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Garbage Disposal Flywheel Seal Replacement

Garbage Disposal Flywheel Seal (Splash Guard)

The garbage disposal unit (waste disposal unit) is a useful, if not necessary tool in anyone’s kitchen. Too many kitchen sinks become clogged due to food waste that is ran down the drain, but this can easily be avoided by grinding the food into bits in the disposer. The one thing keeping those particles from shooting out of the high-speed machine is the black rubber, also known as the splash guard.

Some splash guards are built into the disposer in combination with the watertight rubber seal (flywheel seal) that is between the disposer and the sink; others are made in two pieces, the guard being easily removable and cleanable. This may leave you wondering how to replace your splash guard/flywheel seal combination, or if it’s possible to change it out for the separated set.

It is not possible to exchange a single irremovable guard/seal for a removable splash guard, but it can be replaced with its like kind. This requires the removal of the garbage disposal and manually taking the old rubber seal off. Often times this can be a project one does not know how to determine the difficulty of, and rightly so. It is not always as easy as one two three, but with the right tools, know-how, and patience, many a handy person can work their way through this process. Latex gloves are recommended!

 Replacing the Garbage Disposal Flywheel Seal

Let’s get familiar with what you’re dealing with…..While looking in the sink you will see a metal ring, the flange, with the black rubber sitting inside. If you can easily remove that rubber splash guard then you’re in luck. Take it to the hardware store and find an exact replica. Presto! You can skip the rest of the steps. But if that guy is not budging then prepare for some quality time under the sink.

Looking in the sink you will see:

  1. A metal ring
  2. The flange
  3. Black rubber (sits inside the flange)

To Learn to Anatomy of the Garbage Disposal (click here)

If you can easily remove that rubber splash guard then you’re in luck. Take it to the hardware store and find an exact replica. Presto! You can skip the rest of the steps. But if that guy is not budging then prepare for some quality time under the sink.

Looking under the sink at the top of the disposal, you’ll see:

  1. A silver (or rusty orange) ring with a total of three loops around it.
  2. 7/8” black hose
  3. Tubular waste pipe (connects the disposer to the p-trap)

The silver ring is what’s holding the disposal captive to the sink. But before removing the monstrous mincing machine, you need to disconnect the 7/8” black hose from the top using a hex (hexagon) nut driver. If it doesn’t come off nicely, try giving it a twist. Next is the tubular waste pipe which turns from the disposer at a 90° downward into the drain. There are two screws holding it in place; remove those and slightly separate the pipe from the disposal.

You are almost there! Back to the ring at the top: place a disposal hex wrench in one of the loops (or a screwdriver if you are without the wrench) and give it a turn. BUT be careful, after it has made about a 1/3 of a turn that disposal will drop and depending on the horsepower, it’ll weigh roughly 15 lbs. Now you have access to the rubber seal! Remove, replace, and follow the steps in reverse. VOILÀ! Drink a cold lemonade, you deserve it.