27 Yr Old Whirlpool Died - looking at SpeedQueen or Whirlpool

pgtrMay 18, 2011

I've had my Whirlpool Washer/Dryer since 1984. In recent years had to do a few repairs such as a wigwag etc. But now it's no longer spinning/agitating and vibrating terribly. The 'new' wigwag looks to be bad and manually turning the transmission I feel a lot of variance in resistance. Parts are increasingly hard to find soooo I'm thinking after 27 years it's time to get a completely new set.

I realize modern era Whirlpools are different from my antique. But I did stumble across this video which suggests 'some' Whirpool models have returned to some sort of belt drive setup.


Looking on the internet I ran across a brand called SpeedQueen. They look to be pretty well built.

I want top load, simple design, no computers, no LCD screens, quality and servicability. Not sure on agitators or 'he' models however.

Q: Consider Whirlpool 4800 (or equivalent) or just go w/ a Speedqueen like the AWN452?

Q: Out of curiosity how can one easily tell if a new Whirlpool has belt drive or not?

Q: Does the SpeedQueen use a reversing transmission w/ it's belt drive or is it a belt hooked directly to the motor which reverses?

Q: Or forget my last belt drive lasted 27 years and go w/ the currently popular direct drive from Brand X?


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The AWN542 has a belt and a transmission (all metal). When the motor turns one way the machine agitates, then the motor turns the other way it goes into a spin.

The AWN542 is a good choice because it has the fabric selector switch that adjusts the agitate/spin speeds according to the 4 different settings. High/High, High/Low, Low/High, Low/Low.

Speed Queen has been around for over a hundred years. Primarily their largest market is commercial laundry machines. The home products use the same motors, belts, transmission, etc. The only difference is the mechanical timer instead of the electronic controllers used in commercial machines.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 6:28AM
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Thanks, I was looking at either the 542 or 432 (along w/ a dryer).

Would you generally recommend the SQ models over say Whirlpool such as the 4800X?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 9:48AM
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I can only speak about the SQ since I have a pretty good understanding of them and I don't know anything else about the others.

Also, I am learning the some people have very high expectations of what they believe a machine should be. Water temperature/level, agitate/spin speed and length of time, and how wet the clothes should be when done. Same with dryers. I can give specific information but opinion I will leave to others.

The AWN542 has the fabric selector that I mentioned, while the AWN432 has the speeds built into the cycle timer, so there are less options than the AWN542.

Both machines offer an extra rinse.

Speed Queen has a standard 3 years parts and labor on all their home machines so that is nice.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 10:52PM
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I don't understand what the 542's FABRIC SELECTOR does?

BOTH machines have their cycle selectors and BOTH machines have various fabrics listed in their FABRIC SELECTORs (17 cycles for the 432 and 20 cycles for the 542). THose cycles include various selections for fabrics.

But the 542 has what appears to me to be a an extra know to select fabrics - this seems REDUNDANT to the cycle selection. I assume it does something special - but I don't get what???

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:21PM
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The 542 has a separate handwash and delicate cycle, whereas the 432 has a combined cycle. The handwash cycle on the 542 will have intermittent agitation and thus is more gentle than the delicate cycle or the 432's combined delicate/handwash cycle.

The 542's fabric selector allows you to set the agitation/spin speed independent of the cycles.

For instance you could select delicates (slow agitation/slow spin speed) and then choose a "regular" cycle on the cycle knob. In this case you can get a longer wash cycle than the 432's delicate cycle would allow.

Whirlpool vs. Speed Queen:

Speed Queen will agitate at a 220 degree agitation stroke (88/minute). Whirlpool has a 90 degree stroke (180/minute). In other words, the Whirlpool beats the heck out of clothes.

The Speed Queen has a Stainless Steel wash basket and a porcelain outer tub (the one you can't see). The Whirlpool has a porcelain wash basket and a plastic outer tub.

Speed Queen has a 5-year parts warranty on the motor and 10-year parts warranty on the transmission and outer tub. Lifetime warranty on the SS wash basket. Whirlpool has a 1-year warranty.

The residential Speed Queen is built on the 1990's era Amana platform. Raytheon (who owned Amana at that time) was sold the to American Laundry Systems in 1998. At that point, Amana was sourcing their laundry from ALS until Maytag bought them out in 2001.

In 2004 ALS started producing residential Speed Queen laundry and sold them to regional distributors. The current Speed Queen units are a bit beefier than the 90's Amana units, and carry a really strong warranty. My customers rarely report any service/performance issues with Speed Queen.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 11:10AM
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The SQ also has the best suspension. NO out of balance loads and vibrations with these machines.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Can anyone tell me if they have found the Speed Queens to be gentle on clothes. I have an old Maytag that died. I do not care if my new washer is like my Maytag. But I do want soemthing well made AND gentle on clothing. Can anyone help?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 1:44PM
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