Mailbag: Replacing the Belt on a Whirlpool (or Kenmore) Belt-Drive Washer

Jeannie Avery wrote:

My belt just broke on my Whirlpool, belt driven washer. I bought the belt for it today, glanced at the instuctions on it, but my daughter ripped the package open(so all the instuctions got stretched and distorted) when I wasnt looking so now though I have tried and tried I cant get the belt on. I wanted to know if you would know how to replace the belt on this washing maching. It is a whirlpool, top loading washer. The model number is IHA7680N1, and the Belt # is 95405
Thank you for any help.

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This is one of those repairs with a steep learning curve. Referring to the SUDS-o-meter scale of appliance repair difficulty, this repair rates five mugs of beer for tender, nubile repair virgins like yourself, but only a single mug for crusty, old appliance repair prostitutes like myself. I recommend you have a six-pack of Old Milwaukee on hand. Your bold determination to tackle this repair is exactly what made this country great and you are an inspiration to appliance repair grasshoppers all over the world! In the electrifying words of AC/DC, “For those about to rock, we salute you!”

If you’ve never replaced the belt on a Whirlpool belt-drive washer, you’re in for a banquet of appliance repair merriment. During this repair celebration, you’re going to gain valuable expertise in busting loose rusted nuts and bolts. These new skills will serve you well in many other areas of your life like, uhh, busting loose rusted nuts and bolts on other old, broken stuff. You’ll also learn how to hang on to greasy wrenches with tired, bleeding hands–another valuable life skill that actually has some application to auto repair.

Now that I mention it, this repair kinda reminds me of working on an old ’73 Ford Maverick I used to have. Seems like anything I did on that car involved lots of rust, grease, and blood. And that was just the interior.

Ok, ok, your washer. Oron Schmidt has done a good job of putting together illustrated, step-by-step instructions for tackling this repair. While you have the belt off, turn the pump pulley by hand. Sometimes, the pump seizes and burns the belt. If you can’t turn the pump pulley easily by hand, replace the pump, too.

To help encourage you onward in this repair, I leave you with the battle cry we used to scream when I was in the Kamikaze squad, “I’m gonna kill the bastard who talked me into this!”


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