Repair or Replace Asko W6021?

asko_buyerJune 24, 2012

Over 7 years ago my wife and I purchased an Asko W6021 FL washer with matching dryer. We have probably put on average from 8-12 loads of laundry a week through the machines. The dryer is running fine, but the washer has gone on the fritz twice. Two years ago we had to have the main controller board replaced. Our washer stopped working again a little over a week ago. I spoke with a repair technician from the company that serviced our machine the previous time. He said my problem sounds exactly like a worn-out motor that needs replacing. With tax he estimates the repair will be close to $500 for part, labour, and taxes. The controller board replacement cost about the same. I would just like to have this washer repaired. But as much as I have liked this washer and the way it works, my wife would just like to have the washer replaced. She declared that she has never liked our washer. She would prefer to go back to a simple TL machine from traditional brands (Maytag, Whirlpool, Kenmore, etc.) with simple, hard-to-mess-up controls.

It seems the problem with that idea is that relatively few old-style top loaders exist any more, and most of those that do don't seem to be getting good reviews from review sites or publications or from users. I haven't read very much about the latest FL and HE TL washers that inspire confidence regarding quality and reliability. Also, given my wife's aversion to reading instruction manuals, I'm not sure the newer machines, which require users to read the instructions, will fit the bill either. I will probably purchase an extended warranty if we get a machine that has only a one-year manufacturer's warranty. I figure that if I do this then even the cheapest washer will cost almost double the estimated repair cost once I factor in the delivery/set up/removal fees plus taxes.

I figure that either a Whirlpool TL w/ agitator or Huebsch/Speed Queen TL will be the models that fit the bill. As fate would have it, I have been using coin-operated Huebsch/Speed Queen washers in my housing complex's common area until the washer situation is resolved. I have been fairly pleased with the results I've gotten after doing 10 loads of laundry with those machines.

I am looking for feedback as to what people think might be the best approach to solving this problem. Your thoughts will be appreciated.

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I used commercial laundromat front loading machines for a few months a couple of years ago (mainly Maytag, but occasionally Speed Queen). My experience was that although they were obviously durable machines, they were also rather harsh on the clothing when compared to a home/consumer grade top loader.

Part of it could have been from me using a larger machine than was necessary for the loads that I was putting in, which may have resulted in a longer height for the wet (and heavy) laundry to fall from as the drum rotated, with fewer clothing at the bottom to cushion the fall. Another possible factor is that in general, laundromat machines are built to get the wash done in as short time as possible so that the machine is available for the next customer. One way to do this without using additional water is to use a more vigorous mechanical action.

It seems reasonable that doing a couple of dozen loads using the TL machines in your shared laundry facility should give you some idea of how well your clothing will hold up with a Speed Queen TL in your home.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Well I ultimately decided to get the washer fixed. But I am unhappy with the result.

Before the repair the washer would work only intermittently. The repair tech replaced the motor, and the washer started working normally, up to a point. It will go into cycles, fill up with water, etc. The problem is that once loads of cottons get saturated with water the machine starts making a very-loud squealing noise and the drum doesn't move (or struggles) as the squealing occurs. When I stop the cycle and put it into Drain and Spin, the water will drain and the high-speed spin occurs as normal, with no strange sounds. The problem in my opinion appears to be the belt is slipping. Is it too loose (caused by the motor replacement), or are there other problems?

I explained the situation to the tech who did the motor replacement. He is insisting that the rear bearing has failed and must be replaced. Before he put in the new motor I was able to get the machine to do a high-speed spin. There was a racket. He said he could hear thunking from the the rear of the drum, indicating a possible problem with the rear bearing. I had a listen, but it seemed to me to all the loud racket was coming from the old motor, not the drum. If the tech felt bearing failure was a possibility I wish he would have made that clearer. He's said that his work is under warranty, and will fix any problem with the installation for free. But he put a caveat where I will be paying more money if he feels the problem is not due to his motor replacement work or if other work must be done.

How does one tell when a rear bearing failure is imminent?

I am thinking of getting a second opinion from another company recommended by a friend. This will, however, also cost me more money. I feel like a fool at this point. I now feel like I have made a mistake trying to get it fixed, and I'm thinking of cutting my losses at this point and just getting a new machine.

At this point I can only operate the washer with very small and light loads. Should I have the tech come back given the caveats that I may have to pay more money? Should I get a second opinion from another company? Should I eat the loss and move on?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:27PM
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This has nothing to do with design of machines. The most likely scenario is that the carbon brushes on the motor has worn out. They get worn out over time. All electric motors with brushes will have same failure. In my particular case, I could not find replacement brushes in the USA. I found some on UK ebay for 5Euro. They don't sell carbon brush in the USA. This is the state of disposability of our products in the US. My brother said he would have gone to a machine shop and had them fashion the brush to fit... I did not go that far.

However, I did not want to wait weeks to have the brushes delievered from UK then not work due to wrong part issue. So we got a replacement motor for $350 or so and replaced it ourselves.

Regarding your bearing failure, i am not sure. Bearing are often quite difficult/expensive to replace due to their placement. The entire drum and shaft have to come out (not sure about this model, however..) The labor of bearing replacement maybe too expensive unless you can do the work yourselves.

I have kept my 20000 Asko running by replacing the motor.... It still washes better than any machine I have ever used. I was in Italy for two weeks and used the FL in the apartment. (Euro model Hotpoint with a built in heater) All the stains that would not come out with that machine got washed out completely with my Asko when we returned. The only current machine I would consider is a 220V Miele which is $4000 for the pair. I will keep my Asko going for a while...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 3:37PM
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You can't get brushes in the US?
I replaced the brushes on my 1995 Asko last year, ordered them from Asko USA, $14.00, they arrived in three days and
I had them installed 30 minutes later.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 1:58AM
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@relic: I do not feel comfortable messing around with most components myself. I had the tech replace the motor as per his recommendation. The part cost was about $260.

I now get cycles started, but now have what seems to be a slipping belt.

@kaismom: A bearing replacement will be expensive. I was quoted about $300 labour, $100 part, $100-200 to have washer picked up/returned from the shop. With local & federal taxes this will cost $600-700 total.

I phoned Asko customer support last week. I stated the problem. Their answer was go with what the tech said. My issue at this point is the tech is making a diagnosis based on stated experience rather than careful observation and assessment, and stubbornly refuses to budge from his position. He said he's never had to replace a belt on an Asko washer. He seems to be astute, but I can't see how before the motor replacement there is no loud squeal/non-turning drum, then suddenly after the repair there is, especially since after he said I might get up to 2 more years from the bearing just after he replaced the motor. My gut is telling me I'll have the same problem even if the rear bearing is replaced.

If I turn the drum by hand the motion feels about the same as a new one. But there is a bit of a knocking sound when I do that. There's a tiny bit of front-back play at the top of the drum albeit none at the bottom. New machines don't do this. A high-speed spin sounds pretty much the same as it always has. I'm thinking I will probably get a second opinion/assessment from a company a friend uses and completely trusts and go from there.

Anyways, thanks for your input. I am happy to get different feedback to mull over.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Sandy16 is a great site for repair and diagnostic questions. Before deciding the repair is too complicated I would get a copy of the service manual and get an idea of what you would be looking at.

I am not mechanical in the least. I was however able to replace a drain pump on my Asko in 15 minutes at a cost of $35. These washers are definately designed to be repaired.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:47PM
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The problem is now resolved. I now have a functioning washer.

I decided to use another appliance-repair company and regret I did not go with that company in the first place. As I suspected, the squealing problem was due to the drive belt slipping, not a rear bearing failure. A new belt has been installed, and the machine is now so quiet at the start of each cycle when there is no water intake that I have to check that the drum is actually spinning.

The second repair tech figured the rear bearing may have some wear and tear, but that it has certainly not failed. He also felt that the original motor probably didn't need to be replaced outright. As "relic" mentioned earlier, the tech figured that all that was likely needed was the replacement of the carbon brushes - that he has only ever had to replace a motor once on an Asko washer.

I'm not happy with the total amount of money spent on this round of repairs. But some good news from the second tech is that he figures the new motor and new drive belt will likely keep the washer operating for at least another five years. I hope he is correct.

Anyways, my thanks go out to everyone who responded.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 4:39PM
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I have the same washer, 6021, installed in 2004. The delicate and hand wash cycles have never worked. The others worked fine until last week. Now the washer only does the longest cycle no matter where it is set. That's not great but now it will no longer heat water. This washer is in what was a weekend house. We only have used it full time for 1-1/2 years and there are 2 of us -- maybe 8-10 loads a week with everything.

No idea what it is or how the heating element functions. anyone else have this issue? ideas on what it might be? TIA

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:42AM
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Update. Asko customer service "thinks" it's the controller board. But the controller board is no longer available -- not from them or their parts partner.

My repair guy is coming to see if that's the problem or it's something else. But I can see where this is going and that place looks expensive.

This manufacturer evidently does not support parts for their appliances which are under 10 y.o. and had no interest in being helpful except to tell me to google the part number. DUHHHHHH.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:14PM
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