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How to Replace Washing Machine Drum Bearings

Drum bearings sit at the back of the drum and allow the inner drum unit to turn nice and smooth. Firstly, just to check you are on the right path, here are the warning signs that your drum bearings need to be replaced:

  • The machine is making a lot of noise during a cycle especially during spinning.
  • If the inner drum moves a lot more than usual in relation to the outer tub

If you need to replace the drum bearings but are unsure where to start, there’s no need to panic. We’ll talk you through how to successfully replace the drum bearings without damaging your washing machine.

You might need to buy the front bearing, rear bearing and bearing seal these are often supplied as separate parts, or you may be able to obtain them together as a bearing and seal kit - this will depend on the particular model of washing machine that you have.

This video shows an example on how to remove or replace the part on a typical machine, some models may be different but the procedure should be similar.

Please Note: The bearing set we are using for this model also has a tub seal included - because we're going to need to remove the whole tub, part it in two and when we put it back together again it’s important that we put a new seal on so that it’s completely water-tight.

What You Will Need:

Step 1 - Safety

Safety First! Please make sure that you have switched your appliance off at the mains before starting your repair.

Step 2 - Remove The Top Lid And Control Panel

We need to remove the tub from the machine…start by removing the top panel which is just held in place by a couple of screws. Next is to remove the soap dispenser drawer, which in most machines is easily done by pushing the catch.

The control panel fascia, which again is just held in by screws, is the next part that needs to be removed (if you need to disconnect the module to move the fascia out of the way after, it would be a good idea to take a photo so that you know how to connect it later on).

eSpares Top Tip: Keep all of your screws in separate groups, so that you know which screw is used for which part once you come to put everything back together again later on.

Step 3 - Remove The Kick Plate

Up next we have the kick plate that needs to be taken off, most will just pull away. Proceed to release the emergency drain hose if fitted. You will typically have four screws that are holding the front panel on that would need to be removed.

Step 4 - Remove The Front Outer Panel 

Time for the front panel to go now… Start this by removing the seal, the one in this video has a spring and a retaining band, and they should both just pull away (though they do vary a bit by make and model). With that done we can now see the door interlock, which you need to unscrew - and you should now be able to lift the whole of the front panel away.

Step 5 - Remove The Detergent Housing

Up next is the task of removing the detergent drawer housing out of the way. Take the cross-member out, then pull the detergent tray through, and you should be able to get at the clip on the detergent hose. Simply use some pliers to pull that clip away. You are now free to move the detergent tray away for now.

Step 6 - Remove Counterbalance Weights

Ok, we need to remove the counterbalance weights now. There are a couple of weights on this particular model - there’s a top weight (held in place with a couple of bolts), where you need to use a 13mm socket to remove these bolts. There is also a front circular weight - which is held in place by a band and some screws.

Step 7 - Remove Heating Element

Time to take out the element - but before we do, it’s time for an eSpares Top Tip: Take a photo of how it is connected before you uncouple the wires, so you know how to reconnect them later on.

To remove the element, undo the nut that is holding it in place (note: don’t undo it all the way though, only until it’s just past the end of the bolt) - you can then tap the whole nut in, and this will then release the seal. The element then can be prised out.

Step 8 - Remove The Sump

We need to release the sump from the tub now! Use your drain hose to drain as much water out as you can, but do be prepared for a bit of spillage. Bring the pressure hose away from the side of the tub, and then just one screw should release the sump clamp.

Step 9 - Remove Cables From The Tub

Remove the cables that are still attached to the tub, and you have finished the removal of parts from the front of your machine.

So far so good, there is some way to go before you successfully complete your repair. Keep reading on, and don’t lose sight of your goal - we’ll get there together…

Step 10 - Remove The Back Panel And Drive Belt

The back panel needs to be removed, and once done you will be shown the belt. This belt needs to be taken off by moving it to one side, and then rolling it over (careful not to trap your fingers here).

Step 11 - Release The Motor

Now remove the motor…but first, here comes another eSpares Top Tip: Before disconnecting the wires to the connector block, just take a quick photo - so you will know how to reconnect them back later on. Once you have disconnected the wires, you can go on to remove the motor itself. Undo the fixing bolts, and the motor should just pull away (but be careful as it will be heavy).

Step 12 - Remove The Pressure Chamber

Remove the pressure chamber by releasing the clip that is connecting it to the tub.

Step 13 - Remove The Dampers

Ok then here we go…let’s get the tub out! The tub is suspended on two springs at the top and has a couple of dampers down at the bottom. Start by removing the bottom dampers, and then you can just leave it hanging on the springs. The dampers can be attached in a variety of ways - you may find that it’s easier to remove the dampers at the top (where it’s attached to the tub) and leave it attached to the chassis of the machine. On the model in this video, it’s actually easier to release the bottom of the dampers first.

The only thing holding the tub in place now are the springs on either side. There are a variety of ways in how they can hook-in (depends on your make and model) Once the springs are released, you will be able to lift the tub out. Finish off by removing the door seal retaining clip and spring, to then pull the seal off.

Step 14 - Remove The Wheel Bolt And Finally The Drum

Nearly at the bearings - we promise! Flip the drum over, and use a 13mm socket to remove the pulley wheel bolt (which is bolted through the main spindle). The drum will hopefully just pop through, but if your bearings have completely seized you might need to do knock the spindle through, to loosen up the drum. Rest the unit on a couple of bits of wood - this is to avoid the weight being on the outside bits of plastic that could snap off.

Step 15 - Unscrew Any Screws To Slide The Drum

Separate the tub into two halves. There will be many screws that need to be taken out, and your tub might also have some plastic tabs located around it. Hopefully, yours will just have the screws, but if it does have the tabs then they can be taken off (using a pair of pliers, or sharp snips for example). In this video, we are going to use a chisel to knock them off (these are not essential to the performance of your washing machine). Put the unit onto its side, and proceed to pull the front part of the tub away - which will allow you to then slide the drum out.

Step 16 - Inspect For A Build-Up Of Gunk

Not really a step as such - more of an observation for you and an eSpares Top Tip: You can see the spindle is attached to the main part of the drum by what is known the spider, and this shows why you should run a service wash once a month with a limescale and detergent remover - as you can see, it’s looking quite grim. 

Step 17 - Locate The Bearings

The bearings are located in the rear of the tub, where you have the bearing seal, the large front bearing that sits just behind that, and then the smaller rear bearing someway set back from that. Start by punching out the old rear bearing. (Place the whole tub on a couple of pieces of wood, to give a bit of clearance so it can be knocked through).

Step 18 - Knock Out The Bearings

Put a chisel through and knock that bearing through, just keep moving round, so it will be knocked out evenly (the main thing is that you don’t damage the casing that the bearing sits in). You can now repeat the process for the front bearing, and its seal will come off at the same time. If your tub has got plastic location lugs, just make sure that you don’t snap those off, put the whole thing up on some wood to give them some protection.

Step 19 - Clean Any Visible Grime

eSpares Top Tip: At this stage let’s show your appliance some care and attention by giving the area a really good clean. Use a limescale cleaner to get all of the gunk off the back and then really clean the inside the housing with a soft cloth. If there is remaining gunk in there, it’s may get inside the bearings and damage them.

Step 20 - Secure The New Bearing

Proceed to knock the new bearing down as far as the register, or lip. It’s just going to rest up against there. As you knock the bearing in it’s really important that you only hit the outside rim of the bearing case -  and not against the centre part (as it would cause damage to it and end up back to where you started) 

You can use a drift or bolt and just start tapping, but remember to keep working your way around evenly. If necessary use a large, flat chisel just to get it the last few millimetres (again be mindful of making sure that you're only hitting against the bearing rim) You’ll know when you’ve gone far enough, as you’ll feel it as it comes up against the race.

Step 21 - Fit The Bearing Seal And Final Bearing

Pop the seal in place now, and just tap it in until it becomes flush with the bottom of the tub. One bearing left to go now - and this is the outer bearing. Make sure it is really clean, and proceed to drop it in place. Repeat the process of tapping it in place around the outside edges. Once in place,…you have successfully replaced your bearings! Well done on your hard work up until now…

Step 22 - Check The Drum Spider Spindle

Well as you look at all the mess you have made, and you look at the current state of your washing machine, you will realize that the hard work does not stop here…you have to now put everything back together again! It is really important that you ensure the spindle is clean and without damage. If it is damaged then on some machines you can replace the spider, but on this particular model it’s actually riveted to the drum - so if damaged you’d need to replace the whole drum.

Step 23 - Put The Tub Back Into The Drum

Start by putting the back part of the tub onto the drum, and then placing the pulley in position and tighten it up.

The tub now needs to be put back together again, but first, you are 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 - while also pushing down. If there is any sign of damage to the area that contacts the tub seal run a bead of silicone sealant all the way around, and you can then put the front half of the tub on - just make sure you have got it lined up correctly.

Step 24 - Secure The Tub By Tightening The Screws

Position the tub on its front now, so you can proceed to put in the tub screws, lightly tighten at first then go around again to fully tighten the screws. On some machines, the screw holes are numbered and you need to follow the right sequence. On this particular model, we want to do the opposite sides as they are tightened up, just so that it pulls together nice and evenly.

There you go - your tub is nicely put back together now.

Step 25 - Check the Seal Is Watertight

eSpares Top Tip: If you wanted to check yours was watertight, just wait for your silicone sealant to dry, and 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.

You can now continue to put the whole machine back together again now!

Congratulations - you have now successfully been able to replace your washing machine drum bearings! You can now get back to being able to wash your clothes again in no time, in the knowledge that you have fixed the drum bearings all by yourself (with a little help from eSpares of course!)

Give Your Washing Machine Some Loving Care & Attention

Your washing machine no doubt works hard for you in getting your clothes nice and clean. If you want to show it some TLC, then it is a great idea to protect it from the build-up of limescale & detergent that can happen over time in your machine. Introducing the eSpares Limescale & Detergent Remover - where by using this you can help protect from this, as well as removing bad odours and bacteria build-up.

*Not suitable for top loading appliances

Need To Locate The Correct Drum Bearings For Your Washing Machine?

As you have probably found out in doing this, fixing your washing machine drum bearings yourself can be a task that takes a little time, but it will be rewarding once you have completed it. It would save you a lot of money compared to booking a repair or buying a new washing machine. Here at eSpares, we have a wide-range of replacement washing machine drum bearings for you to select from - so you can soon be on your way to repairing it yourself.

You can also find lots more of our useful help and tips on looking after your appliances at home, and also further advice and video tutorials on how to fix your appliances yourself at the eSpares Advice Centre.

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