Kenmore 417 front loader washer: There should be class action suit on this machine!

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I bought a brand new Kenmore front loader washer in 2000. It was the model number that started with 417 xxxx.
I live alone, so only do maybe one load a week, very light usage for a washer
After 7 years of light use the main bearing of this machine failed. The seal failed and all the internal lube as slung out over inside of machine.
To make matters worse, the main bearing is integral to the tub which means that one must buy a whole new tub assembly to replace only that main bearing!
Just wondering if anyone lese has been stung with this washer and what they've done abt it?
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Unless you have an expensive machine (e.g.: a front loader), you just don't pay anything to repair 7 year old washing machines. You just get a new one.
You were a little unlucky but 7 years is OK for a washing machine.
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Yes my machine IS a front loader
I'm not sure I agree that 7 years use out of an $800 front loader was such great longevity
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Ok but what would you advise replacing it with?
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7 years for a single person to use a washer and have it break is way too short. Was it the small Kenmore front loader? If so it was made by Frigidaire and is not reliable. Consumer Reports publishes frequency of repair records. You can check it out at the local library. They just rated washers again very recently.
Another unreliable frontloader is the original Maytag neptune. We have one and it broke once in 10 years and we considered ours reliable because we did about 6 loads per week including heavy comforters. The reason it got a lousy reliability rating is that early models had 3 problems.... mildew build up inside, a bad door lock motor, and that would burn out the circuit board. But if you called up Maytag and complained about mildew during the first few years of ownership, they upgraded it for free and corrected all the problems. Unfortunately, someone started a class action suit so Maytag dug its heels in and stopped the free upgrade. We got the free upgrade and it is a terrific machine. You can buy the current version at Lowes for about $550. Even though Consumer Reports says it isn't reliable for the reasons I listed, I think you will find it reliable now that they got all the bugs out and it is certainly the cheapest large front loader that conserves water on the market. And Lowes sells 4 year service agreements relatively cheap if you want to be conservative. Last time I looked you could get 4 extra years of warranty for $89.
Consumer Reports favorite machine is the large Kenmore front loader made by whirlpool. It is called the H3 or H4 or something like that. They run around $900.

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Just a few comments about this thread...
1. The latest Maytag front loader is a rebadged Whirlpool Duet/Kenmore HE machine. There is virtually no difference between these machines, and you should get the cheapest one. All Maytag brands are now owned by Whirlpool, which has shut down many of their former assembly lines and put the Maytag name on their own products.
2. While electronic problems were fixed over the years by Maytag on their Neptune, the mildew issue never really was permanently fixed, despite all the mechnanical improvements they made over the years, which included the components in the upgrade kit. All front loaders have a propensity toward mildew and mold, some more than others. Neptune, being the oldest and most popular design after the resurgence in front loader popularity in the 90s, seems to have had the biggest problem.with mold/mildew.
3. The old Maytag Neptune front load washer lives on, reskinned in another cabinet, under the the Amana brand. It is now the Amana Enlighten front load washer, with a model number similar to NAH6800AWW.
4. All front load washers can have bearing problems, some more than others, and you always have to replace part of the outer tub to replace the bearings; the bearings are not a replacable part alone. The old Neptune machines almost never had bearing problems. Front loaders made by Frigidaire (and their rebadged counterparts) seem to have the most.
5. Main seal leaks seem to be most popular with Frigidaire front loaders (and their rebadged counterparts), probably because the o-ring that keeps water in is so tiny, and the system that connects the front and rear half of the outer tub utilizes a series of screws, instead of the clamps that Whirlpool uses, and Maytag used in the past.
6. Because of main seal leaks, and bearing problems, Frigidaire machines should be be viewed as 5-year units, unless you choose to purchase some sort of maintenance agreement to deal with these problems later on.
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why is this...?
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Because they are normally closed when not in use. Also the mildew is just more obvious at the front seal. Top loaders have mildew between tubs but you can't see it.

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Mildew and odor form on front loaders for a couple for reasons. Water pools at the bottom, but on the other surface area of the outer tub, water just sprays onto the surface. If you add soap scum in the area of the outer tub that gets very little washing action of water, this makes a potent breeding ground for mildew and odor, As far as the rubber boot goes, this forms mildew due the properties of the rubber itself, as well as the presence of water and humidity.
Why replace the outer tub in order to replace the bearings? The bearings on a front loader carry a lot of weight. The bearing has to be set into the tub strongly. This doesn't leave much room for ease of removal.
Let me add one additional thought about...Consumer Reports. I have read their reviews on laundry machines, and it is as if they don't really know what they are talking about. For example, they rated the Calypso washer, one of the worst designs of all time, very highly until the bitter end. Instead of rating model numbers, which change at the designer's whim, they really should rate platforms, the building foundation of all machines. Here are the only platforms that exist on domestic machines, both in traditional and non-standard agitator (NSA) designs:
Whirlpool top loader and Cabrio NSA Whirlpool Duet full size front loader and the smaller Sport (which is slightly different from Duet) GE top loader, and GE NSA (I forget the name of this). Frigidaire top loader and front loader
This pretty much covers the entire field of washers. All other brands are just brand-engineered on these platforms. For example, the GE front loader sold at Home Depot is made by Frigidaire. All Kenmore machines are covered in the list above. All Maytag machines are rebadged Whirlpool machines, Amana and other Maytag brands too.
Odds and ends...There is a larger GE front loader rebadged from Asia, Korea I think. Don't know if this is currently on the market. There was an interim Maytag front load washer from Korea as well, marketed after the Maytag Neptune, until Whirlpool bought Maytag, then it was deleted.
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Have any thoughts on the LG or Samsung washers?
And...what's your opinion on the design of the Fisher Paykel top loader? Good Bad?
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the plain old style top load water wasters tend to be highly reliable and low cost.
so a front load saves 20 bucks a year in water, in 10 years thats 200 bucks.
but rather than pay 400 bucks for a top load you spent 900 bucks on a front load.
you will never see a savings from a front load:( they are a marketing gimmick
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more reliable than front loaders over all, right?
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Ours paid for itself in the first year. In water savings alone. Wish we'd had it 20 yrs ago when the kids were here. And we have cheap water rates.
--
Steve Barker







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wrote:

please provide some numbers to back up the savings. lets assume you paid a grand for the front load and could of bought a top load water waster for 500 bucks.
so how did you save 500 bucks in water and sewer in one year?
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Ok, comments about LG and Samsung, along with front load economics in general...
If you want to buy a machine that nobody knows how to fix, where the manufacturer has made no effort to educate US servicers in general, where parts are difficult to identify and locate, then LG and Samsung are your best choice. Also, you might want to choose Fisher and Paykel. As far as durability of these brands, they probably differ little from their US counterparts. However, there really is no need to go international. Domestic brands are just fine, and if you really want a F/P style agitator, you can choose the Whirlpool Cabrio which, IIRC, uses F/P technology anyway. Are you mesmerized by steam? It is a gimmick. Nobody will ever know your garment was steamed, even you.
The movement of the appliance industry in general is toward machines that are so highly electronic and highly complicated, that only the largest service outfits will have the deep pockets to offer service on your machine, and the independents will slowly fade away. Let's say you have a $1k washer, and it is broken and no particular component presents itself as the exact problem. Now, which servicer will take the risk to install a $250 board or $375 motor in it to see if they can bring it back to life? No small servicer will stock those parts or take the risk of being wrong. They'll be relegated to the simpler machines, while all the popular ones with all the bells and whistles will be left to the big boys.
Regarding the economics of front loaders, I would agree that there is a very long breakeven point for these machines. Don't buy one for the energy or water savings, unless you live where there is no water. Probably the best reason to buy a front loader is if you want to install it right out there so that your friends and neighbors can see it. They'll be impressed, and you'll feel really good about yourself.
This is my dream, to take my 2k which I would use to buy a front loader set, and buy 3 regular washers, and 3 regular dryers, and then build a laundromat in my home, and do an entire week of laundry in an hour.
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HAhaha!
Good one. Thanks for the laugh!
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OK..... so what "design" do you feel is the most robust? Do you feel it is still the standard top loader agitator design that had been in use for years? It sound like your are nor sold on front loaders nor or you sold on FP type designs (Cabrio)
Also, what is an "NSA" machine?
Thanks for all your help!
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Oh, a little more about the F/P...I think that it and the Cabrio will be the next Calypso, but we'll have to wait a few more years to find out. Generally, NSA machines have dubious cleanability profiles, and people say they twist and tear clothing. Typicall NSA machines have greater pump problems. You'll have to decide for yourself to see if it is worth it. Don't forget, NSA machines can have the same mildew/ odor issues as a front loader, since both are low water machines.
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Ooops.. never mind I know what NSA means now
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In answer to your question, a washer doesn't have to be "robust" to clean your clothes. A Whirlpool washer with a regular agitator, little electronics or other bells and whistles, is just fine. They are easy to repair, service and parts are readily available.
Front loaders have their own repair profile. I am not suggesting that one not buy one, but to accept the idea that those problems can't be avoided just because the machine was expensive; saying to your repairman, "I spent a thousand dollars on this machine and I think it should have lasted longer" won't have much impact, because he doesn't really care.
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