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


washer shifter actuator PD_0026_110_W10006355

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.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 45 min.

Parts Required

  • Washer shifter assembly

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

Tools Required

  • Channel lock pliers
  • Nut driver or socket wrench set
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Work gloves
  • Towels

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands. Have someone help you move the washer away from the wall.


Replacing a top-load washer shifter assembly

 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.

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: Disconnect the hoses

Move the washer away from the wall so you can reach the fill hoses and drain hose. 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: Remove the plastic motor cover

Remove the bolts that secure the plastic cover over the motor and drive components. Pull the plastic cover off the washer and set it aside.

Step 5: Disconnect the wire harness

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

Step 6: Remove the shifter

Remove the 2 screws that attach the mode shifter to the base of the washer. Pull the shifter off of the washer base. Note the position of the shifter peg.

Step 7: 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 that the peg is properly inserted into the drive system linkage. Reinstall the mounting screws and tighten them firmly.

Step 8: Connect the wire harness

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

Step 9: Reinstall the plastic motor cover

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.

Step 10: Set the washer upright

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

Step 11: 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.

Step 12: 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.