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.
This video shows how to replace the shifter assembly in a top-load washer.
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.
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.
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.
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 plastic motor cover.
Remove the wire harness from the shifter.
Remove the shifter mounting screws.
Remove the shifter from the washer.
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.
Set the washer upright
Carefully set the washer upright position and move it close enough to the fill hoses that you can reconnect them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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