How to Fix a Drain Pump for a Washer With a Burning Smell

The drain pump is the part responsible for getting the water out of your washer. There are a few different styles of drain pump, depending on which model of washer you have. The pump may have failed completely, or it could be clogged with lint or a small article of clothing. We’ll help you determine which type of drain pump your washer has (electric, belt-driven, or dedicated motor) and how to tell if it’s the source of your washer’s burning smell.

What is a Drain Pump?

The drain pump is used to remove water from your washer once the wash and rinse cycles are done. If you notice a burning smell while draining, the pump may be damaged or clogged. There are three styles of drain pump. If your washer model has a drain pump with a dedicated motor, the burning smell would happen during or just after the spin cycle. This would indicate that the motor or the pump itself may have seized. If your washer has a belt-driven model, the burning smell is typically from the belt slipping on the pump pulley. On models that use an electric drain pump, the smell would be related to the pump motor, and may be more of an electrical motor smell. That smell can be sharper or more metallic compared to the burning rubber smell that a belt would produce.

Where is the Drain Pump Located?

Depending on the model of your washer, the drain pump may be in the front or back panel. Otherwise, it may be underneath the washer, where it will be accompanied by the drain hose and the inlet hose.

General Location of the Drain Pump in a Front Load Washer

A 3D diagram showing the components of a front load washer and specifying the location of the drain pump

General Location of the Drain Pump in a Top Load Washer

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

How to Inspect the Drain Pump in a Washing Machine

Drain Pump with a Dedicated Motor: Unplug the machine, find the drain pump, and try turning the motor or the impeller by hand to see if it’s frozen in place and requires replacement.

Belt-Driven Washer: Unplug the washer and inspect the belts to see if the burning smell is coming from a slipped, damaged, or dirty belt on the pump pulley.

Electric Drain Pump: Unplug the washer and check the inlet, the impeller, and the continuity of the electric pump.

How to Install a New Drain Pump

The way to install a new drain pump will vary depending on if your washer has a dedicated motor, is belt-driven, or has an electric motor. Our video below will provide general instructions, and you can find an instructional video specific to your washer by searching for your model number.

Next: Troubleshooting the Direct Drive Motor Coupling

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