You’re washing your swimsuits in your newer top-loading GE washing machine – the kind that senses the size of the load for you. It washes and washes, but then, when it comes time to rinse and spin, it just stops. It looks like it’s running, but it’s not doing a darned thing. That’s because it’s waiting for the drain pump.
There’s a good chance that the drain pump is merely stuck. You can unstick yourself and get back in business in about ten minutes.
Now, before we go any further, let’s talk about the warranty. The GE washer comes with an up to 10 year warranty on the operating parts. If your pump has not stalled but failed, it may well be covered under the warranty.
If you’re a warranty person, and can wait for a repair guy to come and look at it, by all means do that.
Simply freeing the pump won’t violate the warranty. If you’re in a pinch and just need to get the the thing going again, this procedure should quickly get you back in business. It takes about ten minutes.
Here’s how you fix it.
First, unplug the washer. Wait about 20 seconds, and then plug it back in. Turn the big dial to rinse and spin, and see if it works. If it does, the problem was just in the electronics, and probably won’t come back.
If it still doesn’t work, we have to work on the drain pump.
First, unplug the washer. We’re moving water around, and, well, you know, electricity and water…
Next, scoop out as much water as you can. We’re going to tilt it backwards, and you don’t want water gushing over everything – especially the electronics at the top of the washer. Use a Tupperware bowl or something to pull the water out of the tub. Sadly, the water may be soapy, so you may not want to put it on your garden.
Before we go to the next step, we need to talk tools. You’ll need a pair of pliers to release the hose clamps on the pump, a flashlight, a Phillips screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench for the screws that hold it in place. Oh, and a sturdy chair. And some towels to clean up.
Disconnect the Water.
Look at the back of the washer for the two hoses at the top. These are the hot and cold water hoses that connect to your water supply. Follow the hoses to the water supply taps, and turn them both counterclockwise until they’re off.
Use the pliers to turn the hot and cold water hose connectors at the back of the washing machine counterclockwise to loosen them. Once they’re loose, you can turn them by hand. Water may come dribbling out of the hose. If it comes gushing out, you need to turn the tap handle the other direction!
Slide the washer away from the wall a little bit, and look down at the back of the machine. There’s another hose connected down there – that’s the drain hose. Slide the washer far enough from the wall so that you can get back there and release the hose clamp that holds the holds onto the machine.
To release the clamp, use a pair of pliers (1), to squeeze the prongs of the clamp (2). It takes a little practice, but eventually you’ll get both sets of prongs inside the pliers. As you squeeze the pliers, you push the prongs towards each other, which opens the clamp. While still squeezing the pliers, you can pull the hose off of the washing machine. Some water will come out of the drain hose.
With the hoses disconnected, physically move the washer away from the wall, so that you have a lot of room behind it. Put a sturdy chair a couple of feet behind the washer. When you tilt the washer, it will rest on the chair.
Now tilt the washer (1) backwards, slowly, slowly, until it rests on the chair (2). Be careful here – you don’t want the chair to slip out from under the washer and cause it to crash.
Disconnect the Pump
Once you’ve gotten the washer tilted backwards, take a look underneath – you may need a flashlight.
Up towards the front you’ll see it: the drain pump has the black crinkly hose attached to it. Use your pliers to remove the hose clamp on the hose. The pump is held to the bottom of the tub – that big plastic thing – by three screws.
Use your adjustable wrench to remove the screws. If you’re new to adjustable wrenches, you can learn about them here.
Once you’ve gotten the screws out, pull the pump out of the tub. Some water will come out of the tub and the pump.The illustration shows the electrical cable (1) disconnected from the washer, but you won’t need to do that for this project. Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the 4 screws (2) in the pump cover.
With the screws removed, you can pull off the cover (1) .
Now, here’s the purpose of this whole exercise: use your fingers to turn the impeller (3) until it spins without catching or binding. You’re turning the pump’s motor, so there will be some resistance. If it turns, you’ve most likely fixed the problem, and you’re done here.
To put it all back together, make sure the O-ring (2) is situated as shown, and put the cover (1) back onto the pump.
Tighten the four screws that hold the cover to the pump. Push the pump back into the tub so that you can fit the crinkly black hose onto it, and use your pliers to put the hose clamp onto the hose. Now put in the four screws and tighten them with the adjustable wrench.
Once everything is back in place and your confident the screws are tightened completely, tilt the washer upright again.
Connect the hot and cold water hoses. Use the adjustable wrench to turn the hose connections as far clockwise as you can get them. Now open the taps by turning those handles clockwise. You’ll find out right away if the hose connections are tight enough: they leak right away if they’re not.
With everything tight, plug it in and try a rinse/spin cycle. If the pump was merely stuck, which is most likely, the cycle will go right through as always.
If the cycle still doesn’t work, you’ll need a new pump.
You can call The Man and schedule a time for him to come and replace the pump.
Or, you can go online and order the pump around $40. Just make sure you order an OEM pump specifically for your machine. If you open the lid, you’ll see a printed tag that shows your machine’s model number. If you follow the QR code, you can order the part directly from GE. It’s important to use a GE warranty part if you’re going to replace the pump yourself.
To replace the pump, you’ll need a 3/8 deep socket to remove the three pump screws, and the four screws that hold the motor cover in place. You’ll need to remove the cover to get to the pump’s electrical connector. Remove the cover, disconnect the pump, remove the nylon cable tie, then the pump. Connect the new pump’s cable, push the nylon cable tie through the same hole, install the pump, and reinstall the plastic cover and you’re ready to wash!
Please note: do not do this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it doesn’t seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability for your usage of it.