Washing machines are electrical appliances and, as such, need to be treated with a certain amount of caution while you are working on them. One of the best ways to prevent accidents is by unplugging the Whirlpool washer from the electrical outlet before you start work, which is a good habit to get into when working on any electrical system. If you cannot reach the washing machine plug, turn off the power for the plug at the main circuit breaker.
The agitator in a Whirlpool washing machine is used to help move the clothes inside through the tub during the wash cycle. The circulating motion produced by the agitator causes the water inside the tub to swirl, carrying the clothes along with it. The agitator is fastened to the agitator hub by a bolt at the top of the agitator. Some agitators have a fabric dispenser on top to help dispense softener or other chemicals through the tub.
Accessing the Agitator Bolt
The bolt is placed beneath the fabric dispenser or agitator cap on the top of the machine to hide the bolt and to help protect it from the damp and humid environment inside the machine. Fabric softener dispensers can be twisted off counterclockwise for bolt access. To access a bolt underneath an agitator cap, the cap will need to be pried off with a screwdriver or sharp utility knife. Insert the blade of the screwdriver or knife between the cap and the top of the agitator, and pry the cap off.
Tightening the Agitator Bolt
Agitator bolts are usually recessed inside the agitator shaft by as much as three or four inches. To reach these bolts for tightening, a socket wrench with an extension is necessary. Tightening is easiest when the agitator is gripped to keep it in place while the bolt is being secured.