Can A Top-Load Washing Machine Tub Be Replaced?

Let’s do a little mind-reading experiment. Quickly think of all the components that make up a washing machine. One of the first items you thought about was the washer’s tub, wasn’t it? The tub is such an important part of the appliance that it seems all the other components, such as the drive motor, water inlet valve, and drain pump, are simply there to serve the almighty tub. So that means if the tub is worn out, you might as well replace the entire washer, right? Not necessarily. If you want to get more life out of your trusty washing machine, you can replace that worn or damaged tub with a new one.

Which tub are we talking about?

If you’re going to replace a top-load washer tub, it’s important to understand exactly which tub needs replacement. All washing machines have an outer tub and an inner tub. The outer tub on top-load models is made out of hard plastic or metal, is stationary, and is supported by rods and springs, or sits on a base frame tub support. The washer’s pressure tube is attached to the side of the outer tub and the drive motor, pulleys, and pumps are usually mounted to its bottom. The inner tub is the one we normally identify as the appliance’s “tub”; this cylindrical metal part with holes on the side walls sits inside of the outer tub, fills with water, and spins following the drain cycle to remove the excess water from the clothes or linens being washed.

In this article, we’re going to address replacing a top-load washer’s inner tub (a future blog post will discuss replacing the outer tub). The most common reason for replacing this component is that the side wall or bottom of the tub has developed a crack.

Replacing a top-load washer’s inner tub

Since a picture is always worth a thousand words, you may want to visit Repair Clinic.com and enter your washer’s model number in the “Videos & Articles” section to see if there is a specific “Inner Tub Replacement” video available for your particular washer. If not, don’t give up. While tub replacement procedures can vary depending on the model, there are some general steps you can follow to successfully uninstall the old tub and install a new one.

Before you begin the procedure, be sure to unplug the washer’s power cord from the electrical outlet. Depending on the model, you may also need to shut off the hot and cold water supply valves which provide water to the appliance and detach the water supply hoses from the washer’s inlet valve ports (be prepared for some water to spill).

Where the procedure can vary the most is in disassembling the washer to access the tub. This may require removing rear screws securing the control panel or removing end caps to access screws in the front. You may need to disconnect the wires from the user interface board in order to set the control panel aside, or you may be able to keep the control panel in place when detaching the washer’s main top. You can often insert a putty knife in the front gap between the main top and the cabinet to release the two spring clips securing the main top, then lift up the main top and support it with a chain connected to the underside of the top and the top edge of the cabinet frame. In some instances, you will need to detach the latch assembly, the detergent or bleach dispenser, or other components to fully release the main top. Other models may require you to unthread rear screws so you can slide the main top forward to detach, or you may need to entirely remove the front panel, then unthread screws to release the main top from the cabinet’s side panels. Still other models will require you to release spring clips to fully remove the cabinet from the rear panel or remove the rear panel itself (this may be required to access shock dampening straps attached to a tub cover).

Once the main top, cabinet, or other necessary panels are out of the way, the steps to uninstall the old inner tub become more uniform:

  1. Remove the tub ring. You may need to uninstall the fill spout or detach a dispenser hose first. Most tub rings are secured with multiple tabs that will need to be pulled outward to release before you can fully remove the ring.
  2. Depending on the model, your next step will be to remove the fabric softener dispenser or agitator cap.
  3. Use an appropriate-size socket to unthread the agitator mounting bolt, then lift off the agitator assembly. Some models will require an agitator retainer to be removed so you can lift off the upper portion of the agitator to reach the mounting bolt securing the agitator’s lower portion.
  4. If your washer uses a wash plate instead of an agitator, you will need to detach the wash plate cap, then unthread the bolts to release the wash plate.
  5. Depending on the model, you may now need to lift off a drive block or spacer, along with its accompanying washer.
  6. On washers that use an agitator, the inner tub is usually secured with a tub nut. Place an appropriate-size tub nut wrench, or the manufacturer’s dedicated spanner wrench, over the nut and strike the wrench with a hammer to loosen the nut. The tub nut will often need to be rotated counter-clockwise to loosen and remove, but some models require the nut to be rotated clockwise to unthread. Once the tub nut is loosened, you can unthread the nut by hand and lift the old inner tub off the drive shaft.
  7. On washers that use a wash plate instead of an agitator, mounting screws will usually secure the inner tub to a trunnion or mounting hub. Unthread the screws and you can lift the old inner tub out.
  8. Install the new inner tub by aligning it over the drive shaft or on the trunnion (mounting hub). Be aware, some washers position a drive block underneath the inner tub. If this is the case with your washer, confirm the drive block is in place and free of damage (if the drive block is stripped or visibly damaged, you should replace it with a new one). If applicable, thread and tighten the screws to secure the tub to the trunnion or hub; otherwise thread the tub nut and use the tub nut wrench (or spanner wrench) and hammer to tighten.
  9. Slide the washer then the drive block or spacer onto the drive shaft if applicable.
  10. Realign the agitator on the drive shaft and secure with the mounting bolt. Replace the agitator cap or fabric softener dispenser…
  11. … or reinstall the wash plate and replace the wash plate cap.
  12. Align the tab slots on the tub ring with the tabs on the outer tub and snap the tub ring into position. Reattach any hoses as necessary or reinstall the fill spout if required.

From here, it’s a matter of replacing the cabinet, front or rear panels, the main top, and the control panel in the reverse order you removed them. Then reattach the water supply hoses to the appropriate ports on the inlet valve, open the hot and cold water supply valves, and plug the appliance’s power cord back into the electrical outlet.

Where can I find a new inner tub?

To replace your washer’s inner tub, you’ll need to find the exact new tub that matches your appliance. This is Repair Clinic.com’s specialty. Simply enter the full model number of your washer in the Repair Clinic website search bar, then select “Drum & Tub” from the “Part Category” filter and “Inner Tub” from the “Part Title” filter to identify the right tub to purchase. Repair Clinic also stocks all the other washer components you’ll need to fix or maintain your appliance; original manufacturer parts like water inlet valves, lid switches, drive belts, motor couplings, agitator repair kits, and more from such popular brands as Whirlpool, LG, Samsung, Maytag, GE, Kenmore, Bosch, and Frigidaire.

Now, what about replacing a front-load washer tub? Stay-tuned to this blog site for a future installment!

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