Picture of Repairing E.04 Error on Bosch Washer
It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon. A load of wash was in the washing machine. An unfamiliar series of beeps from the washing machine interrupted my football couch potato session. It was flashing an E.04 error. I restarted the cycle but the error reappeared.

Time to read the manual. The manual said that either too much suds or the drain pump was having a problem. I went to the Internet to try to find more information. Jackpot! I found a post of the description and the fix for the error code.

It was obvious that excessive suds was not my problem.

You will need a towel, a flashlight and a 4d nail / brad (or some other metallic pointed thing). You may or may not need some silicone grease to lube the sump cap. (I did not need any.)

If you have water in the drum of the machine, you will need a wet/dry vacuum cleaner with crevice end and more towels and maybe ear plugs if your vacuum is as loud as mine.

Note: Wet/dry vacuum cleaners use 2 inch and/or 1 and 1/2 inch hoses. The smaller hoses and accessories are easier to maneuver inside the washer.
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Step 1: Gaining Access

To be extra safe, turn off the washing machine and unplug it.

The access for the drain pump is behind the circular access panel on the bottom right front of the machine. This panel twists off. There are three ears on the panel that fit into three cutouts on the machine front. After the ears are in the cutout, the panel is twisted counterclockwise to lock ears behind metal.

If the panel were a clock face, there is a small hole in it at about the 5. Insert a nail in the hole to gain some leverage. Gently press on the panel with your other hand while you rotate the panel clockwise to move the hole to the 6 o'clock position.

Update - 10/2011: Be careful when you get the cover off. The edges of the hole may be unfinished and sharp. You can tape over the edge while you are working or wear gloves. The more adventurous can grind or file the rough edges.
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Thanks for the tip on removing the filter cover. When you specified that the hole should be in the 6 o clock position - that was key!

WilliamB71 month ago

I followed the instructions and had a sock and some other items in there.

I want to thank you for your great information ,saved me a service call.

brgt40 (author)  WilliamB71 month ago
Great! I am glad I could help save you some $$$.

Thank you so much for your instructions!! I don't know how one person can do it without help. We did it together with my husband, found only one hairpin and now everything working well. Thanks again!!

brgt40 (author)  jeanne.vassilenko1 month ago
I am glad my 'able helped!
mj20142 months ago
Thanks for the post. Since i had a washer full of water i used a large plastic funnel from wifes kitchen with the shop vac. The pump assembly is movable/flexible so i was able to raise it a little to make the funnel fit. I also duck taped the top of the plastic opening to prevent water from going where i didnt want it to. Everything went into the funnel. I had some legos stuck in the pump. The white cover needes to be moved towards the 4 oclock position instead of 6, but this may be a function of the previous owner cleaning the pump out. I would not attemp this without a shop vac if your washer is full like mine was. -michal
brgt40 (author)  mj20142 months ago
Legos! Seriously, Bosch?!

I am glad my 'ible worked out for you. Yes, a wet-dry vac is critical unless your machine is where you can handle a wet mess. Actually, I am on the market for a vac. The next one must be more quiet. This one was always shrill and is now worse. Too much plaster dust got past the filters and into the bearings.

Excellent instructions. After having this washer for 6 years, finally had the error code 004. Followed the directions and was amazed at how much dirt, pins, paper, etc, I found in the pump! But what jammed the pump was a eyeglass cleaning cloth. One tip though. You won't need the towels. If you start your wet/dry vac then slowly loosen the pump cover, you can vacuum the water without spilling a drop. Loosening about 3 turns allows the water to seep out. Just make sure you have the vac on and at the bottom of the cover hole before you loosen it.

brgt40 (author)  andrew.v.bolduc2 months ago
Yup, I said to loosen the pump cover then vac the water as it dribbles out. The towel is a belt and suspenders, ounce of prevention kind of thing. But guessing from your last name, you like to live dangerously! :)
ddimac2 months ago

Thank you for these instructions! I followed exactly the steps, except putting tape around the edges of the hole. The result--I got a cut on my hand. Nevertheless I was able to fix the problem. I had a similar culprit as the one you described--mine was a hairpin.

rick.colson13 months ago

Awesome instructions and photos. My impeller was stuck with a rubber band around it. Now it works fine.

**Check this out - I first had an appliance repair guy come, he was here less than 5 minutes, only took the round disk off, and declared the pump motor was bad, needed a new one, and it had to be ordered and shipped from out of state...would take a week if lucky. I'm looking forward to placing a phone call to them now with the update...

Oh, btw, my impeller housing was clogged with a little, tiny rag, or piece of fabric. I have tiny rags I cut into 4x4 squares to serve as rags for my baby's (now toddler's) face and hands. And indeed, how do these things get through the crevices?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and the steps you took to resolve this problem!! I had the same exact problem. And, on a Sunday afternoon, no less! I refused to call someone until I could play around and take a look at my machine. I bought "star" head tools and took the back panel off my machine, nothing seemed obviously wrong, so I turned to the internet and found your story. I had noticed and contemplated the front circular access, but had no clue what it might be or what I could do with it. Once I found this link, I realized I should have checked the internet first. Thanks to this instant electronic communication tool, we can be self sufficient and share our knowledge with each other! You lay it out so well and clearly. Thank you for taking the time!!! If you need any advice on elder care and Medicaid, let me know. This is something I can offer back to you...besides gratitude!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and the steps you took to resolve this problem!! I had the same exact problem. And, on a Sunday afternoon, no less! I refused to call someone until I could play around and take a look at my machine. I bought "star" head tools and took the back panel off my machine, nothing seemed obviously wrong, so I turned to the internet and found your story. I had noticed and contemplated the front circular access, but had no clue what it might be or what I could do with it. Once I found this link, I realized I should have checked the internet first. Thanks to this instant electronic communication tool, we can be self sufficient and share our knowledge with each other! You lay it out so well and clearly. Thank you for taking the time!!! If you need any advice on elder care and Medicaid, let me know. This is something I can offer back to you...besides gratitude!

I am stuck trying to get the drain cover off! It turns, then clicks like a child-proof cap. I've tried pushing while turning, pulling while turning, every conceivable combination... This instructible is 2 years old, but I'm hoping someone somewhere is monitoring it......

I had the same problem, but remember, he said to "jiggle." I went back to my computer, reread, and tried again but with jiggling. By now, you must have gotten it!!!

legal2eagle4 months ago

Ok, so I have the same E04 error with my bosch washer. I was excited to find this DIY fix. I have a few issues that concern me and I wonder if I can pull this off myself.

1. My washer is on the second floor and for obvious reasons, draining the tub quickly, using towels and the shop vac is crucial. Also, the laundry room is tiny (and I mean TINY) which brings me to my second point.

2. Due to a ruptured achilles, I am in a knee high, completely inflexible boot, making my maneuverability in there difficult. (this of course, is a personal problem)

3. Probably the most important concern is that I don't want to take my laptop into an area where I could damage it with water. I am unable to print your instructions without 'going pro'. When I tried to do that, my computer warned me that sending my credit card would not be secure (full padlock missing from URL). Here is what the warning said:

The site uses SSL, but Google Chrome has detected insecure content on the page. Be careful if you're entering sensitive information on this page.

I simply can't afford to pay someone to come out here to do something I could do myself. Your thoughts?

Thank you in advance!

brgt40 (author)  legal2eagle4 months ago
1 - yes, you want to pay close attention to containing the residual water. I am talking about 5 gallons (20 liters) of water. Don't want to add ceiling repair to the project.
2 - Sorry to hear about your injury. There is a lot of up and down to complete this project.
3 - Going "Pro" is cool. Working from paper would be nice. Until you/Chrome/Instructables get it together - a) the job is not that messy (after the water is drained); b) after a couple of read-throughs, the workflow is fairly obvious once you start, so you don't have to have the instructions right next to you; c) you can put the laptop on top of the washer and wrap plastic wrap (or a dry cleaners bag) loosely around the keyboard (or entire laptop if using the bag) to keep any incidental moisture at bay; d) make it a two person job, someone drives, the other reads the map. HTH

JS75 months ago

Thanks! Pump was plugged with a piece of pink fabric. I have no idea how that got in there. Also found twigs, a bobby pin and various other gunk. BTW, I don't know where you live, but around here an appliance repairman won't answer the phone for $50. You probably saved me $200... and now I have a shop vac.

cleaned everything out and put it back together and it still has E-04.

brgt40 (author)  becky.mccollumprice5 months ago

Here are my assumptions: 1) your water is not excessively sudsy/foam; 2) you were able to spin the impeller; 3) you had no reason to believe the impeller was broken (i.e. that it was loose on the shaft or in pieces). My guess is a bad pump motor. Look further down in the comments. "Jaytee999" has gotten into the internals of the washer. Give J. a buzz before you throw in the towel. :)

cleaned everything out and put it back together and it still has E-04.

brgt40 (author) 5 months ago
Thanks Rick for pointing out that those edges are sharp when you are careful and even worse if your hand slips. This tip has been mentioned at least three times. It' is not razor sharp but as you point out you are dealing with not-too-clean water in a dirty/dusty place. ( or I am the only one that does not move the washer when I wash/vac the floor?)

Don't be surprise that it was a sock, They are always on the run and the other clothes don't "cotton" to them because they are such heels.

brgt40 (author) 5 months ago
Yeah I do, don't I? Seriously though, glad to help. The gratitude that people have expressed has often come at times when I was feel down. Like now. Thank you for your quick note. It is much appreciated. So, what was plugging your machine?
brgt40 (author) 5 months ago
Sorry to take this long to get to you. I don't think Bosch would go to the expense of making the drain cover child proof esp. since it is guarded by a steel plate. But to the point, I don't know what is going on with your machine. With all this turning anti-clockwise, is it leaking? That would indicate you have "broken" (as in opened up a weensy bit) the drain. When you turn it as if to tighten, does it eventually bottom out or does it just click in place? I feel as though I am in a riddle contest. But all riddles have answers.
UrsulaA5 months ago

Dude, you rock. Thanks so much!

Rickand75 months ago

Instructions were excellent and it fixed the problem!

SAFETY TIP: As stated in the instructions, you would do well to put duct tape around the unfinished edges of the access hole. I didn't, and I sliced the skin off my knuckles in several places! With all that nasty water in the bottom of the sump there's no telling what you could pick up with an open wound!

The source of our problem was a sock (a very small one, but how in the heck did something that big get down there?) 16 cents (which I kept as my service fee) and, strangely enough, as with the original instructions post, I also had a nail stuck in the impeller (TIP: don't wash nails)

jjwmzk6 months ago

My washer is making a rather loud clatter when it tries to drain and sometimes throws an error code and does not always drain. I have cleaned the trap and there was only small amount of debris and sand. I placed the cover back on and now it leaks large amount of water (through the cap) and pump is still making noises. I have removed the cover several times and vacuumed and cleaned with no resolve. Would this mean that I would need a new pump and cover?

brgt40 (author)  jjwmzk6 months ago

As to the leak, it seems to me that the cap was not tightened sufficiently. I know you have reinstalled the cover several times. (Could you have lost/torn a gasket?) It could be that the pump impeller is in pieces. Does it look like the impeller in my pics? Could you have a difficult-to-see item in the impeller cage (a black button, for example)? Follower Jaytee999 below has gotten into the internals of the machine for the pump issue. Maybe that is what you need to do. But honestly, given the successful pump recovery after the variety of items found in the pump housing, I think the mechanism is pretty rugged. I would look more extensively (even to dismantling) for an obstruction.

P.S. Am I correct in understanding that it sometimes drains without the error code?

Momma68 months ago

thanks for the great instructions. Worked wonderfully.. Washer good to go and will be careful with frayed rugs forever.

hankster19648 months ago

GREAT instructions.

1. Be careful. Those edges are VERY sharp... Bosch washer -1..... Me -0.

2. After opening the drain cap. There was a lot of "pocket junk" in the trap. A small surprise. Found one well worn/wet dollar bill. So I actually made money on this repair besides saving the service call charge.

3. Lastly, make sure you tighten the cap (by hand) tightly. This will prevent any leaks. Also use a wet vac. I also had a full drum of water (5+ gallons of water). I used an old cookie sheet placed under the washer. Make use you turn it on before you loses the cap.

(Pics of the pain and the booty)

I've done all these steps and closed back up the drain pump cover. It was a bit dirty so cleaned that however, when attempting to do a quick wash cycle to see if it would drain without an error, all the water is draining completely out through the sump now with all the parts correctly placed back. What could be causing this?
brgt40 (author)  Desertcloud1 year ago
As I understand what you're experiencing:

1) machine was not draining code e.04;
2) you followed the instructable to the letter, found no obstruction, did not break any parts nor leave out any parts during reassembly;
3) upon running "quick wash" cycle, water is pouring from under the machine during the drain portion of the cycle. (Or maybe the water is pouring onto the floor as the machine is filling? Or is the pump sending the water through the drain hose as it fills? Or is the pump is sending all of the water out through the drain hose during the drain portion - if so, that is not a problem) The exact scenario is unclear from your description.

Whatever the case, I do not know why your machine has "decided" to leak onto the floor (or prematurely drain) after following my instructable.

My guess is that the inlet or outlet connection came loose or the cover is loose/cross threaded/cracked/broken/missing a sealing gasket.

Since the instructions deal with the sump body and its cover, I would look there for the leak.

But I could be misunderstanding your problem....
I was probably not very clear, I apologize. And yes this all started with the E04 code. After following all of your excellent instructions I did attempt a quick wash to ensure everything was back in place. During the 'drain' cycle on quick wash, the water came pouring out of the drain pump. Everything seemed to be in order and tightened. No error code during the drain cycle happened, but all the drained water came gushing out of the pump itself. And it wasn't a small leak, it was like the cover to the sump wasn't even on, but I had secured it tightly. Hope that makes it a bit clearer? So I guess I'm just the opposite of having a clogged pump to an overactive one.
brgt40 (author)  Desertcloud11 months ago

I apologize for not responding sooner. I rely on emails from Instructibles when I get a comment. For some reason, your comments do not generate an email! Is your problem solved? What did you do? What was the cause?

Desertcloud brgt4011 months ago

Have not resolved the issue yet. I'm not sure if it is the water pump itself or something else I'm missing. I really do not want to purchase a water pump if that isn't the case, so I've been visiting the local laundromat.

Hi Desertcloud, I was having the same issue as you - the cap was on tight but it was leaking through quite heavily: I fixed it by 1) there were very small pieces of metal and rocks that were lodged in the threads of the cap and hole which i cleared and 2) I screwed it in much tighter than I thought was possible - I screwed it in by hand as hard as I could but with a wrench I got a few more turns out of it (and actually ended up breaking one of the wings in my cap) but it's no longer leaking!

Hi Desertcloud,

if the leak is coming from that area, the sump pump at the back of the clean out might be un seated. to fix that (if that is the problem) you need to take the back panel of the washer out and gain access from there. it's not too difficult - but you will need a good flashlight to see what you are doing. basically the sump is set kinda like the front access panel, you simply turn it 90 degrees to set it (or un set it) .

Also make sure there is a rubber ring that works as a seal between the sump and the clean out. it should have firm pressure when you do it - not loose or very tight.

personally I would then run the unit and watch with the back off while I drank a beer - just to make sure it works, and where the leak is coming from if it doesn't - - have a shop vac handy (or towels) and keep the kids and pets away. do this before buying a new pump/cleanout assembly as they cost about $100.

the whole mechanicals of the inside are pretty easy to figure out - the only other place you might be getting a leak is the hose unit that the sump pumps to, which again is easy to seat/unseat. my sump hose actually leaked near the top of the machine where it attaches to the output as i over stretched it putting it back on. to fix, I simply jammed it further on and used some worm drive clamps and it doesn't leak anymore.

I put 2 2x8 scraps mid way under the washer and tilted it forward so it was easier when I replaced my pump unit. take those away when you test the unit after the repair

Okay311 year ago
Hi, I wanted to give you an update. It was the main control panel. I purchased a new one and installed it. It is not too difficult to install. The washer is working again. Without your post I never would have opened my washer in the first place to try to fix it.
Many thanks!
brgt40 (author)  Okay311 year ago
I apologize for the late response to your comment. I am happy to hear the machine is back in service and am glad you were emboldened to attempt the repair by my 'ible.

For all us owners, how much does a main control panel cost? Did you have to order it from Bosch directly? When I had to replace the cold water valve I got it from the online Sears Appliance Parts Store.
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