Replace a Drain Pump in a Kenmore / Whirlpool Washer

Introduction: Replace a Drain Pump in a Kenmore / Whirlpool Washer

About: I have worked in industry for 25+ years and have learned a lot from a lot of good people. I hope to pass a few things along and continue to learn new things!

We have a Kenmore HE2 font load washer that was giving us an error F21. This code means it is taking too long to drain. Most of the time that can be fixed by emptying the filter basket located before the pump. But if the basket is clear and the drain line is not kinked or restricted, it may indicate a bad pump. I have run into this on several occasions and this Instructable will lead you through the process of replacing the pump.

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Step 1: Items Needed

You will need a few item to change the pump

1. A new pump. I just typed in the part number on Amazon and got a hit. You can either get the pump or the entire pump / filter assembly. I decided to get the pump this time because it was about half the cost of the complete assembly.

2. A nut driver to remove the screws on the front of the washer.

3. A bucket to catch the water you drain out of the machine.

4. A couple of old towels to soak up any water that dribbles out.

5. Some quality electrical tape to seal connections.

6. Some wire ties to secure the wiring.

Step 2: Unplug the Machine

Just a reminder to make sure power is off. I do not like to mess with water and electricity at the same time!

Step 3: Remove Lower Front Panel

Use the nut driver to remove the screws at the bottom of the front panel. Pull out the bottom of the panel and drop it down. Our washer is mounted on a pedestal, so this makes it handy to get to.

Step 4: Drain Washer

Put a bucket or container under the drain cap. Unscrew the cap and pull out the filter basket. Ours is usually full of change and Bobby pins. Hence all the rust stains from the Bobby pins.

Step 5: Remove Old Pump and Motor

1. Stuff some old towels under the Pump.

2. Grasp the pump and turn it counterclockwise about 1/8 of a turn. It is a breach lock style mechanism that holds the assembly in place

3. You should now be able to pull the motor / pump assembly out of the housing

4. This motor had a plastic cover over the wiring connector. I snapped it open and unpluged the connector. The connector may have a clip that needs to be released before it can be pulled out.

5. The motor is now out of the machine.

Step 6: Water in Motor Housing

Just FYI. Every motor I had go bad had water in the housing. These pictures show the water inside the motor housing. Look closely and you can see the fluid inside. If water is in the motor, it is only a matter of time before the motor will quit working.

Step 7: Connector Difference

These two pictures show the old and new motor. Our machine is 10 years or so old, so the replacement motor terminals will not match the connector. An adapter solution is sent with the replacement motor.

Step 8: Wiring the Motor

The adapter provided is simply two wires about 6" long with a male spade connector on one end and a female spade connector on the other end. Insert the female end over the existing spade connector on the motor.

1. Insert the male end into the connector that used to connect to the old motor.

2. Do the same thing for the other wire. You should now have 2 wires on the motor and two wires in the connector.

3. Use a high quality electrical tape to tape around the wires and connector so they cannot vibrate out.

Step 9: Reinstall the Motor / Pump

Reinstalling the motor / pump assembly is simply reversing the process of taking it out. Line up the slots in the housing. The motor will be turned approximately at the 10:00 position. Rotate it clockwise and lock it in place. It may take a little pressure to compress the o-rings to get it locked in.

The pictures show the wiring being secured in place. The adapter wires add about 6" to the length of the original wiring harness. I do not like wires flopping around while the machine is running. They may rub and wear through the insulation. I placed a wire tie around the pump to secure the wire. Make sure it does not rub anywhere

Replace the filter basket and cap and the job is almost done.

Step 10: Test

Plug the machine back in and do a test cycle with the cover off. Check for leaks and anything that looks abnormal. Use common sense and keep body parts away from moving machinery.

The pump was a little shy of $45. Doing it myself saved a bit of a bill for a service call.

It takes 30 to 60 minutes to do this, and anyone with a little mechanical aptitude can do it.

Good luck and thanks for checking this out!

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    8 Discussions


    Question 6 months ago on Introduction

    Hi, Thanks for these instructions! I'm having a hard time removing my drain pump. It only turns counter clockwise a little and I'm afraid to force it. Any suggestions?


    Answer 6 months ago

    HI This is late but hopefully helpful for someone. The turning lock holding the pump on has a little latch that needs to be pushed in with a screwdriver to allow it to release.
    Also the pump is slid in the base to secure it. Just slide it to the right and it will come off. No need to unscrew anything :-) Hope this helps someone. I just replaced mine successfully!


    Question 11 months ago on Step 5

    All good up until I try the 1/8th turn counterclockwise and it only goes about 1 cm. Any suggestions? Also, if I could take the whole coin trap and pump assembly out it might be easier to separate. But I can’t figure out how the rubber footings hold it in place. Are there screws holding it down?


    Answer 6 months ago

    Hi did you figure this out? I'm having a hard time turning it counter clockwise also. changing the whole thing might be easier but i"m also stumped on how it is anchored.
    thanks for any help you can offer :-)


    Question 1 year ago on Step 8

    Does it matter which wire is plugged into the new drain pump motor? My old motor has the same one-piece connector that you show, but my new motor Did Not Include two seperate wires with the male and female spade connectors. Is it ok to cut the old one-piece connector off of the existing wires, and install two female spade connectors that fit into the seperate male connectors on the new motor? If so, which wire plugs into which male connector on the new motor? They aren't marked on the old or new motor, and both wires are the same color.


    Answer 1 year ago

    Joe, It is an AC motor and it does not make any difference how the motor is wired. Good luck!


    3 years ago

    I I have had two instances where the draining was not working properly and BOTH came down to a bit of something (last time a bit of pencil) that had gotten past the trap(s) and wedged itself into the impeller area - preening the impeller from turning. I would suggest that one remover the motor assembly and separate the motor housing to be sure the impeller is not obstructed BEFORE ordering a replacement motor!

    Also - my motor is 120VAC so it would be easy to test the operation to be certain it is running - BEFORE ordering a replacement motor.

    The Culprit 170316.bmp

    4 years ago

    Hi jim im sam from new zealand could you please email i need help with an article you did on cleaning plastic bee frames my email is regards Sam