How to change bearings on a washing machine 2 of 4
This video will show you a step by step procedure for reassembly of the whole machine. It is 2 of 4 videos in the series.
To order your washing machine drum bearings you will need your full model number. (This is normally around the washing machine door frame on a sticker)
Of all repairs on washing machine this can be one of the most difficult to successfully complete as this requires a complete strip down of the machine. See full video tutorials on this
The first thing you have to realise about a bearing change on any washing machine is that, if you’re not confident in your ability to totally strip the machine and re-build it safely then call in a friend who has knowledge of mechanical things like cars or you will have to call in a professional repair engineer . This is a job that will take up most of your day
In the main there are two bearings in a washing machine and a seal to stop the water leaking through to the bearings. These images below shows a typical bearing set for a washing machine or washer dryer. There are two bearings and a water seal.
What will usually happen is that the water seal on the front bearing (which often relies on a brass bush on the drum shaft to seal against) will fail and allow water to pass into the front bearing. That bearing now slowly rusts over time and, eventually will collapse due to the oil or grease being washed out and will start to get noisy on spin
To make it even worse some manufacturers, notably Hotpoint, Ariston, Indesit, Electrolux, Zanussi, AEG and Tricity Bendix have introduced sealed tanks where bearings cannot be replaced, you have to replace the entire inner working of the machine. The reason, they say, is to cut down production costs. Not all models on the above machine have sealed tanks so check with the part supplier first before starting the job.
When accessing the washing machine, make sure you disconnect from the electric supply!
Also ensure that you have ALL the spare parts that you are likely to need to hand as the last thing you want is to stop half way through the job. You also do not want to miss a part that you should replace whilst at it, like a tub seal for example and this is where a little expert guidance can come in handy.
Most common bearing, drum and drum seals are available from the different suppliers around this page do shop around as there can be a great difference in prices
The first thing you have to work out is how to get access to the washing machine bearings and seal.
Depending on the type of machine this can be relatively easy or just an absolute pain.
Older machines that were well built were pretty straightforward assuming that there was no damage to the drum shaft as they had a “spider and shaft” on the back which you simply removed a few bolts to draw off, change the bearings and put it back on. I know that sounds easy, but trust us, on some it isn’t just as simple as it sounds.
Some others, like Servis and Antonio Merloni based machines, have a bearing plate that is released by a clamp band at the back and the whole back of the tub comes off, heater included. This is probably one of the easiest to do and means that you have full access to the insides of the outer tank, so you can check for other problems. The seal really has to be replaced as well.
On Zanussi, AEG, Tricity Bendix, Bosch, Siemens, John Lewis and Electrolux machines (they’re all pretty much the same regardless of what the marketing literature tells you) the cabinet splits and the back has to come off or front to extract the entire tub. to get the tank out you have to disconnect everything from it and, I do mean everything, to extract the whole lot and then strip it outside the shell.
On some makes like Candy or Gorenje washing machine as well as others things get even more difficult when changing the bearings as, not only does the whole tub have to come out but the only way that it will come out is through the top. This is a soul destroying job.
This is probably one of the most important tips for when you attempt to change bearings, replace the seals. Not only the bearing water seal has to be replaced, there’s no option but I’d strongly recommend that you also order the tub seal as well. The reason is pretty simple if you put the washing machine back together then find you have a leak then you will have to strip it down again and for the sake of a few Pounds/Euros/ or Dollars it’s not worth it!!
The inner drum of the washing machine is a stainless steel part in which you put the clothes. On the back of that there is a spider and a shaft, on that shaft which slides into the bearings, there is normally a brass bush which you can see in the video, on most machines you must inspect the shaft very carefully as they can get worn and will simply tear up the new water seal and again within months of being replaced you will have the same problem. So it’s worth replacing the spider if worn
Tools Required To Replace Washing Machine Bearings
Quite often you need specialist tools to replace bearings; some even require specially manufactured bearing drawers to get them in and out. And, whilst these may not be absolutely essential, they sure can make life a lot easier. But in the video I will try and show you some normal tools that you can get away with using without buying the specialist tools.
When tapping bearings in, the greatest of care is need to be taken to ensure that they will last any length of time. This applies even more so to the front bearing water seal as virtually any damage to that part alone will be the cause of another failure without doubt.
With many of the modern machines you will need a good selection of screwdrivers, spanners quite often Torx bits. In other words, make sure that you are well armed with tools for the job.
New Washing Machines & Washer Dryers Where Can’t Replace Bearings
In recent years we’ve seen an increase in what is known as the “sealed tank” or drum where the outer tank is sealed completely. Usually its seam welded around the middle of the outer tank and, where this is the case the drum bearing of the washing machine or washer dryer cannot be accessed to replace them.
I frankly find this disgusting and not good for consumer’s pockets. It means that the machine is only designed to last a thousand cycles or so and then effectively scrap after a couple of years due to cost.