Why Kenmore Front Load Washers Fail

Why do Kenmore front load washers fail shortly after their warranty expires? A rusted drum support, a drum screw cutting through plastic tub, etc. This excellent video clip, courtesy of a youtube user tanksalotct, shows how and why Kenmore front load washers fail. Check it out for yourself and share your experience by commenting below.

44 Responses to “Why Kenmore Front Load Washers Fail”

  1. George Says:

    I just finished installing the Rear shell/bearing and the inner spin tub in my front load Kenmore after 5-6hours work overall and $367. Had to buy the separate parts from “Reliable Parts” here in Canada even though Sears carries the whole assembly (complete shell with spin tub inside). They will not sell the assembly – it’s only for their techs to install as a flat priced repair ($500-$600).
    This all could have been avoided if we had known about the powdered detergent problem, which we were’nt told about and is not in our manual – it’s eight years old and has been getting louder over the last year. Spider bracket was still OK but bearing and shaft were a mess. Thanks for the info. I used the instructions at: http://www.applianceaid.com/417_Frigidaire_washer.html

  2. larry jsmith Says:

    i have the same promblem

  3. jeffrey ferguson Says:

    do the other two with the same problem also use powedered det.? what do the three long screws fasten to the inside of the drum?

  4. frank Says:

    `i just ordered kenmore front loader and im waiting delivery will i be sorry

  5. Louis Says:

    Our GE Gallery front load washer is now 7-1/2yrs old and has been getting noisier over the past year or so. I suppose the bearing is gone, maybe more and from what I have read I will have to at least replace the inner half of the tub. When I rotate the SS tub by hand it feels very rough and bumpy, there is no leak so far. I’m regretting buying into this hole front load system, we paid over a $1000 for this thing and expected at least 20 yrs service from it, so much for the “savings”.

  6. Teri Says:

    Any suggestions for those of us who just purchased this machine?

  7. Louis Says:

    Well it looks like the only fix is the replacement of the inner tub at the very least, at a cost of about $200 for parts alone. Mine although is noisy is still functioning otherwise normally with no leaks although I think it’s only a matter of time. Till then I’m going to continue using it as it is then will take it apart and evaluate. So far it seems like no one has been able to replace the bearing on it’s own, that’s too bad because I have a good source for bearings (would cost about $10!). louis

  8. George Says:

    For those who have recently bought these machines, I think you are probably better off as long as you are using the correct detergent (HE liquid)

  9. Louis Says:

    I have been using liquid detergent from day one, never powder so I’m afraid that alone is not enough to ward off the bearing distruction.

  10. Sean Says:

    I can’t believe I am reading this!

    For my own particular reasons, I thought I would google “bearing recall kenmore washer” and I’m lead directly to this website.

    We purchased our washer in 2002

    The spider drum failed in 2005. The entire drum assembly was replaced. I don’t recall that the repair was warranteed.

    Aparently, the bearing and the shock damper failed last week, of which I’m told is not under warrantee.

    $450 was the repair quote.

    We have always used liquid detergent but I was advised today by the repairman that we should be using the HE type?

    I am going to make sure I have a good look at the guts of this thing when they go to fix it.

    Any suggestions?

  11. appliancejournal Says:

    Sorry to hear about your trouble, Sean.

    One thing I wanted to point out is that Kenmore is just a brand owned by Sears. All Kenmore appliances are made by other manufacturers. At present time, there are at least two different brands of front load washers sold under the Kenmore brand – one made by Whirlpool and another made by Electrolux (Frigidaire). You can tell by checking the model number prefix (look for a small tag on the washer). 110 means Whirlpool, 417 means Electrolux/Frigidaire.

    Sounds like yours is made by Frigidaire. If so, check your warranty paperwork. You may still have warranty on the basket (part only), in which case you would only have to pay for labor.

    Using HE detergent with front load washers is strongly recommended by most manufacturers, and from what I hear it does help.

  12. Louis Says:

    Blaming detergent for bearing failure is pretty ridiculous if you ask me, for those who do use it and don’t have a problem they’re just plain lucky, I wasn’t. Sorry but “helps” does not sound good enough to me.

  13. Michael Says:

    Louis – I did find an article on-line last night with info on replacing just the bearings on these Kenmore 417 front loaders. It was a .pdf download. Don’t have it here, but will check at home later and post the link here.

  14. Louis Says:

    Michael, that sounds great, thanks. I have to do something soon, it is getting REALLY noisy, thumping loudly and it’s a matter of time before it starts leaking water. ……..Louis

  15. Michael Says:

    Here’s the link to the thread. There are two links to .pdf files with detailed instructions and the bearing part numbers. I think the second is the one I downloaded.

    http://www.applianceblog.com/mainforums/showthread.php?t=237

  16. Louis Says:

    Michael thank you for doing this, although it doesn’t give detailed instructions on actual bearing removal it does go into detail on taking it apart to that point. This is what I needed to know, that once apart the bearings can be replaced on their own, I’ll be able to remove them once all is apart. I suppose I should get a tub seal ahead of time? ……Louis

  17. Stacey Says:

    My husband and I bought a the Kenmore He2 Washer in July of 2006 and it’s dying!!! We are so frustrated. We didn’t purchase the two year warranty at the time–and now we are so bummed. It’s so foolish that they can sell an $800.00 washer that dies in 1 1/2 years. Anyone else experience this? We’ve been reading other blogs that said it was the motherboard–I wish they would just recall the stupid machine! We bought the matching dryer and it works just fine. What can we do? Just pay hundreds of dollars in repairs?

  18. N Ehresman Says:

    Thanks for the video clip. This is exactly the problem we have with our Kenmore Front Load which was manufactured in April 2003. I took the machine apart yesterday before watching the video. Two of the arms on the Spider bracket are broken. We also had shredded plastic from the outer tub in our last load but the screws did not cut the whole way through. We went out last evening and bought a Maytag. Anyone need parts off my Kenmore (Model 417.43142200). The motor is fine and all circuit boards?

  19. Joan Says:

    I have this Kenmore FrontLoad I bought 2 years ago burt just went bad weeks after the warranty expired. I have the Elite HE4t. Please Kenmore products are being recalled. I won’t advice anyone to buy Kenmore again.

  20. Louis Says:

    Well finally did it, took the darn machine apart, found the expected bad bearings but also found one of the spider arms broken. At $400 for these two items (just parts) I refused to put that kind of money into it. I knocked the bearings out and found replacements at a local bearing supplier. As for the arm I braced it to the others as well as screwed to the tub but unfortunetly what I feared was the case. It was great, quiet and smooth until the final super fast spin where it was obvious the drum is now out of balance and rocking and making a racket, but machine doesn’t move. I’m leaving it until it just explodes at this point or won’t go anymore, maybe a month maybe a year but I am not going through all that work again and definetly not going to put money into at this point. My point now is if you’re capable of dismantling it you can replace just the bearings as long as the spider arm is not broken. As soon as the bearing start “howling” (getting loud at spin) is the time to do them, if you wait until they’re really loose (you can actually move drum side to side by hand)then the spider arm will break and the inner drum will also scrape through the plastic tub. The bearings cost me $50 for the set, I re-used the gasket between the tub halves with no problems. Michael thanks again for the thread on the thorough instruction for the work.

  21. Scott Says:

    Well our GE Front loader washer after 6 yrs started making a ton of noise during the spin cycle. Figuring it was the rear bearing I took it apart but only to find that the bearing would have been ok if the spider bracket hadn’t broken two of it’s arms. Downer it that the spider bracket is not sold by itself. You have to buy the whole Tub-Spin assembly. ($300-$400) depending on who you talk to. But also need to replace the rear bearing since it was leaking too, another $300, so might as well buy a new washer. Unless anyone might know of a source to obtain just the spider bracket.

    Cheers!

  22. Louis Says:

    Scott the bearings can be knocked out easy enough once the drum is apart, no need to buy inner tub. There are a lot of bearing suppliers that can easily match them (with better bearings I might add). The rear spider here is $199 canadian, this includes the entire stainless drum, where did you get 300-400?

  23. Scott Says:

    Louis, Thanks for the quick reply. The $300-400 is from the geappliance.com website. Tub-Spin assembly (WH45X10006) price $399.50 US. I found another site appliancepartspros.com with it listed at $297.48 US. OK, the big question then is, do you think it’s worth trying to save this 6 yr old washer? Thanks again.

  24. appliancejournal Says:

    I wouldn’t spend $300 on a GE washer, IMHO. GE makes good jet engines, appliances however are not so great. Again, my opinion only.

  25. Louis Says:

    I agree, this is why I replaced the bearings on their own at a cost of $50 and patched the spider arm for now, when it quits all together it’s going to the junk yard and never will I buy one again.

  26. Jeff Says:

    Thanks to all for your good info.
    I’m in the same boat – loud knocking during the spin cycle – reviewed all the above info, took washer apart and found that the spider arm is broken.
    So, I think I’m going to replace the bearing for $50 and the spider arms for $199 since $250 is much cheaper than an new washer, and I should get another 5 years out of it (hopefully :)
    Anyone know who to contact to get that spider assembly with the drum for $199? I’m in Ontario.
    Thanks!!

  27. James Joyce Says:

    I sent this to Sears Corporate!

    The link below shows why Sears has ripped of millions of patriotic Americans who have purchased Sears Appliances only to be disappointed with Sears’s corporate policy, by design ripping off the consumer with a costly repair scheme, to fix a defective product and design, on it face! The reality of buying a defective product, at considerable cost only to have it, “shit the bed,” in a major way is unacceptable and epitomized the scumbag mentality of corporate slime, preoccupied with profit while $ucking the consumer hard, with inferior products. Imagine driving down the road and the front wheel falls off your car after five years. I paid over a $1000.00 for a front-load Kenmore Washing Machine. only to get sodomized by SEARS

    http://www.appliancejournal.com/appliance-repair-help/washer-repair/why-kenmore-front-load-washers-fail-271/
    1) Sear does not sell just.. spider bracket and spindle? What the hell???
    2) My stainless steel inner basket is fine! I do not need another one! Thanks but no thanks!!
    3) I can buy my own rear bearings and replace them without getting raped in the process!!
    4) Nice screw job with the “over sized steel screw” which scores the outer plastic tub from the inside rendering it useless and trash bound!
    5) To sell replacement parts which are not upgraded to address “ACKNOWLEDGED” underlying design defects is fraud and a is crime.

    If you want to know what is wrong with AMERICA TODAY!!
    It’s BULLSHIT LIKE THIS! Buy American and get screwed in the process? What classless “behavior” for an American Corporation, once respected, but respected no more!!

    An American………….

  28. Louis Says:

    Jeff, any local appliance repair shop can order it for you. I called sears (where I bought mine) and they gave me a list of service centers and I called one, he told me $199.00 and had to be ordered. Online I found a couple of places that had it as well but of course there is shipping involved. Make sure your seal is good and water is not going to leak through to the bearings, you can probably order one at the same time, a bearing supply place may have the seal as well if you take it in with you. BTW, grind down the three screws poking through the inner drum before re-assembly, the ones that likes to gouge out the outer tub when bearings go bad. Also the best way to instal the boot to tub would be while tub assembly is out of the machine, this would mean detaching the boot from the front of the washer completely. You have to carefully cut free the boot from the washer, I re-installed it and didn’t use any glue and it stays in place. The repair guy said you can use a bit of crazy glue at a few spots to hold it in, I would think a little contact cement may also work.

  29. Ron Says:

    Having replaced many bearings in the Kenmore front loaders, one thing is a constant. This washer is made by Fridgadaire for Sears. It is the same FLW with the Fridgadaire name on it. The reason for early failure seems to be the use of high suds (non HE) soap with ALL customers who had this work done. The screw in the basket holds the baffles in place.
    All appliances break. Today all appliances are not constructed as they were 20 years ago. The reason is that the price of the product hasn’t really increased to cover inflation. Something gave and cheaper materials was the only thing that could be controlled. This is true of all appliances today. What used to be serviced in 7-8 years is now being serviced in 3-5.

  30. Steve Menard Says:

    I have the same prob. as most of you. My 417.43142200 model Kenmore washer just gave out. It just started knocking loudly the other day during the fast spin cycle. Shortly after, we put another load in and it made the knocking sound during regular wash cycle. I was surprised so many people were having the same problem and only after five to six years of function. I was very happy to see the youtube.com post by tanksalotct. It has made my decision to service or scrap my washer a lot easier. My time is very valuable, and to spend two to three hundred dollars in parts alone for a washer I paid six hundred for is ridiculous. You might find it interesting to know that I called a repair man who worked on ac units, washers, dryers, etc., for over forty years. He said that Frigidaire-made Kenmore units are pieces of junk (by experience now, I say he’s right). He also said that Maytag, formerly top of the line quality, was bought out and now is also junk. He recommends buying Whirlpool, but I am currently looking at some LG washers and dryers. I have read good customer reviews of them which were much more highly reviewed than Whirlpool. It is a cop out to say that you can’t keep up with inflation; therefore, cheap quality construction and parts are implemented. If the price one company charges for a washer, let’s say, is $2500.00 and never has a hiccup for over twenty years and a competitor only charges $800.00 for a hunk of tin that breaks every five or six years, which one do you think the consumer would rather buy from? I guess the guy or gal who likes to waste liftime repairing or replacing cheap crap might think they are saving money, but my lifetime is limited. I will spend good money on someting that will last allowing me time to spend with friends and family, not loosing my religion on previously proud American name brands. I’m sorry if this sounds like a rant. I had to vent somewhere. No more Kenmore for this fella.

  31. Louis Says:

    No more for me as well, very disappointed with what I ended up with.

  32. James Joyce Says:

    The screws which fix the baffle to the inside of the inner tub extends considerably “longer” than required. I’m surprised “corporate bean counters” spent to much money on screws! The necessity of repair is guaranteed, once the sub standard bearings or spider bracket fails! The money which could have been saved by using “shorter screws” might have been “earmarked” for more resilient bearings and spider brackets? Your statement concerning the “longevity” of appliances manufactured; “…all appliances today. What used to be serviced in 7-8 years is now being serviced in 3-5,” again affirms an “underlying problem.” Yes appliances do break, but this is absurd. Both the manufacturer and retailers should be accountable for the marketing of $1000.00 plus FLWs requiring considerable repair costs, many within five years! This is just wrong! It is the classic rip off, fortunately absent the effects of products like, defective m-16s, exploding in the faces of GI’s firing weapon, while under fire!

  33. Brenda Dowst Says:

    This has been informative, disheartening and also confirming. Thanks for taking the time and effort to expose this fraud. I stumbled onto your video looking for parts for a front-loader Kenmore washer we purchased in the summer of 2005 for our states side house -we spend summers out of the country -using the machine only during the winter months for 3 adults. Two days ago,less than the three year mark – more like a full year of use, the machine refused to drain or spin. I’ve spent the past two days, taking the machine apart – perhaps its the control board or the pump drain -if I do the repairs -a total of $250.00 in parts without labor- impossible to know unless I have a Sears repairman come to check for 75.00 plus the hourly rate. Sooo, after what I have to look forward to, I should jump ship. Ironic that Sears spends lots of energy advertising its Quality Service – that’s obviously because they sell crappy products and they know it -seems deliberate and intentional to me. Growing up and as a young wife, we had Kenmore/Sears appliances that lasted and lasted and lasted and we loved buying from Sears.

    I will never buy another appliance or vacuum, tractor, or TV from Sears.

    What have others done about this consumer fraud? I got Sears Holding Corp.CEO’s name and address to write a nasty letter, which will go into the round file, I’m sure.

    I understand the anger and frustration -now I have to pay to have this machine picked up- because it’s too heavy for me to lift – trucked to the recycle and pay for its disposal- what a crime – at so many levels.

  34. Jeff Says:

    Brenda,
    I’ve got a brand new control board you can try.
    e-mail me at muhley@hotmail.com if you’re interested – not sure how close we are with shipping.
    Jeff

  35. Brenda Dowst Says:

    Thank you – how thoughtful- I have a confession to make. Dave and I uncovered the drain pump,because my internet searches led me to suspect a problem, and to our amazement, there was a dental floss pick wedged in the propeller of the pump assembly. We removed it, put the machine back together- and it’s running again. Who knows for how long. So in this case, my condemnation of Sears seems unjustified, except that the front cover is shot- cracked and finally broke into two pieces over the soap dispenser within a few months of purchase, the door hinges are rusted and there is surface corrosion in several places – what an adventure. This actually doesn’t change my conviction that I need to avoid Sears as a shopping outlet. I will be much more cautious in general.

    Brenda

  36. Louis Says:

    Brenda I don’t want to rain on your parade but the bearings and spider arm will most definitely break sooner or later. Sorry

  37. Brenda Dowst Says:

    I’ve no doubt that that’s true – if it last another 6 months,I’ll be relieved.We hope to market our house in NH this spring. Unfortunately, I purchased a new stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer last August which we moved to our Nova Scotia house- I’ll most likely have similar issues there- hopefully we’ll have a couple of years without repairs.

    Brenda

  38. Scott Says:

    I’m finding myself in a quandry here to find a replacement washer since I’ve got limited space for a washer/dryer set. I’m needing something that’s no more than 26″ deep but that kind of forces me into the 3.1 cu ft. front load washers. And quess what, all that I’ve found is made by GE (the model that’s gone after 6 yrs), Frigidaire or Kenmore. But they’re all basically same washer made by Frigidaire with the inharient problem of poor drum design (Spider arm unprotected from corrosion and eventual structural failure).

    Step up to a 3.5 cu ft washers and the same concern exists since they all are made by Frigidaire.

    My question to everyone is what are you replacing your washers with????

  39. Brenda Dowst Says:

    We’ve had the same question and have started to research option. This website is interesting.
    http://www.kelkoo.co.uk/co_3368-washing-machine-washer-dryer-guide-washing-machine-washer-dryer-buyers-guide.html
    We’re thinking this may even lead to a search for machines made by hotpoint, bosch, etc in the US. We also intent to check on Japanese models – they are smaller and seem to has fewer repairs- according to my Japanese daughter-in-law. I’m interested in other ideas as well.
    Brenda

  40. James Joyce Says:

    George,

    Nice call. Detergents use is the problem?? This is a text book rip-off. The denial and refusal to admit this inherent structural design, is by design and is “scumbag behavior.” A substandard spider bracket of poor quality is the problem! Consumers have again been screwed by corporate scum. Bend over and smile while when sodomized!!

  41. Louis Says:

    I don’t buy the detergent use as a problem either, I used the proper liquid stuff from day one, I had no leaks and yet spider arm is broken and bearings worn. The place I bought the replacement bearings from told me the original bearings were of junk Chinese quality, worth maybe $2! Local repair guy showed me one he had in for service that had the bearings still good but the spider was broken in 2 places, the machine was 4 yrs old. Junk, and after the known problem for so long now you’ld think they change something, they’re still the same design! Ha, reminds me of the Chrysler transmission issue that went on for so long. Well we’re free to shop elsewhere and that’s what I plan on doing thank you very much.

  42. Sheryl Says:

    I bought a kemnore in nov 01, by dec 03 the spider bracket was broken on 2 arms, i did get the ex warrenty but only once, in dec they tried to sell it to me again (I declined) and this march 08 it broke again!! Repairman says it is a result of well water damaging the bracket. I’m so validated to find this sight after searching for 3 days on the internet for a replacement machine. How can Sears sell the same part for 8 years in a row to fix obvious reacurrent problems? I dont need a drum!! I wonder if i could get one of the local farm machienists to fabricate a better spider thingy and put in a new berring cheeper, 7 years with a house of 8 is a lot of laundry but…How do we know another model hasnt made the same obvious slipup, and still refuse to reassess it. the reviews out there are really bad on most machines now and id rather spend that $ on a big tv, wouldnt u? maybe a washboard in front of a big screen…

  43. Cindy Says:

    Ours just died a different death but we suspect the bearing as the source of the problem. Suddenly three days ago it sounded like it was spinning the cement blocks I know are inside it. We turned it off and then on again and it seemed fine. I did another load and all seemed fine till it began to spin counterclockwise – rocks again– LOUD–VERY VERY LOUD!
    When we opened it up our plastic drum had two big pieces about the size of a paper plate broken right off the “corner” . We could actually look down inside and see the water sloshing around. Haven’t looked for parts yet. Not sure if I want to repair this one or find another similar one (I’ve LOVED this machine!!). I am on my third one in 19 years though — the first one came with the house and seemed to have 60s vintage literature. There are seven of us but I had hoped for more “mileage” than this.
    Anyone interested in shipping us the back half of your unscored plastic tub before you dump it all in recycling?

  44. Louis Says:

    I have an extra back half, I think I also kept the front half but I’m in Toronto, Ontario Canada, don’t know where you’re at but i have no use for it. It’s from a Frigidaire Gallery, probably same as the GE and Kenmore. Make sure the spider is not broken before you go any further.

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