away like so, and then the seal just comes away. That’s just going to allow me to get at the door interlock here, there we are, and that should mean that I can lift the whole of the front panel away. There we go.
OK, so now I need to get this detergent tray out of the way. Remove that cross-member, then if we just pull it through, should be able to get at this clip on the detergent hose, just use some pliers, pull that away, and then I can get that out of the way at the back there.
So now I need to remove the counter-balance weights. There’s a couple of weights on this one, there’s this top one that’s held in place with a couple of bolts, I’m going to use a 13mm socket to take those bolts out, and then this front, circular weight which is held in place by this band some screws. Let’s just remove those.
So we’ll uncouple the wires from the element, but before I do I’m just going to take a photo with my camera phone. Just so I’ve got a record of where they all go; and then, I’m going to remove the element as well. Just undo this nut. Don’t undo it all the way, just until it’s just past the end of the bolt like that and then just tap the whole thing through. There we go, that should release the seal and the element just slides away.
Now, next I’m going to detached the sump from the tub itself. Use your drain hose to drain as much water out of there as you can, do be prepared for a bit of spillage as well. Now, I just need to bring this pressure hose away from the side of the tub. There we go. And then, just one screw should release the sump clip.
The last thing to do round the front is just to remove these cables that are still attached to the tub. Now we can go round the back of the machine.
So, now I’ve spun it round I can remove the back panel, there we go, that’s the back panel off. Let’s just take the belt off, if you just pull it to one side, and then just roll it over, it will come off, just watch your fingers in there.
So like with the element, it might be a good idea just to take a photo of the connector block for the motor and then, disconnect those wires. So to remove the motor itself, we’ve just got these couple of bolts to undo. So now the motor should just pull way, be careful, it’s very heavy, there we go, that’s out of the way.
So one final thing to remove whilst we are at the back here is just the pressure chamber. It’s just attached to the tub with a little plastic clip, that’s away.
So that’s everything that was attached to the tub now removed. The tub is just being held in place by these two springs at the top and these couple of legs down at the bottom, I’m going to start by removing the bottom legs, just leave it hanging on the springs. That’s fine, there is not an awful lot of weight on there now that the motor and the counter-balance weights have come off.
Now the legs are attached in a variety of different ways, you may find that it’s easier to remove the leg at the top here where it’s attached to the tub and leave it attached to the chassis of the machine. On this Bosch one, it’s actually easier to undo at the bottom first.
The only thing holding the tub in place now are these springs on the either side. They hook-in, in a variety of different ways on different makes and models, but if I just remove the springs, then we’ll be able to life the tub out. There we go, that’s the tub and drum out of the machine. So I’m just going to pop the door seal off, just need to get something behind this retaining clip and that spring comes off, and then the seal itself should just pull away - there we go.
Now I can flip the drum over, and then we can get at the bearings. Ok, so let’s remove the pulley wheel, it’s just bolted through on to the main spindle, it’s just a 13mm socket.
On this one I can feel the drum dropping through as I undo that bolt. If your bearings are completely seized, I don’t know if you can see there how that’s dropped through, if your bearings have completely seized, what you might need to do is just knock that through, just so that that’s loosened up. Now I’ve rested the whole thing on these couple of bits of wood, hopefully you can see, so the weight’s just not on these outside bits of plastic that could snap off.
What we now need to do is to separate out the two halves of the tub, you can see there’s Torx head screws here, holding that together.
But on this one we’ve also got these plastic tabs going all the way round. Hopefully yours won’t have the plastic tabs and it just has the screws, because it’s a lot easier to do. But if you do there’s absolutely no way you’re going to hold in all of those tabs at the same time to separate it out, so the instructions that come with the new seal just recommend that you just snap them off. You can either do them with a pair of pliers or sharp snips, I’m actually going to use a sharp chisel and knock them off.
Ok so I’m now just going to pop the whole thing now on its side, you can see that it’s already coming apart. You just pull away the front part of the tub and put that to one side, and the inner drum should just slide out, there we go.
You can see the spindle there is attached to the main part of the drum by this part, sometimes called a spider, that shows you why you should run a service wash once a month with a lime scale and detergent remover, it’s quite grim.
So in the rear part of the tub, here we can see the bearings in here, and that’s what we’re going to need to remove first. So here you can see the bearing seal, the large front bearing sits just behind that, and the smaller rear bearing someway set back from that, that’s how it’s arranged. So we’re going to start by punching out the old smaller rear bearing. I’ve got the whole tub sat on a couple of pieces of wood, just to give me a bit of clearance so I can punch that through.
Then I’m just going to put the chisel through and gently tap that bearing through, just keep moving round, so we knock it out evenly. The main thing is that we don’t damage the casing that the bearing sits in, there we go.
Ok so same again for the front bearing, just going to punch that through. Now I’ve got the whole tub just resting on the table like this, that’s going to be fine. If yours has got plastic location lugs just make sure that you don’t snap those off, put the whole thing up on some woods to give them some protection.
So again, just start tapping and working your way round. Don’t worry about the seal, that’ll just come off as the bearing comes out, there we go. So that’s the front bearing out, and the seal, now next step let’s give this a really good clean.
So that’s looking much better. We’ve used a limescale cleaner to get all of that gunk off the back and then really cleaned inside the housing here with a soft cloth, it’s really important that we’ve got no gunk in there that’s going to get inside the bearings and damage them.
So we’re going to knock the bearing down as far as this race, or lip, here. It’s just going to rest up against there. As we’re knocking the bearing in it’s really important that we only hit against the very edge of the bearing case here, and not against the centre part, that’s just going to damage it and we’ll be back where we started.
I’m just going to use this bolt just to start tapping, keep working your way round evenly. I’m just using a large, flat chisel just to get it those last few millimetres. Again make sure that you’re only hitting against the very edge of the bearing and you’ll know when you’ve gone far enough, you’ll feel it as it comes up against the race.
So now that’s in I can just pop the seal in to place. This one just comes as a single part seal, and I’m just going to tap that in, just until it’s flush up with the bottom of the tub.
So for the outer bearing, again make sure that this is really, really clean, and then just drop it in to place and gently start tapping that outside edge, remember to keep working your way round evenly. There we go, bearings and seal are in place, let’s put the tub back together.
So I’ve cleaned up the top of the drum and the spindle. It’s really important that the spindle is clean and there’s no damage. If it is damaged then on some machines you can replace the spider, on this one it’s actually riveted to the drum so you’d need to replace the whole drum. Let’s get the top on and drop the pulley back on and tighten that up.
So let’s put the tub back together, before we do we’re going to need to put in a brand new seal. You need to find the join in the seal, it’s very often marked, and put that at the top of the tub and just feed it into the groove all the way round. So the seal’s in place and pushed down to the bottom of the groove all the way round, I’m just going to run a bead of silicone sealant all the way around. Now I can put the front half of the tub on, just make sure we’ve got it lined up.
So I’ve turned the tub on to its front again, and it’s now time to put in the tub screws. On some machines the screw holes are numbered and you need to follow the right sequence. On this one I want to do opposite sides as I tighten them up, just so that it pulls together nice and evenly.
So that’s my tub all back in one piece. If you wanted to check yours was watertight, wait for your silicone sealant to dry, just flip it over, fill it up with water so that the water line is above the line of the seal, and check for leaks. I’m quite happy with this one, so it just remains for me to put the whole machine back together.
There we go: new bearings on a washing machine. By no means an easy task, but if you’ve got a bit of time and plenty of space, certainly one that can save you lots of money when you fix it yourself. Bearings and seals, along with drums and spiders, for all makes and models are available at espares.co.uk.
Thanks for watching.