Washer is dying. I sense trouble ahead.

emlakeratDecember 27, 2010

The nine year old Whirlpool needs replacing. I really hate to see it go.

I'm not very happy with the choices out there. Is there going to be a washer for me? Seems like every time I do a load, I'm always adding something a few minutes later. That means raising the lid & sometimes changing the water level. Lots of times when an item of clothing has a stain, I check it mid-cycle.

I've even been known to stop the machine at the rinse cycle and start it over in order to get a warm rinse. This means after the machine fills again with warm water, I have to change it back once again to the beginning of the rinse cycle.

Am I just weird? Or is anyone else unhappy that you can't get a machine with a warm rinse cycle any longer?

Have you ever put a few pairs of jeans in a normal wash cycle for a while, then added the 'good jeans with the bling' and finished with a gentle cycle? I'm going to miss having these options.

I guess a FL is definitely out of the running. I don't know if there is any machine out there that can still be manipulated - lol. Manual controls - yes, they're still available, but what about changing water levels after the wash cycle has already begun? Can you still do that if you need to add one more piece of clothing? Wouldn't that save more water than doing a second load later?

Hubby doesn't want to pay for repairs on the old one. We think it's the clutch.

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Nine years is not old/worn-out for a Whirlpool direct-drive machine. However, if you & hubby are insistent on not repairing it, used machine of this type are widely/easily available. What exactly is the problem it's having? "We think it's the clutch" ... possibly ... maybe not. It's not uncommon that people misinterpret the cause of a malfunction.

Regards to your need for manual control, there are new machines available with which you can do that.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 6:03PM
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Hubby signing on here. I took the cabinet off of our Whirlpool and jumpered the lid switch. When we ran a spin cycle, I could see the clutch housing spinning but no drum turning. We manually turned the drum with no clothes in it to get it going. Then we put some towels in and got them wet, and had to manually spin them to get it going. It spun on its own after that, but probably not to max speed.

Also, there are signs of transmission grease hitting the cabinet sides and running down, and coating the water hoses, so my thoughts are that it's just a matter of time. Now, whether clutch just has grease in it, or something more, I'm not sure. I read one link somewhere that after the clutch gets replaced, some new problem follows soon thereafter. I can probably replace anything in it as long as I know the part I'm replacing will fix it for awhile, and special tools aren't required.

In trying to keep with the features we have (prefer) or don't have, I am inclined to go old school with a Speed Queen TL, but with a 3.3 CF capacity, that might be less than what we have. We'd like to be able to wash a king mattress pad, but worried the SQ isn't large enough.

We're not sure of our current Whirlpool capacity even after calling Whirlpool. They didn't know. Model number is LSQ9110KQ1, serial is CL4805028 if anyone has any info on this. We'd really appreciate that. I'm thinking around 3.5 CF.

I spent of lot of Sunday afternoon reading reviews/opinions on gardenweb and elsewhere of new washers and missed a lot of football ;-)). My wife knows I go overboard on researching new purchases, but when I started mentioning things to her like "You can't open the lid and add clothes or the tub will fill up", or "the washer determines your water level", or "everyone suggests buying extended warranties" on the new washers, she didn't like what she was hearing.

So, if we buy new, if not a SQ (around $700 for upper end TL), I think we're leaning toward something with manual dials and probably open to agitator versus wash plate or similar. I realize this is toward the low-end of machines. I'm thinking the less bells and whistles, the less that can go wrong. Since we're empty nesters now, we don't have to keep the washing machine running all day long. I guess we're just trying to find the right combo of minimizing things that can go wrong along with the flexibility we have along with maybe being open to a high-efficiency unit. Our old Whirlpool W/D set lasted 17 years and was still working when we bought this last set, but realize that those days are gone.

Any opinions or suggestions are definitely welcome. Only one more week of regular season football is available, so we need to make a decision soon ;-))

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 9:40PM
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Your machine was manufactured in the 48th week of 2001.

It'd be considered ~3.2 cu ft capacity. 3.2 to 3.5 are equivalent.

OK, yeah, if there's oil on the clutch, then the tranny has a bad seal. The clutch may be OK other than slipping from oil. The tranny is part # 3360629, there are many listings on eBay at reasonable prices if you're so inclined. The only special tool may be needed is a spanner wrench to loosen the basket mount for removing the clutch assembly to clean it.

Whirlpool is no longer manufacturing the venerable direct-drive design as of a few months ago. The replacement machines run on a redesigned belt-drive system, which can be used for both agitator and HE washplate models. An agitator model to consider is WTW4800XQ. Has the same dual-action agitator to which you're accustomed, white porcelain basket, 4 manual water levels, slightly faster 700 RPM spin, water-saver shower rinsing or agitated deep rinse (if Softener Added is selected). The lid locks due to there being no spin brake, but the cycle can be paused to unlock it. Similar Kenmore and Maytag models are available.

Speed Queen as you mention is a valid choice. GE and Frigidaire still offer a few old-style toploaders.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 10:59PM
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Thanks very much dadoes. If I decide to replace the tranny, I think I might also replace the clutch and coupler too since neither have been replaced before. Just not sure if I want to go that route or not.

Funny you mentioned the WTW4800, my parents-in-law just moved in with us (separate quarters) and they bought a Whirlpool WTW5200 washer and matching dryer. I don't think my wife was too impressed, saying that the washer is too noisy. But I kept reminding her this weekend that if she still wants the flexibility like she has now, we would probably have to get one of the lower end models with manual controls.

I think if she knew that the Speed Queen could handle the king mattress pad, she would probably be willing to go that route. Our current machine will handle it, but she has to babysit it, making sure it all gets wet and runs it thru several rinses. I told her I'll gladly drive 30 miles with her to look at the SQ, and she could bring along the mattress pad, but she hasn't accepted yet ;-)).

On the Whirlpools, does anything above the WTW4800 or maybe 5200 mean you lose control of the washer? I guess what I'm referring to there is that I've read about the machines 'sensing' the load size and adjusting the water. Fortunately, where we live, water is pretty cheap and so is electricity, but I don't like wasting either.

Been a Whirlpool fan for a long time, but have considered lower-end GE for the first time. Thoughts?
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 11:55PM
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WTW5200SQ and WTW5200VQ are both direct-drive machines like yours. There is no WTW5200 in the current line-up on Whirlpool's site, although some retailers may have discontinued models in stock.

To determine if the machine has manual water level, simply look on the console for a water level knob or peruse the feature description. A model with automatic water level sensing won't have a knob or control with a choice of settings (low-medium-high, small-medium-large, etc.).

The new design seems to be fairly quiet. Here's a video clip of WTW4800 agitating (note that agitation stroke is a longer arc than the direct-drive mechanism).

And engaging spin (disregard the different agitator).

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 4:49AM
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Suggestion: Ask this question over at www.automaticwasher.org. Someone is sure to have an answer for you.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 8:58AM
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Since you have an interest in Speed Queen, you can go on youtube and see the washer work on there from owners. GE washers are usually very noisey as my friends can vouch for. You can hear them through the whole house. They got rid of theres fast

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 10:10AM
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It isn't so easy to replace your machine today. From what I've heard, any manual water level (and therefore agitator) washer you buy today, except possibly Speed Queen, will have severely dumbed-down wash temperatures. This would be an argument for repairing rather than replacing.

Personally, after switching to a "good" FL, I wouldn't want to go back to an agitator TL. It didn't take long for me to realize that I never really knew what "clean" is. IMO, the habits you describe are well worth changing, in order to get the better results.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I think I should just 'get over it' and move on.
Tomorrow we will go shopping.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 12:51PM
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I have a modern (2 year old) Samsung and I would trade it in a minute for our good old Whirlpool TL. The new machines are all trying to impress the government by how little water they use and ours doesn't clean or rinse well enough in one cycle (as I have posted below). I would fix the old one because you have a known quantity and quality. Our old whirlpool was built in 1992 and my son is still using it.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Hubby signing on again. Emlakerat (my wife) has relinquished some of her control to the Whirlpool brain! We went to Lowe's today and she decided having 4.3 CF was more important than controlling the water level in a smaller, manual control machine. We narrowed it down to four choices: Whirlpool WTW5500, WTW5640, WTW5700, and Maytag MVWX600. When she saw the WTW5700 with the glass lid, she mentioned she could keep an eye on things without having to stop it and lift the lid, but then mentioned it wasn't that big of a deal to lift the lid. We ended up getting it. Hopefully a good choice.

I wanted to get the 4-year Extended Warranty for $110, but she didn't think we should get it for a variety of reasons. The EW covers parts, labor, power surges, etc according to Lowe's. I have 30 days to decide if I want to get it or not. We're trying to determine if the 10% repair rate in Consumer Reports is truly representative for all Whirlpools nationwide, or do the numbers work out that way just for the folks who responded to CR surveys? Are repair rates for these newer WPs actually higher considering the electronics on washers these days?

I know I would have peace of mind, but she thinks EWs are a waste of money.

What would you do?

Thanks again for all the replies we've had.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 6:38PM
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