I did have an old "Kitchen Aide" dishwasher that I purchased used for $100, and after only thirty years the timer drive motor failed and the replacement motor was not available except with the timer, for $50. So I replaced it with a more modern one, a "Whirlpool", and after one recall repair so far the only problem is that that cheap membrane switch panel is starting to peel off. But I did have to work on a similar unit for somebody else, and on that one the membrane switch failed and the processor failed. and with the price of that cheap membrane switch around a hundred dollars, and no assurance that the processor at $175 was not also bad, we wound up replacing the whole thing. The big advantage of the electronic controls is that they are cheaper to build than a mechanical timer, and that there does not need to be a repair team to service them because they can't be repaired because repair parts are not available.
Interesting point. I have a top end high efficiency variable speed furnace. I could now lease it, fully serviced. Two years ago I could only buy it, but I can get an extended warranty for another chunk of change.
With the new one I have more concerns the expensive electronic controls will eventually go than I ever did with the old simple two speed unit.
So, is it cheap? No, it was expensive. Is it reliable? We will see, but I hope it is. Or I'll wish I'd leased it. That is my point.
At least this unit doesn't put the electronics directly below the condensate lines.
Rolls Royce is synonimous the world over for high quality, long life and (justifyable) high price. It is first and foremost an Engineering company. Unfortunately, it followed many engineering-lead companies into bankruptcy. Just like Maytag. The fact that the Volksvagen group were so keen to buy them means there is still a place in worldwide manufacturing industry for good design and engineering, but the cost/performance balance has to be right. My boss told me on my first day of work that an Engineer is someone that can do for 50p what any fool can do for a pound. This is not cos-cutting, it's fundemantal to being a good engineer.
Yeah, me too. My wife and I bought a Maytag washer and dryer set in 1989 for about $1,300. (About one month's pay back then for me) We raised four children with these units. Just this past year the washer finally broke when the upper bearing in the transmission unit dried out and seized. I bought a new transmission and replaced the belts, but after doing a post-mortem on the 'dead' tranny, I could have just disassembled it, cleaned and lubricated the sleeve bearing and put it back into service. I saved the old tranny just in case.
The dryer needed some rollers/bearings for the rear rollers and new glide bearings on the front of the drum a couple of years ago. And just last year, I needed to replace the element in the heater unit. That's it.
For 22 years, we just (ab)used these things. Unfortunately, now that Whirlpool owns the Maytag brand, they sullied the storied history of Maytag. I will keep these gems going as long as I can get the few repair parts that I need.
When we moved into our current house about sixteen years ago, we replaced the icky dishwasher with a brand new fancy Maytag (Whirlpool plastic piece of crap) dishwasher to the tune of $800. Within the year, I needed a new main control board. A year later, the membrane touch panel switch board went Tango Uniform. The plastic latch handle of the door broke. It was prone to 'locking up' or 'freezing' and the only way to reset it was to go into the basement and flip the breaker. The particulate filter on the pump housing failed so the dishes came out with chunks all over the place. The adjustable racks require these water risers with little rubber flaps to 'shut off' the unused ports. They don't seal or close sometimes so the sprayers get precious little water pressure. Oh how I wish I had my old KitchenAid with the real enameled steel tub and old reliable clock timer switch assembly. I should have taken it when we left our last house. :-(
Chuck, I'm also amazed about the bad manners--and for that matter, very poor job skills--of call center staff. But I sure as heck will not pay more for good ones. To me, that implies that lousy service is OK and the norm. I wish there was a way to send financial pain back up the line to the company allowing these people to talk to me. Something similar to not tipping a waiter, for instance.
The toughest position an engineer has to take is when marketing says they want you to cut corners to just get the price down, and your name is on the product. You don't want to make garbage but it is out of your hands. So, the product works for a while, then it breaks. Then the readers of Design News comment on the lousy engineering, and that makes you cringe. It isn't always the fault of the engineer.
Tried ignoring the "gripe" heading as long as I could. Virtually every poorly designed, under-engineered, latently defective component described in these hallowed pages was likely designed by an engineer. I submit that these discussions describe in one sense the essence of engineering. Make the best part to meet the design goals at a reasonable price. It appears we are the victims of our success. Plastic gears at a tenth the cost with a design lifetime of 80% of brass seems to make sense. Plastic window regulators work fine if the windows never freeze. These blogs do a pretty good job of showing how difficult it is to make that balance between the optimum part and the affordable price.
Whenever I hear about nasty call center people, I'm amazed. I've got to believe that poor call center manners will eventually come back to bite the company, although it may take several years. I, for one, would be willing to pay extra for a product if I knew that the people on the help line were actually there to help.
Charles Murray wrote " believe you, LarryM. Your 1984 Maytag appliances..."
Charles, these were actually Whirlpool units, not Maytags, but Whirlpool also had a deservedly good reputation in those days. Their customer service line was called the "Cool Line" (not hotline), and they would advise you on owner repairs. They actually put an engineer on the line to talk my late wife through a dryer belt replacement because she didn't want to wait until I got home.
Whirlpool's policy was to send you the complete washer and dryer service manuals at no charge upon request prior to the 80s. They ceased doing that around the time we got this set, but the washer contained a booklet hidden in the control panel which included a block diagram of the electronic controller and a wiring diagram, as well as the timing chart pasted to the back of the machine. These pieces, taken together, were enough to solve a pretty arcane problem for 37 cents.
Sadly Whirlpool no longer has the Cool Line and no longer provides service manuals--I don't even think you can get them if you are willing to pay. The call center people are actually pretty nasty.
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