How to replace the tub seal in a top load washing machine?

To access the main tub seal of a top-load washer, you will first have to detach the inner tub by removing the upper panel from the top and then removing the washing plate, the impeller, or the agitator from the inside of the wash tub. Next, replace the new piece and install everything back by reversing the steps.

If this sounds difficult, follow the step-by-step process below.

It’s not as overwhelming as it looks.

replace tub seal in a top load washing machine

Key Takeaways

  • The tub seal is located between the inner and outer tub and is responsible for preventing leakage.
  • Steps involve removing the upper panel, and the tub covering, pulling the wash plate out, removing the drive shaft and nut, removing the inner tub, and finally replacing the tub seal.

What is a tub seal in a top-load washing machine?

The tub seal in a top-load washer prevents leakage from the bottom. It is a small ring-shaped rubber seal placed between the inner and outer tubs beneath the drive shaft.

Where is the rubber seal located in a top-load washer?

It is typically located at the center of the washtub between the inner and outer tubs.

The tub seal surrounds the spin rod that comes from the main motor and is placed in the center of the two tubs. You will find the drive shaft and the tub nut located just above the seal.

The tub seal prevents leakage between the inner and outer tubs.

How do the tub seals wear out in a top-load washing machine?

The tub seals are usually made of high-grade rubber in the form of a ring. 

Over time, they may wear out and cause leakage from the bottom of the washing machine.

Wear-outs may happen due to overusing a washer or when the washer is overworked. Another possible cause could be overheating for a long time.

Another common factor that may cause the tub seals to wear out is overloading and excess vibration.

Can you replace a washing machine tub seal yourself?

Replacing a washer’s tub seal may not be as simple as replacing other components in the washer, as it involves detaching several components before accessing the seal. However, in some models, the process can be straightforward.

So it’s all about how quickly you can get access to the seal.

The quicker you get access to the seal the easier the whole process will be.

With that said, the overall process of getting access to the seal for most brands may not be the same, but they are somewhat similar.

How to replace the tub seal in a top load washing machine?

To replace the seal on the top-load washing machine, you will need a handful of tools.

Here is the list of tools required to replace the tub seal.

  • The adjustable wrench and pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Nut drivers (especially the adjustable ones)
  • Little oil to relieve the stiffness of the central nuts and shafts

Be prepared for some hard work as the process requires you to disassemble the inner tub. The tub nuts and drive shafts stiffly hold the central spin rod, so this requires a bit of effort.

Instructions to replace the tub seal in a top-load washing machine

Step 1: Unplug the washer

Make sure the washer is unplugged from all power, water, and water supply hoses.

Step 2: Move the washer aside

Slightly move the washer away from the wall with care.

Doing this will give you access to all sides, and you can complete the task with ease.

Step 3: Detach the upper or top panel

To remove the inner tub from the machine, you will have to remove the upper panel. The upper panel of a top-load washer includes the door along with the frame.

Therefore, you will have to unscrew the retaining nuts or the screws, whichever is applicable and slightly pull the top frame.

Next, give it a gentle push in the opposite direction to get it off the locking hooks.

Note: For some top loaders, you may have to remove the front panel to access and detach the top panels. This could be an additional step for such types of washers.

Step 4: Remove the tub cover from the top

Once the upper panel has been lifted, you will have complete access to the inner tub.

In some top-loading washing machines, the washtub is surrounded by a covering frame at the top. It is simply a rubber strap tucked around the outer surface. 

This rubber strap covers the inner and outer tubs from the top to prevent leakage from the above.

Removing the strapped frame will allow you to pull the inner tub out from the top.

This rubber seal can be removed by tucking it off the locking tabs.

Therefore, gently pull to stretch the rubber surface of the tub and start removing them from the locking tabs one by one.

Step 5: Pull the wash plate out of the inner tub

A wash plate is simply a disk-like impeller fixed at the center of the washer’s inner tub. Likewise, some top load washers use a spherical spindle in the form of an agitator. They are responsible for agitating and cleaning your clothes during the wash.

To remove the impeller, you will have to remove its cap and the metal disks, including a few bearings beneath them.

Pluck the impeller cap out using a flathead screwdriver. Then, lift it up from its edges and remove it.

Now place the flat head screwdriver on the edges of the impeller or the agitator and pluck them out.

Step 6: Remove the drive shaft and the tub nut

Use an adjustable wrench to remove the metal disk hub.

Now gently remove the drive shaft by rotating it clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on the fixture.

If they are too firm or stuck, clean the area and pour a few drops of oil on it. Leave it to settle and loosen the firm grip.

In some cases, the drive shafts tend to break in the process, so it’s important to do it carefully.

Now, remove the tub nut to separate the inner tub’s holding.

Step 7: Remove the inner tub

Lift the inner drum out of the machine by removing the tub ring and gently clean the surface using a damp cloth and a spray cleaner.

Step 8: Replace the Tub seal

Below the inner tub, you will find a rubber seal surrounding the spin rod.

Simply pull it out and clean the surface before installing the new rubber seal.

Step 9: Reinstall the internal components

Place the inner tub back in its position and start reinstalling the nuts, bearings, and drive shaft.

Step 10: Reassemble the washer

Secure the tub frame and the upper panel one by one.

Next, re-attach all the parts that were disassembled.

Lastly, connect the supplies, such as water inlet, drain, and power cable, to your appliance.

Note: Before installing a new tub seal, check with your manufacturer if it’s already covered under warranty. If your washer is already under warranty, there may be some sort of return policy or replacement policy in place. If you qualify for a free replacement, let the manufacturer do it for you.

Final Thoughts

Tub seals are an important component of your washer as they prevent leakage from the bottom of the machine.

In almost all cases, they are placed below the inner tubs of the top load washing machines.

Leakage from the bottom can damage other components and flood the floor.

So, when the tub seal wears out, it becomes important to inspect and get it fixed at the earliest.

While the replacement process may seem time-consuming and physically demanding, it can be done at home with the right tools and by following the instructions with care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all washing machines use the same type of tub seal?

Tub seals differ depending on the type and model of the washer. However, some manufacturers may design them in such a way that they can be used with similar models.

Can I use other sealing straps to seal the wash tub in my washer as an alternative?

The tub seal is designed to settle between the nuts and the tubs, and using other sealing techniques may not work as required. It may also cause the washtub to become unbalanced during operation and also void the warranty. Thus, we recommend using a tub seal suitable for your washer.

How much does it cost to replace a washing machine tub seal?

Replacing a washer’s rubber seal will cost anywhere between $45 and $150, depending on the model. In the event of a faulty seal, water will be thrown all over your floor, so you should replace it as soon as possible.