Appliance Tip of the Day: Replacing the Drive Coupler on a Whirlpool (or Kenmore) Direct Drive Washer

appliance tip of the day archiveOne sure sign that the drive coupler is bad is if the washer will fill with water and pump out ok, but it just won’t agitate or spin. Replacing the motor coupler is the most common repair task on this washer and is a pretty easy job, even for appliance repair virgins. How easy? About two mugs on the SUDS-0-meter. How can you tell if your washer is the direct-drive or belt-drive model? Like this.

We begin this repair odyssey by removing the washer’s cabinet. The secret to removing the cabinet is revealed in this post. Read it now, go ahead, I’ll wait…

Finished already? See, you’re a whiz at this!

motor coupler for a whirlpool or kenmore direct drive washer--click for larger viewOk, so with the machine stripped naked like a fatted calf in a butcher shop, we focus our keen Vulcan squinties on the pump, down in front, and remove the two clips holding it on to the motor. Then pull off the pump, unclip the wiring harness from the motor and the two wires from the capacitor (if present). Then remove the two motor clips (top and bottom) to remove the motor. Wallah! The motor, by the way, is double-shafted (for those of you in Palm Beach, “double-shafted” means it has two shafts). The coupler is the three-part piece you see between the motor and the transmission (the other side of the motor). Your old coupler probably looks something like this, or even worse. Here’s what a new coupler looks like.

Incidentally, for an excellent and detailed interactive diagram of the guts of this washer, see this page. You’ll be glad you did.

When you’re all done and you have the guts all tucked back in place, replacing the cabinet is just as easy…if you know the trick. And remember to reconnect the lid switch harness or you’ll be scratching your head wondering why the washer won’t spin.

Ok, that’s about all the rocket science involved with this little gig. All that’s left for you to do is order the coupler, maybe even a genuine repair manual for more adventurous repairs in the future. And, of course, your love offerings to the United Samurai Beer Fund would be received most joyously.

To learn more about your washer or to order parts,
click here

a couple of grasshoppers driving the master to the laundromat


9 thoughts on “Appliance Tip of the Day: Replacing the Drive Coupler on a Whirlpool (or Kenmore) Direct Drive Washer

  1. Anonymous

    I started to replace the coupler and when I put on the third piece (the last plastic piece)on the bolt, it broke.
    I got another part and yet again, that piece cracked. I can still use the washer with it cracked, but I don’t understand why it seems the bolt that the coupler is supposed to fit onto is a bit too big for the holes in the coupler. It’s a Kenmore washer and I got the part from Sears…so I’m not really understanding the problem. Do you?

  2. Alex L

    This site has been very useful. What’s missing though is getting the darn coupler in place and the motor back on. It’s not quite “Assemly is the reverse order of removal” The coupler pieces have to be hammered onto the shafts. Getting the motor with coupler attached into the holes of the rubber is very tricky because of its weight, aligning the coupler holes and motor mount “bushings?” and there is an annoying piece of cardboard in the way. After all the black rubber motor mount bushings fell off I had no way to know which way they went on. They fit both ways and don’t stay in place on their own. More tips on getting this thing back together would be useful. I couldn’t find them elsewhere in the site.

  3. Anonymous

    I don’t know what
    Alex was doing in his replacement of the drive coupler but mine went very smooth. I had the washer filling with water for a test run 5 minutes after I walked in the door with the part. The replacement was the exact opposite of the removal. What a great site for the do it yourselfer. Thanks!!

  4. marcandkellynj


    The problem I am having with my washer is that it is making a loud banging noise while trying to spin on the spin cycle. The agitator starts to spin then stops after the loud noise, this process repeats through the cycle. I removed the coupler to find it is in good condition. I then tried to spin the agitator by turning the part the three pronged part the coupler was once connected to. The agitator turned fine when I did this. Do you have any idea what the proplem could be?

    Thank you,

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