How To Replace the Drive Belt
On some washers, mostly older models, a belt is used to transfer power from the motor to the transmission and pump. If that belt breaks, the washer will not operate properly but it will make sounds like it is doing something. If the belt slips or is loose, the washer may operate sporadically or erratically. It may make loud squealing noises and there may be a burning smell. Some models use two belts, one for the transmission and one for the pump.
Before replacing the drive belt, unplug the washer or shut off the power at the fuse box or breaker panel to avoid an electrical shock hazard. Also, turn off the water supply to the washer at the valves.
To replace the drive belt, you will need to open the access panel or in some cases tip the washer onto its side to expose the belt on the bottom. Start by removing the back cover, and look for a belt. If you do not see a belt (or a place for a belt - the belt itself may have broken and is hidden from view) and you can see the floor then your washer is a direct drive model that does not use a belt. If you cannot see the floor because there is a steel floor in the washer, locate the motor and determine if it extends through the bottom plate. If so, then the belt is accessed from beneath the washer.
If you have to tip the washer over, place a large piece of cardboard on the floor to protect the floor and the washer's finish. Because a washer is pretty heavy, you will need an able-bodied assistant to safely tip the washer onto its side. Also, there will be some water remaining in the washer, so have sponges and towels ready to clean up any spill.
To remove the old belt unscrew the clamps securing the pump coupling ( a leathery or rubber flexible part that connects the motor to the water pump). Remove the pump coupling to slip the old belt out. Some models instead require you to loosen the motor mounting bolts and shift it inward to relieve tension on the belt. Remove the old belt.
Place the new belt over the transmission pulley first then place it over the motor pulley. If it is too tight, place the belt over the motor pulley's nearest edge and then slowly turn the motor pulley to pull the belt around and into the pulley. Replace the pump coupling or tighten the motor mounting bolts. The belt should deflect no more than one half inch when you press on the longest straight run.
Replace the cover and test the washer for proper operation.