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Thursday, October 27, 2005

How to Replace the Tub Boot on a Frigidaire-built, front-loading Washing Machine; Frigidaire washer repair; tub boot

1) If the machine has a dryer stacked on top of it or is positioned in such a way that it would be too much bother to move, just leave it where it is. However, if it is possible, it would be easier to do this job if the machine could be leaned. If leaning it back is not possible, then a 6 or 8 inch block of wood will be handy to use to wedge between the front panel and the tub to hold the tub back out of the way.

2) The boot is attached to a lip around the perimeter of the opening in the front panel and is glued on in spots about three inches apart, all the way around. Use a razor blade as shown in illustration #1 to carefully slice the glued spots on the boot away from the front panel.

3) Once the boot is loose from the front panel, push it into the opening of the tub and out of the way as shown in illustration #2. At this point, if the machine is not leaning back, take your block of wood and while pushing back on the tub through the opening, wedge the block between the front panel and the tub about ten inches to the bottom - right of the opening. This will give you more space to work with the boot.

4) Notice that the boot is still attached to the duct that is located just inside the front panel at the upper left corner from the opening. This is where the water, soap, bleach and fabric softener enter the tub. To remove (and later on, reattach) the clamp holding this in place on the end of the duct you will have to make yourself a tool from a three inch piece of 3/8 inch soft copper tubing. In illustration #3 you will see that the end of the tube is flattened somewhat so that it can be slipped over the twisted ends of the clamp as shown in illustration #4. Twist the tube counterclockwise to slip the clamp and set both the tool and the wire clamp aside. Pull the boot free from the duct.

5) Using both hands, grab onto the boot at the top of the opening to the tub and pull downward and toward you with slow steady pressure. As the boot is pulled free from the outer lip of the tub (at the top), the coiled spring that holds the boot from the groove behind the lip around the opening to the front shell will become visible. You can either continue pulling on the boot until it comes off or you can hook the spring (with a piece of coat hanger fashioned into a hook) and pull it off and then pull the boot off separately.

6) Once the boot is off, examine the lip that extends around the entire perimeter of the front opening of the front shell of the tub (the front shell and the rear shell are so named because when bolted together, form the outer tub that surrounds the inner tub). The boot has a lip that will have to be folded into the groove behind the lip on the front shell. To start this, examine the new boot and locate the groove in front of the lip that corresponds to the similar lip and tab on the tub shell. It will make this job a lot easier if you can get some liquid dishwashing soap from the consumer, and sparingly lubricate this groove on the boot to make it easier to slip onto the lip of the shell (see illustration #5). No soap is preferable to too much soap. Have a cloth handy to wipe the soap from your fingers.

7) Once the groove in the boot is lubed with soap, locate the arrow as shown in illustration #6 that is located on the top of the boot (located to the right of the extrusion that slips over the duct). This arrow must point up when the boot is installed.

8) With the boot in one hand and the other hand spreading the lip and groove (on the boot near the arrow), force the lip into the groove behind the lip at the top of the opening on the tub shell (see illustration #7).

9) With one hand holding the boot so it does not slip off, use the other hand to continue spreading the lip and groove of the boot further to the right. In this way, you continue this action 360 degrees around until the boot is mounted onto the front shell ( illustration #8). Your fingers will take a beating while you do this and may become quite tired. Do not give up. Just pop a cold one (without letting go of the boot) and keep at it. Rest one hand at a time if needed. Whatever you do, do not remove both hands until the boot is on (unless you want it to fall off and then you get to start all over with it).

10) Now is the time to put the spring back on. Included in the BOOT KIT is a set of three spacers (an example of which is shown in illustration #9). These spacers are to be used to hold the spring in place in the groove on the outside perimeter of the boot. As it will take both hands to stretch this spring into place, these spacers will prevent the spring from popping out when you let go of it to use both hands to stretch it further around the boot. Begin by pushing the spring down into the groove just forward from where the boot contacts the front shell at about the 12 o'clock position. While holding it in place with one hand, use the other to tightly wedge the spacer above it, between the spring (in its groove) and the weight ring above it as shown in illustration #10.

11) Working your way to the right, push the spring down into the groove. When you have placed the spring about 90 degrees around the opening from the first spacer, the spring will begin to get tight. Push in another spacer at that point (making sure to keep checking the first spacer, if it pops out - the spring will pop out).

12) Continue working your way around (while checking both spacers, you don't want them to slip out) until you reach 180 degrees from the first spacer. Install the third spacer.

13) The spring will be extremely tight now as shown in illustration # 11. Once you have gone more than half way around, the spring will be easier to roll into the rest of the groove (so long as all three spacers are holding tight). When you have the spring in place, make sure to remove the three spacers before proceeding to step # 14.

14) Replace the boot extrusion back onto the duct and pull it up over the ridge on the duct near the top of the opening. Reinstall the clamp in such a way that the clamp sits between the ridges on the extrusion and above the ridge on the duct. Snap the clamp closed with the copper tubing tool that you used previously.

15) Before attaching the new boot to the front panel, clean the surface of the front panel with alcohol or household cleaner. Also clean the flat surface of the new boot that will be contacting the front panel. This step is needed to remove the mold release material used in the manufacturing process and will allow the adhesive to stick.

16) Remount the boot onto the front panel as shown in illustration #13, making sure that the boot is not wrinkled. If large wrinkles exist, they may pool water in the boot and dribble onto the floor when the door is opened. If this is the case, pull it loose from the front panel and remount it slightly more clockwise or counter clockwise as needed.

17) Using the adhesive supplied in the kit, sparingly apply dots of glue under the edge of the boot as shown in illustration #14. Spot glue at the 12 o'clock, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 o'clock positions around the opening. Caution: you will need to wait a couple of hours before using the washer to allow the adhesive enough time to dry.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 17:39 ET.  [permalink]
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I had the mystery grease stain problem. I just got done with replacing the rear shell, buttoned everything up and ran a test run...leaked out the front. I forgot to put the spring back on the boot.

Is it really humanly possible to install the spring around the tub boot? I have tried several times even with two people and all I get are bloody fingers.

Why a spring? Why not a giant pipe clamp?

I think my only option is to pull the tub back out, remove the concrete from the front, and try again.

Please advise if there is a better way.

By Anonymous Rob, at April 13, 2006 3:10 AM  

Well, there's nothing sacred about a spring-- a giant clamp should work. The challenge there would be finding such a clamp!

And you shouldn't need to remove the entire tub to affix the tub spring. Refer to the procedure above.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at April 13, 2006 8:17 AM  

I don't have the spacers that come with the because I am re-using my existing boot and spring.

I tried to use four hands to do it and we can't get the spring stretched enough.

Is there something else I can use as a spacer or an alternative way to get that bugger on?


By Anonymous rob, at April 13, 2006 1:22 PM  

As far as replacement spacers, you're on your own there. You can get together with your Budrows at the hardware store and do something creative. Failing that, you'd have the buy the whole boot kit just to get those spacers. Bummer, deeuude.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at April 13, 2006 1:48 PM  

No dice at the hardware store. Bought the boot kit at a local parts house today. It came with the boot, a wire spring, and the elusive spacers. I thought they replaced the full coil spring with the wire spring, but turns out that is an upgraded way of connecting the front.

Needless to say the combination of laying the machine on the floor with the opening facing with the door removed I was able to single handedly get the spring to fall into place.

I am running test run number one far so good.

By Anonymous rob, at April 13, 2006 7:25 PM  

Bought the boot kit at a local parts house today.

Can you get more local than right here on your computer monitor? How do you think this website survives? :/

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at April 13, 2006 7:50 PM  

Thanks for a great article. After years of use, our boot developed some rather unpleasant sludge, so I took it out for a thorough cleaning. If you have a local, full service hardware store, what you want is three 1/2" OD x 1" long nylon spacers, normally used as standoffs on long bolts. They work just fine with the technique described above.

By Blogger Bradley, at September 06, 2007 10:00 AM  

I agree, great article. I used this and the "replacing tub boot on frigidaire" one to remedy my problems. I used a small nylon cord (no stretch) and a sturdy spring (about 4" long, with about 1-1.5" of stretch in it, max) to replace the spring and cable I lost in disassembly. I cut the string to the circumference of the boot (minus length of spring) and subtracted 1 inch so the spring could stretch. I tried to take a photo of it in place but it was basically impossible without an endoscope or something.

It was NOT easy, but I managed to keep it from slipping off by using two hand clamps at 9 and 3 while slipping the spring over the top. The bottom was held in by the string tension.

By Blogger Ehren F, at May 22, 2008 3:52 PM  

The model I have is 417.40042990. I called a local repairman to come out and he could not get the rubber boot back on after I had taken it off for cleaning. After a couple of hours he gave up and told me to call someone else! I came to this site and tried the method described but I just couldn't do it. Finally, I took the cover off the washer which required taking out screws that were very difficult to get to and with little leverage to unscrew them. After the cover was removed, I took the cement (looks and feels like cement) weights off the drum. Now I had enough room to put the boot on with no problems. Took me about 2.5 hours total time though.

By Blogger tdn992002, at June 06, 2008 1:58 AM  

I have the same model 417.40042990 that I was replacing the rear basket w/bearings on. When I pulled the door gasket out of the drum I thought to myself, "how am I ever going to get that thing back in?" Lucky for me that I found this web site and thread. I too pulled off the front panel of the machine and removed the concrete weights from the front basket. Now getting the boot and spring on was a piece of cake! You can actually see that everything is going back into it's proper place.
If I was doing this job again I'd remove the weight and the front panel from the machine when the drum assembly is out. On reassembly hang the drum assembly from the from it's two suspension springs but don't attach the two bottom struts yet. This will allow you to shove the drum over to one side and hold it with a 2x4 while tightening the front panel screws.

By Blogger bradpotterfulton, at February 22, 2010 4:16 PM  

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