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Old 5th November 2017, 18:58   #1
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Default DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Why not? We are BHPians and we love to keep our machines in top shape. A small change - this time it was not the car, but our 19 years old IFB front loader washing machine!

Since last few months, the machine had become quite noisy during operation. There was a grinding noise with a loud 'hum' during high speed spin cycles signaling that the bearings of the drum/ flywheel were shot. So, sunday was put to some good use.

There might be DIYers here who may find it helpful, hence decided to post it here.

It's a '99 IFB Executive Plus front load washing machine which was purchased when I was in class 11th. The machine has since then, after countless wash cycles, remained largely reliable & trouble free and it still has quite some juice left for a few more years I guess. Plus, I am among those who like to run their stuff as long as it is serviceable rather than needlessly getting a new one. I believe everything is a resource and should be used as long as it can be. So, when everything else was right, changing the bearings made sense to me, even if it was almost a 20 year old washer.

What's needed:
1. Correct set of Replacement Bearings: Most IFB washers use a set of 6203 and 6204 bearings.
2. Replacement water seal, if its shot.
3. 13 no. socket wrench. Great if a ratchet wrench is available - will save you lots of effort and time.
4. Hammer.
5. Good quality grease.
6. Screwdrivers.
7. Thin long nose plier
8. And a couple of free hours.

So, let's get the hands dirty then.
Front loaders mostly have a table top which is secured by two screws at the back. Unscrew them and remove the top. Next step is to remove the entire rear panel which is secured by 9 screws along the border of the machine in the top, side and bottom. Once you have taken out these 2 panels, most of the stuff is accessible.

Once you have access to the rear, you are greeted by a 3 pointed star. No, there's no Mercedes parked inside; just a cast iron frame of that shape with a large flywheel mounted at the centre. It is a belt drive, so you need to take off the rubber belt from the flywheel and the motor.
DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine-1.jpg


No special tool is required for it as hands suffice. Once done, we need to take out the flywheel which is secured (& mounted) by a 13 mm fastener in the center. To open this fastener, you will need to stop the flywheel from rotating. You can insert a rod between the flywheel and the iron frame behind it to keep the flywheel from rotating while you use the socket wrench to open it.
DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine-2.jpg

Remove the fastener entirely and pull out the flywheel from the teethed cogs. It may require light hammering for the same, but ensure only a light hammering as the flywheel is apparently made from aluminum and can be easily damaged.

DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine-3.jpg

There is a washer just behind the flywheel. Take it out and you will be greeted by the view of the outer bearing.

Once the flywheel is out, you will need to unfasten 3 more fasteners of the tri-star iron frame located at the end of each arm and 3 more near the flywheel mounting it to the drum directly. If you have a ratchet wrench available, use it for the bottom 2 fasteners. This will save much time and effort. For the fastener on top, a regular socket wrench will be enough. All these fasteners are 13mm in size.

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Now, once all nuts and bolts are removed, try to pull out the iron frame. This may require some hammering on the drum shaft. Also, take care, as the iron frame is quite heavy. Pull the iron frame out slowly. This frame houses 2 bearings, smaller of which is on the outer side and the bigger one is in the inner side. There is a lock securing the outer/ smaller bearing which can be taken out by using a long thin nose plier. There is a water seal on the drum side which can be pried out to reach the inner bearing.

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Last edited by saket77 : 5th November 2017 at 20:54.
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Old 5th November 2017, 20:28   #2
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Default re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Once the lock is out, use a bearing puller to take out the old bearings. I did not have a bearing puller, hence hammered them out of the frame (they were gone anyway). Went to the market and purchased SKF replacements since they are among the best in business. Cost of replacements - 6203 = Rs. 175/- and 6204 = Rs. 251/- . Got a nice discount and the guy charged me Rs. 390/- for both the bearings, though much cheaper options were still available. For information, set of same bearings (not sure of manufacturer) if bought OE from IFB, they cost Rs. 897/-

DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine-12.jpg

Just to get a good service life, I opened the side seals of the new bearings with the help of a thin head screwdriver and packed it with a good quality grease.
DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine-13.jpg
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Secured the seals back on the bearings and they were ready to be installed. Applied slight grease on the frame so that the new bearings can 'slip-in' easily. Used a wooden plank and light hammering to put those bearings in place. Install the water seal. Replace seal if it is worn/ cut.
DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine-16.jpg
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Installed all the stuff in reverse order and tested the machine by first rotating the drum with the hand. The action felt smooth and soundless. Ensured everything is right and secured, switched on the machine straight to the spin cycle and it spun with a light, pleasant note - like a new washer.

Also, the rear panel was rusting badly - remember it is a 19 year old panel! Sanded away all the rust and painted with white enamel, thereby improving the looks (and stretching the life) of the panel.

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Post this repair, the machine is running very smoothly and much silently than before. All this hard work paid off, and missus is now convinced that I can open a car garage with a home appliances repairing center by its side.

But on a serious note, I hope DIYers will find it useful and some may even make use of it on their stuff.

Thanks for reading guys.

Regards,
Saket.

Last edited by saket77 : 6th November 2017 at 00:13.
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Old 6th November 2017, 07:53   #3
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Default re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th November 2017, 09:02   #4
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Default re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Excellent stuff! Job done well and more importantly, done right!

I need to have a look at our IFB too, it makes an irritating squeaking noise while it rotates.
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Old 6th November 2017, 12:49   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Good job! Not so sure about packing those bearings with grease. They come pre-greased and you shouldnt have to grease them.

Jeroen
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Old 6th November 2017, 13:05   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Nice DIY Saket and much detailed too.

Bearing noise (and vibrations) is one of the most common irritant when it comes to these front loading washing machines. We had faced it once in our Samsung machine as well.

It was then that I started dismantling the entire machine to access that frame behind the drum and boy, it wasn't an easy one to do and I had to take photos at many instances to ensure that I refit them back exactly they were while I dismantled it.

That Iron frame in your pic, how old is that (machine?) - We had one made of aluminium though and the place we stayed earlier had severe issues with hard water that along with detergent it had corroded that frame completely as well that we then had to visit a fabricator to make one from scratch.

Bearing puller is a must have tool here - No compromises there and indeed the outcome is seen. I still recollect the blunder I had done on my Kinetic Honda while in college where I tried to pull out a worn out rubber bedding bush by hammering it and in turn cracked open the aluminium casing: Shockked:

And I was just thinking looking at the wooden plank and careful hammering if a bench vice or even a C-Clamp with wooden plans on both sides would have also been an option here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyBoi View Post
I need to have a look at our IFB too, it makes an irritating squeaking noise while it rotates.
Eventually, the drum would start to vibrate and shake violently as the RPMs increase and noise will no longer be the concern for you. So time for a DIY

Last edited by paragsachania : 6th November 2017 at 13:06.
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Old 6th November 2017, 13:29   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
Sunny- as Parag said, it's DIY time.

Jeroen, yes, they come pre lubricated. But I went through some literature on installation of bearings and it suggested pre-lubing them before installation. Hence, decided to.

Parag, the machine (and that iron frame) is 19 years old. but as far as this design is concerned, the iron frame never comes in contact with water, hence there is no hint of corrosion anywhere. It is good for another 20 years at least!

Front loaders also go violently shaking if the thick rubber gasket between the loading door and drum has gone hard.

And yes, bearing puller is in my mind. Will soon get one. Will help for my cars too.

Thanks.

Last edited by saket77 : 6th November 2017 at 13:32.
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Old 6th November 2017, 13:56   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
And I was just thinking looking at the wooden plank and careful hammering if a bench vice or even a C-Clamp with wooden plans on both sides would have also been an option here?

)
There are all sorts of tricks on getting bearings out and in again.
When you are installing these sort of bearing the most important thing is to ensure you don't put undue forces on either of the two cages/rings. So wooden plank in this case is fine. It will exert the same force on both cages installing it in the frame.

Another option is finding a socket that matches the diameter of the cage/ring in question. So if installing it in the frame you would look for a socket that fits the outer cage/ring only.

Better yet, use warmth/cold where possible. These bearings typically fit with a very small tolerance. Putting them in your oven at approx 70-80oC for 10 minutes will usually expand the inner cage/ring sufficiently to just slide it over the shaft.

Or put it in your freezer at -10oC and the Outer case/ring will shrink sufficiently to just drop it into the frame.

never apply a nakes flame to a bearing, it will evaporate the grease very quikcly and it is likely to weaken the the steel. But fridge/overns work well. Just a word of caution based on my own experience: Never, ever do this with your wife/girlfriend around. My wife is very possesive of her oven/fridge and once she came home early with still a bearing in the oven. Not a good conversation to have.

[quote=saket77;4300473] yes, they come pre lubricated. But I went through some literature on installation of bearings and it suggested pre-lubing them before installation. Hence, decided to.
[/QUOTE

On opening and filling the bearing with grease, this is what SKF says:

http://www.skf.com/group/products/be...ill/index.html

Never fill 100% with grease and pre-greased bearings should not require greasing during the normal life time, let alone on initial installation!

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 6th November 2017 at 14:01.
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Old 6th November 2017, 21:21   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Went to the market and purchased SKF replacements since they are among the best in business.
I avoid SKFs when buying retail since they are the most faked bearings around. (I use FAG)

Quote:
Just to get a good service life, I opened the side seals of the new bearings with the help of a thin head screwdriver and packed it with a good quality grease.
It is a -2RS. As has been mentioned, packing in new grease totally unnecessary. And prying out/ fitting back shortens the life and effectiveness of the seals.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 6th November 2017, 23:31   #10
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Great and timely info on this thread. This is going to be my next project- been putting it off for long enough. I'm not an engineer myself, but have used all the tricks mentioned by Jeroen at some point. Heating the bearing has by far been the most effective. As Sutripta pointed out, I too feel bearing seals should not be removed. Apart from the prying damage and loosing integrity against moisture and debris, all sorts of complications like incompatible grease, and overheating due to excessive lubrication could arise, IMO. I have seen the latter happen in the course of my work.For this application it may be ok, but as general practice, I wouldn't do it. Also, any availability and reliability feedback on NGK bearings??
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Old 7th November 2017, 09:38   #11
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Excellent work and account. Even a dumbo should have to courage to tackle it. Remember the ASS wants to take the machine back for a day or two to replace.
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Old 7th November 2017, 09:40   #12
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
Remember the ASS wants to take the machine back for a day or two to replace.
Well the most common tomfoolery is to say "Drum needs replacement".
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Old 7th November 2017, 10:34   #13
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Ok. So the consensus says the bearing need not be lubed over and above the factory grease. Point taken. Thanks everyone for valuable feedback.

Sutripta sir, the OE which was replaced was FAG. However, the SKF bearings that I bought were from an authorised re-seller, so trustworthy I guess. But thanks for the tip. Will keep in mind when I need to get bearings next time and from an unknown shop.

Jeroen, the tips shared by you on bearing installation are valuable. More so, when you use the oven with the wife around.

NH7, genuine points on lubing bearings. Thanks.

SG sir, thanks for the feedback. Cost of transporting the machine to & from service center, plus service charges and the higher replacement cost at ASC - these are too many factors that push for a DIY. Add machine downtime to it. In my case, the cost was just peanuts and a couple of hours.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 17th December 2018, 13:42   #14
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Default Re: DIY: Changing the bearings of a front-load Washing Machine

Thanks Saket for detailed DIY. Luckily I found this thread when our 1998 model IFB Executive Plus washing machine making lot of sound during spinning. I followed the steps and replaced 2 bearings last weekend. Inner bearing was broken.


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