My Lady Kenmore washer...may have to say goodbye

pupwhippedNovember 11, 2012

I bought this Lady Kenmore washer back in 1987 and have never had any problems other then having to replace one knob. Now, alas, the old girl is leaking water. I can do a load of laundry, but I have to put towels on either side of the washer to catch the water. It's not a lot of water, but definitely leaking. I suppose the drum has rusted...or the bottom of the machine? Don't have a clue, but would love if someone out there could venture a guess as to what the problem might be. It is definitely not the hoses....the water is coming from underneath the machine. I suppose it would not be worth my while to try to even get a diagnosis...prognosis would likely not be good.

But we all know the issue.....there's no NEW washer out there that I want to buy! Do NOT want a front loader, do not want a HE unit, and do not want a washer without an agitator. Why is buying a washer these days so hard??? BTW, the 25 year old matching Kenmore dryer is going strong!

Gosh, I'm gonna miss this lovely Lady. I hate change!

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The details could be more accurately confirmed if you provide the model number, which likely is in the format xxx.xxxxxxxx -- all the numbers are significant including the three digits before the period. There potentially are two different mechanical designs that could have been purchased in 1987.

Your problem may be no more serious than a bad pump. Not a costly part and very easy for a competent DIYer to do the repair.

Regards to a rusted outer tub, the tub may be plastic, can't rust ... but again, this can be confirmed via the model number.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:22PM
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Got it: 110.82892300. Thanks for giving me some hope!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:30PM
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If for some reason it can't be fixed I would love to have it and work on it. I've always wanted a lady kenmore! They're simply amazing and love the retro style!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Yes, it's a direct-drive mechanism ... meaning there's a drive coupler that connects the motor shaft to the transmission shaft instead of a belt & pulley arrangement. Whirlpool produced this design from the early 1980s until discontinuing it either sometime last year or earlier this year. There were tens of millions of these machines produced under the Kenmore, Whirlpool, Roper, Estate, and KitchenAid, brands ... and briefly Maytag, Amana, Admiral, and Crosley after Whirlpool bought the Maytag company in 2006.

The outer tub is plastic.

It has the triple dispenser system which is an additional potential source of leaks. The hot/cold incoming water valve is on the rear panel at the right side, a hose runs to the fill flume, and another hose runs to the dispenser distribution valve which is mounted at the left on the rear panel. Three hoses route around the left side under the top deck from the distribution valve to the dispensers at the left front and right front corners.

The pump mounts on front of the motor, which is at lower front/center. Cost of a pump ranges from $21 to $44 at several online sources.

Note that if the pump has been leaking for some while, the motor shaft can rust and the pump (which is plastic) may get stuck to it. In extreme cases the pump may have to be broken loose ... and in VERY extreme cases the motor shaft is damaged too badly from rusting to take another pump, which requires replacement of the motor ... which is a reason not to let leaks go on without attention.

Another possible (but not common) source of leaking is the main tub seal, which is a very cheap part but requires more disassembly to replace than the pump.

The key to the whole thing is positively identifying the source of the leak. Can you handle a DIY repair, or have someone who can assist?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Thank you so much, dadoes!!! Hubby just read your gracious reply and he's going to give it a go. He's handy and certainly mechanically inclined, but never has attempted anything like this. We both think it is worth a try.

BTW, I wanted to add that I have actually been through the laundry appliance buying nightmare recently. Less then a year ago we HAD to purchase (had no choice) a new washer and dryer for a lake place we bought. Oh, the anguish and angst trying to figure that out. I finally did go with a Speed Queen pair...primarily from advice on this forum. I've been pleased so far. Oh, and I just remembered, hubby did do a bit of work on the washer.....he tinkered with it to get the water line to fill a little higher then factory setting. So, maybe he does have some experience. Ha!

Thanks again for replying to me. I appreciate your time and insight.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:03PM
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OK. Make sure hubby reads this before he proceeds with disassembly. It's not necessarily obvious how to go about it if one has no previous exposure ... although there are many instructional videos on YouTube.

Access to replace the pump (and to the entire mechanism) is by removing the outer cabinet.

Locate and remove two screws at the lower front corners of the control panel endcaps. Pull the console slightly forward then flip it back, it's hinged at the top rear corners. Don't be excessively rough, the plastic hinges may break.

The dispenser hoses on your model must be disconnected. Remove the plastic cover at the left side under the console. Disconnect the hoses from the dispenser distribution valve. The hoses will remain anchored under the machine top to the dispenser cups at the front corners.

Locate and disconnect the lid switch wiring plug where it passes through the top under the console.

Locate two large spring clips (usually gold colored) under the console which anchor the cabinet to the rear panel and leverage them out with a large screwdriver.

Open the lid, grasp the cabinet, tilt it forward and off the machine base. The rear panel is anchored to the base via a plastic latch in a keyed slot and will remain standing, be careful not to flex it or push it back or the latch may break. The latch can be rotated to release it from the slot to lean the rear panel a little further back although it'll remain attached to the base by two screws at the lower corners ... but this isn't necessary for access to the pump.

If you need to run the machine with the cabinet off to locate/confirm the leak (it may not be the pump), the lid switch plug coming from the console can be jumpered ... BUT beware of water spraying out of the dispenser distribution valve since the hoses are disconnected! A workaround is temporarily disconnect the wires from the dispenser valve solenoids (don't get them mixed up for proper reconnection).

The pump has two hoses attached (one from the tub outlet, the other to the drain) and anchors to the motor with two spring clips. Disconnect the hoses from the pump and release the clips. The pump should pull directly off the motor, assuming it isn't stuck.

Examine the motor shaft for rusting, clean it (wire brush, steel wool, emery cloth, etc.) if needed.

When reattaching the pump, rotate the motor shaft as needed or orient it to the pump hub.

Attach the pump clips and hoses.

When setting the cabinet back on the base, two slots at the left & right rear corners of the bottom edge must fit onto tabs on the base to properly anchor the sides ... and observe the two plastic guide pieces on the left/right edge of the rear panel.

Connect the lid switch plug, dispenser hoses, cabinet anchor clips. Lower the console, replace the screws.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Holy Cow! Thanks for the tutorial. That is so kind of you. I will have my husband read it through at least twice...maybe three times. HA! He will attempt this in the next day or so. I will let you know what we find out. If we are able to repair it ourselves, you will definitely be hearing about it.

Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 8:25AM
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