How to Replace the Clutch Assembly in a Top-Load Washer

 

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

Not sure if your washer is a direct-drive washer? Check out our washer common questions to see how you can tell.

Repair difficulty:
     
Time required:

Less than 60 min.

Parts Required

  • Clutch kit

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required

  • Socket wrench set and ratchet
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Slot screwdriver
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Shop towels
  • Work gloves

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

Instructions

 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.

How to Replace a Direct-Drive Washer Clutch Assembly (Kenmore, Whirlpool and Maytag)

Step 1: Shut off the electricity and water

Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. Turn off the water supply valves for the washer.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: Remove the clutch assembly

Pull the thrust washer off of the transmission shaft.

Using needle-nosed pliers, pull the clutch support ring off of the top of the clutch assembly.

Using a slot screwdriver, pry the clutch retainer ring off of the top of the clutch assembly.

Slide the clutch assembly up and off the transmission shaft.

Step 8: 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 assembly.

Step 9: Install the new brake cam

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

Step 10: Install the new clutch assembly

Insert the isolator ring into the new clutch housing.

Slide the new clutch housing onto the transmission shaft.

Install the retainer ring on the top of the new clutch housing.

Reinstall the support ring on the top of the new clutch housing.

Reinstall the thrust washer on top of the new 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.

Step 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.

Step 12: Reinstall the drain pump

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

Step 13: Tilt the washer upright

Carefully tilt the washer upright.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.