Whirlpool Duet 9400 Washer died in 3 years- what to buy next?

JulieAPSeptember 11, 2011

I love my front loader due to capacity, but I never thought the Whirlpool Duet 9400 ever really cleaned my clothes well. Now it has died within just 3 years- repair man tried everything related to error codes and he thinks I must have gotten a lemon.

Now need washer asap. Please help with advice? I really just want a old fashioned top loader that can SOAK smelly clothes, but those just don't seem reliable anymore. Then again--- what $1000 machine only has 3 yeas shelf life? So annoyed...

My repair guy said getting parts for anything except a whirlpool is hard, but I just don't want to buy another loser.

Read that HE toploaders suck... but some love their Bravo?

My friend loves her Samsung... but not a lot of good noise here about them?

Heard bad things about LG too.

is the miele really the best washer to buy?

need to buy something this week and I don't trust advice of sales people at stores! Help!

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One thing to add... don't really want to pay the price$$ of Miele so this is probably out of the running.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:09AM
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@JulieAP, firstly it is a tested fact that front load washers clean better (and rinse much better) than old fashioned top loaders. You must readjust your thinking though to have great success with a front loader.

My 62 year old mother got a new LG front loader this year after all her years of top load washing. She loves it. She says things are definitely cleaner and she can't believe how dry the washer spins them out. They take very little time in the dryer.

My parents live outside the city and have a cistern/septic system. They really appreciate the greatly reduced water usage as it is much easier on their system. With TL, she had to limit loads a day for the septic system.

I gave her all the information she needed to do laundry successfully (I was worried as it seems "older" folks have the most trouble accepting the new technology).

Top loaders (with all their water) were more forgiving of detergent overdosing/under dosing. Front loaders require you to be much more precise about how you dose.

I, personally, have used a front load washer for over 10 years. I had a very basic Frigidaire model for 10 years and this year bought a beautiful new Miele W4842/T9822 pair.

The Frigidaire did a fine job of cleaning but I know the Miele is superb. It cleans and rinses much better. I'm sure there is a variance in quality of front loaders but for the most part they are superior to old top loaders. I would never go back. I used a top loader last year at the cottage and I couldn't believe anyone would choose that method anymore.

There is no doubt in my mind that Miele is made differently than any other brand available. They are SO solid and they have little "nuances" built into their programs that allow them to wash amazingly. Of course, these features come at a price. I wasn't interested in a machine that might only last 8 - 10 years. I was in this for the long haul. Since Miele is tested to last 20 years - it's my hope I get close to that.

Having said that, I did a years worth of research before I bought and had I not decided to buy Miele I would have bought an LG. I would have looked much more seriously at Samsung except they did not offer a gas dryer in Canada at the time.

Reading tons of reviews is daunting and not necessarily accurate. You have to keep in mind that LG is the #1 selling front load washer so there are way more of them out there. If you consider a 5% failure rate for any brand than common sense dictates there will be more LG complaints (due to the sheer number of units sold).

Taken from the LG site:
- LG is the market share leader in front load laundry in the U.S. for four years (16 quarters) running (2010 Stevenson TraQline data).
- LG is the most reliable brand in front load laundry in the U.S., according to a leading consumer magazine.

If you put any value on Consumer Reports, they have the Duet HEX models in the top 3 spots, followed closely by Samsung WF511AB.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 10:44AM
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Speaking of consumer reports... seems like everyone here thinks miele cleans the best, but consumer reports only gives it a "very good' instead of excellent for washing performance? What is up with that?

My whirlpool duet FL did NOT clean well no matter what the setting... athletic clothes still smelled no matter what soap or heat setting.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:05PM
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No matter what machine you get or have, the basics remain the same: water quality; water temperature: detergent type and dosage; agitation; dwell-time. If any one or more isn't right, you won't get good results. If they all are, you WILL get good results in any machine past or present.

I have had Duet 9400 like yours for over six years. It's been the single best-cleaning machine I've ever owned -- and that would be four decades of them. So....how come I'm raving-happy and you're bail-out disappointed with identical machines? Can't speak to the service call. If it's broke, it's broke. But you weren't satisfied before it broke either.

I also work with a 20-year-old Maytag TL at mom's place. It gives excellent results also. I prefer the capacity, adjustability, and quiet of the Duet at the other location but the point is I get consistently excellent results with old and with new machines be they TL or FL.

I'm not there. I don't know your laundry habits. However, in terms of your unsatisfactory results, I suspect you're missing something on the list in my first sentence. And when you get a new machine, I suspect you'll miss it again.

When you get a new machine, get one with a heater. Also make sure you can adjust the dwell-time on the cycles. Also be wary of "heat settings". "Hot, "warm", and "cold" today mean whatever the mfgr. decides they shall mean. Be VERY clear BEFORE you buy, what those words mean on the machine you're considering. Your salesperson won't know and the manual won't tell you. You'll likely have to call the mfgr. help line directly and ask them. Pretty annoying, but that's the way things are right now. You want at least two cycles that will take the wash-temp up to 125-130F plus a "sanitary" cycle that gets to 155F+.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:50PM
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@ JulieAP

While you said you didn't want to pay the high price for the Miele, you kind of already are. Your $1,000 machine lasted you 3 years and now you might plunk down another $1,000 for another machine that will last you... how long? That's $2,000 in washing machines in just 3 years. Guess what? The Miele W4842 costs $1,949 and is designed to last 20 years. So you could have just bought the Miele in the first place, for the same money you'll end up spending anyway, and you likely wouldn't have had any problems for many years.

Be that as it may, I have seen many posts on the internet where people write about needing to buy new machines after 3-5 years. This is totally unacceptable and one of the reasons why I decided that buying a Miele was a great investment. I have a Miele dishwasher that hasn't given me any trouble for over 5 years now. My Miele washer is coming up on 18 months - no issues. My own philosophy is to award my hard earned money to the company with the right vision and product design philosophy. You are spending a lot of money - whether it's $1,000 or $2,000. Reward the company that makes excellent products and reflects a corporate philosophy that you can live with.

Most of all, look at the big picture. Do you want to spend another $1,000 on a machine to last your another 3 years, or wouldn't you rather spend $2,000 on a machine that will, by all accounts, last you at least 10-20 years? And wouldn't you prefer giving your money to a company that is family owned (no single minded shareholders to answer to), doesn't outsource any jobs to third world countries, and designs and manufactures almost every component that goes into its machines (no off the shelf stuff)?

Once you've touched the sturdy buttons of a Miele, opened and closed the heavy glass door a few times, and have actually used one of the best made washing machines available in the US, there's really no going back to the plasticky, gimmicky, cheaply made machines by Maytag, Whirlpool, Samsung, and (yes) LG. While LG may have anecdotally higher quality than its immediate competitors, it's also a company that is expanding horizontally into almost every consumer product category from televisions/audio/video, to cell phones, to home appliances, computers, tablets, etc. Jack of all trades, master of none?

As far as Consumer Reports is concerned, I question their testing methods and the conclusions they reach. They also seem biased against higher priced products, I guess because in their world nobody is concerned with anything else except how much something costs. In my household, we think that is what's wrong with the world today - there are other concerns beyond the almighty dollar. But that's just me. In CR's world, longer wash cycles are a negative even though front loaders require longer cycles to get clothes clean. Also, their rating of the W4842's cleaning ability is through use of the NORMAL cycle. That cycle does NOT engage the machine's on-board heater, which is important to achieving superior cleaning results. Forget the fact that the machine also has fully customizable custom cycles as well as 12 MasterCare cycles to ensure clothes get as clean as possible. Yet none of those were tested. Not only that, but CR doesn't even include in its list of pros/cons whether a machine has an on-board heater. This tells me CR is out of step with what discerning consumers are looking for. I just sprung for a $29 CR membership so I could read about their specific testing of front loaders.

Here's a doozie... the highest rated machine on CR's list is the Whirlpool Duet WFW94HEX (rated 87 overall). Yet consumers who actually own the machine give it 2.5 stars out of 5. Miele's W4842 is rated 80 overall by CR, yet it garners a 4.3 out of 5 rating by its owners. I think that says a lot, so take CR's conclusions with a grain of salt.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Wasn't the 9400 the Duet "Sport" model?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 3:46PM
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Mine wasn't.

As I recall, "sport" model came out a year or two later with smaller capacity and different suspension.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 4:09PM
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Lots of things to think about when your buying a new appliance. What I find so intriguing about both LG and Samsung is that they are such young companies compared to say Miele and they have made such progress so quickly. It is hard to imagine where thy will be when they have been in the business as long as Miele. Personally I like a precocious upstart.

CR has its biases. It doesn't favour unusual interfaces which can hurt some products a bit unfairly, however I have not seen any substantive proof that Miele's clean better than other products available on the market currently so I dare say you can trust CR on that facet. Big claim seems to be reliability and durability which given the price point and their years in the business one would hope they can deliver on. CR usually tracks reliability separate from performance and given the small market share of Miele it always seems they don't have enough data to be able to report on reliability. Higher sales volume will creat more opportunities for problems and of course more incidences of user disatisfaction which are sometimes the result of user error and unrealistic expectations.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 11:39PM
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Mine was not the sport. Officially it was WFM9400SW01 model. The error code was f 28 -repair guy replaced the motor control board, checked all connections and harnesses, and is going to do one last ditch effort to replace the CCU... but he said everything else seems perfect and he could not understand why he could not fix it based on symptoms.

I hear ya when you say i probably did not get all the right ingredients for good washing. I had an internal water heater, but assumed warm or hot water was on the normal/casual cycle. After finding this forum I think i probably never really used hot water unless I engaged the "Whitest whites" or "sanitary" wash modes.

Since i am out $1000... I think i am going to bite the bullet and go for the Miele, plus really study this forum and learn how to use the correct settings for what i want. We have pets, kids, athletes, mud, sand, giant bath sized think towels, and all sorts of stuff that needs a serious washer.

Miele washer door only opens on the right side? Luckily i can swap the placement of washer/dryer and adjust my dryer door so they still open conveniently to move clothes from one to another.

My repair guy works on many models and he still says he would buy a whirlpool and mine was unusual that it died so quick. However I did see the lower consumer ratings compared to others on consumer reports. he said he has nightmare getting parts quickly for samsung or even the LG. he also said the HE top loaders were worse... but I think he was referring to some of the first generation ones that seemed to have more issues than the newer bravos.

I also have always used HE detergent. How can I learn more about '"dwell-times" of cycles?

Ohhh- lets hope I can get a MIele delivered quickly! I see has 2 year warranty if from authorized dealer delivery... do I need to buy the extended warranty right away, or can I wait to see if i love it and if survives the first 90 days ?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:11AM
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@ caryscott

My Miele cleans better than any other washer I've owned. Remember, CR only rates the "normal" or default cycle of any washer they test. So the results are only as good as this particular cycle. You will note that most discerning wash buffs will rarely use the Normal cycle on the Miele because it does not use the heater and can only spin on MAX. The only thing CR's tests show is how good each manufacturer's normal cycle works - not any of the specialized programs. Among the Miele people here, Normal is probably one of the least used cycles.

@ JulieAP

Miele owners are rabid fans! However, everyone's needs are different. If you can find a local Miele dealer who has this machine on the floor, I would recommend you go take a look at it before buying. Bring your more challenging, larger wash items to see how they fit. Make sure it fits your lifestyle and how you do things, and also get your questions answered regarding warranty, installation, etc.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 2:40PM
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FWIW...re: CR......

I like CR, but......

I've been in their face for years about clothes washer and dishwasher testing. They STILL do not disclose water quality, water temperature, detergent used or dosage thereof. Agree with sshrivastava that choosing "normal" gives the consumer nothing to go on. They rate Miele washers ho-hum. They rate Miele dishwashers near the bottom of their list. I regard both ratings as preposterous. All they're doing is testing various mfgs' euphemisms one against the other by testing in this way.

Without more/better disclosure from them, there's next to nothing to be learned from these particular CR tests.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:08PM
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MIele 4842 will arrive this Wednesday!!!

How do i adjust setting to get the most water use possible? Heavy soil is really the pre-wash, right?

Store tried to sell me another whirlpool, but I found so many consumer reviews with the exact same computer /electrical problems that my machine experienced. No way do again.

I used to always use "normal" wash... but seems like that will be the least used cycle?

I found the thread about miele cycles... but someone should make a chart for us with the best cycles and what to expect, or how to get what you need.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:28PM
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Julie, I see you've already made your decision. Hope it works out great for you.

I own a Maytag Bravos and LOVE it. It's not a "plasticky, gimmicky, cheaply made machine" (as someone else alleged) -- it's heavy and well-made, does a great job on my laundry.

It meets the criteria you mentioned in your OP, including the Soak cycle which I really appreciate. And it has an internal water heater so I can be assured of having true hot water.

Again, I hope you enjoy your new washer. :)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 2:21AM
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JulieAP - An Owners manual will come with your machine, and you can download it from the Miele web site, and see the different options for cycles and water temps. It really helped me to go to the Miele UK site and download some of their similar models' owners manuals. I printed out some pages that show water levels for the wash and rinse of their cycles. Also on those charts are information about interim spins, which really are useful to me.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:56AM
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@ JulieAP

I would suggest not fiddling with the service menu setting until you've actually used the machine. If you are not satisfied with rinsing at that point, then you may want to increase the water levels. I increased my water levels right off the bat, thinking that's what I should do, but I've now gone back to the Miele default settings (normal water levels as programmed from the factory) and it still rinses just as well as before.

Miele keeps the settings hidden for a reason. Most people won't need to enable any of those options, and indeed my machine is functioning as stock from the factory. Should you want to experiment, we can guide you through the process - just make sure you write down all of the default values first in case you need to "undo" something that you did.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:38AM
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ASKO - the warranty alone tells it all.

Here is a link that might be useful: appliancesconnection

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 4:41PM
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Appliances Connection is terrible!

Clearly they can't read the rules of the forum.

SPAMMING is unacceptable.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:39PM
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if you use normal wash... but then increase the water temp... this should activate the heater, right? i assume just pressing normal with no additional options is when heater not used?

Would love to hear what are your most used standard settings... and for what items. Thx.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Heater will NOT engage in normal no matter what.

I often use wrinkle free for clothes, husband's dress shirts, sometimes towels. This will not allow a max spin though.

I use extra white for white sheets/towels/socks. Usually with extra warm or hot temp and sometimes extended and/or prewash.

I have used custom for kids' clothes warm with a max spin speed.

I have used express for bathing suits/towels after a day of swimming. A little Vaska on express and everything is fresh for the next day. These items don't really need to be washed daily so express is great (30 minutes).

I have used delicates/hand wash for ... well delicate items. This setting works great. More soaking less tumbling.

I have used woolens for wool sweaters also great.

I LOVE the comforter setting. It will "vent" the item(s) first - wet them thoroughly before it adds the detergent. Very smart.

I almost always use the sensitive setting which uses a higher spin speed between wash and rinse and uses an extra rinse. I don't like too much residual detergent smell (if possible).

I've used clean machine.

I used table linens a few times for table cloths - not really sure what makes that setting good for them. They turned out just fine.

The only program I was not thrilled with was the dress shirts one. It only does a medium spin and left the shirts quite wet. I prefer wrinkle free for them (but that's me).

I have used prewash and extended. If items are noticeably dirty I use a prewash. I have used extended if I think they need a little longer tumbling. The more agitation the better the wash. Shorter cycles are not the answer for clean items.

Gosh ... have fun and keep us posted on how it's going.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:05PM
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I love the woolens cycle, too. I wash DH's wool sweaters and this cycle is very gentle. I use Perwoll (no more baby shampoo or Orvus in a FL like I could in a TL).

I like the Wrinkle-Free cycle because it has a higher water level for the rinses. Lately, I'm trying out the "Custom" option instead of W-F. So far, so good.

Delicates cycle both washes and rinses with a higher level of water, so it is great for visors and hats. I can't imagine using any other cycle for them.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:28PM
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So it seems folks use the whitest white for smelly towels and sheets instead of the sanitize option? I saw this on another thread- but still not clear how the cycles are different.

if we have bulky bathroom rugs with no plastic on the underside- would you mix these with other items or wash alone and what cycle. I would think high spin so they are not in the dryer forever, but can the machine handle spinning bulky stuff on max?

it seems if normal never uses water heater and I have a rather regular load that needs warm water... I should use the custom buttons and just create my own water temp and spin time?

WHY does normal wash let you then adjust the temperatures to HOT when really you will never be getting hot without the internal heater? i would think the normal wash would not allow for these hot water adjustments.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:27PM
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I use extra white for white items. It has a more aggressive tumble so I think it cleans better.

I'm not a fan of washing with sanitary. I think very few things can stand those high temps without damage. Once is a while I guess but not regular. I've never used my sanitary only the clean machine setting (which uses same temp as sanitary but no clothes obviously).

Difference is sanitary is only 158F / 70C whereas extra white you can select the temp you want. I use very warm or hot.

It should be able to spin that load of rugs. I might not spin it at max. Try setting just below that first. Make sure there are a few items of similar weight so as not to have an unbalanced load.

I have used normal when I just want a warm water wash. It also uses a more aggressive tumble than other programs to clean better without added heat.

Hot in normal will be hot coming direct from your water heater. It's just like any other machine with no heater or a heater that only works on sanitary.

The problem with this is if you want a "true" temp accurate wash you need the heater. Heat is lost travelling to the machine and then the cold machine and laundry cools it further.

The benefit of the Miele is that it will guarantee your temp for the cycle. So if you want very warm - it will use the heater to make sure you get the 50C you want through the whole wash.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 12:27AM
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@ JulieAP

The reason few fans of this machine use the Normal cycle is exactly because it does not heat the water. Laundry "purists" like what they like, but Normal should be sufficient for most people. The manual recommends using Normal @ Very Warm instead of Sanitize for up to 45% electricity savings. Miele should have simply labeled Normal as "Eco" and there would be no controversy, so look at the Normal cycle as an energy saving cycle that does not use your water heater. I think of it like the Economy setting on my Miele dishwasher.

I wash bathroom rugs and heavy pet blankets all the time. No problems with wash or spin. Just make sure you add some smaller items into the load so you don't have balance issues during spin.

Most of my day-to-day usage is in the Custom cycle. I like to have control over the variables. I don't use most of the 12 Mastercare cycles - the only one I use regularly is Extra White. I like the Jeans cycle for pants, and you'll get very familiar with the rinse/spin cycle if you're not careful with detergent.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:05AM
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