This article is part of my Washing machine repair question archives. Carefully selected topics from Washerhelp’s Forums are abridged into an easier to read article.
Drum Bearing Repair Question
"I was trying to replace the drum bearings in my washing machine. I stripped it down and took the drum pulley off. But when I tried to knock the drum shaft out of the bearings it only came a quarter of the way out. It is well and truly jammed. Is there any specific way to take it out? "
Drum Bearing Collapsed
The drum shaft should knock out easily with a heavy mallet that has plastic heads. If it’s stuck then it’s likely to be because the front bearing has collapsed. When drum bearings fail, it’s usually because water has got to them through a failed bearing seal. It washes away all of the grease and causes rust. This is what causes the horrible rumbling sound (What do noisy drum bearings sound like?).
If the drum bearings aren’t replaced quickly enough the front drum bearing can completely collapse. Another complication is that the drum bearing collapses it can cause the shaft of the drum to weld to the inner race of the bearing. This makes it extremely difficult or even impossible to get the drum out. Even if they can be separated the drum shaft can be damaged and would need replacing.
How to get the Drum Out?
How difficult is it to take the drum out? My back cover of the machine seems to be solidly fitted and there are no sign of any screws. I have not tried the front cover yet. I have been talking with a local washing machine repairer and he disappointed me by telling that it is not worth trying to repair it.
It is better to buy a new washing machine. But being an engineer I feel that I should be able to open the part! So I am going to try one more time before I give up. Any further advice would be appreciated. Once again thank you very much for your reply.
Knocking the Drum Out
With the drum pulley off, you usually have to try and knock the drum out with a heavy mallet. Never use a heavy hammer, which will damage the drum shaft and the thread where the drum pulley bolt goes.
If you only have a heavy hammer (e.g. a lump hammer) you would need to place a strong block of wood over the drum shaft to protect it. If you have knocked the drum shaft all the way flat to the back bearing and the drum still wont come out, you may be able to knock it out further by screwing the drum pulley bolt back in (without the drum pulley) about three quarters of the way in to get a little bit more to hit. Be careful not to damage the thread on the drum pulley bolt though.
Before continuing – Be Safe: Don’t risk it
If you aren’t experienced and trained for working on electrical and mechanical appliances you should probably book an appliance engineer.
Attempting repairs if you aren’t qualified is very dangerous. Never try to repair an appliance if you don’t know what you are doing.
You should be able to replace the drum bearings on that model without difficulty. It sounds like the bearings have collapsed quite badly though, and this is why you are having difficulty removing the drum spider.
You’ve nothing much to lose by stripping it down because even if you abandon the idea and buy a new one, the old one is worthless anyway. The risk you take is wasting money on spares if the repair is unsuccessful. These days, because you can buy budget new washing machines so cheaply, having drum bearings fitted is often no longer worth it.
If your washing machine is pretty expensive then it should be worth doing though. However, doing the repair yourself of course is different because you are only paying for the spare parts and no labour.
If you want to have a final bash at it (excuse pun) then try putting a block of wood under the spider, between the bottom of the spider and the tub. Then when you knock the drum shaft to try and release the spider it should be more effective. The main thing to remember is that with the pulley off, the spider should just lift off the shaft and the only thing stopping it from doing so is the rust and collapsed bearings.
You can order Indesit drum bearings (or most washing machine drum bearings in fact) here – appliance and washing machine spares