Author Topic: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine  (Read 3529 times)

Frankies Girl

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Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« on: November 27, 2017, 12:58:43 PM »
I keep waffling on this, so I thought I'd ask here.

TD/DR:

Vintage washing machine died. Could repair for ~$200 or buy new one for $300. What to do?




We have a washing machine that was given to us when we bought our house. It belonged originally to DH's grandparents, and the inlaws had it sitting unused in their garage at least a year before they gave it to us. It is from the early to mid 1990s as far as the husband remembers. So at least 20 years and more likely over 25 years old. Had it over 13 years and it has done okay, but not spectacular. But hey, free washer.

It is a Kenmore 70 series "heavy duty" extra capacity washer.

Our household is 2 adults, and we do around 2 loads of laundry every 2 weeks (one warm/one cold wash). Water is cheap for us. We are very low water usage and the water cost savings of a newer model is not a factor as we'd be talking pennies a month.

Washer started having a high pitched squeal sometime in the last year during the spin cycles. It would screech briefly and then stop once it got going. This past week, I started a load, it got through the wash cycle then started spinning to drain in prep for the rinse cycle, let out a LOUD screech and the tub then was not moving by the time I ran in there to look. Turning it on to spin causes a humming sound (motor likely trying) but the tub no longer moves at all. Flipped it to drain out the water, hand wrung the clothes in the load and hung them to dry and started looking around about what to do.

Repair guys in my area that have stellar reputations have a minimum trip fee (some wave whole or part of the fee if you get it repaired with them). It is likely the motor coupler or clutch or both. Or the motor (but I do hear it trying). In any case, we'd be looking at a minimum of $100 and more likely closer to $200 to repair. And no, we aren't capable of doing this ourselves. Had too many DIY failures lately and the both of us have health issues that make it VERY difficult to deal with this crap anyway. And it's a minimum of $50 to even get someone out to diagnose it.

I can get a basic washer brand new all in including installation and new hoses/plug for under $300 because it's black Friday/week (I have until this Friday for the Home Depot sale).

I do not want any bells and whistles and I loathe the idea of a front load washer. I am looking at this one:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Amana-3-5-cu-ft-Top-Load-Washer-in-White-NTW4516FW/207204027

 Reasons I hesitate:

1. It's more complicated since they now have all those sensors and circuit boards. No one thinks these things will last longer than 5-8 years and that's with repairs expected for the electronics/sensors.
2. #$#! water level sensors - WTF? I get that it's supposed to be more efficient, but I want to pick water levels sometimes and this limits you to "let the machine decide" and "fill that sucker to the top!" no in between.
3. Lid lock. Also WTF? I see you can override it but seriously... just another stupid thing to go out and it is VERY inconvenient if you want to throw something in after the load was started and locked in. I guess it prevents a random thief from breaking in while you're doing laundry and stealing your sock tho, right? That's why they end up disappearing and thank dog they finally figured it out and put a freaking lock on the washing machine... (yeah I know).

BUT the idea of just ordering it online, having them install it, and having a potentially better/efficient washing machine that I will not have to worry about breaking down again for (hopefully) years is VERY appealing even with the annoying lock and water level issues. I REALLY do not like surprises and it causes me serious (life disturbing) worry/anxiety.



So pay almost the cost of a brand new one (which seems stupid) to keep the mostly mechanical workhorse washer (which brings me back to "maybe not stupid"), or chuck it and get a new one that will likely work better but may crap out sooner than 20+ years. And am I being silly for being disgruntled about having to replace an appliance in under 20 years? I am afraid I sound like an old crank for grumping about having to consider buying a new fangled appliance that will "only" last 8 or 10 years...
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 01:14:44 PM by Frankies Girl »

Case

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 08:10:44 PM »
I keep waffling on this, so I thought I'd ask here.

TD/DR:

Vintage washing machine died. Could repair for ~$200 or buy new one for $300. What to do?




We have a washing machine that was given to us when we bought our house. It belonged originally to DH's grandparents, and the inlaws had it sitting unused in their garage at least a year before they gave it to us. It is from the early to mid 1990s as far as the husband remembers. So at least 20 years and more likely over 25 years old. Had it over 13 years and it has done okay, but not spectacular. But hey, free washer.

It is a Kenmore 70 series "heavy duty" extra capacity washer.

Our household is 2 adults, and we do around 2 loads of laundry every 2 weeks (one warm/one cold wash). Water is cheap for us. We are very low water usage and the water cost savings of a newer model is not a factor as we'd be talking pennies a month.

Washer started having a high pitched squeal sometime in the last year during the spin cycles. It would screech briefly and then stop once it got going. This past week, I started a load, it got through the wash cycle then started spinning to drain in prep for the rinse cycle, let out a LOUD screech and the tub then was not moving by the time I ran in there to look. Turning it on to spin causes a humming sound (motor likely trying) but the tub no longer moves at all. Flipped it to drain out the water, hand wrung the clothes in the load and hung them to dry and started looking around about what to do.

Repair guys in my area that have stellar reputations have a minimum trip fee (some wave whole or part of the fee if you get it repaired with them). It is likely the motor coupler or clutch or both. Or the motor (but I do hear it trying). In any case, we'd be looking at a minimum of $100 and more likely closer to $200 to repair. And no, we aren't capable of doing this ourselves. Had too many DIY failures lately and the both of us have health issues that make it VERY difficult to deal with this crap anyway. And it's a minimum of $50 to even get someone out to diagnose it.

I can get a basic washer brand new all in including installation and new hoses/plug for under $300 because it's black Friday/week (I have until this Friday for the Home Depot sale).

I do not want any bells and whistles and I loathe the idea of a front load washer. I am looking at this one:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Amana-3-5-cu-ft-Top-Load-Washer-in-White-NTW4516FW/207204027

 Reasons I hesitate:

1. It's more complicated since they now have all those sensors and circuit boards. No one thinks these things will last longer than 5-8 years and that's with repairs expected for the electronics/sensors.
2. #$#! water level sensors - WTF? I get that it's supposed to be more efficient, but I want to pick water levels sometimes and this limits you to "let the machine decide" and "fill that sucker to the top!" no in between.
3. Lid lock. Also WTF? I see you can override it but seriously... just another stupid thing to go out and it is VERY inconvenient if you want to throw something in after the load was started and locked in. I guess it prevents a random thief from breaking in while you're doing laundry and stealing your sock tho, right? That's why they end up disappearing and thank dog they finally figured it out and put a freaking lock on the washing machine... (yeah I know).

BUT the idea of just ordering it online, having them install it, and having a potentially better/efficient washing machine that I will not have to worry about breaking down again for (hopefully) years is VERY appealing even with the annoying lock and water level issues. I REALLY do not like surprises and it causes me serious (life disturbing) worry/anxiety.



So pay almost the cost of a brand new one (which seems stupid) to keep the mostly mechanical workhorse washer (which brings me back to "maybe not stupid"), or chuck it and get a new one that will likely work better but may crap out sooner than 20+ years. And am I being silly for being disgruntled about having to replace an appliance in under 20 years? I am afraid I sound like an old crank for grumping about having to consider buying a new fangled appliance that will "only" last 8 or 10 years...

I know little about washing machines, but i say replace because you said have health issues that prevent DiY, and it is relatively inexpensive machine that probably isnt worth antagonizing over.

Dicey

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 08:55:56 PM »
This just happened to us. We spent nearly $300 to repair a $450 machine. It cost that much because Sears gave DH the wrong part info. He's hoping to sell the wrong part and the installation tools on CL to recoup some of the cost. Who knows if it will sell? We'd do it again, just to keep that hulk out of a landfill.

FG, our other friend TFG has done a couple of posts on this topic, so try looking there if you haven't already.  DH says most washers are dead simple, and yours in particular has a great reputation. For reference, ours is only about five years old. The new ones aren't made nearly as well as the old tanks. Plus the HE machines just don't clean as well, no matter what they tell you.

Dicey

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 09:11:15 PM »
FG, I just asked DH. He says it sounds like the bearing in the gearbox is frozen. It may not be worth replacing. He says if you'll post the model number he'll do some more research for you.

He also says if you replace it, you should lower your expectations. The i expensive new models only last about four or five years. In fact, the problem we had with ours is what he thinks is wrong with yours.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 10:27:11 PM »
Model number 110 92573210 - Kenmore 70 series heavy duty. We looked up the manufacturing date - 1996, so going on 21 years old.

Quote
FG, I just asked DH. He says it sounds like the bearing in the gearbox is frozen. It may not be worth replacing. He says if you'll post the model number he'll do some more research for you.

So did you mean it might not be worth repairing? Or it's such a cheap fix it wouldn't make sense to get a new one? Sorry if I'm reading that wrong. Thanks for any info he can provide... I may be leaning towards new but still could swing back to repair easily.



And the replacement we're considering is an Amana that is on sale for $269, so not an expensive unit at all, which is why we are waffling - if the repair is going to cost us 2/3 the cost of buying brand new, it makes it harder to go with the repair.

New washer is as simple as they come and has 90% 4/5 star reviews. Since we don't do tons of laundry, I'd be shocked if we don't end up getting a bit longer out of it than normal life expectancy as I've read 5-8 years for washer/dryers nowdays, but that's likely for a family of 4 that does 3-4 loads a week average. Would make sense if you're doing half the number of loads over twice the time that it would extend the life of the appliance a fair bit.

We went to the store to look at it, and can fit it in the back of our car so no delivery fee if we go for it. Forgot to confirm return policy, but will make sure before purchase if we've decided by morning on buying the new one, will test it out and if it sucks returning it and fixing the old one (which will shift out to the garage while we test the new unit).

If the new one turns out to be decent, then we'll call the appliance place and ask if they'd like to come get the old unit for free to fix up as a refurb unit so it doesn't get trashed.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 01:32:34 AM by Frankies Girl »

Grogounet

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 02:44:07 AM »
Not only the price you pay for new... I would also consider your wallet in the future and the environment:
 I would like to see the difference in consumption in water and electricity for a new one over a 20 years old appliance?

Another Reader

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2017, 04:51:27 AM »
As a landlord, I buy a lot of washing machines.  The Amana is a POS.  Do not buy it. 

Any Whirlpool/Kenmore product manufactured before 2010 is what you want.  I have a 1998 Whirlpool Gold I inherited sitting in the garage.  It is in line to become my next washer maybe in ten years.  Look around locally to see who is replacing their old set with one of those fancy sets on sale for Black Friday.

If you must buy new, I would look at a simple machine with decent capacity.  I can't recommend one, but generally, Whirlpool is better than GE.  I would not buy a Samsung.

KBecks

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2017, 06:06:23 AM »
I use a 20 year old Kenmore 90 series that I love.   When it dies, I will replace it.

Here's a highly rated Kenmore, that is not too expensive:
http://www.sears.com/kenmore-2622242k-27inch-3.6-cu-ft-agitator-top/p-02622242000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&gclid=CjwKCAiAr_TQBRB5EiwAC_QCq1j840L3Cv6X0z-WHKhgE30U6Qy6-du_VXVHWrGXiu57BP2fSKLsahoCAJMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CM_f3aSs4dcCFdUINwodVUkHwQ#

If you want more of a buy it for life washer and don't mind the money, take a look at a Speed Queen top loader.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 06:25:15 AM by KBecks »

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2017, 07:10:51 AM »
We went through this last summer; we ended up replacing after I took the machine apart and diagnosed it. It would have been ~$75 in parts + a few hours of my labor to fix a 15 year old machine that would like continue to have things wear out. This might not be mustachian, but I like to take a buy it for life approach if at all reasonable.

Bought a mechanical Speed Queen machine. I know you said you can get a new machine for $300, but the life span on so many of these new machines is crap. I'd rather pay more upfront than deal with replacing it every few years; I would also assume most of the waste/pollution associated with a washer occurs when it is made.

If you are set on repairing or replacing with a HE front load home depot type machine, I would repair it, since the overall construction is probably much better.

Dicey

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2017, 07:45:12 AM »
Model number 110 92573210 - Kenmore 70 series heavy duty. We looked up the manufacturing date - 1996, so going on 21 years old.

Quote
FG, I just asked DH. He says it sounds like the bearing in the gearbox is frozen. It may not be worth replacing. He says if you'll post the model number he'll do some more research for you.

So did you mean it might not be worth repairing? Or it's such a cheap fix it wouldn't make sense to get a new one? Sorry if I'm reading that wrong. Thanks for any info he can provide... I may be leaning towards new but still could swing back to repair easily.
I just saw this and texted the info to DH. Sorry, I know my response was confusing. I typed out my answer (keep), then showed your post to DH. He said "replace", but then started asking questions and offered to do some research. He totally gets this stuff, bless his handy heart.

There's also a guy here on the forum who repairs, then sells used washers &  dryers for a living. Anyone "know" him? I can't remember his name, but he's a wealth of information.

P.S. Reviewers are typically reviewing their newly purchased products, so longevity is unknown and that's what you care most about.

omachi

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2017, 08:24:18 AM »
Repair it! The new washers and driers are fancy but seem to be junk that dies in a few years. It's likely that your old ones are simple and after repairs will keep going longer than anything new would. Cheaper to fix and works longer than new are big wins in my book. I'll be repairing mine until I can't find the parts for them anymore.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 08:49:42 AM »
All information is GREATLY appreciated and very helpful. Amana is out of the running.

Starting to think calling the repair place for their opinion might be a good move too. At least if it is too much to repair, I'm only out $50 for the trip charge but I'd have a definite direction to go in - replace with new/used washer.

Just wanted to add if replace with new machine is the smarter move, I'm not worried about pricing so much as getting a decent unit that won't break down on me in 5 years or destroy my clothing.

I just want a non-fancy/basic top-loading machine.

I'm seeing Speed Queen as reliable and not crazy with the bells and whistles, but they are only sold at small independent shops and none within 20 miles of my location strangely enough (and all of them are "call for pricing").

« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 08:52:57 AM by Frankies Girl »

Dicey

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2017, 09:13:41 AM »
Hi FG,
Here's DH's response to my text:
"The unit is direct drive. They make a new metal sleeve motor coupler for this model. The part is only twelve dollars. Might be worth fixing."
Love that man!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2017, 09:21:40 AM »
Hi FG,
Here's DH's response to my text:
"The unit is direct drive. They make a new metal sleeve motor coupler for this model. The part is only twelve dollars. Might be worth fixing."
Love that man!

Thank you so much for checking on this... and thank your DH too! :)

I'm going to discuss with my DH and likely we'll get a repair guy out in the next day or so to at least see what's wrong with it and then make a decision based on the diagnosis at that point.

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2017, 10:22:58 AM »
I'm seeing Speed Queen as reliable and not crazy with the bells and whistles, but they are only sold at small independent shops and none within 20 miles of my location strangely enough (and all of them are "call for pricing").

https://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/AWN432SP113TW04.html#

Free delivery nationwide. The manual Speed Queen will be our next washer as well!

gaja

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2017, 10:32:16 AM »
If you want the environmentalists thoughts: keep and repair.

Simple LCA analysis: You use the machine so rarely, that the production and transport costs, compared to the water and energy savings of a newer machine, will probably take years to break even.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2017, 10:59:49 AM »
After much fussy what-iffing, just called and set up a repair visit. At the least, we'll know by Thursday if the old workhorse can be fixed up for a few more years or if it needs to be retired.

The repair place said it was a stellar washing machine and totally worth fixing... but they might be biased. ;)

Frankies Girl

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2017, 11:44:24 AM »
Repair guy just left.

Motor coupling crapped out on the Kenmore. It was supposed to be a nice simple circle of plastic with a few plastic gears that interlocked... it looked like a old chew toy and wasn't even round any more - turned into a very shreddy-looking oval.

Fixed now just under $200 including trip charge with a 90 day parts/labor warranty, and the guy even said before he got started if it turned out to be something else in addition once he got the motor coupling in that we decided was too expensive to add on, he'd remove the motor coupling parts he put in, and put it back together as it was when he got here and just charge me the trip charge (so he'd eat the labor time to fix/un-fix). That's kind of awesome that he'd offer that.

Washer sounds like a new machine, so that part must have been going south for the last few years. Repair guy even said that as good as these washers are, for it to last 21 years without any repair is a new record for him (it was the original part!). Super nice, fast and it's a local owned shop not a big chain so I feel kind of good about it.

Thanks again for all the information and help and advice, everyone - it really helped and I am very, very grateful.

omachi

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2017, 12:03:30 PM »
That's awesome. Hope it lasts another 21 years.

Dicey

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Re: Another repair/replace thread: 20+ year old washing machine
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 12:15:39 PM »
Ooh, I was wondering what you had decided and now i see it's all done. Hooray!
Yup, DH is a peach and totally worth the wait. I hope we all last another 21 years!