July 1, 2013

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

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

This step-by-step washer repair guide explains how to replace the shifter—also called the actuator—in a top-load washer. Located on the bottom of the gear case, the shifter assembly's motor shifts the drive system between agitating and spinning. If the shifter malfunctions, the electronic control board shuts the washer off and displays an error code. The tech sheet attached to the back of the washer or inside the washer cabinet has a diagnostic test for the shifter. If the shifter is faulty, replace the shifter assembly with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This repair procedure is for Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag and Amana top-load washers. You also can use the same basic repair steps to replace the shifter assembly on some Samsung and LG top-load washers.

Quick links
Tools required
Channel lock pliers
Nut driver or socket wrench set
Phillips screwdriver
Work gloves
Towels
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Replacing the shifter assembly in a top-load washer

This video shows how to replace the shifter assembly in a 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.

    Have someone help you move the washer away from the wall.

  2. 02.

    Disconnect the 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 fill hoses. Expect some water to pour out.

    Pull the drain hose out of the standpipe behind the washer. Expect some water to pour out.

    Tip: Wipe up water spills with a towel to prevent slipping.
    Disconnect the hoses from the back of the washer.

    Disconnect the hoses from the back of the washer.

  3. 03.

    Carefully lay the washer on its front panel

    Move the washer to an area where you can work on it.

    Lay cardboard or towels in front of the washer to prevent scratching the front of the washer.

    Carefully tilt the washer forward and lay it on the front panel so that you can access the drain pump from the bottom of the washer.

    Lay the washer down on its front panel.

    Lay the washer down on its front panel.

  4. 04.

    Remove the shifter

    Remove the bolts that secure the plastic cover over the motor and drive components.

    Pull the plastic cover and set it aside.

    Release the locking tabs on the wire harness connection and pull the wire harness out of the connector on the shifter.

    Remove the 2 screws that attach the mode shifter to the base of the washer.

    Pull the shifter off the washer base.

    Note the position of the shifter peg.

    Remove the bolts holding the plastic cover over the motor.

    Remove the bolts holding the plastic cover over the motor.

    Remove the plastic motor cover.

    Remove the plastic motor cover.

    Remove the wire harness from the shifter.

    Remove the wire harness from the shifter.

    Remove the shifter mounting screws.

    Remove the shifter mounting screws.

    Remove the shifter from the washer.

    Remove the shifter from the washer.

  5. 05.

    Install the new shifter

    Position the shifter peg on the new shifter in the same place as the previous shifter.

    Push the new shifter into place. Make sure the peg is properly inserted into the drive system linkage.

    Reinstall the mounting screws and tighten them firmly.

    Position the wire harness plug in the connector on the shifter and push it into place, making sure the locking tabs snap into place.

    Position the plastic cover on top of the motor and drive components.

    Line up the mounting holes and insert the mounting bolts.

    Tighten the bolts firmly.

  6. 06.

    Set the washer upright

    Carefully set the washer upright position and move it close enough to the fill hoses that you can reconnect them.

  7. 07.

    Reinstall the fill hoses

    Thread the fill hoses onto the connections on the back of the washer.

    Tighten the connections firmly using a pair of channel lock pliers.

  8. 08.

    Restore the water and power

    Turn on the water supply valves.

    Tighten the connection if you find 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: 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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