Fixing Washing Machine Leaks

 Dominic Vautier

There are lots of ways that washing machines can leak and the hardest part of the job can be finding the leak.  Otherwise you could spend a lot of time and money replacing parts and hoses and clamps that are not broken.  I think that trained repair people have learned all the tricks and can profit with their knowledge but here are a few suggestions.

The most obvious leak is a hose or clamp. Start off by removing that back panel, in this case a Maytag Neptune, and completely clean up all the water.  Then run the machine on short cycle and see where the water collects.  Watch out for the belt.  The machine can be run fine with the back panel removed and you can see just about everything from there and how it's working.  If the leak is in front it's the boot or boot drain simple enough.  If in back it can be many things.

There are usually two pumps on a washer, a drain pump which removes water and a recirculation pump which keeps the water moving around by drawing it out the bottom and back to the top.  Both of these pumps may leak but it is very hard to discover which one because there is no visible drip.  A pump can leak through the seal or through the bearing. Certainly the recirculation pump gets used much more and is more likely to leak through the bearing.

Place pieces of cardboard under suspicious places.  If none of the hoses leak and you still can't find the leak, place thin cardboard under the pumps.  Both pumps are anchored to the chassis and it may be necessary to remove some mountings or come up with an inventive way to do it.

With the Neptune the recirculation pump swings on a plastic holder and it is quite easy to slip cardboard under.  The drain pump is more difficult to test but if the recirculation pump seems not to be bad then it's probably the drain pump.


This picture shows the drain pump on the left and the recirculation pump at right. The machine was filled with water so I cleaned out everything, inspected connections, tightened all clamps  and ran the unit looking for drips.  There were none but water continued to accumulate in quantities..


After removing all water again. I placed cardboard under the recirculation pump and ran the machine.  Water immediately appeared.  I removed the unit and disassembled it. The leak was through the bearings.