Introduction: 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.
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.
Step 2: Removing the Sump Cover
The black cover covers the sump for the drain pump, It is plastic and screws into a plastic sump. There is a gasket under the plastic threads to prevent leakage. I did not have any thread/gasket lube on my cover. Your cover may be different.
Be careful when you reach into the sump area because the edges of the hole may be unfinished and sharp. You can take a file/grinder to the edge, or duct tape the edge, or wear gloves.
Stuff as much of a towel as you can under the cover and under the machine to catch some of the water. The error occurred mid wash for me so there were gallons of water in the drum. One towel was not going to be enough.
The cover is screwed in only hand tight. It might have been the hand of gorilla but you should not need tools. Righty-tighty lefty loosey.
If there is water in the drum, DO NOT REMOVE THE COVER . Only break the seal by turning one quarter turn.
I do not know if the sump is ever empty. I suspect it is empty at the end of the cycle but you would not get the e.04 error at the end of the cycle.
Update 6/2012 - I opened the sump in response to an o-ring question posted here and found that the sump is not empty at the end of the cycle. It contains about 1 quart/litre of water. So you need very very thirsty towels or the vac.
Step 3: Sucking Out the Water
Assemble the hose and crevice tool onto your wet/dry vacuum. Turn on the vac. There is a protrusion - a lip - at the bottom of the sump face. Water will puddle there as you loosen the cover. Place the crevice tool at the lip on the sump. Slowly loosen the cover until water comes out as fast as the vac can suck it up. Turn off the vac when water flow has stopped. My washer had about 5 gallons (20 litres) in it. (NOTE: That's about 40 pounds (80 kilograms) of weight. You may need to get help to lift the vac when emptying it. If no one is around to help, just don't empty the washer all at once.)
Step 4: Remove the Sump Cover
Now you can completely unscrew the cover. You may have to jiggle it a bit to remove it. The white thing is the impeller housing attached to the cover that deflects the "occasional junk" that is in the wash water while it directs the wash water to the pump's impeller.
You can see a "black-white-black" sandwich at the end. It is the gasket - impeller base- cover. See the other pictures to see how the gasket fits in the sump cover. Carefully pull the gasket out of its groove to clean it and the groove.
Step 5: Removing the Junk
This is the view into the sump. The white circular thing at the top is the impeller to the pump. The stuff at the bottom is rusted nails, a pin, the back of an earring and a screw. The stuff of pockets. I sopped up the water and cleaned out the sump. Spin the impeller with your fingers to make sure it moves freely. Mine did not! Further investigation showed a nail was caught in the impeller. That was the real problem!
Step 6: Final Clean Up and Reassembly.
The impeller housing was kind of grundgey so I cleaned it. I found I had to stick a towel into the sump while I cleaned because water was still puddling at the bottom.
Most of the dirt came off with direct scrub with an old toothbrush. But there was some resistant scale that responded to the pointed end of a nail.
Update 8/2016 White vinegar is often used on stubborn deposits, Sometimes a spray works, sometimes you need a soaking. There are specific mineral-deposit-cleaning products if your water is particularly mineral laden.
The impeller housing is marked to indicate which way goes down. Align the housing and screw the cover back in. I did not see any kind of thread lube / sealant, so I did not apply any. Usually sealants are not used on plastic. However, sometimes there is silicone grease on o-rings. If your model had grease, reapply a little bit if you wiped it off during cleaning or during removal.
Insert the cover and screw it down hand tight. Run the short cycle to check for leaks.
Reattach the access panel.
Smile because you just saved at least $50 on a service call. Now pay it forward and bless someone.
5 years ago
I tried all of the above instructions, and we did clean it all out, however, it still will not drain or spin 3/4 of the time. I do it over and over 10 times and then it works. driving me crazy. Ideas??
Reply 4 weeks ago
There is a "ball valve" located between the drum and a pump.I call it ball valve, I don't know what the correct nomenclature is. It is just a round ball , little smaller that tennis ball. So if your pump clean-out is clean or you removed debris from pump and code is coming back then there is probably something stuck there. You have to disconnect drum to pump hose to see the ball valve. In my case it was a small sock. I got to do this about once a year to remove E-4 code.
Reply 4 weeks ago
Thank you for your response. I am happy that this 'ible is still garnering interest. It amazes me how "leaky" this machine is to have so much stuff get into places that they should not be!
I wonder - Since this 'ible has had no comments from Europe, does Bosch sell a different/better machine in Germany? Hmm?
Reply 5 years ago
Unfortunately, I have no experience with continued failures. Because
I am the author, I get all comments. But maybe somebody is still
following this 'ible that can help. We are a supportive and
knowledgeable group. Heck, I believe one diyer on this thread, even
replaced a circuit board to fix another problem!!!
your problem to help my readers.. Are you getting repeated "E04"
codes? Did you check that the impeller was "bonded" to the shaft, that
is to say that the shaft and impeller were spinning as one? Is your
outlet hose (and the entire outlet path) not kinked or not clogged so
that no drain cycle works not just the final spin/drain cycle? Does
everything sound the same when it fails as when it works or is there no
hum or some odd noise/silence one way or the other?
Question 3 years ago on Step 6
Hello. I emptied the drum successfully per your instructions and restarted the washing cycle, but the E04 error code re-occurs and the drum does not drain.
I repeated the process several time (and also cleaned the water pipes and used cleaning pods in super hot water with long washing cycle), but E04 error code comes back !
Is there an alternative to throwing the machine to the curb ???
Answer 4 weeks ago
There is a "ball valve" located between the drum and a pump. So if your pump clean-out is clean there is probably something stuck there. You have to disconnect drum to pump hose to see the ball valve. In my case it was a small sock. I got to do this about once a year to remove E-4 code.
2 years ago
Thanks! Just got the E:04 error, this saved us a service call. I didn't have a small crevice tool for my 2" wet/dry vac hose, so I just held the hose against the bottom extension of the sump, and it worked great. We've been washing our Covid facemasks, found one in the pump, pretty badly chewed up. Cleared it, put it all back together, and it works fine again. Yay!
Reply 2 years ago
Thanks for the comment., I am so glad this 'ible helped you and is still helping people who may not have left a comment. . People have reported baby socks, underwires and other things but this is the first Covid mask! Just a matter of time, I suppose.
3 years ago
Thank you for the excellent instructions! I had a small wash cloth stuck in there. I was able to remove it and my washer is now back to working condition! :)
Question 3 years ago on Step 6
thank you for your help but I cant get the washer to take the water out of the clothes but the wash drains and the clothes are very wet
3 years ago on Step 1
Excellent Instructions, It worked! But I thought the warning of sharp edges was for someone who is not indestructable like me. So I did not heed the warning of sharp edges and got cut. So please do heed the warning of sharp edges. We all think we are indestructible, but we are not.
4 years ago on Step 6
Thanks for a step by photo step tutorial on what caused my Bosch E04 error msg.
Reply 3 years ago
I haven't been monitoring this 'ible. I am happy that it is still useful.
Reply 4 years ago
You are very welcome. I am pleased that this 'ilbe is still helping.
3 years ago on Introduction
Excellent instructions! I figured I had a $100+ repair bill coming, but I followed your step by step instructions and found a little sock in the impeller. And I appreciate the warning about sharp edges; masking tape worked fine to prevent a nasty cut. Your info was much more help than anything provided by Bosch. You should feel good that people are finding this useful years later!
Reply 3 years ago
Yes, I am thankful and amazed that this 'ible is still helping folks. Your appreciation of my 'ible is really encouraging.
3 years ago
Thank you, brgt40, you just saved me easily 100 bucks. i thought i needed new washer, but with your instruction, all i need is to take out the sock. it is working again. Awesome instruction.
If Bosch seeing this post, Bosch should send you big cheque or give you free trip for your awesome helps!
Reply 3 years ago
Ha Ha! I would appreciate hearing from Bosch in that way. I am glad this 'ible was helpful.
Question 4 years ago on Step 5
Should the impeller be able to turn full 360 degree turns? Mine moves back and forth but not all the way around.
Reply 4 years ago
Yes, the impeller should spin completely, smoothly with no binding.