How to Fix a Motor Pulley for a Washer With a Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell coming from your washer, the motor pulley might be to blame. This pulley will have the drive belt looped around it, and if there is too much friction the belt can overheat. When this happens, it results in a burning smell. Sometimes the pulley just needs to be cleaned of debris, and sometimes it needs to be completely replaced to solve the issue. Continue reading below to determine if the motor pulley is the source of your washer’s burning smell, and how to solve this issue.

What is a Motor Pulley?

The drive motor uses a pulley to turn the drive belt and/or pump belts. The motor pulley is designed to provide maximum contact with the belts and may be made of metal or a synthetic material. Has your washer has been thumping or squealing as well as making a burning smell when it is spinning, draining or agitating? If your model is belt-driven, there could be a problem with the belt apparatus. Sometimes the motor pulley that drives the pump belt or the drive belt can get gummed up with dirt, grease, or rubber compound. Or the pulley can rust or get worn out. Then there’s too much friction when the belt goes around it, which results in a burning smell.

Where is the Motor Pulley Located?

The motor pulley is located on the motor in your washer. It will have a belt looped around it.

A 3D diagram showing the components of a washer and specifying the location of the motor pulley

How to Access, Remove, and Inspect the Motor Pulley in a Washing Machine

  1. Unplug your washing machine before starting this inspection.
  2. Locate and remove the motor pulley in order to closely inspect it. You will need to remove the cabinet to do so, as well as removing any belts attached to the motor pulley.
  3. If your model has a belt cover, uninstall it by removing the screws holding it in place.
  4. Visually inspect your motor pulley for any build-ups of grease, dirt, or other materials, as well as for signs of damage, wear, or burning.
  5. If you find that your pulley is worn or damaged, which is common on plastic models but uncommon on metal models, you will need a replacement pulley.

How to Install a New Motor Pulley

It is unlikely that you will need to replace the motor pulley itself very often, but knowing how to remove and install the part is crucial for accessing the parts it connects to, like the motor. On some newer models the pulley does not dettach from the motor assembly, and if that's the case for your model, you will need to skip straight to replacing the motor as a whole.

  1. Whether installing a brand new motor pulley or re-installing the motor pulley after a motor repair, you will start by sliding the pulley back onto the shaft.
  2. Fastening devices will vary by model, but generally will involve some form of screw or bolt that can be gradually tightened once the pulley has been inserted in place.
  3. Finally, take the belt that attaches to the motor pulley and loop it back on, ensuring a snug fit by rotating the pulley until the belt slides firmly into place.
  4. Reattach the cabinet to the washer.

Next: Troubleshooting the Drain Pump

Go To Main Page: Burning Smell

Was this page helpful?
Trouble Shooting Icon YES
Trouble Shooting Icon NO
Thank you for voting!