Introduction: Replace the Drain Pump on a He3t Washing Machine (code F02)

About: Mike is an aging geek. Fortunately, he has a beautiful wife and daughter who haven't caught on yet. I like to tinker with electronics and cars and whatever else seems interesting.

Recent our aging but otherwise excellent Kenmore washing machine stopped mid-cycle with error code F02 shown on the LED display. A quick web search revealed this to mean "slow or stopped draining", which made sense given the accompanying rattling sound from within the bowels of the machine. After checking the lint filter as recommended online (instructions follow) I determined it must be the pump and decided to try replacing it myself.

The He3t is a very popular model appliance line sold under several brand names including Kenmore and Whirlpool. The internals are nearly identical and replacing the drain pump is very straightforward and inexpensive. I purchased a replacement pump on for less that $30 and it took less than an hour to install. I hope this Instructable saves you some time, money and hassle if this happens to you in the future.

What you will need:

You only need a couple simple tools to replace the pump:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Torx head driver (size T20)

You can find replacement pumps on Amazon, ebay or appliance repair web sites by searching for "He3t drain pump". Be sure to check the pump against your model number, which you can find inside the door.

Step 1: Remove the Front Cover and Drain Any Leftover Water

The first step is to...actually the first step is to UNPLUG THE WASHING MACHINE! The water pump runs on 110V current and you should not risk electrocution by working on it with the machine plugged in.

Next, remove the front cover by removing the two screws at the base of the machine, near the feet. On our version these were T20 Torx screws (left) but a similar model dryer used hex screws (right) so you may need a different tool that I did. Once you remove the screws the cover should slide down and off easily.

As you can see my the third image there will likely be water trapped in the tub. It can be drained by unscrewing the lint filter, the large, circular object mounted in the center of the of the frame. To protect your floors I suggest first removing the single screw (again a T20 Torx screw in my case) and then sliding the enter filter/pump assembly forward. It should pop out of its mount and you can then pull it forward and drain it into a shallow dish. For added protection, place some old towels under the machine to catch any overflow.

NOTE: If your lint filter is clogged this can also trigger the F02 error. Try cleaning and replacing the filter to see if the error code clears. If so, you may not need a new pump after all!

Step 2: Unplug and Remove the Old Pump

The drain pump is located to the right of the lint filter. Depending on your model it might be a different color or configuration than the one shown in the image. Mine was dark brown and had a shield covering the electrical connection that I had to flip up before unplugging the pump.

The pump is held in with 3 Phillips head screws--one directly below the pump and one on either side. Unscrew them and then pull firmly on the pump. It should come straight off. You can see in the last image that there are actually numerous screw holes in the filter housing, which came in handy since I manage to strip the plastic threads when installing the new pump.

Step 3: Prep and Install the Replacement Pump

The most important step before installing the pump is to ensure it has a rubber O-ring properly positioned around the impeller. My pump came with one already installed and a extra O-ring. Check yours and don't install it without seating the O-ring otherwise it will leak.

The other photos show the old and new pumps for comparison. The housings are held on with two simple clips molded into the housing. Carefully unclipping those revealed the pump's simple construction. A motor coil surrounds the impeller assembly which is sealed into its own compartment to avoid leaks. The replacement pump did not have the nice shielding around the plug and I thought perhaps I could reuse the old housing but it did not fit. Oh, well.

Install the new pump by reversing the previous steps:

  1. Insert the pump snuggly into the filter/hose assembly.
  2. Insert and tighten the 3 Phillips head screws (If you strip the threads like I did there are two spare holes you can use!)
  3. Slide the entire assembly into the two slots in the metal base.
  4. Insert and tighten the retaining screw.
  5. Insert and tighten the lint filter.

Step 4: Test and Reinstall Cover

You should test the new pump and check for leaks prior to reinstalling the cover plate. Run the "Rinse and Spin" cycle for several minutes and ensure there are no leaks. If you spot leaks, repeat the steps for draining and removing the pump and make the O-ring is properly seated and the lint filter is tight.