How to Fix and Replace a KitchenAid Blender Coupling

What you see there is the plastic coupling that sits on the base of a KitchenAid blender that turns the blade inside the blender.

Did I mention it is made out of plastic?

My wife was making a smoothy this morning and apparently the frozen fruit was too much for our KitchenAid Blender (Model #KSB50B3) and the coupling just exploded in the bottom like this. Here’s another shot:

What was odd is that I figured the blender was toast, because I wasn’t going to spend $50 in Shipping/Handling and repairs to send it back to KitchenAid to fix it, so I started to write this story as a rant piece instead about how disappointed I was in the blender (because the rest of it is built like a tank) when I noticed that simply searching for “KitchenAid Blender” had a tendency to bring up (within the first 6 results) information specifically about the coupling:

All I can determine from these search result trends are that this is one heck of a common problem with KitchenAid blenders I assume if searching for “KitchenAid blender” on Amazon, Google Images and Google bring up the repair kits and replacement “couplings” almost as frequently as the blenders themselves.

Just check out the Amazon page for the new coupling, 85 customer reviews, are you serious? This page probably has more reviews than the product itself.

KitchenAid you might have a quality control issue guys.

Fortunately for all of us, the replacement coupling is cheap, about $10 with S/H from Amazon. When it arrives, you unscrew the old busted coupling (reverse direction. RIGHTY-loosey, LEFTY-tighty this time) and screw the new one on.

Big thanks goes out to Cameron Scholtz for submitting such nice shots on the Amazon product page showing exactly what this looks like.

The Old One Won’t Come Off!

If all of this sounds easy-cheesey and you go to “unscrew” the old one, only to notice that it turns the entire motor and there is no way to “lock” it so you can unscrew the old, then join the club.

I just spent 15 mins trying to figure out how to get the old one off, and if you read through all the Amazon comments, you’ll notice that every 4th person has a different technique for getting the old one off.

I’ll summarize them here for you:

  • Shove something long and skinny (that’s what she said) through the bottom slats to stop both the fan blades AND the motor blades. The item needs to be about 8″ long and firm.
    • MY EXPERIENCE: I used a drill bit and bent it and was still unable to unscrew the old coupling.
  • Using a hammer and a screw driver, “tap” the old coupling head in a clockwise direction and it will come loose.
    • MY EXPERIENCE: I didn’t understand this, because the coupling turns the entire motor, so how does hitting it help? I tried anyway, hit it about 8 times in clockwise fashion from the top and side. Nothing happened except it turned every time.
  • Using the claws on the back of a hammer, put it under the old coupling and pull up then turn the base of the blender clockwise to release the coupling.
    • MY EXPERIENCE: Again, I didn’t understand how this was suppose to work, but I tried anyway… it didn’t work at all.
  • Using a screw driver, actually pry the old coupling off gently.
    • MY EXPERIENCE: This sounded nuts. I was sure I would break the drive shaft, but after 15mins of failures I finally tried this and it worked. More details below.

As mentioned, the “pry the stupid thing off with a screw driver” technique was the only one that worked for me.

The reason this works is because the coupling itself is made out of lead, and is a soft metal, while the drive shaft it’s screwed onto is a hardened steel. So if you keep prying and working your way around the base of the coupling, bit by bit, it will eventually rip itself off the threads from the bottom and come off.

The way I did this was to shove a medium sized flat-head screw driver under the coupling, and TURN the screw driver like I was screwing something in. This forced the coupling UP when the screw driver was twisted at it’s highest point, and back down and then UP and back down again as stayed in the same place but kept turning the coupling and working it in different sections.

The old coupling finally came off, but be aware that the “base” on the blender that you are screwing against is also lead, so you eat it up pretty bad with this technique:

Now that the old one is off, grab your new one, screw it on and be happy that you are done with this stupid mess.

Buy 2 Extra

After reading more about this online, I saw a few people say that every 3 to 5 years they have to replace the coupling on their KitchenAid blender.

If you are the patient type, then buy 2 of these things at one time incase it happens again when you need the blender.

If you are not the patient type and don’t mind spending a lot on appliances, buy a Blendtec blender.

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About Riyad Kalla

Software development, video games, writing, reading and anything shiny. I ultimately just want to provide a resource that helps people and if I can't do that, then at least make them laugh.

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13 Responses to “How to Fix and Replace a KitchenAid Blender Coupling”

  1. Terry Duboisdure September 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    Had the very same problem tonight. First feeling was….fuck, I spent a lot of money on that crap. Pretty much all our kitchen appliances are ” blue ” Kitchenaid units !!!!
    It is only about 3 years old and has had a pampered life. From a few milkshakes to a dozen soups, I really thought nothing would get to it.
    But the coupler went KAPUTT, just as it has done so for thousand of folks who have come on line to express their dismay.
    After going online and finding out that part was ” THE weak link ” to a level you would think Kitchenaid by now would have fixed the trouble ( like aluminum core, including the teeth, with a nice rubber coating to smoothout the impacts and the vibrations and the wear !!!), and reading about all the TECHNICS to get it unscrewed from the blender’s motor shaft, I decided to go from soft to worse :
    First approach was to take a fat flat long screwdriver ( about 12″ long ), set it at the bottom of one of the broken rubber teeth, keep it fairly vertical ( about 45 degres from vertical, if too flat, it will just turn the shaft ) and hit it going clockwise with a very soft hammer blow : AMAZING my friend !!! The coupler went spining after the very first try.
    COST : $ 0.00 TIME : 15 secondes !
    I bought 2 coulpers on EBAY for $ 13.00 including shipping and I HOPE it will do the trick.
    I am pissed at Kitchenaid and will call / write to them tomorrow.
    In the meantime, I am going to buy all the couplers in the world…..because a bunch of us are going to need them…..

  2. massimo nutini February 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Great! Astonishing, it works really the way you’re describing! The first five minuts are horrible, then all of a sudden the old thing comes off!
    Thanks!

  3. Johno from Singapore March 16, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    This is unbelievable – I will never buy Kitchenaid again. My wife and I bought a kitchenaid blender one month ago on Ebay which blew up when we plugged it in and nobody – not even certified Kitchenaid repair places will touch it. A week ago we bought a different model from a proper store and we shredded the coupling (as described above) simply by blending fruit and ice to make smoothies. The coupling lasted a week but the smell of burning rubber was apparent on first use. The instructions tell you to leverage it off with a screw driver (which took me an hour) which shreds the thread and the blender is useless. I can’t believe they passed this to the production phase – stay away from them – $700 dollars later we are going out to buy another brand.

    • Riyad Kalla March 19, 2011 at 7:05 am #

      Johno,

      I totally agree that the replacement “instructions” for this process are total bullshit. Even though I read 20-something posts online about how people “just popped it off” or slammed a screw driver into it backwards and it “unscrewed” or something… it was all crap, I had to *pry* it off, widdling away, edge by edge, on each side and it took me like 35mins to get it done.

      Cheap/stupid design.

      If I had to do it over again, I would have just bought a damn Blendtec or something equally resilient (even though I don’t love that the Blendtec containers feel cheap)

  4. firefighterdave March 21, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Let me let all the readers know the correct way for getting this silly thing off. As another reader said, my appliances are also all red and I wasnt going to go spend the money and buy a new one. I have to say that all the blogs here did set me on the right track.

    First of all, kitchen aid techs have a special tool that they use which gets this thing off in just seconds. If you notice, the spindle underneath the broken teeth has two flat sides on it for a wrench. All you need is a 1/8 piece of steel. Go into the “Beam Straps” section at Home Depot Buy one that is about 1.5 ” wide and about 6″ long. They may even have a slot wrench there if you explain to them what you need to do.
    Once you have the metal, just drill a hole about the same size as the spindle on the blender a 1/2 inch from the edge of the metal on the end. Then cut down to the hole you just drilled with a hack saw to make a slot. You just made a special wrench for your blender!
    Hold the spindle with your wrench, and you should be able to spin off the top part with your hands or a pair of pliers. Remember, you are loosening the reverse way. In other words, turn it to the right. Youre done. Hopefuly, the replacement part is more sturdy than the original equipment…

    • George January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Actually, remove the four rummer feet, remove the screws underneath, pull the base off, put a screwdriver thru the fan blades until you stop them and the motor from turning and unscrew the broken piece. Easy

      • Riyad Kalla January 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

        Ah! George, appreciate the tip. Next time it goes I’ll give that a try.

    • Matt January 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      The shaft, or “spindle” as you put it, does have two flat sides on it. A 7 mm wrench will fit right on it. A counter-clockwise turn with the wrench, while holding the plastic coupling still with a pair of pliers or channel locks is all that is required. No special tools for me, and it only took a minute!

  5. Bob February 23, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Tried holding fan blades but they are not keyed to the shaft and motor turned. Tried firefighterdaves idea but used 2 pieces of flat stock under coupling pinching shaft, worked easily.Now that it is apart a 7mm wrench that is filed thin enough to fit under coupling will fit the flats on the shaft. Thanks to prior posts.

  6. Tom February 24, 2012 at 1:43 am #

    Hi,

    Same problem, same disbelief. I loved this blender, until now.

    In any case, some repair kits supply multiple couplers and include a wrench (spanner) for the job.

    http://www.kitchenaidparts.co.uk/Home/tabid/36/p/3-KitchenAid-Couplers-%2b-spanner/ProductID/74151/CategoryID/6/Default.aspx

  7. Tom February 25, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    P.S. – The method mentioned above by George, involving removing the bottom of the blender, worked quite easily. Having now done that, I’d say that the special wrench (or one you try to make) is unnecessary. Good luck.

  8. Matt January 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    The shaft, or “spindle” as you put it, does have two flat sides on it. A 7 mm wrench will fit right on it. A counter-clockwise turn with the wrench, while holding the plastic coupling still with a pair of pliers or channel locks is all that is required. No special tools for me, and it only took a minute!

  9. Liam September 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    The problem is to find a thin flat 7mm wrench, standard 7mm wrench won’t fit under.

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