How to replace bearings in the Whirlpool Duet WFW9200SQ02 washing machine

Posted on Categories Miscellaneous

So… saw a deal on a used front-load washer (in need of repair – suspected bad bearings), figured I’ve replaced a zillion bearings on cars before, so thought I’d buy the washer and see if I can fix it.

Now technically, you’ll find that all the major Whirlpool parts outlets include these as part of a $400-500 rear tub. Yes, Whirlpool wants you to buy the big honking tub because 1 or 2 $10-20 bearings stopped working. Presumably you’re then supposed to throw your old tub away. If I ever start an “I hate the environment” club, Whirlpool’s the first company I’m asking to join.

 

So bearings are a bit of a pain to find. Well, maybe not that bad. These are the bearing numbers:
6205
6206

(I pulled the numbers from http://www.hometask.com/washerrepair.aspx where you can find bearing numbers for a number of Kenmore & Whirlpool Duet machines). It’s worth noting that you can buy seals or seals+bearings directly through their site as well.

Otherwise, you can find bearings online for anywhere from $3.50 up (depending on the quality of bearing you’re looking for – I doubt I’d opt for anything less than something made in Japan which is a good bit more, or a stainless steel bearing which starts at around $20), or find them at your local bearing shop. Now finding a new seal is a pain, though the site mentioned above carries them.

Installation:

I was going to write up a big massive guide with pictures, but as it turns out, others have already put together impressive YouTube videos. The one I’d recommend using as a guide is embedded below.

Again, to give credit where it’s due, this excellent video was created by Jerrod from http://www.hometask.com/washerrepair.aspx – and again, they sell the seals and bearings for the Whirlpool Duet WFW9200SQ02 as well as other models.

They also have a short version available on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd5NKbpVSRM

If you’re interested in getting a general idea as to the process, I’d suggest the short YouTube video. When you’re actually ready to buckle down and start disassembling, watch the long one.

In case you wanted some pictures anyway, I took a few during disassembly before I realized that my pictures were never going to compete with a video. Here they are if you want to see them anyway.

    

 

A few notes (watch the video first, or you won’t know what I’m referring to):

  • The 4 shocks that connect the tub to the bottom of the cage… In the short version of the video, he mentions that you just twist and they come out. I found that there’s a little clip/lock on opposite sides of each shock (not opposite as in top/bottom, opposite as in the side you can see and the side you can’t) and to release them you’ll have to put a little screwdriver in the slot and pry a little to open each one. Ideally you’d have 3 arms and do both clips while you twist – however since most of us aren’t that fortunate, I twisted as far as I could without snapping it, and while twisting, did 1 clip/lock, did the one on the opposite side, went back to the 1st side, etc. As long as you’re twisting, the clips/locks will catch a little each time, it’ll twist a little further, and eventually the whole thing will twist 90 degrees and come down.
  • the video doesn’t show every possible wire/connector/hose that you disconnect. They’re generally pretty easy to figure out, but make sure everything’s disconnected from the tub before you drop it – the thing’s heavy enough to rip/destroy anything you forgot to detach.
  • for the front drain pump – in the video, it’s a screw that comes out. On my model, there are no screws – just a big rubber “latch” on the front that pops out toward you (you can wiggle the pump assembly out from there).
  • the main nut on the shaft (15/16 “) was very tight on mine. He uses a ratchet with a pipe – I needed an impact gun.
  • he’s not kidding when he says lifting the tub isn’t for the feint-of-heart. I think I pulled 2 or 3 muscles. I’ll either have a helper for reinstallation, or I’ll remove the counter-weights.
  • the shaft was seized to the bearings on mine.Thus, I needed a small sledge hammer to pound the shaft through once the tub was split (a regular hammer didn’t cut it). If you do this, make sure you partly thread the bolt on (to protect the threads), put the socket on the bolt (to protect the bolt head), and hit the socket (preferably an impact socket, but wear gloves & eye protection regardless in case it shatters) with the hammer. If you just smack the shaft directly with the hammer, you’ll destroy the threads.
  • Take Pictures As You Go!!! Very important, and I can’t stress it enough. Particularly with the wiring, if it takes you a few days in total, you might not remember where everything went. Just about every cell phone has a camera nowadays, so even if you don’t have a regular camera, you should have an option. It’s a good idea to label things with tape (or write with a sharpie marker where appropriate) as well. A few extra minutes being careful in this area might save you hours troubleshooting later.
  • keep the screws separate. I like to take a piece of duct tape, and tape screws to whatever panel they came from. I duck-tape clamps to their respective hoses so they don’t get lost. As a side note, for some reason, my rear panel had a mix of fine/coarse threaded screws. By the time I realized it, I’d already pulled 5-6 out and had to guess which went where. Every time you pull a screw it might be worth checking to make sure it’s the same size/type as the other screws you just pulled.

 

My original bearings were… well… in bad shape. It’s clear why the previous owners couldn’t stand the noise from the unit anymore:

These are the inner bearings, and they’re obviously toast. Things got so bad that some of the bearings wore through the cage and fell out (there was a mess of rusted metal shavings left behind). What’s left of this bearing ws seized to the shaft, so I had to use a grinder/dremel to cut away until I was close enough to the shaft to snap it off.

You can see the seal behind the bearings (black, covered in rust) – upon removal, it actually looks to be in great shape, but obviously it didn’t do it’s job.

The outer bearings were in surprisingly good shape, but they’ll be replaced anyway.

Thoughts:

on The Process:
-Despite the many things that need to be disconnected/labelled, it’s a pretty quick process.
-Once I got to the shaft/bolt/bearings… let’s just say it took about 80% of the time I spent.
-While you could use a hex screwdriver for everything, the 7mm socket on a ratchet is probably a better idea where possible (easier on the wrists, and less chance of stripping). You WILL need the hex screw for a couple items though, so don’t go thinking you can do it all with the socket.
-Bearing replacement reminds me very much of bearing replacement on cars (the process, and the headaches I ran into). If you’ve ever swapped brake drum bearings, this should be comfortable territory for you.

on Whirlpool…
-Very disappointing that they don’t sell the bearings & seal separately.  Clearly a conscious effort on their part to rake customers for cash.
-Based on reviews I’ve seen around the web, bearing failures are very common. From the sounds of it, the bearings/seals that Whirlpool uses aren’t that great to begin with, and if you use non-HE detergent, it’ll suds up and quickly get in behind the seal and start wrecking the bearings. You HAVE to use the HE stuff.
-Another common issue on these washing machines (usually noticed when draining) is that either they won’t drain, or you’ll get a nasty noise from the pump.  There’s a “catch” by the pump (filter) which has usually picked up coins/socks/etc. I found a penny and a foam bra insert left by the previous owners in my washer. If you’re doing the bearings you’ll be pulling off the pump anyway, so you may as well open the catch and clean anything out of it.
-I wouldn’t buy another Whirlpool unless it were being sold used for cheap (in need of repair). Unless of course they change their ways (for starters, have the bearings as a serviceable item which they sell parts for).

on The Video (linked further up)…
-A fantastic video, and a big thanks to Jerrod from HomeTask for putting it out there to help people around the globe repair their own machines.
-Again, make sure everything’s disconnected from the tub before you drop it. The video isn’t quite as thorough when it comes to all the connectors.
-If the video helps you, by all means consider buying the seal (and possibly bearings) from his site. If for whatever reason that won’t work for you (need a specific method of international shipping that isn’t listed on the HomeTask site for example), it’s possible to find kits on eBay, though I suspect the quality of Jerrod’s seals is probably better than the average eBay kit (and cheaper too).
-As a reminder, the seals/bearings on the HomeTask site are located at http://www.hometask.com/washerrepair.aspx .

 

Finally, I’m not in any way associated with the HomeTask site. The video’s simply awesome, and I think HomeTask deserves some positive word-of-mouth for putting it up. If you find other videos that you believe are super-helpful in repairing/maintaining/etc a Whirlpool Duet WFW9200SQ02 Washer, have some tips of your own, or found additional places for bearings/seals/etc for these washing machines, feel free to post it in the comments below.

 


73 thoughts on “How to replace bearings in the Whirlpool Duet WFW9200SQ02 washing machine”

  1. I replaced the bearings on my Duet this weekend. Besides the links above, I found a few step by step videos on the disassembly of the Duet washer on YouTube. One of the better videos was a British guy tearing down a Bosch washer. He really did a great job showing how it’s done. Unfortunately, there are several differences in the Bosch and the Whirlpool. But his video was one of the only ones that I saw that went step by step from tear down, bearing removal and replacement and reassembly, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaFF2-Rl8Nc. I watched his video and then some others that were specific to the Duet that didn’t go into full detail. Between them all, the videos helped a lot and I had no major difficulties doing the replacement. I used ZipLoc plastic bags to keep the screws organized as I took the washer apart which made it easier to reassemble and as the author above mentions, I also took pictures of all the wiring for reassembly. I ended up only needing the images once though and that was just to confirm one of the wiring harness connections.

    For me, the disassembly was pretty easy. My bearing and seal looked almost exactly like the images above. On mine, only the inner/front bearing was bad, the other one was in good shape but I still replaced both. My bearings were also different than mentioned above. The rear bearing is the 6205; but my front bearing was a 6307. It so happens that I work for a company that sells bearings to bearing dealers so I have access to the bearings but I opted to buy the kit from the HomeTask/Yellow Van Handyman Service to be safe. It’s a good thing because I had bought the 6206 and the 6205 from work and the 6307 that my washer actually uses is much bigger than the 6206. Also, the factory bearings didn’t have any ID numbers on them for some strange reason; which would have made it hard to find the right size bearing. And as I understand it, the seal is only available from repair companies like Yellow Van. Anyway, the spindle and bearing races were very rusted with heavy build up on them from the leakage. After getting the bearings out, I spent more time cleaning, brushing and polishing the races and spindle than I did tearing the washer down and reassembling it. I suspect, that is probably the main reason that Whirlpool pushes the tub assembly as the only repair option; they know the damage that has been done to the tub because of the poor seal design. What I’m angry about is the fact that this issue is obviously the result of a design flaw; and from what I can tell, thousands of customers are affected as well as most if not all of their brands and yet they haven’t done anything to make it right.

    Our washer is only three years old and has never had anything but HE detergent ran through it.

    Anyway, it’s working like new again after the bearing replacement; I guess we’ll see how long it lasts this time around. By the way, the new seal was different than the original. So, either Yellow Van sent the wrong seal or Whirlpool redesigned it (I suspect the latter, which I’ve found is pretty common with appliance issues like this).

    The only issue I had with my repair was after hooking up the washer, I was getting some smoke and a burning rubber smell. After checking everything that I could access without tearing it back down, I decided it was the new seal and assumed I must have gotten the spindle too tight. So I removed the back panel on the washer, loosened the spindle nut, gave the spindle a couple of pecks with a hammer and snugged the nut back up. That seems to have fixed that issue. Hopefully, the new setup will last a lot longer than the OEM bearings did but if not, I’ll be able to fix it a lot quicker the next time around.

  2. My Duet washer was just over one year old and warranty ran out and the bearings went on the machine . Went to a repair shop and they said i should just buy a new machine when its on sale it would be cheaper than for them to repair it would cost over $650.00.I saw your video and I purchased the kit and done the work my self. I can’t believe how easy it was, I wish I had seen the video last year when my other Duet washer bearings went after only having that machine for 6 years. So thanks for the helpful video and a web site to get the bearings and seal, you saved me money and you saved my wife from making trips to the laundry mat. AGAIN THANKS!

  3. Thank you!
    I have just found out my Duet drum has ground off the front lip on the front tub and the drum feels way too loose so I know this is the issue. Getting to this tomorrow and will be ordering the kit from the Yellow guy.
    Thank you very much for posting this info!!!!

    1. Just a reply for anyone in Vac’s position who may come across the same issue (stainless steel drum rubs out the front lip).

      Picked up another Whirlpool (a GHW9400PW0 – very similar to the WFW9200), used, which had a similar issue. It wore a hole right through the tub.

      However, the cause was a broken spider (the Y-shaped arm that grips the stainless steel drum). Bearings in that one were actually fine. Thus, I’d suggest that before anyone orders bearings, they pull apart their machine and check the spider, just in case it’s the culprit.

      Before anyone asks about the spider… to my knowledge nobody sells replacements (only option seems to be to buy the whole stainless steel drum which includes the spider). In my case, I ended up repairing the spider, and so far it’s been working fine. It wasn’t a fun repair, but if anyone wants to know how I went about it, leave a comment and I’ll either give a brief reply here or put together another post.

      1. I have a Whirlpool Duet GHW6190PW0. It started making a loud noise when extracting. I noticed the stainless steel tub was wearing off the lip of the plastic tub. Any pointers? Please? It’s only 3-4 years old and I spent 1$1100 on it. Thanks, Greg

  4. Has anyone been able to contact Yellow Van Handyman? I’d like to give them a call before I blindly make a purchase over the internet.

    1. A few seem to have ordered from them (comments here, and I believe a few from the Google Group handyman links to on their site). While I haven’t ordered from them myself, if I had felt they may not be legit, I certainly wouldn’t have linked to them.

      If you’re a bit queezy about ordering online though (or in a huge rush), you should be able to find a local bearing shop if you don’t need the seal (check the condition of yours first). The bearings are pretty standard sizes (look up the # for yours on the handyman site, or take your old bearings into the bearing shop).

      Alternately, if you’re more comfortable with eBay, sometimes there are kits listed there (bearings and seals) – I had picked one up for another machine that way. Seal seemed fairly cheap, and took forever to get to Canada despite paying extra for 2-day international shipping, but has worked fine.

      In any case, regardless as to where you get it from, feel free to post back with the experience. Best of luck!

    2. I originally ordered bearings for my Whirlpool Duet front loading washer from Yellow Van Handyman and when they arrived, I discovered they were a cheaper ABEC 3 bearing. Better quality ABEC 5 Nachi bearings can be purchased on EBay for less money. So after all the work of tearing apart the washer, I decided I did not want to tackle that job again so I ordered the higher quality bearings and sent back the cheaper ones to Home Task, Yellow Van Handy man, who ended up charging me a 20% restocking fee! Please do not make the same mistake I did. The Nachi bearings I received were higher quality and worked very nicely. Unfortunately, one thing I did not count on was that the shaft was worn on the basket, which had to be replaced at a high expense of nearly $300. But I had already ordered the bearings so I decided to continue the repair which turned out great, works like a champ. All in all, I ended up saving money over purchasing a new washer.

  5. Thank you so much! You saved our washer in which the bearings seized just out of warranty. Whirlpool has worthless customer service, wanting only to sell the entire outer tub for $400 and then have it installed for roughly another $400. They outright lied to me telling me the outer tub is so expensive because the bearings cost so much. LIE!!! I only paid $7 for bearings. I had to order the seal through the link on your website. They are legit. I have told just about everyone I know about your website. Cannot thank you enough! Will never buy whirlpool again when this washer does finally die!

  6. I have my 6yr old GHW9150PW0 Duet apart and it appears the bearing failure was a result of water leaking into the bearings and possible too weak of a bearing for the load. Are your bearings and seals any better than those from the factory? Are there better bearings and/or seals availble that could last longer ie: roller bearings?

    1. Dave: Assuming that you’re referring to the “Yellow Van Handyman” kits, I don’t have anything to do with them (aside from linking to their video and giving them the credit due anyway), so you may want to contact them directly to inquire about the quality.

      That said, keep in mind that just about any bearing will start to deteriorate quickly if soapy water gets in there and washes out the grease. Lube up the seal a little (particularly at the edge that meets the shaft), make sure it’s tight, and be sure to use HE detergent so that you don’t have the thing submerged in suds (which would inevitably seep through over time).

      Incidentally, since you mentioned roller bearings… I’d personally shy away from them – they might work if the drum were held at a perfectly horizontal position, but since the drum is held at a downward angle & has a considerable load, I’d expect a roller bearing to wear hard at the lower edge. Ball bearings really should be fine.

      Good luck.

  7. I would like to hear about the spider repair, in case mine is broken. The serviceman who came out told me that there was wear on the aluminum and I’d have to buy the entire tub. However, I replaced the bearings on a dryer and I think that I could fix the bearings on my machine. It’s 8 years old, but I don’t use it for everything. I’d like to fix it instead of spending $$$ on a new machine, since my furnace is also not healthy and is a 19 year old Lenox, so I think that I need to buy a new one.

  8. Hi, I’ve really enjoyed reading your adventures repairing your duet. I really enjoy repairing household appliances rather than just buying them. My last two successful repair projects were a plasma tv and the fuel injection computer for an old German car. So I think I might be able to tackle this one. Even if its not cost effective in terms of time, there’s a satisfaction to knowing that I wasn’t forced into replacing a $1200 washer by a $20 part.

    I’m in the planning stages right now for my repair job. The washer doesn’t get much use, but recently I started hearing unusual sounds. It’s hard to spin the basket manually in one direction, and in the other it spins freely for a bit but then gets tight at points. Almost certainly the bearings.

    My washer is just over 9 years old so I’m concerned that the spider might also be on its way. Unfortunately I can’t pull this apart and then order the parts and take weeks to piece it back together…I kind of need to plan it out and take it offline and repair it within a weekend, two tops.

    The outer tub has a 10 year warranty, and the bearings come as part of the outer tub. I called Whirlpool, explained the situation and asked if the bearings were covered in the 10 year warranty on the outer tub. The lady didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, put me on hold, and came back and said that the bearings would be covered under the 10 year warranty. But I’d need to get a Whirlpool tech to come out and see the problem for $85.

    I didn’t mention the spider, but now that I think of it, its sold as part of the inner wash drum, which has a lifetime warranty. So wouldn’t the spider also have a lifetime warranty?

    The questions I’ve got at this time:

    1.) Any suggestions for getting the parts from Whirlpool, inner and outer tubs? The worst scenario is I take ½ day off work, pay a tech $85 to just look at it and tell me what I already know, and then Whirlpool tells me that neither the bearings nor spider are covered. Or am I better off forgetting the vague Warranty, and just ordering bearings and a seal?

    2.) Any suggestions on where to get bearings and Seal in Canada? I agree Jerrod and Hometask have a great video. The $79 they charge for the kit is a bit steep considering how inexpensive bearings and a seal go for. But once you factor in shipping to Canada, customs, etc, its getting close to the $150 point.

    I really appreciate any thoughts or suggestions anyone can offer.

    Thanks,
    Marc

    1. Marc:

      1) Since you’re still within the 10 years & both the inner and outer tubs are covered, the bearings and spider should both be covered too – as far as Whirlpool is concerned, they’re *part* of the tubs. As for suggestions, you can try calling them again but it’s really going to depend on who you get on the phone. I’ve heard varied stories in terms of success. One individual managed to get Whirlpool to simply mail them a new outer tub after explaining that they knew it was a bearing, though that individual also explained they were handy and were going to fix it themselves. If you’re having them do the work, you’re probably going to have to shell out the $85 for a tech to take a look first. But YMMV. Try giving them a call again, perhaps ask to speak to a manager, and explain the situation – if you get someone decent they might be willing to work with you to get things resolved.

      2) If you go the bearing route, I’ve ordered bearings from vxb.com in the past. They’re in the US, but they’ll ship USPS (which will go to Canada Post). I got a couple Nachi bearings (made in Japan) for under $20. Total after shipping was under $28. You can get basic/cheap bearings for even less. As long as you’re under the $20 mark, Canada Post won’t charge you duty. Otherwise, call around locally. I’ve grabbed bearings from a shop in Winnipeg too, though they were considerably more expensive (about $50 for both) and they weren’t anything special – not as good as the Nachi bearings anyway. Make sure you verify your bearing numbers from Jerrod’s site though – when you order from him I’m guessing he probably verifies your washer’s model number to make sure you get the correct bearings – you won’t get that luxury with a bearing shop.

      As for a seal… I never really figured out where to even start looking aside from Hometask & eBay. If you’re lucky and your original seal isn’t in terrible shape, you might be able to clean it up and perhaps soften it a little by soaking it in some ATF or some Automatic Transmission Conditioner overnight (Canadian Tire sells some Motomaster tranny conditioner, designed to soften seals). I did try a soak on one seal that wasn’t in bad shape which softened it up a little, but I have no idea how it’ll hold up in the long run. I also used a good bit of synthetic grease though during the reinstall. Note that I’ve also had a seal that was stuck in the tub so badly that I had to destroy it to remove it, so don’t count on this as a guaranteed option.

      To be honest, since you’re still under warranty I’d probably be inclined to try the Whirlpool route first. Since you’ll probably get a brand-spanking-new outer tub out of the warranty, you may as well. And if the spider is toast too, they’ll undoubtedly see it during the bearing repair and then you’ll get a new inner.

      In any case, good luck.

  9. What is the best way to clean up the mess from a blown bearing. The graphit is all over the wheel sindels and the bottom of the machine (as well as the floor).

    Thanks

  10. Thanks for all the advice Matt. You know that site that you link to above has a discussion group about the whole bearing repair thing. Something interesting was posted recently. A guy got the kit and had an issue, and was questioning why it cost so much for ‘made in china’ bearings. The fellow Jerrod explained quite reasonably that there was some profit, a lot of work went into the videos, etc.., and I certainly think he’s doing a service.

    But there were two interesting points that came out of it:
    1.) They get the seal custom made which costs them quite a bit (surprising I’d have thought you’d be able to buy that somewhere)

    2.) The replacement bearings they sell are ‘made in China’. I find this interesting because I’d seen another Duet repair website that claimed the reason why they failed was because the original bearings were cheap ‘made in china’ bearings, and that quality bearings come from well known Japanese companies, such as Nachi which you’d mentioned, or NTN, also Japanese.

    This just gets me to wondering what the best bearing replacement is. Someone had mentioned stainless steel bearings. Someone else had mentioned replacing them with C3 bearings (tighter clearances).

    Ironically on the NTN Canada website faq, one of the faq’s is “Is it safe to use a C3 fit in place of a standard fit”… answer in short, probably not a good idea

    Wish I knew more about bearings, and which make the best replacement. Name brand is a good start, but there’s still so much variation within a given NTN or Nachi bearings size.

    I know I’m thinking about this too much

    Thanks again,
    Marc

    1. Marc: heh, yeah you may be over thinking it (though admittedly the same thing went through my mind). Realistically, any new bearing should last the existing life of the machine. Unless it gets wet in which case even pricy SS bearings will at some point in the near future wear themselves out once the lube’s washed away.

      That said, I went with the Japanese ones because the price was still quite reasonable and I felt like the tiny bit more I was spending was getting me a little more peace of mind (and I cringe a little less when I realize I’ve just jammed way more laundry in the machine than I should have). But chances are I could have grabbed the cheapest made-in-china stuff on eBay and been fine. Worst case scenario if I went toooo cheap would be that I’d be replacing the bearings again. And that wouldn’t be the end of the world – pulling apart a machine the 2nd time is way quicker/easier than the 1st.

  11. The outer drum looked damaged where the bearing sets in the area of the shaft exit. There was a couple ribbons of plastic loose and missing around the bearing housing. Will the outer drum need to be replaced or will the seal on the inner side of the outer drum hold. If this is a problem will the outer drum needed to be replaced by whirlpool.
    Thanks,
    Joe

    1. Joe: it’s hard to know without seeing it. It’s not uncommon for a couple “ribbons” to be scrubbed away from the outer tub by friction against the SS drum when either the bearings or spider go, but it depends on how much was worn, where exactly it was, and how badly.

      If you don’t think it’s location will result in a negative impact on the structural integrity (ie bearing housing won’t work itself out or anything equally disastrous), and if not enough wore that you can see light through it, I probably wouldn’t worry too much about it, personally. However, if you *can* see light through that spot, you may want to consider either replacing it, or at the very least building it up with some sort of waterproof compound or epoxy in the thinned out spot.

      1. Thanks for the information, the ribbons are from around the retaining clip on the outside of the outer bearring. I didn’t know there was a retaining ring until after I sent the first question. Since I have looked at the video again and I saw were where the ring sits under the plastic that has been damaged. There is some of the plastic for the retaining ring to hold to, but about one third to a half has been sheered off. Do you think there will be a problem with this plastic missing.

        1. Hello Matt,
          You can disregard the questions previously; I removed the shaft and stainless tub which I had to drive out. The plastic ribbons seem to be from around the molded bearing housing which covers the outer edges of the housing outside and in the back of the outer plastic drum.
          My next questions are how bad does the bearing shaft need to be before you would replace the spider and shaft. The outer bearing was damaged to the point the roller balls split into pieces. I haven’t seen this before in anything I have disassembled. This caused the bearing shaft to gall and cannot be polished clean. I used emery cloth trying to smooth the surface, but the gouges are too deep. A new bearing will slide over the damage, but I’m not sure if I will create a possible weakness that will lead to another failure.
          Another issue is when I removed the counter weights (I’m a bit of an old man woos) I noticed the front weights had small cracks and there were small pieces of cement that had chipped and fell to the bottom of the washer case. The weights feel solid and don’t have a broken feel but I’m concerned that if I reinstall the weights they could also fail.
          Thanks for responding and your video is very helpful,
          Joe

          1. Joe: As to the bearing shaft, the 2 things I usually ask myself before deeming it worthy to continue are:
            1) Is the shaft itself structurally sound (no cracks started, and not worn too thin)?
            2) Will the inner race stick to the shaft? Or is the shaft worn so badly that the bearing assembly will spin on the shaft?

            If it fails #1, not much choice but to replace it. If it fails #2, depending on the extent of it, sometimes you can scuff up the shaft a little bit where the bearing sits and get by – a small chisel at an angle and a hammer can put in some nice sharp ridges (almost like splines) to keep it from spinning. In a pinch, you could shim up that part of the shaft where the bearing sits with something really thin like a cut up coke can but I really tend to shy away from shimming unless it’s a temporary fix until I can get a new part. You absolutely do not want the bearing itself spinning on the shaft or it will wear the shaft down like nobody’s business.

            As to the counter weights, small cracks aren’t uncommon and if they’re superficial I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Same goes with tiny chunks breaking off – between the vibration and the varying humidity levels I wouldn’t expect the things to go on in mint condition forever. If the weights themselves seem fairly solid altogether, I’d just toss them back on, maybe putting a little silicon or GOOP over cracks that look like they might get worse over time just to fill it in a little and reduce the effect further vibration will have.

            However, if those counter weights have degraded to the point where you think they’re going to bust apart mid-wash sometime, you should probably replace them altogether. They’re pretty heavy and if one were to come off and smash the drain pump, MCU, or motor spindle, I don’t know if they’d quite survive. The tub would probably shake like a banshee with a missing weight too, possibly smashing some lovely dents into the top/sides of the machine all while killing the shocks and ripping the front seal due to the incorrect angle the assembly would now be at. So if they’re degraded to the point where you know-they’re-on-their-way-out, I’d replace now rather than later.

  12. How hard did you have to pound to get the basket removed from the inner tub. When we took our tub apart, the basket stayed connected to the inner tub. We took a mallet to it, but it’s not budging. We put a penetrating oil on it and let it sit overnight… but still nothing. Is there anything else to remove?

    1. Leah: Had one that I had to smack really hard with a medium solid sledge. And even at that point I was considering the really massive sledge (one you’d use to smash up something like oh… say… concrete). And before you ask, I was definitely hitting hard enough that something could have broken (and the nut I had protecting the threads was fairly dented up by the end).

      Before going to that extent though, a few things I’d try:

      1. if you’re only using 2 boards to elevate the outer tub, try using a few more around the sides. Since the tub is plastic, it has a tendency to flex/vibrate which isn’t what you want the energy from your hammer whacks going towards. Using more boards should help keep it sturdy and reduce the vibration. Be sure not to have boards under the “tabs” though, as you don’t want them to snap. Have the “tabs” between the spaces of the boards. And of course make sure the SS inner basket is elevated well above the floor.
      2. if you’ve got an oxygen/acetylene torch and are experienced using it, you may want to try heating up the inner race of the bearing you can see (the outer) a little bit. Chances are it’s not the one seized (the inner probably is), but it may help. Be really careful though – if you heat it too much you’ll end up heating up the housing which will melt the plastic which will render the outer tub unrepairable.
      3. more penetrating oil, more time (be very careful if combining with the torch mentioned above – fires aren’t fun). If you’re lucky, some will eventually seep past the outer bearing and get to the inner, though whether any actually does or not is going to depend on how tight the outer is against the shaft.

      Beyond that, there’s not much else I can think of off the top of my head. In the end you may just have to make sure it’s well braced, ensure the nut’s protecting the threads, hit really hard with a heavy hammer and hope the shaft breaks free (or the bearing falls apart) before something else literally breaks.

      Good luck!

  13. This article and video was incredibly helpful to give me the courage to tear apart my Kenmore washer. Got that done and ready to get the parts to get it back together.

    Big problem the spider arm disintegrated. Only can get it as part of SS drum. Drum has lifetime warranty but only if Sears tech orders it. He will be the day after Christmas for the price of a service visit…but may also assemble the washer for me, since he is here.

    I’m considering getting the bearings replaced before he arrives since I doubt those will be replaced. Anybody have any warning or advice I should consider before getting that started?

    Greg

  14. Thanks for all of the good advice. I am rebuilding my duet washer after the spider broke and the drum scored the front tub. I have replaced the front tub, stainless drum / spider combination and both bearings and the seal. I was wondering if I should use some marine silicone sealant to help reinforce the rubber bearing seal? I would appreciate any other suggestions before I get everything back together. e

  15. We hust finished installing the bearings on our whirlpool duet. Our spider was in pieces. The tub and bearings were replaced and we reassembled everything. the video was awesome!

    BUT, there is still clunking noise when washing. It is MUCH less than before, but still banging.Any ideas on what to do next.

    Any helps appreciated
    sam

    1. Sam: I’m assuming the noise is during the high speed spin? If so, I’d start by looking at the shocks. If they’re in bad shape, you’ll sometimes get some banging during the spin. This is assuming the reassembly went well and everything is tight. To check them, pull them out and feel for “play” (also known as “slop”) when compressing/expanding. If they’re bad, you usually get an inch or so of dead space.

  16. I have a Whirlpool GHW9200LW that has a broken spider. When I called the Whirlpool hot line, they will replace it because of the lifetime warranty on the steel drum, but they say I need and extra digit for the model number which they are calling the engineering number. I can not find this anywhere on the machine. The sticker on the door frame just shows GHW9200LW. Anyone know where to find it or if I use “0” will I be okay?

  17. I used the video above as a good reference. I did notice that you didn’t have to take the front door off for any reason, like they did in the video. I replaced everything, got the front and rear outer tub, and a new stainless tub from whirlpool at ZERO cost to me. I’m still getting somewhat of a bad vibration, and i’m gonna guess its the shocks, hopefully that will quiet it down. My biggest problem is that the tub sets toward the back of the machine about an inch further than it needs to be. I’ve messed with the upper springs but still not where it needs to be. Socks and small items get stuck between the tub and the rubber now. Maybe after replacing the shocks, the newer ones will be stiffer and set the tub where it needs to be??

  18. I just bought (for cheap) a WPDuet with a diagnosed bad bearings. I watched the video and I just don’t see why it’s necessary to remove the tub? Once I pound out/remove the inner tube, it looks like I’ll have access to removing the bearings? I was thinking that perhaps I should just leave the outer tube in place, and replace the bearings. Am I missing something?

    1. The outer tub has to be split to get the SS basket out (basket won’t fit out the main tub opening). It would be tougher to split the tub without removing it first, and you’d run into a few other issues. It’s certainly possible, but you would still have to disconnect almost everything anyway so it makes way more sense to just pull it right out.

  19. My son replaced the inner and outter drum and basket, but the washer when spinning out it is loud. What could be wrong with it now? My husband
    was wandering if the washer is not level would that cause the problem? Is the washer safe to use now?

  20. Went downstairs to check out the washer and the front drum is falling apart again. What could be causing this, after putting im all new parts. I am just thinging about buying a new washer. What is a better made front loader washer, that is’t poorly designed? Very unhappy with whirpool.

    1. Debra, it shouldn’t be falling apart immediately after replacing it unless the bearings were somehow damaged during reassembly (which is usually pretty tough to do). Might be worth checking to ensure that the main shaft nut is still tight (though not overtight). Otherwise, as far as noise goes, if it’s not level, you’ll certainly hear the machine thumping around. Bad shocks can also cause a lot of noise and shaking.

      As for other brands, unfortunately I don’t have enough experience to make much of a recommendation. Miele is well regarded but their stuff tends to cost a fortune. Bosch is popular when it comes to dishwashers, but I don’t know how good their laundry appliances are. A bit of web searching might help you find a few reliable brands. Either way, you might want to avoid Maytag, Inglis, Amana, etc., as they’re all owned by Whirlpool Corp. Best of luck.

  21. I did this repair with good results as far as fixing the bearing noise I had, but now I have a screeching sound like the seal is rubbing on the shaft. Most noticable at low speeds, like during washing. I did not lube the seal lips and I think I should have. What seal lube should I use that will not get washed away over time?

    I disassembled the unit again. The seal had black dust on it I could wipe off with my finger – definately wearing the rubber seal lips, darn it.

    1. Jeff, I simply used some synthetic vehicle grease (comes in the tubes you’d pack into an automotive grease gun), and after reassembly ran an empty cleaning/bleach cycle to get rid of any grease that may have managed to be on the clothing end of things. During normal operation (tight bearings & seal, no sudsing/foaming), water is really only splashing onto the seal so it shouldn’t really be able to get inside and wash anything away. Good luck.

  22. Hi,

    Just did the bearings in my Whirlpool 1485BD after reading all of your comments, thanks!
    Bearings in mine were 6206ZZ and 6207ZZ ball bearings. These have non contact steel sheilds.
    I’ve had a little exprience with washing machine manufacturers, and more with bearings, and know that they use the cheapest possible bearing, not the best bearing for the job. They just need it to last 1 year.
    After looking at failed bearings, quite obvious the reason they failed was due to water in them.
    I replaced bearings with Japanese made rubber sealed bearings which will seal out water much better, and last longer, and will be available at any bearing shop or distributor, most common type of bearing in the world.
    Only hurdle i hit was that my tub was not held together with clips, but was glued. I carefully pried it apart, and joined it back together after refit with a combination of silicon adhesive, self tapping screws, and several generous layers of silicon sealant on the outside of the join. Fingers crossed, no leaks yet.

  23. Just made the repair, reassembled the unit and after I turn it on the GFI trips just when the drum starts to move. Very frustrated . . . . Any ideas as to what I can do?

    1. Anonymous: Assuming there isn’t an actual short or true electrical issue for the moment….. some GFCI’s are overly sensitive (and some become overly sensitive as they age). Electric motors are notorious for tripping them (even in new devices). The first thing I’d be inclined to do is swap/replace the outlet with another GFCI, preferably of a different brand. I’ve had brand new ones that tripped easily too, mind you. If you’ve tried a couple other ones and are still having problems, it could be an issue with the machine itself – in that case, check all the wiring to make sure no bare wire is exposed and/or pinched in a panel. If no luck there, you can try narrowing it down to the motor by disconnecting it and then running the machine (until it errors out anyway).

  24. I was able to get whirlpool to send me the tubs and basket because the spider broke. I told WP that the basket banged against the tub when the spider broken and made holes in the tubs on the front and back halves. Now I am ready to reassemble, but should the spindle on the basket lubricated, and if so with what? I really would like to know what the appliance techs use so I don’t do this wrong and get lubricant on my clothes.

    1. RG: The spindle doesn’t have to be lubricated. It’s supposed to “stick” to the inner race of each bearing (all the friction happens within the bearings themselves). The only thing you might consider lubing would be the bearings themselves if they’re not of the sealed type – if they’re sealed you can usually assume they’re pre-lubed and ready to go.

      Note that I tend to use a little grease on the seal where it meets the basket. It shouldn’t be necessary, but keep in mind that if you do go that route, you risk some grease getting in with the laundry – running a cleaning cycle to start off might be a good idea in that case.

  25. so I opened the boxes that the parts came in, and in the rear half of the tub box, WP had provided a tube of lithium grease, and document with a picture that showed where to apply the grease. Namely, to the inner ring of the bearing that would contact the spindle, and to the two “lips” of the seal, where it too would contact the spindle. Other than, that, it was a piece of cake. I had taken the time to mark the location of the clamps that hold the tub together on the old one (I even number the clamps just in case), and I placed the clamps in the exact same position on the new tub as the old tub. NO leaks and all is working fine. We have about 8 loads of clothes thru it at this point. I am going to change the water hoses after seeing on the Farmers Insurance commercial that they should be replaced every X number of years, and these are 9 years old.

  26. so follow up posting, all is mostly ok, EXCEPT, when a heavy load is washing, during the spin cycle, it makes more noise than it used to before the spider broke. I believe the basket is hitting the tub during this time, but there is no obvious play between the basket and the tub. I didn’t look for specs on how tight the nut should be, I just tightened it pretty well, but I am afraid it may not have been enough. Does anyone have the torque spec for a duet spindle nut? I called WP, but the guys that would know this are on holiday today (Friday).

  27. Thanks for taking the time to include this page, videos, and links on your site. It was hugely helpful to me. My Whirlpool WFW9400SW01 sounded like a freight train and your write up led me to the proper place to order the bearings and seal from Yellow Van. I have to admit, when I called to verify the kit, it all sounded a little fly by night, but all items were received as expect, packed perfectly, and made it across the entire country in two days. Ordered Tuesday, delivered Thursday, perfect.

    I did also order the tub seal. For an extra 22 bucks or so from PartsSelect, I figured it was worth the peace of mind. The video was right on for the steps to disassemble, but like others stated, there is no need to remove the door, even though it is only 2 screws. Probably worth it just to get it out of the way, but for the repair, its removal is not required.

    Upon disassembly, sure enough, the inner bearing was shot but I was surprised to find SKF bearings. My washer was made in Germany, but I figured Whirlpool would have been cheaper on the brand. For the record, the replacement bearings were not SKF, they were made in China, but if I get another 4 years out of them, that’s good enough. At least I know what to listen for.

    A little tip, when not in use, leave the washer door open a few inches to aid drying out and run the clean cycle periodically. We learned about soap scum in our old washer the hard way. With this one, we’ve left it open when empty and run a clean out cycle once a month and the inside was like new. A little soap scum in some of the corners of the tub, but nothing like what is shown in the video. I hit it with a pressure washer, but quite frankly, that was not really even needed.

    My washer was completely out of the 1 year warranty and as usual, Whirlpool was completely useless in directing me towards a repair. The best they can do is schedule a repair appointment. At $85 just for someone to show up and an estimated $750+ between parts and labor, why would anyone even bother? This cost me about $125 all told and my washer sounds like new again.

    I used a little grease on the basket shaft and to help ease the bearings and seal into place. Do yourself a favor and get some sockets that match the outer races of the bearings to help tap them into place. Working around the edge works, but pounding on all sides at once works better. For the seal, after a little grease along the outer edge, I was able to push it most of the way in by hand and then gently tapped it the rest of the way. Do not dent of crease the seal, that’s how they end up leaking.

    Watch the hose upon reassembly. Whoever invented the spring clamps they use should be drawn and quartered. Like a dope, I caught the edge of the very bottom drain hose under the clamp on the back side from where I was working. It felt fine and installed properly until I started to run the rinse and spin. A lot of paper towels later, I re-set the hose and all was well. A minor set back that could have been avoided with proper screw type hose clamps. These spring clamps should go down in the history of bad engineering ideas along with the flathead screw.

    All in all, it took me about 4 hours to complete including the hose issue, cleanup, and watching the 20 minute rinse and spin. After that initial cycle, I had a little bit of a groaning noise at very slow speeds. It stopped on its own after another cycle, but I opened the back up the following morning. I removed the belt and reset it one groove out towards the back of the washer. The belt was riding on the very back edge of the pulley. I also just double checked all the connections, shocks, pulley bolt, and the motor bolt. Everything was good. Either the belt was making a little noise riding on a bit of a new spot on the big pulley or the basket just took a little time to set with the seal, I’m not sure but the noise is gone.

    Good luck. It’s an easy repair for the moderately handy. Keep track of the screws (fine vs. coarse), give yourself enough room to work, and do it on a nice enough day to clean out the tub and basket outside.

  28. Your video was helpfull, I did the job but I have a issue regarding that the stainless steel tub seems to have some loose vertically only up & down but only the up. When the spin cycle is at low speed you hear a toctoc which I believe is the stainless tub touching the plastic housing and I high speed no sound. What i should check?
    Thanks!

  29. I ordered and replaced the bearings in my WFW 9600Duet about a month ago. Everything went very smooth, now the noise is back and when I lift up on the inside of the stainless drum it will move up and down about an inch or more, almost like the shaft is moving freely inside the bearing or the bearing is not fully seated. I have read a lot about the broken spiders on the basket. Could this now be the problem? It was fine when I checked it prior to reassembly.

  30. The video is incredibly educational, but when we got to the out bearing it completely fell apart. the outer casing of the bearing is unremovable. Any suggestions? We have tried tapping with a hammer and screwdriver. Tried dremmel tool to cut through it. Tried a degreaser to loosen. Nothing is helping.

    1. More time working it with the dremel will probably be your best option. Chances are you’ll have to make 2 separate cuts in that part of the bearing (say, a half-inch apart), being *very* careful as you get towards the end of each cut so that you don’t start cutting into the metal sleeve in the housing. You should hopefully be able to knock that little half-inch chunk of the bearing out at that point.

      Once you’ve cut/knocked that piece out, you might be able to jam a sharp screwdriver between the remaining section of the bearing and the housing and pry it enough that it starts separating from the housing (at which point you can probably start pounding it out again). Obviously wear some gloves since you’ll have a lot of sharp edges and keep your face/eyes away in case when you’re prying, a jagged piece snaps out and goes flying.

      If even at that point it’s not working, cut out another chunk on the opposite end. At that point the remaining part of the bearing would essentially be 2 disconnected semicircles (slightly less than a half circle each), and a screwdriver/hammer shouldn’t have much difficulty getting them out at that point.

      Good luck.

  31. Great site with great tips! I just finished replacing my bearings and bearing seal with the kit provided from http://www.yellowvanhandyman.com/washerrepair.aspx. The only thing I would add is that you make sure you spin the tub BEFORE you put it back into the machine. I did not do this and found out that the bearing seal wasn’t tapped in fully and was causing a lot of friction on the tub. This created a burning rubber smell too! I then had to dissassemble the machine completely again…UGH!!! The tub should be able to spin around easily with one hand. If you have to use considerable force and it doesn’t spin freely to a stop then you installed the bearing, or seal improperly.

  32. Ordered a bearing and seal kit from yellow van handy man website, watched the video and repaired my Whirlpool Duet today (after 6 years of use). Repair was very easy and the video was excellent. Saved $800 dollars – disappointed with whirlpool in only selling the rear assy for $500 +$400 for them to repair it.

    Thanks

    Lorin S

  33. Where do I get a replacement “spider” if I need one? Is it recommended to change it regardless of whether it’s broken?

    1. Karl: You can try calling Whirlpool to make sure, but I suspect the spider is considered part of the assembly, which would mean your only option would likely be from another parts machine. As for replacing it, if the spider looks like it’s deteriorated and falling apart, you might not have a lot of choice but to either look for a replacement or try to build it up with an epoxy/fibreglass/etc. When they break, best-case scenario is that the basket slowly wears through the outer shell. Worst case scenario is anything you can imagine when a piece of metal abruptly snaps off at 1000+ RPM.

      If the spider looks good (not deeply corroded or pitted), you’d normally just reuse it though. They usually either look really-good or really-bad depending on the type of water, and amount/types of detergent that were used.

      1. Matt, thanks for your response. I ended up purchasing the front and rear tub, because the bearings had become so disintegrated that the basket was just bouncing around in there, and tore up the insides of the tub. And there was no getting the old bearing remains out; everything was so tightly rusted. There were bearing shavings, bearing balls and half balls all over the inside of the cabinet.

        Surprisingly, the basket, including the spider looked to be in good shape, so I reassembled the whole thing with the new tub parts. It all works pretty well, but I get a knock at certain spin speeds, which I attribute to a worn basket shaft (the pulley nut is tight). So I managed to get Whirlpool to send me a new basket under the lifetime warranty. I’ll have to tear down and reassemble the whole thing, but I think it will be worth it.

        I’m curious though: does tightening the pulley nut put enough pre-load on the bearings to soak up the side play? Would a wave washer between the pulley and the bearing help?

  34. I have a Whirlpool washer model#(wfw94hexw2), during spin cycle it made a friction sound and I could smell something burning. Inside the tub were rubber shavings. The tub is very hard to turn by hand. Hoping someone can help me pinpoint what the problem is.

    1. Wayne: Shavings are probably from the basket rubbing against the tub. My best guesses would be one of the following:

      • bearings came apart or are worn badly enough to cause a lot of play
      • spider is broken
      • main nut came off (not very likely unless it was apart previously and wasn’t tightened enough)
      • motor seized and shavings are unrelated

      Probably one of the first 2. When you do turn it by hand, do you hear a constant crunching? If so, that would tend to indicate the bearings. If not, I’d lean towards 1 or 2 of the of the spider arms having broken with the stainless steel basket now rubbing along the plastic tub. You probably won’t know for sure until you start pulling it apart though. Either way, I wouldn’t suggest running the machine until you get it looked at, or the basket might rub a hole through the tub (or if the spider is the culprit, breaking during a spin is likely to cause some serious damage).

  35. I just did this repair on my Whirlpool model wfw9050xw00 and it went fairly well, but I now have some squeaking while the machine is running, especially noticeable while it is washing at low speed. I didn’t use any grease on the seal and I’m hoping that I don’t need to take it apart again to apply some, but I will if I have to. I had trouble getting the spindle to go in all the way when reassembling the tub, but when I put the nut back on and gave it a few turns with my torque wrench it inserted all the way. I don’t know if I made the spindle go in too far and it’s pressing against the seal too tightly causing it to squeak, or if I need to grease it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  36. Im glad I found the video on this repair, mine is the duet steam basically the same componants. Never having repaired a front load washer was a little questionable but after having a service company quote me $1080 I decided Im going to do this. I caught it before in did any damage, It started sounding like a jet on take-off on the spin cycle and had a bearing growl while washing so we stopped using it. As suspected the seal failed and the inner bearing was wiped-out. This unit is 3 years old and not heavily used and always had HE detergent. I’d agree with other post on this design and how they control parts or recommend the repair, cash cow for repair companys!!! I see this same stuff everyday work on vehicles, Make it as cheap as possible and design it for fast easy assembly and let the end user deal with if it needs repaired. Its everywhere in our throwaway society.Thanks again for this site and video and the post. Success again!!

  37. Why wouldn’t they use marine bearing grease in these as its waterproof and even if the seal failed the bearing would go un effected? Can you grease the bearing like you do a car wheel bearing before installation?

  38. When hanging the drum back into the washer there are two holes on the tub to hook the springs onto. I neglected to take a picture or mark them when I disassembled them. Which of the holes should the springs hook into, the ones towards the front of the machine or the ones towards the back?

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