We have one of those Frigidaire-manufactured Kenmore front-load washers
that is now somewhere around 10 years old. Many of these have, AFAICS,
not lasted this long. I see that by 2007 I was reporting that ours was
already rather noisy (bearing noise), but it has kept going with no
other problems until last week, when white clothes were found to have
brown stains. (Some owners have reported loud banging noises, and
someone even reported that theirs sounds as though it was being pushed
down a flight of stairs -- which probably indicates that the "spider"
that attaches the basket to the shaft had failed.)
The official repair method is to buy a whole new rear half of the tub
complete with bearings and seal for approx $180 (Sears does not sell the
bearings and seals separately), but I have ordered those parts for less
than $30. (I had read somewhere that the whole tub half has to be
replaced because the bearings and seal are molded into the plastic tub,
but this is not so: a steel sleeve is molded into the tub, and the
bearings and seal are pressed into that sleeve.)
One I removed the tub and separated the halves it was easy to see why
clothes had come out dirty: large patches of greasy brown stuff, a
mixture of rust and grease, caused by failure of the seal, allowing
water into the bearings and allowing the mixture of rust, water and
grease to get out again and mingle with the clothes.
The rough patches on the inside of the tub turned out not to be the
result of scuffing by the basket, as I thought, but simply hard
residues, perhaps dating from before we installed a water softener.
The basket seems to be in fine shape, with no sign of the corrosion and
failure of the spider that I have seen in photographs; the latter looked
as though they were made of aluminum alloy, whereas ours seem to be
pressed steel with some kind of coating -- no rust. We hardly ever used
anything but High-Efficiency low-suds detergent; maybe this helped as well.
Here are instructions on pulling the thing apart:
and a video showing how to remove and replace the seal and bearings:
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