Last week this blog discussed how you can successfully replace a top-load washing machine’s inner tub. Since there’s no need to discriminate against those who own front-load washers, let’s follow-up with some guidance on how to accomplish the same thing for a tub that is positioned horizontally instead of vertically. As noted in that previous blog post, tubs are often seen as the dominant component in the washer, so much so that if the tub is worn or damaged, you might feel that you have no other choice than to buy a new washer. That’s not true. Brand new tubs are available right now at Repair Clinic.com from top manufacturers like Frigidaire, Whirlpool, Maytag, LG, Samsung, GE, Kenmore, and Bosch, so if you want to get more mileage out of your front-load washing machine, you can do it with a little know-how and a bit more effort.
Understanding how a front-load washer’s tub is built
Before you attempt to replace a front-load washer tub, it’s a good idea to understand how the tub is built. All washing machines have an outer tub and an inner tub. The outer tub on front-load models is usually made out of hard plastic, is stationary, and is supported by shock absorbers and springs. The washer’s pressure tube is attached to the side of the outer tub and, depending on the model, a stator may be mounted on its bottom (which on front-load models faces the rear of the appliance). The inner tub is the one we normally identify as the “washing machine tub”; this cylindrical metal part with holes on the side walls is positioned inside of the outer tub, fills with water, rotates back-and-forth to tumble the clothing or linens, and spins very fast following the drain cycle to remove the excess water from the load.
The procedure to replace a front-load washer’s inner tub is essentially the same to replace the outer tub, so this article is sort of a two-for-one special in addressing how to replace both tubs. Why would one need to replace a front-load washer tub? Usually, it’s because the part has been damaged in some way, such as a developing crack.
What you need to do to replace a front-load washer’s tub
DISCLAIMER: Front-load washer tub replacement procedures may vary wildly from model-to-model, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” explanation for how you should go about doing it.
Okay, that’s our official disclaimer, but we’re not going to leave you hanging. Here 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. You will probably 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).
- Unthread the screws securing the washer’s rear panel, so you can fully remove the panel. On some models, you will need to remove the top panel before you can uninstall the rear.
- If you haven’t already done so, remove the screws securing the appliance’s top panel and detach the panel.
- Depending on the model, you may need to uninstall a front lower access panel and/or the control panel assembly as well.
- Open the washer door and remove the retaining wire and/or spring securing the door boot seal to the lip of the front panel – you can usually use needle-nose pliers to help accomplish this.
- If applicable to your model, unthread the screws securing the washer’s front panel and remove the panel.
- Next, remove any lights and hoses from the door boot seal.
- Release the inner boot seal retaining spring (securing the boot seal to the lip of the outer tub) and fully remove the boot seal… or fold the boot into the tub to get it out of the way.
- You will now need to remove the shock absorbers attached to the outer tub – these are usually secured with mounting pins that can be pulled or knocked out.
- If the washer tub is driven by a motor and belt (as opposed to a stator and rotor combination), rotate the drive pulley to release the belt.
- Disconnect the wire harness from the drive motor and unthread the screws to detach the motor from the outer tub, if applicable.
- Detach all hoses and tubes from the outer tub.
- Next, unthread the screws securing the counter-weight to the rear of the outer tub, if applicable, and remove the weight – yes, it’s going to be heavy, so be aware.
- In order to detach the tub’s suspension springs from the support bracket, you may need to unthread screws to release spring retaining straps which secure the springs.
- Have an assistant help support the tub assembly as you detach the suspension springs from the support bracket.
- You can now remove the tub assembly from the washer cabinet – we recommend setting it on a towel or blanket.
- The outer tub is made up of two sections: a front section and a rear section. Unthread the screws so you can pull the front section away from the rear.
- If the washer tub is driven by a motor and belt, you will now need to use an appropriate-size socket to unthread the bolt securing the drive pulley. Remove the washers and lift off the pulley.
- If the washer tub is driven by a rotor and stator, you will need to unthread the large rotor bolt and the rotor and stator screws to release both components.
- You can now fully remove the rear outer tub section from the old inner tub.
- To install the new inner tub, you may first need to transfer the baffles from the old tub to the new one (if the new tub doesn’t include baffles).
- Apply a thin layer of grease to the sealing surface of the shaft.
- Slide the rear section of the outer tub onto the inner tub shaft.
- Reinstall the rotor and stator on the outer tub.
- Alternatively (if the tub is driven by a motor and belt), align the drive pulley on the tub shaft, position the washer, then thread and tighten the bolt to secure.
- Align the front section of the outer tub with the rear section and thread the screws to secure the two halves together.
- With the suspension springs attached to the outer tub, return the tub assembly to the washing machine cabinet.
- Hook the suspension spring on the support bracket.
- Replace and secure the spring retaining straps if necessary.
- Reattach all hoses and tubes to the outer tub as necessary.
- Reinstall the counter-weight if required.
- Reinstall the drive motor, if applicable, and reconnect the motor wire harness.
- As required, realign the drive belt by looping it onto the motor shaft and drive pulley (usually the grooved side of the belt should be facing inward).
- Reposition the shock absorbers in the tub mounts and secure with the mounting pins.
- Pull the attached door boot seal outward or realign the rear edge of the boot seal over the lip of the outer tub and replace the inner retaining spring to secure (you can often use strong spring clamps to help secure the spring while installing it around the tub rim.
- Reattach any hoses or lights to the boot seal.
- Reinstall the washer’s front panel if applicable to your model.
- Pull the door boot seal forward and align the outer edge on the lip of the front panel – secure it with the outer retaining wire and/or spring.
- Replace the control panel assembly and front lower access panel as required.
- Reinstall the washer’s top panel and rear panel.
- Reattach the water supply hoses to the washer’s inlet valve ports.
- Open the hot and cold water supply valves and plug the appliance’s power cord back into the electrical outlet.
Where can you find that exact new inner tub that matches your appliance? “Repair Clinic.com” is the answer to that inquiry. Just 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 specific tub you need. Repair Clinic also stocks all the other washer components you’ll need to fix or maintain your appliance; original manufacturer parts like drain pumps, door latches, drive belts, drive motors, door boot seals, and more. With millions of replacement parts and thousands of “how-to” videos, diagrams, and schematics, Repair Clinic is the do-it-yourselfer’s one-stop shop.