Tub bearing failure and seal leaks are just one of the repair joys that await the unsuspecting owner of these machines, especially if you're using non-HE detergent. Used to be that when the tub bearing or seal failed, you have to replace the entire tub because Whirlpool didn't sell the bearing and seal separately. The tub assembly alone runs $300 Part number: AP5306816
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth from both victims, er, I mean owners of these machines and the professional appliantologists who work on them, Whirlpool finally got the message and recently made the tub bearing and seal kit available as a separate repair kit without having to buy the entire tub assembly at considerable cost savings to the consumer.
The bearing and seal kit itself runs about $75 and is available here Part number: AP5325033
And you'll need a special $60 tool to install it Part number: AP5325072
If you're a DIYer doing this job, you'll probably only use the tool once in your lifetime. But still, even with the tool, the total parts cost is $135, less than half of what it used to cost when replacing the entire tub assembly.
Since this kit is so new, there's no info yet on how reliable this repair is-- replacing the bearing in a plastic tub which itself is prone to deformation and causing leaks-- vs. replacing the entire tub assembly with a factory-installed bearing. But at this kind of cost savings, it's worth a shot!
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