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Agitator not working on a Kenmore Elite top loading washing machine

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The following advice is for replacing the “Agitator Dogs” on Kenmore and Whirlpool TOP LOADER style washing machines. This simple repair can save you a fortune in repair costs as the replacement parts are very inexpensive at a cost of less than $10. The replacement kit part number is 80040. You can order on line at various appliance parts websites, or use this part number and go to your nearest appliance parts retailer.

What are “Agitator Dogs”? These are small plastic pieces (usually 4) that are located under the agitator center cap that grip the agitator and turn it during the wash cycle. They can (and do) wear out dependent upon the use of the washer. If you are in the habit of doing large load sizes frequently, or wash large items such blankets or afghans, this can wear the teeth off and reduce the life of the agitator dogs.

SYMPTOMS REQURING REPLACEMENT: The agitator fails to turn during the wash cycle, or will not turn with a heavy load. The timer will run normally through all cycles, and you will be able to hear the gearcase (transmission) engage and run. The washer will also drain normally. The only indication that something is wrong will be the agitator slipping or not turning at all. The result will be clothes that do not wash properly and will sit on the bottom of the wash tub.

To replace the Agitator Dogs, follow these steps:


1.Remove the agitator center cap by either pulling straight up or gently placing a flat blade screwdriver into a slot located in the cap.
2.If the agitator is equipped with an inner cap with a handle, remove this as well by pulling straight up.
3.Remove the center bolt of the agitator. You will have either a 7/16” hex bolt or a recessed square plastic nut. If you have the square recessed type, use a 3/8” to ½” ratchet adapter to remove.
4.Remove the agitator by grasping the bottom flange and carefully pulling straight up. Try to keep all the parts assembled while doing this, so do not pull too hard. This will make this repair much easier.
5.Place your hand over the top of the agitator and separate the upper portion of the agitator from the lower portion and turn the top half over in your hand. The agitator dog assembly will come out in your hand.
6.With the agitator dog assembly in your hand, lay the rest of the agitator aside. Pay careful attention to how the dogs are installed. Remove the worn dogs and reinstall new ones. It’s that simple.
7.With all the dogs replaced and the assembly still in your hand, place the upper part of the agitator over the top of it, upside down, ensuring the inner assembly tabs align correctly.
8.Now keep your hand over the agitator top to hold all the pieces together and turn the entire assembly over (upright position).
9.Carefully align and reinsert the upper portion of the agitator to the lower portion. Again, making sure the two pieces align correctly.
10.Place the entire agitator assembly back on the gearcase shaft and reinstall center nut. NOTE: DO NOT over tighten the nut, or the agitator will not spin correctly. Just make the nut snug. Reinstall center cap and inner cap (if equipped).

These instructions should give you the basics on how to perform this repair. Since there are various agitator types in use by Whirlpool and Kenmore, assembly can vary.

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Posted on Sep 11, 2010

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