How to Restore a Washing Machine

One way to save money is to keep an older washing machine running longer. Just about anyone can keep their washer in good running order by replacing belts; getting lost socks, buttons, and pins out of the pump; cleaning out under the agitator; and working on hoses.

Cleaning out agitators

Where can you find that long lost sock? Generally it's caught under the agitator. But even if nothing's missing, it's a good idea to occasionally take the agitator apart and clean under it. When an agitator's blocked, it may scrape and sound funny or not spin freely. To get the agitator off, just follow these steps:

  1. Take the cap off the agitator.

  2. Pull it off the shaft.

  3. Clean out the odds and ends underneath.

  4. Reassemble the agitator.

Replacing belts

Older washers have a belt on the motor. If the belt breaks, you can pull it out and replace it. You need a screwdriver or pliers, a wrench, and a new belt. Here's what to do:

  1. Turn off the power.

  2. Pull the machine away from the wall so you can get at the back.

  3. Remove the back panel by unscrewing it.

  4. Loosen the motor and slide it enough to get the belt off.

  5. Inspect the old belt.

    If it's stretched out, cracked, or looks shiny on the inside, replace it.

  6. Get an exact replacement at an appliance parts store.

  7. Slip the new belt on and tighten it.

  8. Push down on it about halfway between both pulleys.

  9. If it deflects more than 1/2 inch, tighten it some more; if it's too tight, loosen it.

Putting in new motors and gear boxes

If you have an older machine with a belt, you can replace the motor.

Working on new machines is difficult because the motor and gearbox are one unit.

  1. Unplug the machine and pull it out from the wall.

  2. Remove the back panel.

  3. Remove the motor mounting bolts.

  4. Disconnect the wires.

  5. Lift out the unit.

  6. Get a replacement motor.

    When you go for the part, be sure you have the model and serial number for the washer.

  7. Mount the new motor on the slide.

  8. Hook up the wires.

  9. Install and tighten the belt.

  10. Screw on the back panel.

  11. Plug the washer back in.

Cleaning out the pump

The pump collects all sorts of things: pebbles, buttons, pins, paper, bits of plastic and cardboard. You can get at the pump from the back panel and clean it out like this:

  1. Unplug the machine and pull it out from the wall.

  2. Remove the back panel.

  3. Remove the motor mounting bolts.

  4. Disconnect the wires.

  5. Look for a clear plastic cylinder with hoses running into it.

  6. Remove the pump or take it apart so you can dump out the garbage and rinse it off.

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