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User Rank
highly amused
failureindesign   8/5/2011 10:13:30 PM
Kept my first washer and dryer repaired and running for 25+ years (and that was after they sat on the back porch of our first apartment for a year because the apartment wiring was too old -- as in knob and tube [ just google it kids ] -- to support them)! Finally my father-in-law, bless his heart and RIP, talked me into a replacement washer if he put up the cash. That was about 15 years ago. The K********* washer was quiet ... and broke about every 6  months. The service call was $176 each time. The first year was under warranty but the next three years were on us. Finally I took the day off to corner the service guy in the laundry room. Turns out the coupling is a soft rubber block between the motor and the water pump. I asked him for the pieces of the old one. He wanted to know why. I said because I'm a design engineer and shortly I will have a coupling made out of a material that won't come apart quite so easily. He sighed ... and pulled another box out of his toolbox and took out ... yep, a different coupling made out of much different rubber. Poor fellow has not been needed since. I would like to think that some bean-counter was holding a gun to the head of the designer that made that soft rubber block. But the sad truth is K********* saw an opportunity to make some money after the initial sale and to keep service folks everywhere busy and somebody is making a bunch of money.

Frankly, I've found it is smarter to repair anything that can be disassembled without a blow torch ... IF the manufacturer will sell the parts.

One world-famous blender maker no longer gets the business of anyone in my family. We got a beautiful new O**** blender for Christmas one year. At New Years, a little one reached up on the counter while I was washing the pitcher and pushed a button. The blender started up ... followed a second later by a loud "crack" and then sped up even more! I turned it off and discovered that the "bakelite" drive star (couples the blades in the pitcher to the motor) had self-destructed and pieces had flown all over the room in an instant! I called O**** to get a part (because it was just threaded on to the motor shaft and emminently replaceable) and was told they don't sell them. You have to buy the whole motor assembly. And it isn't covered under warranty. She finally admitted that they know these things will self-destruct and, no, they didn't plan to do anything about it. You're not supposed to run the blender with the pitcher off the base ... and now you know why! I was just thankful that my grandson didn't lose an eye. Naturally, this piece of junk was discarded.

These days you can't even count on simple designs to be reliable. A couple years back our trusty 15-year-old Hoover finally outlasted the ability to get parts for it so we bought an O**** because we wanted a light-weight anyhow. It did well for about a year and then the base started breaking up. We tried to take it back to the retailer (lifetime service was part of the deal). The retailer was gone. We called O**** and they said too bad for you. They would not sell me parts and told me to call the closest dealer who turned out to be a very uninterested voice on the phone an hour away who, upon finding out we had not purchased it from her, said we'd have to drop it off and pay for service and parts and she would get to when she could. I retrieved some nice hardware and a cord off that O**** before it hit the garbage truck. And, we decided that was the last time we spend more than $75 on a vacuum. Our $35 Hoover had lasted 15 years plus, the $400 O**** lasted just a year. The math was easy.

And don't think for a second that kids and CAD systems produce superior design automatically. The replacement for that O**** was another Hoover from the local Sears store. Taking it out of the box was very interesting. Before we uncoiled the cord I noted three major DESIGN defects and a few minor ones. I was able to modify the vacuum to correct two of the problems but the third will require major surgery and it isn't quite annoying enough to warrant that.

I can go on but I want to get back to a solar pool heater design I started earlier today. Hey. Good luck buying anything these days. You'll need it. LoL

P.S. Vis-á-vis new washer / dryers? Stick to mechanical mechanisms. Do you really need a washing machine that can dance the Texas two-step, speak in four languages and tie your clothes in knots like an Eagle Scout? I think not. Keep up with the Jones' where it counts ... in the landscaping.  ;-)


Tom Shed
User Rank
High Efficiency Washers
Tom Shed   8/5/2011 5:02:23 PM
We upgraded from our 1971 Whirlpool top loader to a Whirlpool front loader a few years ago and are very happy with its performance.  However, we were careful to insure that we got the machine made in Germany.  

We use as little detergent as possible and always select an extra rince cycle.  So far we are very pleased with clothes cleanliness and have had no mildew issues.  

However, we are not pleased with a GE range that dropped a self tapping screw into food in the oven.  Fortunately the screw was found before teeth were broken!!  A close inspection revealed that the hole in the oven liner rusted and alowed the screw holding the oven vent in place to fall out.  Further examination revealed that the oven liner enamel coating was failing in many locations.  

We did contact GE, they offered to discount the service call to troubleshoot the issue but would not cover the cost of repairs, which would be replacement or the liner.  Installing an oversized sheetmetal screw would be asking for a repitition of the problem.  We are beyond the warenty period for the $1,500 stove

We are very disapointed with GE's material selection.  

User Rank
Re: FEDERAL Govt Green Mandate
Daytrader4   8/5/2011 8:46:37 AM
My dear cemoore.   I'm 68, and no, not at all defeated, I was an arch conservative in the 60's and still am.  The answer to your question?  Google "laws: low water usage" and have a nice afternoon of reading.  Also..... you may want to Google "laws: light bulbs" and "laws: automobile safety devices".... and many others.   Do you  really want the government in your face quite this much?  I don't.

User Rank
Re: Once Great Brands
DougM21   8/5/2011 8:35:39 AM
> The fault, dear Dilberts, is that Engineering never sees their designs to market because Accounting and Management and Marketing - the real monkeys -outnumber them.

This is one of the main themes of Bob Lutz's new book, "Car Guys vs Bean Counters."  While he's mostly writing about GM and other car companies, he's seen enough of the management (MBA culture) of other manufacturers to know that many have the same problems.  As bad as the situation seems, early in the book he expresses hope that it can be turned around in the USA.  Recommended.

In response to another post, a friendly repair tech recommended a surge protector for any new appliance with electronic controls or displays.  We have one on our new Kenmore (Amana) fridge and so far so good, after many t-storms this summer.

User Rank
Cheap boards, poor protection
Designtoqulaity   8/5/2011 6:58:11 AM
Talked to the magager of the local, independent, appliance parts store.  Says that within a week af a bad thunderstorm rolling thru, he sells several boards.  Why aren't there surge suppressors in the machines?  I would guess accountants and lawyers.  Why don't the users plug the machines into surge suppressors?  The average consumer does not know the expenses of loosing a board, and in the past the electormechanical controls did not share the same worry.  Incidentally, he has heard that the top loaders are being discontinued, so he bought an old style washer and dryer and put in storage for when his current ones die some decade from now.

Speaking of accountants and electronics, do you think they don't buy from the cheapest source, at what price reliability?  The NPR Car Talk guys say there are now  lots of returns on electical equipment because entire lots of replacement parts are plagued by the same cheap components.  The appliance controllers could use some of the same cheap components, or some of those Chinese capacitors that have wreaked havoc in computer laptops.

User Rank
Re: Once Great Brands
Justajo   8/4/2011 10:05:50 PM
The fault, dear Dilberts, is that Engineering never sees their designs to market because Accounting and Management and Marketing - the real monkeys -outnumber them. It got worse when company field testing was eliminated by most manufacturers, preferring to let their customers be the unwitting and unpaid field testers. How the pencil pushers and eyeshade wearers determined this was cheaper and wouldn't hurt the company much, I haven't a clue, but that's what happened. 

User Rank
FEDERAL Govt Green Mandate
cemoore   8/4/2011 9:10:13 PM
What Federal Law imposes what penalty by what mandate for insufficiently "green" clothes washers?  Suggested standards, Yes; penalty enforced mandate, No. [Specification of "Federal" is a little suspicious - I'm 67, didn't we defeat you guys in the 60's?]

User Rank
The 1947 Maytag..I now forgive you for the damage
oldtimer8080   8/4/2011 6:37:06 PM
When I got my hand and full arm through the wringer as a little boy...


You filled the tub from a tap from the water heater in the milkhouse...


It worked as well as the original FORDSON ( 56 & 57 ) tractors and was just as reliable...have you seen the gearbox on that washer? today's TRUCK gearboxes aren't built that well.

And the joke that went along at the time:

Why was a Maytag washer like a Malcom X rally?

If you know the answer, you saw some of the BEST appliances ever made...

I honestly wish I had one now as a backup for the 15 year old Kenmore top loader...

and MANUAL TIMER GE automatic dryer...

Craigslist here is full of FREE front loaders...just replace the electronics to get it going....both 2 year old washers AND Dryers.....


That says much about the quality of these " green " appliances...


The only green thing about them is the ability of companies like GE to empty your wallet..


User Rank
the real culprit: U.S. the government
Daytrader4   8/4/2011 4:03:09 PM
I may or may not be a fan of G.E. or Maytag, but you are all blaming the wrong people.  You should have "seen" it when the posts seemed to be blaming new machines from all vendors.  The manufacturers or their engineers are not to blame at all.  The blame rest squarely on an intrusive federal govenment that mandates "low water usage" washers.  If you want to get decent appliance performance in future then get the government out of people's faces.  Election time is coming.  If you vote these same clowns in, then you deserve what you get.....including dirty clothes.


User Rank
New Maytag washer
rcwithlime   8/4/2011 3:16:20 PM
I purchased a new Maytag Washer. Same issue as many others. Green means wets clothes but that is all. I had repair man come and he said all are like that. New machines tout that they save water, sure but if you have very dirty clothes, dirt only rubs off on other clothes. Very sad for the hight $ you pay...

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