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Washing machine is clunking - any appliance experts out there?

 
Mike Jay
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Hello all you appliance repair experts!  Our older front load washing machine just started clunking while washing and especially while spinning.  Took a look and the drum appears to be loose from its supports inside the tub.  Is this something that I can reasonably fix or is it time for a new washer?  It's a Kenmore with manufacturer number 417 41042000.  Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Could it be the shock absorbers?  https://www.appliancepartspros.com/repair-help/kenmore-washer-41741042000-repair/41741042000-noisy.html

Most washing machine repairs seem pretty simple if you are reasonably handy.  My husband and I have repaired ours a few times.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks Tyler, I don't think it's the shock absorbers.  I have the top and front bottom covers off.  When I wiggle the drum inside the tub, the tub and nothing outside of it moves.  I think the shock absorbers you're talking about are outside the tub and connect to the frame of the machine.  So I guess they could be bad as well, but I think the main issue is somewhere between the tub and the drum.  

My terminology may be off but I'm calling the tub the plastic waterproof housing that is around the guts of the washer and the drum to be the stainless steel cheese grader thing that holds the clothes and spins within the tub.

This would be a good chance to really dig into a washing machine.  If I ruin it, I still have to buy a washer so I'm not out anything but time (and parts if I buy any).

It seems like the only way to get into the tub (where I think the problem is) is to pull the whole tub out through the back of the machine.  Disconnecting umpteen hoses and waterproof connections in the process.  
 
Tyler Ludens
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Dang, after searching around more it sounds like it might be a bearing or some special support doohicky, which equals a difficult repair.  Some ideas:  http://www.fixya.com/support/t17020803-kenmore_417_41042000_front_loading
 
Travis Johnson
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Generally...a washing machine is worth fixing unless the pump goes bad. If the pump goes, it is cheaper to just buy a new washing machine.

But there is nothing on a dryer that cannot be fixed.

My inlaws like to waste money, so when their top loader washing machine quit agitating, they bought a new one. The plastic pawls that make it agitate are $3.96. To repair the pawls you need a bunch of extensions, a ratchet, and a socket. They could have fixed their washer using the change they found in the pockets of the next load of wash, and in less time then they took to lace up their shoes as they headed out the store to buy a new washer.

My refrigerator quit working the other day, and would not freeze my ice cream, which really pissed me off. So I got after it. In the end, it was the fan that circulates the cold air. I gave it a flick with my finger, and it started to run. I did that every day for three days, and yes my ice cream was NOT frozen.

I WAS PISSED.

So I squirted the fans bearings with a healthy dose of WD-40...it has been running fine for two weeks. (By the way, that is a fix that does not even require tools).

You would not believe the amount of stuff I fix around here. I really should put these "fixes" on the repair sub-forum so that other people to do go out and buy new appliances, when the ones they have could be fixed for just a couple of dollars.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks for searching Tyler!  I did a fair bit of that myself and the results were a bit varied.  Lots of offers to get advice from the website pros.  But by reading through enough answers, the one halfway down that page sounded the closest.  Here's an excerpt:

After I took the drum assembly out, I saw the rear drum broken and the inner tub hitting the outer tub. I ordered the outer drum assembly and only when I took the inner drum assembly out I realized the the "Spider" attached to the inner drum (and spindle) was broken. Entire drum assembly cost $417 + shipping and it may be cheaper in the long run to buy a new washer......Anyway, I am looking into welding the spider tomorrow.  


I'll probably take it outside (where I can't accidentally flood the laundry room) and tear into it this weekend.  Too bad it's fall harvest time, wild rice harvesting time and I have a few side jobs to do as well.

Yes Travis, please post your repairs to that forum.  Half the battle is knowing that these smaller jobs can be done by a homeowner.  I think the pump is fine.  Everything in there looks nice.  I just need to get access to the broken part without messing up the stuff on the way in or out
 
Tj Jefferson
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Mike Jay wrote:Thanks for searching Tyler!  I did a fair bit of that myself and the results were a bit varied.  Lots of offers to get advice from the website pros.  But by reading through enough answers, the one halfway down that page sounded the closest.  Here's an excerpt:

After I took the drum assembly out, I saw the rear drum broken and the inner tub hitting the outer tub. I ordered the outer drum assembly and only when I took the inner drum assembly out I realized the the "Spider" attached to the inner drum (and spindle) was broken. Entire drum assembly cost $417 + shipping and it may be cheaper in the long run to buy a new washer......Anyway, I am looking into welding the spider tomorrow.  


I'll probably take it outside (where I can't accidentally flood the laundry room) and tear into it this weekend.  Too bad it's fall harvest time, wild rice harvesting time and I have a few side jobs to do as well.

Yes Travis, please post your repairs to that forum.  Half the battle is knowing that these smaller jobs can be done by a homeowner.  I think the pump is fine.  Everything in there looks nice.  I just need to get access to the broken part without messing up the stuff on the way in or out



Mike, I always try to make a list of older less abused obscenities prior to this type of project. I have had my share this year for sure. Yesterday was a garage door opener that the belt was trashed, and it’s so old I couldn’t find a reliable part, so I was left pulling it apart and measuring tooth distances and ... no replacement online. I’m trying to figure out a use for the motor which is fine, but after all that work I sucked it up and got a new one. But I learned a lot about that piece of equipment. This is the first home we had with electric openers and water softener (red clay sulfur water) and all manner of other Wingdings. It drives me crazy to pay someone to do what should be simple with modest parts. Basically I can’t stand paying for labor for something I should be able to figure out. Especially if that person is poorly paid working in a dim factory at 14.

I’m super envious about the wild rice. Supposedly it’s down here but I’ve never seen it. That’s a foraging dream!
 
Jain Anderson
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Travis I've long operated under the motto - If its broke, can it be broke-er?!? I've repaired my '58 VW bus, repaired an early 1960s Kenmore using a car fan belt, rebuilt the pump on my Westinghouse washing machine, rebuilt vacuum cleaners, backyard engineered too many things to mention (including 3 solar panel mounts, one on tracking frame.) and choose a Staber washing machine for its energy efficiency AND self repair-ability. The Staber is a top loader, tumble drum washer. I've had mine for over 20 years and have done all the few repairs myself. Most new appliances are NOT built to be repaired, just replaced.
 
Mike Jay
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To its credit, this washer is 19 years and 9 months old.  I'll take plenty of pics when I dig into it.  Should be a PEP BB for that....  
 
Mike Jay
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Well, today was the day.  I started looking for videos of how to take it apart and stumbled across one that described the exact problem.  Appliance Part Pros video  I watched it and I'm 97% sure I know what's wrong.  It's a broken spider arm assembly.  The video was great so I felt I could do the repair.  Only one thing to check before I dig in.  How much is one of these spider arms?

Hmm, you can't just buy the spider arm, you need to buy the whole Inner tub assembly with spider arm shaft.  Ok, how much is that you say?  Four hundred and fifty f*cking dollars!  Son of a .....

So we went shopping this evening and got in on the last day of the Labor Day sale and got a floor model basic washer for...  you guessed it.....  $450.  
 
Carla Burke
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Yikes. I'm sorry it went that way, Mike.
 
Burl Smith
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I got the base Roper model for $200 on sale at Lowes. Six months later things weren't right so I turned it on it's side and discovered a loose belt that had no tensioner, so you basically need to replace the belt every six months. It works but you can't interrupt the cycle to redistribute the load when it bangs around on an unbalanced spin.
 
Jain Anderson
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Burl Smith wrote:I got the base Roper model for $200 on sale at Lowes. Six months later things weren't right so I turned it on it's side and discovered a loose belt that had no tensioner, so you basically need to replace the belt every six months. It works but you can't interrupt the cycle to redistribute the load when it bangs around on an unbalanced spin.



As shown above, newer appliances are NOT built to either last or work beyond basic functions and repair usually ends up costing as much or a greater % of what it costs to replace anyway.

Its beyond sad that all these 'daily use' machines HAD been engineered to WORK for us, but now are more engineered to be cheap and easy to assemble, function to warranty date and then break down soon there after. I talked to a appliacne salesman who knew his stuff regarding repairs. He told me that refrigerators now have compressors that last about 1 year. Most of us older folk KNOW about refrigerators that ran well for 15 or 20 years. If one takes into account the cost of a series of several 'cheapies' (like the Roper for $200), it doesn't take long for a more well engineered and built machine to pay back investment in maintenance and bother too.
(I always talk to repairmen before we buy any appliance).
 
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