Washing Machine And Washer Dryer Bearings
Washing machine bearings are, usually, not an easy thing to replace. However this is very much dependent on how easy they are to actually get to and, how badly they they have failed.
If you have limited DIY knowledge or are not comfortable with the idea of taking your washing machine or washer dryer to pieces then we'd strongly suggest that you find a professional to do this for you as it is not a job for novices.
When the bearings first start to fail you will get a rumbling noise from the machine, if you hear this, do something about it then, don't wait. The longer you put it off the stronger the possibility is that the tub and, very possibly, the drum shaft will get damaged and this can increase the cost of repair substantially if it doesn't make it uneconomical to do.
Given that most sets of bearings we sell are so cheap, it makes sense to limit the cost and, hassle, to just the bearings and perhaps a tank seal rather than the other very expensive components that could be needed.
Bearings in washing machines and washer dryers will normally fail because the water seal, the black seal that sits in front of the front bearing to protect the bearings from water ingress, will wear and allow water into the bearing housing. This will in turn corrode the bearing and it will slowly fail over time and with use so, the more you use it, the faster you have to do something about the problem.
It is also worth noting that, as the bearing corrodes and fails, you will very often get rust spots on clothing in the machine, if you see that and the machine is noisy or rumbling, it's very likely a bearing failure.
The first problem is the hardest one to actually overcome in most cases and, for most people as it often requires, to all intents, an almost complete stripdown of the machine.
This is more so the case on newer machines, from about the early 1990's onwards where, in order to save money in production and build, most manufacturers moved to what we refer to as "split tanks". What this refers to is the fact that the outer tank of the washing machine or washer dryer is split, usually in the middle but often at the front as well, and they secured to the other "half" usually with torx headed screws or occasionally using clips. Due to the way that these machines are constructed, for servicing purposes, they entire tub unit will normally have to be taken out of the casing and split down in order to get to and, replace, the bearings in the machine.
Obviously this can, at times, be a bit of a challenge.
When we do it professionally we will disconnect as little as we possibly can and lift off as much as we can as complete assemblies to save time and errors. Of course, this is the knowledge and skill that you pay for when you ask an engineer to do the job for you but, the point is that you try to disturb as little as possible. Usually you will find that any wiring will allow for you to simply remove components, such as a dryer heating assembly, and put them out of the way without having to disconnect wiring etc.
However, there are many washing machines and washer dryers where this is simply not possible and you will have to disconnect wires.
When you do disconnect anything, take a note of where it was
It is very common for people not to do this and, sometimes, getting a wiring diagram or at least one that makes any sense, is nigh on impossible. One of the things we've started doing is to take digital photographs of the whole shebang before we start, that way we have a quick and visual record of what should go where.
For more information on sealed tanks or tubs please see the article from this link
The next issue, once you finally get to the bearings, is that all too often people run the machine, even though it sounds like a bag of nails has been tossed into it and, it's been noisy for months, until the bearings actually totally collapse. It is incredibly rare to have a bearing failure on a washing machine or washer dryer with no warning, there's usually plenty, it's just that many people don't take care of it soon enough.
Normally it's the front bearing that this will happen to and you're left with the outer shell of the bearing stuck in the rear of the tank. This can be an issue.
There is only really two ways to get the bearing shell out if this happens, you can use a bearing shell puller like the one we sell in the store that will remove most shells or, you use brute force, ignorance and a hammer. Not total ignorance of course, you do need a little finesse and the best advice here is to have a metal rod or tool, like a punch or suchlike, to get into the bearing from the back and slowly drift it out. As you hit the shell work across the bearing giving a few taps to each side and move position by about ninety degrees after you do both sides.
If it doesn't move, you have a problem and there's often no answer other than a new tank or backplate.
For most machines getting bearings is reasonably straightforward but, there are some for which it isn't a simple process.
Notably Electrolux Group produced machines have this issue sold under the AEG, Zanussi, John Lewis, Tricity Bendix and, of course, Electrolux brand names. What happens is that they will change the sizes of the bearings used in production so you can end up with the same model number having two, sometimes even three, different sets of bearings being used.
The answer to this is simple, read the information on the product pages and, if it says that there are more than one set of bearing used on that particular model of washing machine or washer dryer then please do as asked and request information on the correct set for you appliance before ordering.
Or, if you are in any way unsure, just ask us. We'll usually get back to you pretty quickly.
It is truly soul destroying to strip down a machine only to find that you have the wrong set of bearings for it, so it is well worth seeking advice before you begin to ensure you have all the bits you need and that they are correct.
A good investment is the Naylon hand pad, it allows you to clean off the drum shaft without damaging it as, if there's anything rough on the shaft you can tear up the new water seal in a mater of months. This isn't a job you want to be doing again in a hurry.
Another thing to do, if it's possible, is replace the tank seal. Again, you don't want to put the whole lot back together again only to find you have a silly little leak from a seal that only costs a few pounds, it's just not worth the aggravation.
Once more; take notes, take photos so that you have a record of what you need to do!
For more on changing a washing machine or washer dryer's bearings please see this tutorial