Washing Machine: Repair or Replace?

Hi:
We have a Frigidaire (White Consolidated Industries) top loading washing machine.
As I understand things, the motor goes one direction to make it agitate and the other to spin. There is a fancy transmission that attends to the details.
The problem is that lately when it agitates it is slowly spinning the tub at the same time. With a LARGE effort I can stop the tub but it wants to spin. It spins fast enough to "pile up" the water on the outside and lower the water level at the agitator.
Has anyone even "fixed" this condition? Can the "transmission" be removed and "fixed?" or is it a LRU (least replaceable unit)? In either case, how easy is it to remove it.
The machine is approaching it's 7th birthday come this October.
SO:
1) Has anyone here actually attempted to repair this problem?
2) Has anyone here PAID someone else to repair this problem?
3) Does anyone have a recommendation for a long lived replacement that will not require ANY maintenance for YEARS and YEARS.
BTW: we live "out of town" and getting a repairman can be a PITA.
For those who like numbers: Model FWS44RFS0.
Thanks in advance.
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Anything can be fixed but sometimes the price can also approach the cost of a new machine if it is a major component like the transmission. You may find some help at www.repairclinic.com .

I know what worked in the past, but times have change so I don't know about the present models. Had a Maytag in my last house and it was running after 15 years when we left it. Next Maytag lasted 22 years and I put on two belts in that time. Could have been fixed (motor was going) but I did not see the value of putting money into an old machine.
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John,
Good news, bad news. I remember fixing that problem on a washer years ago, but I now forget the exact cause and the fix in that situation.
To the best of my memory, I think that it was a bad timer. I'm usually good at rebuilding timers, which can be a pain in the butt at times. Purchasing and replacing a timer yourself is a very simple task and you are only out the cost of the part (about $100).
Timers can be fixed. If you are very handy and you are positive that the timer is bad, then you've got a reasonable chance that (1) you'll spot a simple problem such as some burned contacts, (2) you can fix it, and (3) you can get the timer back together properly. It's a good learning experience and if the timer is already bad, then you've got little to lose except a bit of your time.
I'm certain that others will have more precise advice on this problem. Just remember that you don't want to purchase a timer unless you feel reasonably certain that you've narrowed down the problem. Most appliance stores will not take back an electrical part - for good reason, since few are defective from the manufacturer but many are ruined by homeowners who install the electrical part incorrectly.
Have you tested the washer's behavior on all positions and, most importantly, on all cycles? A bad timer may give you problems on just certain parts of certain cycles. A bad tranny would be a more consistent problem. Personally, I doubt that this is a transmission problem.
If you have a bad timer, then I think that installing a new one yourself should be easy and worthwhile on a 7 year old washer. I don't know what you'd be charged to have it fixed by a repairman, but I'd suggest getting an estimate before bringing him out. A $120 timer could cost you $200 from the repairman, plus his trip charge and his labor cost. Do you put $300 into a 7 year old washer?
The repairman has a right to make a profit, but you've got a right to make an informed decision about how much money you want to throw at a 7 year old washer.
Good luck, Gideon
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Thanks, but I am morally certain that there is nothing wrong with the timer. In this design, the timer controls the speed and rotation direction of the motor. The motor seems to be operating at the correct speed and the correct rotation direction. The only other thing the timer does is turn the water pump on and off at the right time and that seems "OK" too.
Frankly, unless the appliances of 20+ years ago, the "modern" timers seem quite reliable.

Yep. I checked one source: $89.xx plus shipping.
Frankly, if I get a new machine, I might strip the present machine of useful parts and try to sell them on ebay! Frankly, for the price "they" charge for parts, you could make a living by buying new machines for the parts and selling the parts!

Actually, I did take out a timer of a dishwasher. It took a little "figuring" but I got to where I understood the wiring diagram. There was nothing wrong with the timer, unfortunately. Basically, there was a LOT of wear and tear on the moving parts.

I thank you.

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On Fri, 3 Jun 2005 18:55:27 -0400, "John Gilmer"

solenoid on top of the transmission, to "shift gears" on it... See if you have a problem with it being stuck half way between spin and agitate.
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Apparently, that's your "father's washing machine." This machine doesn't have any solenoids (except for hot and cold water). For example, rather than having the main motor power the pump, they have a separate electric pump that's turned on when needed. The switching from agitation to spin is done by stopping the motor and restarting it in the reverse direction. It definitely makes for a simple design except for the "transmission" and I still haven't quite figured out how "they" even could do it, let alone how "they" actually did do it.
(There is a gadget that locks down the lid during spin. That's some kind of "thermal" actuator; it doesn't use magnetism as a solenoid wood. Of course, the water valves have solenoids so I should have counted them.)
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Many WCI machines had a spring at the bottom of the transmission that would allow the cloths basket to index while agitating. The way the spring works is that it loosens in one direction and tightens in the other. If you have this transmission I suggest you buy a new Whirpool/Roper/Estate washer.
Hard to beat at $329 http://www.estateappliances.com/shopping/Specs.asp?Model=TAWS750P&Appliance 100&BaseModel=TAWS750P&SpecModelNo=TAWS750PQ
Impossible to beat at $279 http://www.roperappliances.com/specs/Specs.asp?Model=RAS6233P&Appliance 100&BaseModel=RAS6233P&SpecModelNo=RAS6233PQ
Worst of the 3 at $299 but good http://www.whirlpool.com/catalog/product.jsp?src=WASHERS&categoryId 5&productId$2
All major parts in these washers are the same except for the motor. The Whirlpool brand has a single speed while the other two have 2 speed motors. Same transmission, same tub size, same quality, same warranty.
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IOW: the sping tends to only let the tub rotate in the "spin" direction? Make sense!
Are you also saying that my "spring" has gone south? And that it can't be easily fixed?
Do your suggested replacements use the same basic scheme as our WCI machine?
It's seems like a good basic design but if they got cheap with the transmission, all bets are off.
As far you suggestions are concerned I will take a copy of your message when I shop. My choices of merchant are (realistically) Sears, Lowe's and Best Buy.
Thanks

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That is very sad. No local independents? Many of the locals not belong to buying co-ops. They can be very price competitive with the big stores and offer a lot of personal service. After deciding to replace rather than fix out 22 year old machine I went to the local Maytag dealer. I went at 11:00 AM and by 3:00 the new machine was delivered and set up, the old one removed. Cost difference was about +$20 compared to the big box stores.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Hear Hear.
I remodeled my Kitchen and bought all the appliances (DW, Stove, Oven, compactor) from an independent mom and pop shop.
NO PROBLEMS WITH ANY of the appliances. Not a one. If there were, I've a feeling I'd be covered.
OTOH, bought a new W/D and Fridge from Sears.
Washer, went first, followed by the Dryer, followed by the fridge; all within 1 month of each other.
Sears laughed.
Well, to be honest, Sears quit caring a long time ago about quality.
The people Sears pays to not care laughed.
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I have to drive close to 40 miles to get to ANY major appliance store. There is a local guy who is my HVAC man and he did install a Hotpoint dishwasher for me. But he doesn't have a choice of wholesalers and he tends to be "take it or leave it."
When you live "in the country" you don't have as many options. "Mom & Pop" tend to have short hours and otherwise don't seem to care or are way to busy to spend much time on hand holding. That's why when a new "Big Box" store opens, folks come in from as far as 60 miles away just to check it out.
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