Lots of miles on our Bosch WFK2401UC washer motor

(Disclaimer: I’m not an appliance repair technician, just a homeowner with an expensive appliance.)

We have a pair of stacked Bosch washer and dryer appliances, the WFK2401UC and the WTL5400UC. They weren’t cheap when we bought them, and now five years later, the washer motor gave out. Here’s what the back of the washer looks like, with the motor already removed:

Bosch WFK2401UC inside, without motor

It fills with water and drains just fine–it just doesn’t turn the drum and agitate. The drum rotates smoothly so the bearings don’t appear to be worn. The belt is in good condition. My guess: the brushes on the motor are worn. Here’s the motor before I started disassembling it:

Bosch WFK2401UC motor, PN 141860

After carefully taking the motor assembly apart, I was able to get the carbon brush holders out. Taking the connecting lead off the cap and sliding the brush out, here’s what one of my worn brushes looks like:

Bosch worn carbon brush, PN 154740

See that rectangular chunk on the left-hand side? That is what’s left of the carbon brush–it starts out close to 1.5 inches long! From what I can tell, the measurements of the brush are 3/16″ (0.1875″) x 0.5 ” x 1.5″.

Armed with this information in hand, I decided to source replacement parts locally. This was an exercise in failure: none of the appliance repair places have much in the way of Bosch replacement parts nearby. I also tried to get my hands on car alternator brushes which I’d have to cut and file to fit–no such luck. I even went to Carbone-Lorraine down in Boonton, NJ, to see if they had anything in stock that I could use as a start–they wanted to fabricate them for me, in two weeks. Defeated, I gave in and decided to get replacement parts from Bosch. Of course, I knew this meant paying a lot of money for what should be a $5 part.

After a little bit of searching around, I found Marcone Appliance Parts which had these parts in stock! As I expected, the price for a set of two carbon brushes was close to $30, instead of the $5 they ought to cost. But, it sure beats spending another $1,000-$1,500 on a new washer, right? So, I bit the bullet and placed an order which should hopefully arrive tomorrow or the next day.

In case you want to order them, here’s the information you’ll need:

If you need to order the whole motor assembly, you can get that too for just under $200:

If you’re a proud (or perhaps disgruntled) owner of a Bosch WFK2401UC washer, and it’s lost its magic smoke … perhaps this information will help you if you choose to repair it yourself–but if you do, remember to take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety, I’m not responsible for anything you do, etc., etc.

I’ll post an update once I’ve received the new brushes and installed them. I’m hoping this is all that’s wrong with the washer and we’ll be back to doing laundry in no time.

Update: The new brushes arrived today, May 22nd, and I installed them and reassembled the motor. Here’s a picture of the brand new brushes:

New Bosch carbon brushes, PN 154740

I had to experiment a bit with how the motor was mounted with respect to the belt tension, and it seemed to not be able to spin the motor at its full speed. I ended up removing the motor to inspect it and when I reinstalled it, I must have done something wrong because it made some really bad sounds and then shot an electrical arc which tripped the circuit breaker. I was afraid I’d let the magic smoke out of the appliance, but it seems to power up after resetting the breaker. I hope I can figure out why it’s not working properly before I do completely destroy this machine. :-)

Update: Saul has kindly shared the PDF for the owner’s manual (16.1 MB PDF) (mirror).

Update 2010-09-23: After much searching and not finding, I scanned the Use & Care Manual for the WTA3500 and WTL5400 electric dryers (1 MB PDF). I did find the installation guide (537 KB PDF) too, which I also uploaded.

Tags: , , ,

Comments

  1. Yana says:

    Thanks so much for your detailed explanation of the problem and the links. It did work for us too and machine works as new again! I hope we would not call a technician first who was completely oblivious to the problem. My husband did the replacement even though was not sure if he could. Thanks

  2. Dossy says:

    Yana: That’s great news! I’m glad this information helped you! Sometimes, a little bit of research can save you a lot of money.

  3. Greg says:

    I seem to have a similar problem with my Bosch washer. There is a bunch of black dust in an otherwise clean location. What did you do to make the motor not arc and operate properly? Did you do anything special about the tensioning of the motor again?

    THanks for the great posting.
    Greg

  4. Dossy says:

    Greg: Unfortunately, I gave up on the repair effort and we replaced the Bosch washer/dryer with Whirlpool Duet HT’s. I wish there were a happy ending here for the Bosch products, but not in this household.

  5. Greg says:

    I guess I got lucky. I followed the directions in your posting and still have a working washer 5 months later. The bigest trick I had was loading the brushes into the contact holders, they really did not want to go in smoothly. It all worked in the end though and has certainly paid for my time and effort up to this point.

    Thanks again for the great post.

  6. Greg says:

    Oh yes. I had some horrible sounds too after the intial start up. I had to tighten the belt a bit from where it had been and it is working again.

  7. Dossy says:

    Greg: Wow, that’s GREAT news! I guess I did something wrong that caused my repair attempt to fail, but it’s good to know that replacing worn brushes can be done! (This is also why a brushless motor design is desirable, for obvious durability reasons. Heh.)

    Thanks for the update, Greg. I hope this information helps others who may be in the same predicament.

  8. jose says:

    Hey there,

    I also own the WFKZ240UC and the dryer. I’ve had it fixed once already, but this is after almost 10 years of servicing me, granted i live alone and probably only do 2-3 loads a week.

    it’s sort of broken again. I had a repair man come in from a shop and he said that the draining pump is worn out. it works fine, but towards the end it is not able to drain itself. so the part is about 40.00. but their quote for servicing it is 330.00.

    i would hate to get rid of it and buy a new one, but at the same time paying over 400.00 to them for something that seems easy to replace is painful as well.

    do you have any experience with this part in particular? i think the part number is 144341. I’m an architect, but not very handy.

    any help you might offer is greatly appreciated.

    thanks,

    J

  9. Dossy says:

    Jose: Our drain pump also went but fortunately it was during the original waranty period, so the service company replaced it at no cost to us. However, watching the technician do it, it’s not difficult to replace – just labor intensive as you end up taking apart most of the unit just to get to it. If you’ve got the time and patience, you might as well give it a try: at $40 for the parts, it’s not a bad gamble.

    Let us know how it went if you attempt it, and maybe take some pictures to share, too.

  10. David says:

    Hi all,
    I have my washer partially disassembled on the basement floor right now. I have had the repair man out at least 3x and possibly more for a grand total of $694 and change for a unit that cost me about $900 or so 10 years ago. I’ve had one motor installed for $366, a service call to remove a coin from the drain pump for $103 and a new drain pump later on for $225. The drain pump was in 12/06 and now the same thing is happenning again, spins but won’t drain. I am in the process of looking for the part and dtrying to decide if it is time to get out from under this toad. We have not been too happy. I plan to check the part supplier listed above. The pump is pretty easy to get at and easy to take off. I just hope that that is actually the problem. Thanks all for all the good info and I’ll try to keep you posted.

    David

  11. Jan S. says:

    We just inherited this Bosch WFK2401UC Washer (& a Bosch Dryer) from my brother-in-law & have NO IDEA how to make it work. It is definitely not user friendly – help! I’d just like to know how to run a normal wash. When I hit the “On” button & “start” it just starts a spin cycle; no wash. I was able to get it to wash one cycle, but have no idea how.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Jan

  12. Dossy says:

    Jan: Unfortunately, it appears that Bosch has taken the owner’s manual PDF off their website. Maybe someone else will be so kind as to scan theirs and share it with you.

    Otherwise, perhaps another current owner can describe what you need to set the dials to in order to get a normal wash cycle. It’s been too long for me to remember exactly what the knobs are labeled and what they need to be set to. Sorry!

  13. Anch says:

    Hi,

    I don’t have the manual with me at work but to do a normal wash, you need to turn the knob on the right to number 1 (cold water), 2 (Warm, 3 (Hot), 4 (Hotter), and 5 (I think there is a five, the Super Hot water). Then you can press “Rinse Plus” to give it an extra rinse which I always do.

    My washer is not working (same problems with the author) and I will take it apart this Sat.

    You can email me if you need more help with how to use the machine.

  14. moise says:

    Hi,

    This write up was a giant help for me. Our Bosch washer stop spinning all of a sudden. The drum seemed to turn just fine by hand and made no unusual sounds. I suspected the motor and some web searching pointed me to the brushes for the motor. I found this site during one of those searches. Using your description and pictures, I disassembled the washer and saw that the motor brushes were about 1/4″ long. I also used your parts link to purchase a set of brushes.

    We replaced the brushes tonight and the laundromat trips are over for a while. The washer spins like normal.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up.

  15. Cathy B says:

    Thanks so much for your detailed explanation of the spinning problem and the carbon brush replacement. I was able get the repair done, and brush replacement went fine… however, after putting it back together, the washer now will not fill with water. You can hear the click when the water cycle should cause the machine to fill, but nothing happens. It filled and drained properly before it was taken apart – what did I do wrong? I had a problem with the dryer not heating, but learned about the reset switch through another fix it sight, and after pushing that button, it works fine – is it possible there is a reset on the washer, or did I not put something back together properly?
    There was clackety sound when it was working before the spin problem – like a coin stuck somewhere in the spin, but it worked so I ignored the clatter… Could that be causing the problem? I read above there was a coin stuck in a drain and that sounds like it could be causing my noise, too – Could that coin or whatever it is be the cause of not allowing water to enter? Any help would be a blessing… Help! I’ve been without a washer now for over a month – getting desperate!

  16. Mil says:

    Hi,

    I’ve got the same two problems (lack of spinning; draining). Do any pictures exist that show specifically where the brushes and the drain pump are located? Or can someone use the pictures above to write where these are located?

    Thanks!

  17. Mil: I don’t have a picture of the drain pump but perhaps someone else could share a link to it.

    For the brushes, look at the picture of the motor above … there are two white plastic brush holders visible in the picture on the left and right side of the motor in the picture. The brushes are held inside there.

  18. Cathy B: Sorry for the delay – the bottom front left of the washer has a drain “clean out” plug that you can unscrew and hopefully remove the coin or whatever is caught in there. Just keep a few towels handy as whatever water is left inside the drain will pour out the drain clean out hole.

    We’ve had a dime or two show up there before and it definitely sounds like a “clackety sound.”

  19. Nancy says:

    I will try to post this again, as I don’t see it on here.

    Where to get a manual?

    1-800-944-2094 They will send you one free.

    They also supply technical help.

    How to clean out pump motor “clackety sound”:

    Facing the front of machine:
    1. Take off panel on toe kick if present.
    2. Unclip black hose on your right and uncap it. Drain water out of machine.
    3. Recap hose in put back in clip.
    4. Unscrew pump clean out cap on your left. It is a white round cap that is easily unscrewed.
    5. Remove all debris from the pump, recap and replace toe kick panel.
    Start your machine!

    • Cheryl says:

      THANK YOU! You just saved me a week and a half of waiting for the Bosch repairman and at least the $75 service call!!!! You’re advise couldn’t have been clearer or more dead on!

      Thanks everyone!

  20. Zen2One says:

    Changing the brushes did the trick. Thanks for the tip. Check the website link for some pictures of my project.

  21. Des says:

    I did the carbon brushes replacement two years ago after I saw your website. I ordered the carbon brushes from Bosch. It worked fine after the replacement.

    Well, the machine broke again tonight. Motor didn’t run again. I opened the machine and found a small tiny broken plastic stick (~ 1/2″ long) at the bottom of the machine. After careful inspection of the brush area, the broken plastic stick came from the plastic brush holder on the motor that hold the brush in place. This is no available part for the holder. I need to find a way to hold the brush in place. It is too expensive (~$250) to replace the motor just for this broken holder. :(

    • Des, are you sure there’s no part number for the holder? I can’t find any parts lists for the washer any more, but every part must have a part number …

      Ah! AppliancePartsPros.com has the diagram and parts lists for the WFK2401. Sadly, you’re right – the parts inside the motor aren’t available separately, darn!

      Well, ApplianceZone.com (see link above) is selling the motor assembly for $188. If you don’t feel like spending that much, maybe you can find someone who can do plastics molding to create a replacement part for you – it might cost more than $100 in labor, who knows …

      Good luck, and if you find a solution, I’d love to hear about it!

      • Marie Angel says:

        I ordered from Apliancezone.com as they advertised as having the part in stock and available and they took my money via paypal, they even sent me a confirmation receipt email. Then 3 days later they sent me another email saying they did not have the part. Worst of all they held on to my money for over a week before reimbursing me. So I had to wait two more weeks without a washer thanks to them.

        • Ouch, that’s unfortunate, Marie. I hope you were finally able to find someone who had the part and got your washer working again, finally. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us, at least!

  22. Des says:

    Dossy,

    The machine is running again. That was my mistake. Yes, the plastic bracket was broken but I installed the brushes wrongly. The brush connection shall slide into the brass bracket. Somehow the right brush was installed between the brass bracket and the plastic bracket. With the help of a mirror, i am able to put the connector in the right spot. German engineering is better than I thought.

    Des

  23. Mil says:

    Hello all. I now have a different problem. The drum groans as it spins. When you try to manually spin the drum, it squeeks on each rotation. Is this a bearings problem, motor brush, or something else? All advice welcome–thanks!

    • I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it’s the belt that turns the drum – may be too tight, may be too loose? Perhaps someone else who has dealt with the same problem will chime in.

  24. Mikki says:

    Okay…now you have me worried…I’ve had my WONDERFUL Bosch washer/condensation dryer for about 8 years without a problem (okay so maybe the clothes don’t spin as dry as I like, but that’s not a biggie). I purchased (and continue to purchase a Sears Extended Warranty just to be safe, but I recently called to have them “look over” the machines (both washer and dryer) and the tech they sent has never worked on a Bosch…should I be concerned (of course, I am)? Can any washer/dryer repair person review this appliance and know what to look at or should I demand (like that’s going to work) a Bosch technician. The way I look at it, if the person doesn’t know Bosch, will they even know what to look at for wear? I’d love your thoughts…

    • Mikki: I would hazard a guess that any reasonably experienced technician should do an adequate job. Obviously, every individual product will have their own unique idiosyncrasies, and a technician with prior personal experience with your exact model product will benefit from knowing about them, but fundamentally these things are mostly similar in design. The incremental improvements over the years aren’t that radical.

      I’d love to know what your experience turns out to be – either good or bad – and I’m sure others would benefit from hearing about it, too. Thanks!

      • Mikki says:

        Okay Dossy…they checked out my old unit and it’s PERFECT…but the older model Bosch condensation dryer, part of a stack unit with the washer below (I think these are about 8-10 years old) Item #WTL5400UC. The plastic hinge on the front panel cover has broken (this is the plastic piece with vent holes on the right below the door – where the clean-out vent slides in). While I have put it back in place and can open and close the dryer & it runs fine, if I open it, it will fall off again (and again, and again). The replacement panel does not appear to be available ANYWHERE and my warranty folks are willing to replace the dryer, but I think the new model is wider than the original and may not sit on top (yes, I have the stacking tray between the two). Do you know if this will be an issue…I can’t replace the dryer unless it will stack (safely and so it will work without issues)…can you assist?

  25. Mikki says:

    Anybody know where I can find a new front panel part #353625 or #AP2805494 Access panel assembly (the exterior panel)

  26. Jim Glynn says:

    I also need a front panel part 353625. If anyone knows where to find one or is getting rid of their WTL5400 Dryer, please let me know. Thanks.

  27. SJoe says:

    After replacing the motor brushes (WFK2401), the washer vibrates violently.
    Can the unit be reprogrammed? How?

    • SJoe: Make sure the angle on the brushes matches the surface of the motor. You may need to file/shape the brush heads to match the curvature of the motor – or, let it run for a bit and let it wear the brushes down until the fit is smooth.

  28. SJoe says:

    Dossy, thanks for your comment.
    Disassembled the motor/brushes angle matches rotor/
    Arc marks on brush assembly/cleaned and reinstalled/also tightened belt
    Works great! (only one load as yet).
    Thanks again.

  29. Romy says:

    Hi all.
    I have a Bosch Nexxt 100 Series, model# WFMC1001UC1551186, I think. I am having problems with the draining pump. I need to replace it but do not exactly know the steps to do it. I have seem a few people said they have seem repairmen replace this part. Can any one give explanations/provide STEPS TO REPLACING THE DRAINING PUMP. I have the part, just need the steps. Thank you in advance.

  30. Bob says:

    Just a quick thank you for this post. I ordered brushes from repair parts pro, they came the next day (std shipping, they are in Indiana, I’m in Chicago.) Pulling out the motor was a snap and it didn’t take me long to have the new brushes in and the washer up and running again.

    My drain pump seems loud so I wonder if thats coming next. :(

  31. hexe98 says:

    I found the brushes for the WFK 2401 on (of all places) Amazon.co.uk.
    The cost is £4.00 but there is another seller who has them for £2.29
    + £4.00 delivery. Am sure they will ship to the USA for a bit extra.

    Hope this helps someone.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/SIEMENS-WASHING-MACHINE-BRUSHES-Equivalant/dp/B0019Y1EFG

  32. Ken says:

    Dossy, thanks a lot for the detailed explanation. I purchased a set of brushes yesterday had them overnight it. Then I saw your blog. Today I got to open the machine 2 hours ago and I’ve been sitting nicely sipping my favorite drink for the past 30 minutes while2 full loads of laundry are about to be finished.
    If it was not for your blog I would be behind by a couple of hours… it’s all about knowing what you’re doing and minimizing labor time !
    Thanks again

  33. Bill Martin says:

    Just a word of caution when you remove the motor pay particular attention to commutator. This is the part of the armature where the brushes ride. It should be an nice bright copper color with small black segments separating the copper parts. If it’s totally black like mine were you’ll have to clean it using 600 emory cloth. Advise not using steel wool as little pieces of the steel wool can cause it to get arcy sparky and take out the motor driver board. I’ve had to clean mine twice now and I’m opting for a set of new brushes as this is not normal. When a brush wears you’ll get black powder around but nothing should stick to the commutator. I’ve worked with a lot of motors and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this.

  34. Steve Hiltner says:

    I installed new brushes per the instructions, and the motor now works, but though it successfully ran through the three minute test, there was a faint smell afterwards from the motor, and when I tried to do a load of wash, the motor pulsed a few times, trying to turn the drum, and then gave up. I thought that the odor might be from the new brushes getting worn in, but the motor appears to lack power to turn a drum with the weight of clothes in it.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

  35. Steve Hiltner says:

    I took the motor apart to replace the brushes, which may not have been necessary, but in any event when I put the motor back together, it turns out that I reversed the orientation of the heavy magnet. The machine went through the 3 minute test cycle fine, but there was a feint smell afterwards close to the motor, and when I loaded it up with clothes and tried a cycle, it jerked a couple times and then stopped altogether, as if the motor was too weak to turn a full drum. A friend and I took the motor apart again, realized that the orientation of the magnet matters (it fits either way, but the electrical connections are different on opposite sides), and made the correction. Works great now. Thanks for the initial post that provided photos and also a source for the brushes. Appliance Zone was prompt and professional.

  36. Marcel says:

    The washer stop working today and I checked the brushes which need to be replaced. I have ordered them from the UK for about $6 instead of $35-45 from local suppliers. Anyone has experience with cleaning the commutator? I really don’t want do take apart the motor.

  37. Vik says:

    Last week my 12 year old washer (wkf2401uc model) stopped working. My wife said, the water was not draining. I checked the drain and it was all good. Then I realized that the drum was not rotating. I checed the belt and it was fine. Then I googled and fumbled into this site. I placed an order for the carbon brushes on marcone yesterday and got them delivered today. It took about 30 minutes to put install and put it all back together. The information here is extremely useful and saved us the pain of replacing the motor. Thank you!!!

  38. Lurah says:

    I found your blog in May of 2011 & saved it, as we had inherited a washer with a motor that wouldn’t spin. Nearly two years later we have finally taken the time to order the brushes & replace the old ones. Your step by step instructions were perfect & we now have a working washer. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this many years ago.

  39. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for posting the manual!! I just had a simple problem but without the manual I would have been totally lost!
    Again, thank you thank you thank you!!

Speak Your Mind

*