July 1, 2013

How to replace the motor coupler on a top-load washer

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the motor coupler on a top-load washer

This DIY washer repair guide explains how to replace the motor coupling on a top-load washer. The motor coupler is a flexible coupling on the motor shaft connection to the direct-drive transmission. If the drive system seizes up, the coupling breaks to protect the drive motor from damage. If the motor coupler breaks, the washer can still fill with water and drain but the washer won't agitate or spin, even though the drive motor runs. You might hear a loud buzzing sound when the motor is running. If the washer fills and drains but doesn't agitate or spin, replace the motor coupler with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Direct-drive washers that use the motor coupler covered in this repair guide are made by Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag, Estate, Crosley and Roper.

If you're not sure if your top-load washer is a direct-drive washer, check out our washer FAQs to learn how you can tell.

Quick links
Tools required
Slot screwdriver
Phillips screwdriver
Socket wrench set and ratchet
Hammer
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
60 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
60 minutes or less
Replacing a motor coupler on a direct-drive top-load washer

This video explains how to replace a motor coupler on a direct-drive top-load washing machine.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the electricity

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

  2. 02.

    Open the control console

    Pull the plastic end caps off the sides of the control console.

    Remove the screws at the base of the control console.

    Pull the control console slightly forward and then swing it up and back over the top of the back panel.

    Tip: Some models have the screws on the back of the end caps instead of on the front of the control console. Other models have spring clips under the end caps instead of screws. Remove the rear screws or use a putty knife to release the spring clips.
    Remove the plastic endcaps from the control console.

    Remove the plastic endcaps from the control console.

    Remove the screws at the base of the control panel console.

    Remove the screws at the base of the control panel console.

    Flip the console up and back.

    Flip the console up and back.

  3. 03.

    Remove the cabinet

    Unplug the wire harness from the lid switch on the washer’s top panel.

    Release the clips that secure the cabinet to the washer’s back panel. Using a slot screwdriver, pry the clips forward to release the clips from the slots in the top panel.

    Lift the back of the cabinet and slide the cabinet forward to remove it from the washer frame.

    Set the cabinet out of the way.

    Unplug the lid switch wire harness connector.

    Unplug the lid switch wire harness connector.

    Insert a screwdriver to pry the clips forward.

    Insert a screwdriver to pry the clips forward.

    Release the cabinet clip.

    Release the cabinet clip.

    Remove the washer cabinet from the frame.

    Remove the washer cabinet from the frame.

  4. 04.

    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 your way while you replace the motor coupler.

    Release the drain pump clips.

    Release the drain pump clips.

    Move the drain pump to the side of the motor.

    Move the drain pump to the side of the motor.

  5. 05.

    Remove the drive motor

    Release the locking tab on the wire harness connection plug and detach the wire harness from the drive motor.

    Detach the wires from the drive motor capacitor.

    Remove the screws from the drive motor retainer clips.

    Release the bottom clip using a slot screwdriver and then remove the bottom clip.

    The drive motor is heavy. Place one hand under the drive motor to support the motor and prevent it from falling as you remove the top retainer clip. Release the top retainer clip and pull the drive motor off.

    Warning: The drive motor is heavy. Use a helper if necessary to remove the drive motor.
    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 screws from the motor retainer clips.

    Remove the screws from the motor retainer clips.

    Remove the bottom motor retainer clip.

    Remove the bottom motor retainer clip.

    Support the motor and release the top motor retainer clip.

    Support the motor and release the top motor retainer clip.

    Pull the drive motor out.

    Pull the drive motor out.

  6. 06.

    Remove the old motor coupler

    Pry the remnants of the old motor coupler from the motor shaft and transmission shaft and clean any residue from the shafts.

    Tip: Use a crescent wrench to carefully pry the motor coupler cog off of the drive motor shaft.
    Warning: Significant force may be required to remove the motor coupler cogs from the drive motor shaft and the transmission shaft. Use caution when prying the cogs from the shafts.
    Pry the cog off of the motor shaft.

    Pry the cog off of the motor shaft.

    Pull the cog off of the transmission shaft.

    Pull the cog off of the transmission shaft.

  7. 07.

    Install the new motor coupler

    Carefully push one of new motor coupler cogs onto the transmission shaft. Tap the cog into place using the handle of a slot screwdriver and a hammer until the end of the transmission shaft is flush with the outer surface of the cog base.

    Install the black rubber isolator on the transmission cog.

    Carefully push the remaining motor coupler cog onto the motor shaft. Tap the cog into place using the handle of a slot screwdriver and a hammer until the drive motor shaft is flush with the outer surface of the cog base.

    Tip: Install both cogs of the new motor coupler even if only one of the cogs of the original motor coupler was broken. Also install the new isolator even if the original isolator doesn’t appear to be damaged.
    Install the new motor coupler cogs.

    Install the new motor coupler cogs.

  8. 08.

    Reinstall the drive motor

    Position the upper drive motor clip so that it can be snapped into place to hold the drive motor once the motor and transmission are properly engaged through the motor coupler.

    Line up the drive motor cog pegs with the holes in the isolator on the transmission shaft.

    Carefully push the drive motor into place so the cog pegs on the drive motor shaft fit correctly into the holes in the isolator on the transmission shaft.

    Hold the drive motor in place with one hand and reinstall the top metal motor mounting clip with the other hand. The top motor mounting clip helps hold the motor in place while you reinstall the bottom motor mounting clip.

    Reinstall the bottom motor mounting clip.

    Reinstall the screws in the motor mounting clips.

    Reattach the wires on the drive motor capacitor.

    Plug the wire harness back into the connector on the drive motor.

    Push the drive motor into place.

    Push the drive motor into place.

    Reinstall the bottom motor retainer clip.

    Reinstall the bottom motor retainer clip.

    Reinstall the motor clip screws.

    Reinstall the motor clip screws.

    Reattach the drive motor capacitor wires.

    Reattach the drive motor capacitor wires.

    Plug the drive motor wire harness back in.

    Plug the drive motor wire harness back in.

  9. 09.

    Reinstall the drain pump

    Rotate the shaft of the drive motor so it’s properly orientated with the receptacle in the drain pump.

    Push the drain pump back onto the shaft of the drive motor so it’s properly engaged.

    Secure the drain pump with the metal mounting clips.

  10. 10.

    Reinstall the cabinet

    Position the cabinet in front of the washer.

    Tilt the back of the cabinet up slightly and keep the front lip of the cabinet on the floor. To position the front lip under the washer frame, push the base of the cabinet forward with your foot to slide the front lip of the cabinet under the front base of the washer. Then lower the back of the cabinet so the holes in the back of the sides of the cabinet engage the alignment tabs at the back of the sides of the washer base.

    Reinstall the spring clips at the top of the cabinet.

    Plug the lid switch wire harness back into the receptacle on the top panel of the washer.

    Reinstall the cabinet.

    Reinstall the cabinet.

    Reinstall the spring clips at the top of the washer cabinet.

    Reinstall the spring clips at the top of the washer cabinet.

    Plug in the lid switch wire harness.

    Plug in the lid switch wire harness.

  11. 11.

    Reinstall the control console

    Flip the control console down and position it properly on the top panel of the washer.

    Reinstall the mounting screws at the base of the control console.

    Snap the plastic end caps onto the sides of the control console.

    Reinstall the control console screws.

    Reinstall the control console screws.

  12. 12.

    Restore the power

    Plug the washer into the electrical outlet.

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

Repair guides for top-load washers

How to replace the shifter assembly in a top-load washer

The shifter motor switches the washer's drive motor between the agitate and spin modes. If your washer's basket won't budge, the shifter could be the problem. Follow these steps to replace it in less than 45 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
How to replace the drive block on a top-load washer

The drive block rotates the spin basket. If the basket wobbles or rattles in the spin mode because the drive block is worn out, replace the drive block following these directions.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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

Articles and videos common to all washers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your washer.

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