I had the same experience with a Maytag front load. I'd really like to hear from some working MEs as to whether manufacturers do practice design obsolescense. There really is absolutely no valid reason to not design a machine to be repaired by a capable individual. In fact, in the 1970s my dad and I had fixed a Maytag washer's transmission by drilling two holes in it to replace the transmission fluid and then plug them up for operation. Then the question was why didn't Maytag design in an adequate drain port? My dad just refilled it for more use. Poor design for repairability has been an issue for quite some time.
When I was in England we bought a washer/dryer for our house. The company paid for it. I don't recall that it was cheaper. The units worked fine for the three years we had them. I do recall that we got top loaders for our second home when we moved back. We have a top loader washer at home that is at least 12 years old. It seems to work fine. I have rebuilt washers in the distant past, but not until they were many years old and usually to replace gaskets, not bearings.
Sounds like you're solved the mold problem, Beth. I bought a used set of washer (top loader) and dryer about ten years ago. Small things have broken (the door latch for the dryer and the dial for the washer), but with a little homemade correction they work fine. The small problems are just not significant enough to warrant the investment in new appliances.
I have owned a Staber washer for over 12 years. We purchased the machine when we were living in a country home on well water. It worked fine for the first few years until the DC motor and controller board went out. The controller board failure was caused by the motor failure. I replaced both, which was a fairly easy process after i picked up the parts from the factory which is in easy driving distance of where we presently reside. That was the only problem until recently when water was discovered to be splashing out and running down the side of the tub onto the basement floor. That problem was caused by the rubber shield that is attached to the top drying out and cracking from old age and ripping. I fixed that problem with good ole Gorilla Duct tape. I popped the top and wrapped the entire thing with duct tape and formed it back into it's old shape.
The Staber is a basic washer that is easily repaired with hand tools. It does not I have have the bells or whistles a new front loader has. It gets the job done though. I have had no problems with the bearings. It has a mechanical timer and basic wash cycles. It is easy to disassemble to get to the innards.
Mechatron, you confirm what I have heard, although from European friends, that it's possible to get better quality washers, dryers and ovens outside the US for a lower price than we pay here. I don't get the economics of this, unless it's parallel to pharmaceuticals: we pay much higher prices for the same thing inside the US than people in other countries do. I'm not talking about knockoffs in either case.
Thanks, Kelly, for that specific model number info. But now I'm a bit worried about what you said re mold issues and front-loaders. I live where fungus and mold grow on and in everything. If mold is a common issue with front-loaders, then they would be doomed if we forgot to close but not latch the door.
Some of you may be interested in a Staber washer (and drier) made in America, which attacks the bearing issue in a different manner. It has two bearings each side of the drum, and although a horizontal axis drum for efficiency, it's a top loader! It's fairly pricey, probably cost effective for only heavy users, but has some interesting design innovations and fairly minimal controls. I'd be curious to hear the experiences from any users of this machine. http://www.staber.com/
I have a Maytag washer/gas drier set at home that is over thirty years old, which continues to serve my family well. My three boys have never known another, and they are all long out of the house. Except when they come over to do their families laundry! Every repair required has been minor, and accomplished by myself. I too lament the loss of this brands quality, simplicity, and reliability. I intend to nurse this pair along until it's no longer possible, or I need nursing myself.
I agree with the efficiency of the front loader washers. We have a Whirlpool Duet that has been going strong for 6 years with only one minor repair (which was caused by operator error).
Maytag had already entered into a contract with Samsung to build the Neptunes before Whirlpool bought them. There were some recalls and lawsuits regarding those products, so it added complexity to the purchase.
Once all the legal issues were settled, Whirlpool began producing Maytag front load units in the Whirlpool plants. These first units were rebranded Kitchen Aid models. Eventually Whirlpool began making design changes to differentiate the brands.
Full disclosure: I worked for Whirlpool in the laundry division at the time all this happened.
In my opinion, Maytag suffered most from lack of continuous improvement. They had a great design, but did not keep up with new technology or changes in the marketplace.
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