Repairing E.04 Error on Bosch Washer

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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jjwmzk12 days 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)  jjwmzk8 days 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?

Momma62 months ago

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

hankster19642 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)

Desertcloud7 months ago
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)  Desertcloud7 months 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)  Desertcloud4 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?

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

Okay3111 months 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)  Okay3110 months 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.
Okay31 brgt404 months ago
Hi, sorry for the late response. The main control panel was about $600 and I bought it from Appliance Parts on the web. Bosch and other places wanted $800 for the panel.
brgt40 (author)  Okay314 months ago

Since you were deeper in the Bosch washer internals than I, would you read and comment on the problem DesertCloud is having with his Bosch washer. Thanks.

Okay31 brgt404 months ago
Hi, I'd be happy to try to help Desert Cloud. I didn't see his/her message posted.
jaytee99911 months ago

How much play was in the impeller - mine has a ton - of in and out/wiggle - about 3/8 of an inch - if you remember let me know - I'm trying to figure that out before I order the $90 part (which is the whole assembly)
brgt40 (author)  jaytee99910 months ago
I apologize for not seeing your question until now. For the record, my impeller does not have much in/out play maybe 2 postcards. No play rotationally. Unfortunately my response may be after you bought a new assembly. If so, did it help? What was the play on the new item?
jaytee999 brgt409 months ago

I bought the entire new assembly - and the new motor had the same play, or lack thereof - which worried me that it wasn't the problem.

I swamped the assembly, and it was the motor - it completely fixed the issue. the fix was made easier by taking the back off, and putting a few 2x6 scraps to keep it on an angle.

thanks for all your help - especially the shop vac - worked like a charm.
brgt40 (author)  jaytee9994 months ago

Since you were deeper in the Bosch washer internals than I, would you read and comment on the problem DesertCloud is having with his Bosch washer. Thanks.

brgt40 (author)  jaytee9999 months ago
I am glad to hear the machine is up and running! Was there the "fried electronics smell" to the old motor? From where did you order/get the replacement and how much was it?
zikzak15 months ago

Pretty close to what you need to do for a Whirlpool Duet front load washer (or other Whirlpool manufactured frontload machines, since Whirlpool owns and makes Kitchenaid, Maytag, Amana, Etc...). We had a huge service area, and it was only one person running service calls, so easy things like this I always tried to instruct the customer how to do. Note: The service code is different between Bosch and WP. I ran service calls for 29 years. Everything from TVs to major appliances.

sobocobob7 months ago
This repair guide worked on my siemens as well. (Not saying it.will work on yours)
I found a nail, wire, a quarter and a chewed up necklace. You are the powerful Oz!

brgt40 (author)  sobocobob7 months ago
Thanks for the info that this 'ible applies to another brand! Please tell me the model number of the Siemens, so I can add it to the search tags and maybe the title. Is it the same error code also?
Reply: When I opened the sump, it actually looked pretty clean and I didn’t see anything. So I took my water hose nozzle and blasted water thru the back of the machine’s drain exit and let the water flow in reverse for about 20 seconds. Afterwards, I found the broken drill bit lying on the deck just in front of the sump. Maybe I overlooked it the first time?? Not certain, but it’s out of there and the machine isn’t giving the error code anymore.
Regarding the softener dispenser having clear water standing in it after a wash cycle, this is odd. Used a coat hanger to see if there was a blockage and it appeared to be clear. What I do now is with the machine off and the clear water standing in (following a wash cycle); I simply pour about a half cup of water into the dispenser and all of the water will immediately drain into the machine. Then, next time I use it, it will hold the fabric softener and dispense it in its normal cycle as programed. Without fail, after the cycle is finished, clear water will be there again. The detergent or bleach dispensers don’t do this; I can live with this minor nuisance.
Thanks again for the E04 error code correction, the machine is draining well.
I had the same problem with my softener filling up with water at the end of the cycle. Realized that it was just too thick and was "gunking up" the release area. Fixed the problem by mixing my softener 50/50 with water. haven't had a problem with it since! hope that helps!
mjob8 months ago
Thank you so much for the awesome and detailed instructions. After following along I found the culprit right in front of the impeller: my 8-month-old son's sock!

*Note to all: When brgt40 mentions that the steel behind the cover is sharp; he means it. I was vacuuming the water out while twisting the pump cover and accidentally brushed against the opening. After a couple stitches in my wrist/hand I was able to finish. Please learn from my mistake and use gloves as suggested.

Thanks again for saving us a lot of time and money!!!
brgt40 (author)  mjob8 months ago
Thank you so much for comment. I am reading it 2 days later on the 19th. About 1 hour before I checked my account, I had had a bad interaction with someone. Your appreciative comment did a lot to offset the encounter.

God knew two days ago, what I would need tonight. Thank you! God bless you.

Yikes, I am sorry to hear you needed stitches! Maybe I should add a tourniquet to list of needed tools :)?

You are at least the second person to have a sock clog the machine. My wife uses a small zippered bag made out of some fishnet-like stuff for small items and for items like robe belts that would get tangled or slip past the "filter". HTH.
teadeedee9 months ago
Love the photos, they are very helpful! I did great up until removing the access door, all that came off was the black part. the white thing (impeller?) is still sitting in there, and I am at a loss as to how to get it out. I cannot get it to turn, can just about jiggle it up and down, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, any advice?
brgt40 (author)  teadeedee9 months ago
You're saying that only the black cover unscrewed? The white flow director part is still in the machine?
markh196310 months ago
Well that was an easy fix...thanks for saving me $100... :)
brgt40 (author)  markh196310 months ago
You are very welcome! What was your obstruction?
napa110 months ago
Thanks so much! I had nails in my washing machine too! Saved me money and a headache!
brgt40 (author)  napa110 months ago
I am glad this 'ible is helped. Thanks for the comment.
Dwjones194911 months ago
That took care of the problem. Women's nylon trouser sock. Thanks so much for the instructions.
gmanb11 months ago
Can't seem to reply to your response to my post below. O Ring is intact. Here is another try at the picture of the part found lose in the sump in front of the impeller.
abarone111 months ago
I found a bobby pin in the impeller! Thank you very much for your detailed and very useful instructions. My reward - now I get to catch up on almost two weeks of laundry. Thanks again.
gmanb11 months ago
Great instructions; so clear.
When I cleaned out the sump, I had a toothpick jammed in the impeller. But also I found a black rubber piece about 3/4 of an inch in the sump with other debris. I am wondering if this piece has come off the discharge pump, the sump or another component in the machine and worked its way into the sump. I have attached a picture of it. Any thoughts? Thanks much.
brgt40 (author)  gmanb11 months ago
I can not find/see the picture you attached?!?

The only black rubber piece I saw in my machine was the o-ring. Is your o-ring still intact?
Okay311 year ago
Hi, thanks for the instructions. I cleaned out the trap and hoses as instructed. It didn't solve the problem; the machine still throws the E 04 code. I replaced the drain pump with a new Bosch OEM part. The machine continues to throw the E 04 code. I am at a loss as to what to try next. Thoughts?
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