A rather long-winded story of my Frigidaire Front Loader

jsjones

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2008
Messages
16
Location
Canada
I have a Frigidaire Front Loading Washing Machine. I noticed water on the floor one day and removed the kick to see what was going on. Water was dripping from the seam where the front and back outer shell joined. This occurred when it was on spin cycle. I had subscribed to this appliance repair forum when I had a dishwasher problem, so I thought I would look here.

Turns out these machines are notorious for this problem. The machines can go by the brand name Frigidaire or Kenmore.

My options were: 1. Buy a new machine (cost of $600-$800) (I'm in Canada and they are more expensive here), 2. Have it repaired by a service technician (cost of $250-$300), or 3. Try and repair it myself (cost parts only). I found out the seal (or what they call O-Ring) was only $22.00, so I figured I would give it a go.

I found instructions elsewhere on this forum and went to work. First thing I discovered was that one of the shock absorbers was broken. Another call made to find out whether part was available. It was, but it cost twice as much here in Canada for it than it would have in the States. ($70.00). Strange how the price of the seal was the same in the US and Canada but the shock absorber was double. I continued to disassemble the machine to make sure I would not have to buy anything else. Once I made repairs, I reassembled the machine and ran a test load. No leaks from seal, however it was now leaking at the drain boot. #)*#$&#*&. Looks like a couple pinholes. I sealed with silicone sealant, but will have to purchase a new drain boot.

Be forewarned. These machines are plagued with problems. The leaking seal is one. The rear bearing is another. The spider (which is like the back frame of the steel drum) corrodes and breaks. The controller board has been known to go. The problem I had was the cheapest one to have. If the bearing goes, you end up replacing the rear shell for close to $200.00. If the spider is broken, you end up replacing the whole drum for over $200.00.

I picked up the drain boot. It was listed as $36.00 US and I only paid $24.00 Canadian. There seems to be no consistency with the pricing on these parts. A pen went through the wash a month later and part of it lodged in the pump. I replaced the drain boot when I fished the pen out of the pump.

A month later I noticed that the washer had started cycle and was just sitting there not doing anything. I restarted washer and as soon as it started to fill, water came out the front. Great.

Took clothes out and noticed front seal had come away from drum. Very odd. Took top of unit and found out why…one of the support springs broke and the drum had dropped, pulling the seal off. I also caught a whiff of burning electrical something.

Took back off unit to see if motor was damaged, did not appear to be. Put meter on motor but was getting no voltage. Fortunately there were schematics in an envelope inside the machine, and the was a trouble shooting section at bottom. Turns out the motor speed control board is fried. Online price $160.00 US (probably more in Canada). Spring 22.00. Now the big decision. Should I get these part and add that to the close to $200 I spent a couple months ago? If I replace the motor speed control, I am not sure it will even work. There also could be problems with the timer or even the motor. And then there is the inevitable bearing that will undoubtedly break.

Time to cut my losses. Out the door it goes.

Cost to buy a new front loader one model up in size is around $800.00. Because of the problems I have had with this one, I would definitely buy extended warranty. That will add another $200 to the price. But wait…the extended warranty is good for 5 years. My machine stopped at just over 6 years.

Or, I could buy a top loader for $450.00 and forget the extended warranty. I have had a top loader before and they don’t often break. They do use more water, but when you look at the big picture, is spending close to $600.00 more for the front loader and warranty equivalent to the money you would save over the life of the machine? I doubt it, considering you might not get more than 5 or 6 years out of a front loader.

So I went to Sears to buy a top loader. This particular Sears is a Dealer Store that mainly sells appliances and other big ticket items. The owner is local and I have dealt with them before.

He saw us checking out the top loaders and said we should really consider a front loader. I told him I had one that died and I wasn’t about to make the same mistake again. He told me that the one I had was one of the “original” models and they are build so much better now. I told him I was on the internet the previous day and saw horror stories from people that had front loaders that were only one or two years old.

In the end we bought a top loader for about ½ of what I would have spent on a front loader with extended warranty.

As an aside…his comment about them being built so much better now? The dishwasher I bought 4 years ago quit working after 2 years. I had to replace a valve and controller board. I seriously doubt that front loading washer I could have bought today is any better than the one I bought 7 years ago. I expect my top loader will last 15-20 years.

Considering the fact that we are supposed to be more ecologically minded now and save resources, I fail to see how it is better for me to trash a washing machine that is less than 10 years old, than it is for me to use more water. If the government were more concerned with the environment, they would have stricter rules in place about the life span of anything that is supposed to “help” the environment.

That is it for my rant. Installed top loader today. Yes it is noisier and uses more water, but it washes in less than half the time and, I suspect I will get more than 6 or 7 years out of it.
 
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