Kelly, thanks for writing this. I still find it hard to believe how low Maytag has sunk. Can you tell us what the model numbers are of your Samsung steam washer and dryer? Your description of the quiet, nearly dry clothes from the spin cycle, and quality sound like what I'd prefer when my 11-year-old GE machines quit (any day now, I assume).
I bought the Samsung 419 series, so the washer is WF419AAW and the dryer is DV419AGW...
The article title is a little misleading... The bearings in my Neptune washer didn't really fail early; the thing was 14 years old with probably 10 to 15 loads a week run thru it. I was simply surprised and a little dissappointed that the bearings were not designed to be replaceable.
Actually, the Neptune held up quite well. Other than replacing the wax motors with new versions that didn't leak (the source of many blown control boards... the wax leaked on the board and shorted it out...) the Neptune was a very good machine. Quiet, efficient as far as water consumption, and very trouble free.
The most common problem that people had was the mold issue, and that is just a "feature" of front load washers. They have to seal when the door is closed, otherwise they would leak. This seal means that the water inside the machine will not evaporate if the door is closed and latched... It took a few months, but I managed to train my wife and kids to close the door but not latch it... 14 years later, no mold and no bad smell...
Maytag no longer exists... Very sad... But when Whirlpool bought them they were already done... Too much debt, and increasing competition from overseas manufacturers...
Samsung no longer makes the 419 series washer. This washer features the "Silver Care" which is kind of out of fashion now... Silver ions kill something like 99.9% of bacteria, so it was great for delicates that detergent might damage, and also good for those people that can't remember to not latch the door of the washer between uses... The silver ions would effectively sanitize things... You can still buy these washers on Amazon and other online retailers, but they are not the current rage.
One thing about the Silver Care, I was not eligible for a rebate from my utility company because the state of California had decided that the Silver ions would be a problem for water treatment plants... But since it was a less popular model, I got it on a good sale... (I worked for Samsung at the time, but we only got employee discounts on TV's, Blu Ray players and computers... No appliances, no cell phones...
Both the washer and dryer have steam cycles, but we never use it on the washer. The steam cycle on the dryer gets used constantly... My wife and kids all tend to leave their clothes in the dryer until someone else needs to use it, so everything gets really badly wrinkled. The steam cycle freshens everything up in 10 minutes or so... So I would highly recommend a Steam cycle dryer. The LG washer that my wife liked had a steam cycle, but you had to refill a little holding tank for the steam. The Samsung dryer has a water supply line just like the washer, so I put a Tee on the cold water spigot to hook them both up.
Throw away the hoses that come with the washer/dryer and buy braided stainless jacketed hoses... They don't burst and flood your house...
My washer has VRT, the Vibration Reduction Technology. They have VRT Plus now, but I don't know whether it's more quiet or spins faster. Mine spins at 1300 RPM at its highest speed, which is pretty darn fast...
The Maytag Neptune was really interesting when I took it apart... Kind of a contraption, it had a big concrete block mounted inside with brackets and springs... Kind of Fred Flintstone vibration reduction technolgy... :)
I think you're lucky if you get 10 years out of a washer/dryer today, front loader or otherwise. It's a sad fact, but most of the new machines are just not designed to last longer. We've talked about it consistently in this forum--perhaps it's the so-called planned obsolescence.
I agree about the door tip. I actually don't even close mine for a good hour or so after washing. I leave the laundry closet door open so I can leave the washer door open so the residual water dries up. Have had a front-loader for three years and pleased to report no mold!
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.
Yes, I know about the bearing replacement tool... But that tool rental would not be a really quick fix, and when I told my wife that it might take a couple of weeks to fix the washer, she said no way...
$485 deposit to get the tool and bearings and seals, then after you ship it back you get a $320 refund...
The big problem was not having a washer for the 2 or 3 weeks it would take... My wife has a thing about laundromats...
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.
Maytag is a former winner of the Design News quality award. Maytag execs actually showed up with Gordon Jump (of lonely Maytag repairman fame) to pick up the award. That was about 20 years ago. What happened?
Its easier to achieve something than to maintain something. Some brands excel with the influence of their great leader. Apple almost die when Steve Job left and return back with great products such as iPOD, iPhone and iPad when he returns back in 1997. Now people is wondering if the new CEO could maintain the Apple Inc performance as it was under Steve Job leadership.
Hello, I am from Malaysia. In Malaysia, most people use the washing machine that could wash and dry in one system. The dryer operation using the high spinning concept. The spinner spin for cleaning with water inside. Before the dryer process start, the system will drain the water first before the spinner starts spinning at a very high speed until the cloth almost dry. You could see the machine will shake quite strong but we don't have to worry about that.
This kind of machine in the 80s and 90s was conqured by Japanese brands such as National (Now Panasonic), Toshiba and Sharp. But in the late 90s, Korean model such as Samsung and LG join the competition.
For the Japanese machine, the technology is robust and long last. My mother still use the fully automatic washing machine of Toshiba which we bought in 2000 and it still work perfectly till now. I use a National washing machine for almost 10 years until the controller breakdown due to my fault of putting it in an area where water always splashing to its body during the heavy rain. Currently I am using the Panasonic washing machine with the fuzzy logic control technology. It is my 7th years with it and I do believe it could serve me well for another 4 or 5 years.
With the introduction of Korean washing machine which usually at a lower price makes the Japanese maker do not have any other choice other than also reducing its price. You could get a very good and hi-tech washing machine here for around USD300.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Your story is amazing, jeffbiss, and it sounds like you answered the question about planned obsolescence. If you have to drill holes in the transmission to replace fluid, then I would think that the transmission, and maybe the whole washer, is being designed for obsolescence.
My guess is that making a machine hard to repair is a teast partly due to cost reductions. Crimped edges that don't open "gracefully", snap fit assemblies that can not be undone, only broken, and bearings pressed into place and held by upset staking. These are all done for initial cost reduction, but they also reduce quality, for those who equate quality to service life. As for bearings, I still recall the very old Maytag on my Uncles farm, used almost daily. one bearing needed to be replaced every twenty years, he complained. The only washer and dryer set that I am aware of that came close to that was the old "Westinghouse Twins", machines with the tubs at quite an angle, done so that the washer door seal would not have water pressure on it. They were way ahead of time with that pair. The other front loader that was ahead of it's time was the Bendix Duo-Matic, a combination washer and dryer with one tub serving both. That was quite a concept, but it had quite a few problems, as I recall. The idea didn't seem to catch on.
The bearings in my LG WM2032HW failed after nearly 8 years. Parts were readily available, $70 for the 2 bearings and seal. It was an all day job, but it came apart and went back together without major difficulties. I am very satisfied with my LG washing machine, and my Bosch dishwasher. Keep up the great work.
It seems like I read more about home washers in this column than any other items. Does anybody have any ideas of why this is the case? I expect a washer to last 10-12 years and since we bought our first in 19867, that has been the case. We are on our second dryer in the same length of time. Our first one was so old It was Harvest Gold in color. Am I just lucky or are most of the respondents cursed?
It seems like I read more about home washers in this column than any other items. Does anybody have any ideas of why this is the case? I expect a washer to last 10-12 years and since we bought our first in 1967, that has been the case. We are on our second dryer in the same length of time. Our first one was so old It was Harvest Gold in color. Am I just lucky or are most of the respondents cursed?
Those Neptune units have everything in a big plastic tub. It looked like you had to pull all that out to get to the problem. My folks had the same problem with theres. Bearings lost lube and it sounded like a grinder at 1000rpm. So what did they do... just like any other American.. bought the more expensive Samsung units with matching dryer having the steam option. This time they bought the insurance and the units have been working great for the past year.
I particularly had a problem with my samsung front load washer. Model # WF206BNW. The bearings on my washer have went bad and I'm told it's not worth it to replace them. I only had the washer for six years doing maybe 6 to 7 loads a week at the most. They sure do not make things like they used to. My parents had a washer for about 10 to 12 years which I would think would be the useful life for a washer. I bought the samsung washer and dryer when they first came out with the front loader. Maybe, they were still working out the kinks of it which is why it failed so early on me. But, I do not care for samsung very much. Their tvs are not very good which I came to see after I bought my washer and dryer, so I wasn't too surprised when my washer failed. My washer has always been on the loud side since I owned it. I thought that was normal. Maybe it had a malfunction from the beginning?? When it starts to spin it shakes so bad that anything on top of the dryer falls off and anything on my counter could fall as well. I was told by the repair man who came to see my washer and dryer that these front loaders are expensive to repair and do not last long. You are better off to go basic and stick with the top loader. I figured spending $1,500 for both a washer and dryer I would get AT LEAST 10 years from it. I was definitely wrong. When I contacted customer service to find out what the useful life is on their washer and dryer, they had no clue what I was talking about. Every product has a useful life. I chalk it all up to the fact that things are just not made like they used to be. They use cheaper parts, probably plastic that do not last long along with cheap labor which gives laborers no incentive to do a good job assemblying them. $750 and only a 6 year useful life is a disgrace to me as a consumer. I do like LG. Their tvs are fantastic and their customer service is great. I had a tv fail on me and it was a little over a year. They were willing to replace it for me. But, I do have a refrigerator by LG that has a lot of plastic parts on it, so a few broke. But, I contacted them about my refrigerator and they sent me replacement parts for it for free. So, at least they have great customer service.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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