July 1, 2013

How to replace the clutch band in a top-load washer

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the clutch band in a top-load washer

This washer repair guide explains how to replace the clutch band on a direct-drive top-load washer. The washer clutch band is part of the clutch assembly that releases the drive system's brake to allow the basket to spin during the spin cycle. If the clutch band wears out, the clutch assembly won't release the brake. If the washer spins when the basket is empty but not when it's full, the clutch band could be the problem (another problem could be the clutch assembly). Replace the clutch band with a manufacturer-approved replacement part if it's worn or damaged.

Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag, Roper, Estate and Crosley top-load washers use this type of direct-drive clutch band.

Not sure if your washer is a direct-drive washer? Learn how you can tell on our washer FAQs.

Quick links
Tools required
Socket wrench set and ratchet
Needle-nosed pliers
Slot screwdriver
Channel-lock pliers
Shop towels
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
60 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
60 minutes or less
Replacing a clutch band in a top-load washer

This video explains how to replace the clutch band in a direct-drive top-load washer.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the electricity and water

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

    Turn off the water supply valves for the washer.

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

  2. 02.

    Remove the agitator

    If your model has a fabric softener dispenser at the top of the agitator, remove the fabric softener dispenser.

    Open the washer lid and pry the cap from the top of the agitator.

    Remove the 7/16" bolt and washer that secure the agitator to the agitator drive shaft.

    Grip the bottom of the agitator and pull the entire agitator assembly up and out of the washer.

    Tip: If your model has a plastic spring retainer with a square hole at the top, insert a 1/2" socket drive extension into the square hole and rotate the spring retainer counter-clockwise to release and remove the spring retainer.
    Pry off the agitator cap.

    Pry off the agitator cap.

    Remove the agitator cap.

    Remove the agitator cap.

    Remove the agitator bolt.

    Remove the agitator bolt.

  3. 03.

    Disconnect the hoses

    Move the washer away from the wall so you can reach the fill hoses. Mark which fill hose goes to the hot connector and which goes to the cold.

    Using channel-lock pliers, carefully loosen and remove both hoses. Expect some water to pour out.

    Pull the drain hose out of the standpipe behind the washer. Expect some water to pour out of the drain hose as you remove it.

    Tip: Wipe up spills with a towel to prevent slipping.
  4. 04.

    Lay the washer on its back

    Move the washer far enough from the wall that you can set the washer on its back.

    Lay a large towel behind the washer.

    Carefully tip the washer backwards onto the towel to access the drive components at the bottom of the washer.

  5. 05.

    Release the drain pump

    Use a slot screwdriver to release the metal mounting clips that secure the drain pump to the front of the drive motor.

    Pull the drain pump forward to release it from the drive motor shaft. Leave the hoses connected to the drain pump.

    Move the pump to the side of the motor so it’s out of the way while you replace the clutch assembly.

    Remove the drain pump clips.

    Remove the drain pump clips.

  6. 06.

    Remove the transmission and drive motor assembly

    Unplug the wire harness from the drive motor.

    Detach the wires from the drive motor capacitor.

    Release the drive motor wire harness from the plastic retainer clip on the bottom of the transmission housing.

    Remove the bolts that secure the transmission to the base of the washer.

    Carefully pull the transmission (with drive motor attached) straight out of the bottom of the washer.

    Set the transmission and drive motor assembly upright on a shop towel to service the clutch assembly.

    Warning: The transmission and drive motor assembly is heavy. Use a helper to pull the transmission and drive motor assembly out of the washer if necessary.
    Unplug the motor wire harness.

    Unplug the motor wire harness.

    Detach the wires from the drive motor capacitor

    Detach the wires from the drive motor capacitor

    Remove the transmission mounting bolts.

    Remove the transmission mounting bolts.

    Pull the transmission and drive motor out of the washer.

    Pull the transmission and drive motor out of the washer.

  7. 07.

    Remove the clutch band

    Using channel-lock pliers, compress the spring on the clutch band and pull the clutch band up and out of the clutch housing.

    Compress the clutch band spring.

    Compress the clutch band spring.

    Pull the clutch band out of the clutch housing.

    Pull the clutch band out of the clutch housing.

  8. 08.

    Remove the brake cam

    Pry the C-clip off of the brake cam.

    Pull the brake cam off of the base of the washer.

    Tip: The clutch band kit includes a new brake cam. Replace the brake cam at the same time that you replace the clutch band.
    Pry the C-clip off of the brake cam.

    Pry the C-clip off of the brake cam.

    Remove the C-clip from the brake cam.

    Remove the C-clip from the brake cam.

    Remove the brake cam.

    Remove the brake cam.

  9. 09.

    Install the new brake cam

    Position the new brake cam on the base of the washer and reinstall the C-clip.

    Install the new brake cam.

    Install the new brake cam.

  10. 10.

    Install the new clutch band

    Install the spring retainer caps on the new clutch band.

    Install the new clutch spring between the spring retainer caps.

    Carefully compress the new clutch band using channel-lock pliers and insert the new clutch band in the clutch housing.

    Tip: The clutch band kit includes a short and long clutch band spring. Use the short clutch band spring if you have a compact washer, otherwise use the long spring.
    Install the new clutch band.

    Install the new clutch band.

  11. 11.

    Reinstall the transmission and drive motor assembly

    Position the tab on the brake cam directly opposite of the spring on the clutch housing.

    Carefully slide the transmission and motor assembly back into the base of the washer. Adjust the alignment of the clutch as necessary so the transmission is flush with the base of the washer and the mounting holes are lined up.

    Reinstall the mounting bolts in the transmission.

    Reconnect the wire harness plug on the drive motor.

    Reattach the wires to the drive motor capacitor.

    Reinstall the wire harness in the plastic retainer clip at the bottom of the transmission.

    Reinstall the transmission and drive motor.

    Reinstall the transmission and drive motor.

    Reinstall the transmission mounting bolts.

    Reinstall the transmission mounting bolts.

    Reattach the wires on the motor capacitor.

    Reattach the wires on the motor capacitor.

    Plug the drive motor wire harness back in.

    Plug the drive motor wire harness back in.

  12. 12.

    Reinstall the drain pump

    Reposition the drain pump on the drive motor shaft and secure the drain pump with the retainer clips.

    Reinstall the drain pump.

    Reinstall the drain pump.

  13. 13.

    Tilt the washer upright

    Carefully tilt the washer upright.

  14. 14.

    Reinstall the hoses

    Connect the fill hoses and tighten the connections using channel-lock pliers.

    Reconnect the drain hose on the back of the washer.

  15. 15.

    Reinstall the agitator

    Open the washer lid and push the agitator down on the agitator shaft inside the spin basket.

    Reinstall the washer and agitator bolt, and tighten the agitator bolt securely.

    Reinstall the dust cap and agitator cap on the agitator.

    Reinstall the agitator.

    Reinstall the agitator.

  16. 16.

    Restore the water and power

    Turn on the water supply valves. Tighten the connection if there’s a slight leak.

    Plug the washer into the electrical outlet.

    Return the washer to its original location.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all washers

Choose a symptom to see related washer repairs.

Main causes: clogged drain hose, house drain clogged, bad drain pump, water-level pressure switch failure, bad control board or timer
Main causes: water heater failure, bad water temperature switch, faulty control board, bad water valve, faulty water temperature sensor
Main causes: bad lid switch or door lock, bad timer or electronic control board, wiring failure, bad water inlet valve assembly
Main causes: worn agitator dogs, bad clutch, broken motor coupler, shifter assembly failure, broken door lock, suspension component failure
Main causes: broken lid switch or lid lock, bad pressure switch, broken shifter assembly, faulty control system
Main causes: lack of electrical power, wiring failure, bad power cord, electronic control board failure, bad user interface board
Main causes: leaky water inlet valve, faulty water-level pressure switch, bad electronic control board
Main causes: unbalanced load, loose spanner nut, worn drive block, broken shock absorber or suspension spring, debris in drain pump
Main causes: no water supply, bad water valves, water-level pressure switch failure, control system failure, bad door lock or lid switch

Repair guides for top-load washers

How to replace the spin basket in a top-load washer

If the spin basket on your top-load washer is damaged, you can replace it with a new one. Just follow these step-by-step instructions.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
How to replace the timer in a direct-drive top-load washer

Replace the timer if it doesn't advance or work properly.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace the drain pump in a top-load washer

If there's water in your washer at the end of the spin cycle, the drain pump could be faulty. If the drain and drain hose are clear, you can follow these instructions to replace the drain pump.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

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