Repairing E.04 Error on Bosch Washer

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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.

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.

2 People Made This Project!

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230 Discussions

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Vivianne V

Question 4 weeks 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 ???

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BarbaretteW

Question 4 weeks 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

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HalF5

5 weeks 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.

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Alehar

4 months ago on Step 6

Thanks for a step by photo step tutorial on what caused my Bosch E04 error msg.
VERY Helpful.

2 replies
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brgt40Alehar

Reply 6 weeks ago

I haven't been monitoring this 'ible. I am happy that it is still useful.

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brgt40Alehar

Reply 4 months ago

You are very welcome. I am pleased that this 'ilbe is still helping.

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ngc2362

2 months 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!

1 reply
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brgt40ngc2362

Reply 6 weeks ago

Yes, I am thankful and amazed that this 'ible is still helping folks. Your appreciation of my 'ible is really encouraging.

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danielww

6 weeks 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!

1 reply
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brgt40danielww

Reply 6 weeks ago

Ha Ha! I would appreciate hearing from Bosch in that way. I am glad this 'ible was helpful.

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wtaylor03

Question 4 months 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.

2 answers
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brgt40wtaylor03

Reply 4 months ago

Yes, the impeller should spin completely, smoothly with no binding.

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krinwisco655brgt40

Reply 2 months ago

What exactly drives the impeller? After removing the sock I can rotate mine with my finger but it is not exactly 'free spinning'. It's seems I am also turning whatever the drive mechanism is ( Belt? Direct Drive? ). (Nextt 500, circa 2000)

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SyS5

8 months ago

Thanks Much! Excellent description in ur instructions & the photo’s were a huge plus for me. My 1st time fixing on my own so keep ur fingers crossed. Maybe even throw a Hail Mary my way. Ha! Thanks Again....... Q

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brgt40SyS5

Reply 7 months ago

You are much welcome. I am sure you can do it!

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MichaelN322

11 months ago

Thanks, instructions were clear and pictures where helpful. I first had some issues removing the first cover, so i ended up pulling it, a broken cover is better than a broken machine, but ended up coming out in one piece, which is nice. Then i didn't had any wet vacuum, so i had to improvise. I took a cake tin and made a channel with duck tape to funnel the water in the tin, i kept a small cup and a larger bucket nearby to empty the cake tin as it were getting full. A sock was clogging the pump, i cleaned the thing as much as i could and closed everything back in place. Only point that should be added is to make sure there is no particles on the rubber ring or the place it will seal on the other side to prevent leaking.

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BrutusS2

1 year ago

This well explained procedure seems to have solved the problem for me, too. Thanks! In my case there was a piece of clear plastic blocking the tube to the left of the impeller pump. At least that's how it was on my model. Be sure to look there too. Otherwise, I just had a bunch of sand, not really hurting anything to much.

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brgt40BrutusS2

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks for the comment. I am thrilled that this 'ible is still helping people.

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LisaB43

4 years ago on Introduction

I have the same machine but it is not the model 03 as labeled but a 15. When I take the sump cover off I have no basket. I am looking at a white piece that has a raised circle in the middle and it has notches going around the circle (like a pry bar to fit in). Do you have any suggestions for me on how to get it out so I can clean it out.

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eliteairgunnerLisaB43

Reply 1 year ago

This is an old topic, but for anyone having the issue with seeing the white plate, I can help. When you unscrewed the black cover with handle and tried to pull out the assembly, it was not unlocked. The black cover attaches to the white plate. So to fix, press back on black cover and jiggle out the entire assembly without pulling off the black cover. There is a small slot it all has to slide through and may be a little stuck from never have being removed before.