I bought a brand new Kenmore front loader washer in
2000. It was the model number that started with 417
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?
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
You were a little unlucky but 7 years is OK for a washing machine.
replying to me, Jim Morrow wrote:
True, a class action suit is needed for this model. Mine was 2-3 years old the
1st time it failed and it was from a known issue with the bottom shocks
failing which caused a chain of failures. As of today it simply stopped working,
finis5 a load and started another only it did not work, dead nothing.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
but rather than pay 400 bucks for a top load you spent 900 bucks on a
you will never see a savings from a front load:( they are a marketing
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?
Ok, comments about LG and Samsung, along with front load economics in
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
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
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!
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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