How to Replace Your Top-Load Washer Timer Switch

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Washing machines are built to last. The simple mechanics of a washing machine should last for many years, especially with proper maintenance. This is true with each individual piece and the combination structure as a whole. If one piece stops working, the machine as a whole is ready to keep going as soon as the repair is made. Even if that piece is one of the most important – like the timer – all you need to do is replace the washer’s timer assembly and the whole unit will work again.

Today, we are talking bout the most mechanical of washers – the direct-drive top-loading washer with a mechanical timer for a switch. These washers were the leading design for decades and there are still millions in use without a single digital display or button. If you have a top-loading washer with a push-spin dial for the timer, here’s how to replace that timer assembly if it stops working: 

Order the Replacement Switch

The first step is to order your replacement switch. After all, you’ll have nothing to replace that timer with until you have a new timer assembly to install. Look up the make and model of your washing machine. Most likely, this can be found on a tag just inside the washer lid, on the rim of the opening. If it’s not there, look up instructions to find your make and model number for your brand of the washing machine.

Use that model number to look up the correct part numbers for replacement parts. in the part list, find the timer switch. This will tell you exactly what to order to get the right replacement timer switch for this repair. 

Gather Your Supplies

Always have your full list of supplies ready before beginning a repair. This prevents having to stop in the middle to grab the right screwdriver. Fortunately, this repair is quite simple and straight forward. In addition to your replacement timer assembly, all you need is a screwdriver and a pair of fitting work gloves.

  • Replacement Switch
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Work Gloves

Take Safety Precautions

The washing machine’s timer assembly is a primary electrical component with many live wires attached to it. To safely replace your timer switch, it is critical that you cut the electricity to your washer before beginning the repair.

  • Unplug Your Washing Machine
    • Pull the plug of your washing machine out from the outlet in the wall. This will stop the flow of electricity and keep you safe from shocks.

Remove the Timer Knob

You can’t take out the timer until you remove the knob. The knob is a simple piece of marked plastic – necessary for human use but removable in terms of mechanical function. The knob sits on a post that extends from the timer. You will need to remove the knob to access the mounting screws and remove the old timer.

  • Push the Knob In
    • Most mechanical washer knobs are push-turn. So push your knob in as if you were about to start the washer.
  • Unscrew the Knob Dial
    • Instead of setting the washer dial to wash, begin to unscrew the knob. It should come loose and, if not, check your users manual for removal of the timer knob.
  • Set the Knob Aside
    • When the knob comes loose, set it aside where you can easily retrieve it later.

Open the Control Panel Console

In order to remove the timer and install  new one, you will need access through the upper control console. Open up the top panel, which swings backward in an unusual way.

  • Pry Open the Panel Endcaps
    • The control panel has two smooth endcaps that look like plastic trim. Pry them up at the corners (flathead screwdriver or butter knife optional) and remove them.
  • Extract the Base Screw
    • The side panels should have revealed two large screws, one at the bottom of each side of the panel. Remove these screws and set them aside where you can easily retrieve them later.
  • Flip the Panel Open
    • Push backward on the top of the console and it should flip open, revealing the inside components of the panel.
  • Prop Up the Panel Front
    • If necessary, use a small object to prop the washer console open while you work.

Uninstall the Old Timer Assembly

With the control panel open, you are now ready to remove the old broken or malfunctioning timer assembly. If you have a multimeter and desire to, you can test the timer before discarding it.

  • Disconnect the Wire Harness
    • Pull the bundle of wires out from the timer assembly. There may be a small clip in the wire harness to release before the wires come free.
  • Remove the Front-Facing Mounting Screws
    • There are two screws that can be accessed through the hole in the front of the panel. Remove them and set them aside where you can use them again soon.
  • Extract the old Timer Assembly
    • Pull out the old timer assembly. We encourage you to recycle it as an electronic component so the metals can be reused.

Install the New Timer Assembly

Take your new timer assembly  and make sure all the packaging is removed before preparing to install it in place of the old timer.

  • Align the New Timer into Place
    • Take your new timer and set it in the correct direction and alignment inside the control panel.
  • Return the Front-Facing Mounting Screws
    • Lock the new timer into place by securing the two screws through the front of the console.
  • Attach the Wire Harness to the Port
    • Take the bundle of wires in the wire harness and attach it to the appropriate port on the new timer.

Reassemble the Washer

Time to put your washing machine back together now that the critical repair is complete. Prepare to reverse all previous steps to secure the panel back into an enclosed and tidy state.

  • Flip the Console Down and Settle
  • Return the Base Mounting Screws
  • Clip the Plastic Endcaps Into Place
  • Plug the Washer Back In

Test Your Success

Now you are ready to discover if that new timer is installed and working correctly. If everything has gone according to instruction and plan, your washer should be washing clothes reliably and at the regular times soon.

  • Run a Load of Laundry

 That’s all there is to replacing your washer timer assembly if you have a direct-drive top-loading washer. Contact us today for more advice on appliance repair or the help of a professional appliance technician.

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