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Old 07-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #41
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Belts came in the mail yesterday, replaced them this AM, and did one load with front cover off to check things, then zipped it all back together (all two screws!), and DW has run a few more loads. Good as new! I plan to be proactive on this for the next go-around, and have marked my 2038 calendar for a belt replacement, whether it needs it or not ! I'll enter an inflation adjusted $15.31 expense into FIRECALC to plan for this.
You sure you don't want to spend $600-1000 every 4-8 years to replace the washer with a high efficiency unit that could save you "up to" $50/yr in utility costs? I mean it would cost a lot more, but your wife would have a shiny new toy to look at (with more buttons!) when she did laundry.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:30 PM   #42
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Late to this thread. You sound like my brother-in-law or my dad although even he tended not to try and fix 20+ years appliances.

This sounds like the paradox of the thrift. While it is good for you to be so frugal, there somewhere out there an appliance company is crying as are their worker, all 10.

Remains me of the ads for the bored Maytag appliance guy.
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:23 PM   #43
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Remains me of the ads for the bored Maytag appliance guy.
With a twist. The old maytag guy was bored because his products were so reliable. Now they are bored because a service call to replace a $15 part cost more than new appliance
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:25 AM   #44
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Late to this thread. You sound like my brother-in-law or my dad although even he tended not to try and fix 20+ years appliances.
...
I normally wouldn't try to salvage a 20+ yo appliance, but there are some points that made this decision somewhat unique, and very easy for me:

1) As I mentioned, this washer has not needed a single repair or even preventive maintenance for 27 years of hard use. That tells me something about how well it was built.

2) The repair was cheap and simple.

3) Upon further inspection, other than some minor rust on the chassis, everything seems to be in good shape.

4) I've got feedback here, and on other forums/sources, that supports #1 - this washer was one of the most reliable ever built.

5) It's tucked away in a closet- appearance isn't an issue for us.

6) I've got lots of feedback that the new ones are NOT built to last. I have a reasonable expectation that this repair will outlast a modern replacement washer.

7) Fixing it was actually easier than shopping for and installing a new one.

8) Any savings from the HE models would be low in absolute $ for us, and likely negated by the purchase price of a new washer.

9) LBYM bragging rights

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One Year Update
Old 07-20-2014, 10:09 AM   #45
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One Year Update

It's been a year, and this old washer continues to run as good as new.

I'd say the $15 investment and a few minutes time was well worth it.

As for the naysayers:

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Nope ship it to the curb and save yourself the eventual hassel when you have a sopping wet floor and half cleaned clothes. ...
No sopping wet floor, and no reason to think there would be. Clothes are fully cleaned, just like always. Everything looked fine inside when I made the repair, and this machine has not leaked in the past 27 years, why would it start now?

I wonder what % of brand new, high tech washers break down in the first year? I'm willing to bet this proven design is at least as good at this age as most new ones are in their first year.

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Old 07-20-2014, 10:48 AM   #46
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I wonder what % of brand new, high tech washers break down in the first year? I'm willing to bet this proven design is at least as good at this age as most new ones are in their first year.
The low end machines today might be designed just like your 27 (now 28) year old machine. Just don't buy a fancy new one...
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:02 PM   #47
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I suspect washing machines are a lot like cars. The older ones may break down more (especially as they age), but they are usually much simpler and much easier to fix with ordinary tools and no special equipment. These days, many cars pretty much need special (and often very expensive) equipment just to gain access to otherwise cheap, simple parts.
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TWO Year update!
Old 07-16-2015, 09:31 AM   #48
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TWO Year update!

Hopefully, I can continue to bore people with this for many years to come!

The below applies, but it is now two years of non-stop, maintenance-free, leak-free washing (after the repair and the initial 27 years with a single repair)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
It's been a year, and this old washer continues to run as good as new.

I'd say the $15 investment and a few minutes time was well worth it.

As for the naysayers:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al in Ohio View Post
Nope ship it to the curb and save yourself the eventual hassel when you have a sopping wet floor and half cleaned clothes. ...

No sopping wet floor, and no reason to think there would be. Clothes are fully cleaned, just like always. Everything looked fine inside when I made the repair, and this machine has not leaked in the past 27 years, why would it start now?

I wonder what % of brand new, high tech washers break down in the first year? I'm willing to bet this proven design is at least as good at this age as most new ones are in their first year.

-ERD50
I'll add that somewhere along the line (I think this forum), someone linked to this washer as a reliable, cheap 'old style' unit:

Amazon.com: Speed Queen AWN412 3.3 Cu. Ft. White Top Load Washer: Appliances

discontinued now, but you might find an equivalent with some searching.


-ERD50
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:51 PM   #49
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Since you started this post two years ago, I have had to replace one part on my old Sears (by Whirlpool) washer. The water-level sensor became iffy, and set on Full Load, it filled over the top of the tub, then after a bit, thought better of it, it turned off the water, and started agitating... which put more water over the tub rim! TG for a floor drain!

I was able to duplicate the problem with a DVM connected on the water level sensor. I also verified that the air tube down to the tub was not blocked. The sensor is a diaphragm-type of pressure switch, and the water level knob changes the preload on the sensor's diaphragm. More preload pressure for higher water level.
Until the new part came in, we just ran it on mid-level water, which was higher than normal due to the sensor.

For the Speed Queen all electromechanical (no electronics), replace the "412" with "432".
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:27 AM   #50
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When we bought our house 30 years ago, we inherited a Maytag washer and a Kenmore dryer left by the prior owners. They've been used almost daily since then. I've repaired both of them several times, but like the Energizer bunny, they just keep going.

I lament the cheap construction and difficult to repair nature of more modern appliances, but I understand the economics. As the cost of maintaining an inventory of parts and sending a knowledgeable repair person to a home represents a sizable fraction of the price of a new unit, it makes more sense to just throw away the old item and buy new. Building in repairability typically adds to the cost and represents a feature which most consumers aren't willing to pay extra for.
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:41 AM   #51
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Building in repairability typically adds to the cost and represents a feature which most consumers aren't willing to pay extra for.
The market for appliances is highly competitive and fragmented, with scores of different models for each type of machine. So, a manufacturer doesn't need to appeal to a majority of consumer, they'd probably be thrilled and consider it a home run if they could appeal to 10% of the buyers. Aren't 10% of people interested in a machine that's easy to troubleshoot and cheap to repair? Even if they don't want to fix it themselves, they know somebody who will, or they realize that the service guy will charge them less and they can keep it running for extra years before replacing it? Add in the fact that these buyers might be willing to pay a few bucks extra and it seems like a niche market that would be worth pursuing.

All this goes double for automobiles.

But, I can't argue with the market, and few companies appear to be doing this, so I'm probably wrong. (BTW, did I mention my easy-to-fix Staber washing machine?)
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Old 07-17-2015, 08:45 AM   #52
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...
I lament the cheap construction and difficult to repair nature of more modern appliances, but I understand the economics. As the cost of maintaining an inventory of parts and sending a knowledgeable repair person to a home represents a sizable fraction of the price of a new unit, it makes more sense to just throw away the old item and buy new. Building in repairability typically adds to the cost and represents a feature which most consumers aren't willing to pay extra for.
I'd agree that this is a consideration, but I think it could be managed better in some cases.

For small electronics, yes, it probably isn't feasible to make them repairable. The manufacturing techniques used to shrink the size and support economic mass production just does not lend itself to being repaired, and the costs are often so low, and technology changing so fast, consumers probably wouldn't care too much anyhow. For these products, I think the focus should be on improving the recycle-ability, assure that they do get recycled (maybe we should put down a refundable deposit, like on a lead-acid car battery?), and standardizing the supporting components (the way Europe did by regulating that cell phones all needed to start supporting a standard USB style charger, so that chargers could be re-used, and re-purposed, and every new phone did not also come with a new charger. That was a win-win, I think).

But for larger stuff, like major appliances, I think they could go a long way towards making them afford-ably repairable. There could be a standard set of modules for the switch/inputs and for displays that just pop out with a screw driver. Poster samclem points out the Staber washing machine that has basic mechanical switches (but the unit is probably not considered 'sexy' enough for many consumers).

I think manufacturers could still differentiate their products and use these standard modules. After all, having USB chargers didn't kill the cell phone market. As much as I prefer keeping the govt out of things, I think there may be room here for some regulation or labeling requirements to help keep these big items out of landfills, but I'm not sure how you'd set good metrics for it.

I had a minor part failure on a new Sears dishwasher. When I called, they offered to send the part to me to self-install (it was a very easy job), but also stressed they would send out a repair person if I wanted. When you consider the time'effort of scheduling a call, and waiting for someone to come out, it was far easier for me to take the DIY approach.

This could be a selling point for a manufacturer. Maybe a tough sell, but I think it is a possibility.

edit/add: cross-posted much of this with samclem (including the Staber ref!).

-ERD50
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:35 PM   #53
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The last time we bought a new washer (30 years ago) the dealer (who was also the sales and repair guy) tipped the washer up and showed us the stuff that made it work. It looked like an industrial sized clock. Steel gears, no belts, no pulleys, no plastic. Anything that breaks on one of those babies, is going to be something small (a timer, a relay switch, etc.) Now, if you could look inside one, you'll see plastic and belts. They work fine until they don't.

If I were to buy a "new" washer, I would try to find a similar dealer as our first one and ask him to be on the look out for a 20 year old model which he is taking out as part of the deal for a new one. I'd ask him to "make it like new" and assume it would last me the rest of my life (minus the occasional blown relay, etc.) YMMV
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Update on Washer's 30th birthday!
Old 07-18-2016, 09:35 AM   #54
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Update on Washer's 30th birthday!

Fortunately, I am able to update this thread for another year of trouble-free washing

So three years after a simple and cheap repair, this old washer is still going strong. We may have even had an increased washing load the past year, as DD is living at home temporarily, until she settles on an apartment. She is a nurse, so those scrubs get washed each work day, plus her regular clothes.

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Old 07-18-2016, 10:24 AM   #55
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Fortunately, I am able to update this thread for another year of trouble-free washing
Good news. I think it has become much easier for those of us with the inclination to keep appliances (and cars, etc) running thanks to the resources now available on the internet. It's often easy to find repair parts, videos on how to troubeshoot problems and how to do the actual repairs, and user groups/businesses offering assistance. Hopefully you can keep this beast alive for many more years (hoping I don't jinx you with that comment).

I wonder if one could make a business providing washing machines/dryers to people for in-home use with all maintenance included. For $100/year (or maybe 50 cents per load--the per-load billing would be easy with modern cell phone technology) the business would supply the machines and all maintenance. The machines would be older easily-fixed standbys rescued from the scrapper, just a few different models so that it would be easy to keep the needed parts on hand. It might appeal to people who don't want to have to find a repairman, shop for a new machine, come up with the dollars for a repair or a new machine, etc. If a family just wants to have a machine available in their house to wash clothes without any fuss/cost unpredictability, this might be an appealing option.
When a client has a problem, go to every maintenance call with a ready-to-go washer and dryer on the bed of the truck. If the existing unit can't be quickly fixed on the spot (a switch, relay, etc), swap out the unit and take the old one back to the shop to be fixed, the common wer items inspected and replaced if necessary, and sent to another customer when the time comes.
As an added bonus, if a customer signs a 5 year contract and pays $50 extra, they can have a matching washer and dryer in any color Rustoleum sells in a spray can.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:30 AM   #56
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Interesting idea! It made me curious and I found a mid to high end pair of Maytag units for less than 100/mo (12 mo same as cash). If you could do this every year, the units would never be out of warranty. OTOH if the clients credit doesn't qualify for same as cash, places like RentaCenter would charge 3x for 90 day terms or 6x for 6yr term with 150 monthly pmt. Not sure the low credit quality clients would be worth the risk. Still thinking of what the target audience for such a service would be.


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Old 07-19-2016, 09:05 AM   #57
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Still thinking of what the target audience for such a service would be.
Yes, I don't know if the business would be selling convenience to higher-end customers (who don't want to waste time with a washer/dryer purchase every few years and with choosing a repair person when the need arises: they just want a machine available to wash their clothes) or if the target audience would be low- to mid-income households who don't want/can't handle the upfront expense of the machines and the occasional surprise maintenance cost, but who want something much more convenient than a laundromat.
Customers with low credit scores could be a problem for several reasons, and I think it would be fair and prudent to charge them a bit more for at least the first few years until a history is established (and the machines are effectively paid off). It would still be a better deal than the laundromat, and probably lower costs per month than they could get buying a new machine with financing (and with no threat of an unexpected repair bill).
From a service/repair aspect, the business would have considerably lower costs than a typical appliance repair operation due to: Limited types of machines to service (lower parts inventory required, deep experience with troubleshooting/typical problem areas, ability to cannibalize dead machines for parts you know you'll be able to use right away, etc), machines selected to be highly repairable, pre-stated willingness of customers to accept a swap-out of machines (so the broken appliance can be fixed conveniently at the shop and no return trip is needed to that house).

Sorry to have hijacked your thread, ERD50.
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:44 AM   #58
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I'd guess a washer run once a week lasts a lot longer elapsed time than on run twice a day.
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