How to Fix a Clutch Assembly for a Washer With a Burning Smell

The clutch assembly is designed to connect the clothes basket to the transmission input shaft in order to spin the basket. A burning smell can occur if there is too much friction, which is a result of the pads wearing out and rubbing against the housing. Use the information below to determine if the clutch assembly is the cause of the burning smell from your washer. When replacing the clutch assembly, be sure to search with your washer’s model number to find the correct part for your machine.

What is a Clutch Assembly?

In top-loading washers, some models have a clutch assembly that attaches the clothes basket to the input shaft of the transmission. This assembly allows the basket to spin. A worn-out clutch may be causing your washer to make a scraping sound and a burning smell while the basket is spinning. The pads rub against the housing and will eventually wear out. You can tell that the clutch is broken if the machine is making a scraping sound or a loud noise during the spin cycle, if there is a burning smell, or if you find brake dust under the machine.

Where is the Clutch Assembly Located?

The clutch assembly is usually found under the tub of the washer.

A 3D diagram showing the components of a top load washer and specifying the location of the clutch

How to Access, Remove, and Inspect the Clutch Assembly in a Washing Machine

  1. After disconnecting the appliance from the power source, open your washer’s cabinet in order to locate the clutch assembly.
  2. To closely inspect the clutch assembly, you should remove it from the appliance. It will usually be found below the outer tub, attached to the basket drive assembly. Depending on your model, you may need to remove the drive motor and/or transmission to access it.
  3. Inspect your clutch assembly for any signs of damage, burning, fraying, or wear.
  4. If you find any of the above symptoms, you will need a replacement clutch assembly.

How to Install a New Clutch Assembly

  1. When purchasing a new clutch assembly, it will come with two different colored springs. Make sure you use the same color spring on the new clutch assembly as was in the old one.
  2. Snap the anti-rattle clip in place and slide the new clutch assembly onto the transmission shaft.
  3. Once the new clutch is installed on the transmission shaft, there are a few more pieces to install to keep it held in place. First, hook on the retainer spring, then the large clip, followed by the thrust collar and thrust washer.

Next: Troubleshooting the Drive Motor

Go To Main Page: Burning Smell

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