Maytag A310...finally the last round-up?

Chicago Al

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
39
Location
Illinois
Model Number
A310
Brand
Maytag
Age
More than 10 years
When we bought our house in 1989 there was a Maytag washer (model A310) and a Speed Queen dryer in the basement. SNs dated both to several years before then. I have kept both of them going all this time and have had the attitude that I would run them into the ground. However I know that newer models actually work better, so a couple of years ago I decided that when either needed a new part, that would be replacement time.

Recently a neighbor gave me a c 2005 GE Profile dryer which needed some work, which I was able to do, and that is rather nicer than the old Speed Queen. No pilot light, senses dampness, has a light inside, etc. So I made that change a week ago, and the Speed Queen is in a corner of the basement, waiting to go into the alley for the metal scrappers or anyone who wants her.

Tonight the old Maytag washer bit the dust. Maybe it wants to go out with the dryer!

It's not really a fatal issue with the washer: it threw the pump belt, because the motor pulley had broken. That's not an expensive part (WP6-2008160), but I think it's time for a change.

Last big repair I did on this washer was the snubber pads a couple of years ago, which involved taking the main shaft apart from the bottom and removing the brake. It was a tough job and required a special wrench. At some point in the disassembly all or most of the transmission oil drained out, because the tranny's seal was apparently broken. No way I could replace the transmission so the washer has been making more and more noise as it agitates and the drum spins. I have been expecting it to grind to a halt one day, possibly catching on fire, but the pulley failed first.

I don't really have a question here! Just a DIYer finally saying 'that's enough' on a crude but very solid and reliable appliance. We'll probably be replacing the Maytag with a front loader. Maytag makes a relatively inexpensive one that has pretty good reviews. I'm sure ANY new one will be more energy efficient and get the clothes cleaner and dryer.

But will any new washer last 35 years with minimal repairs that an amateur like me can do?
 

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rickgburton

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I agree with you the Speed Queen is scrap metal. I have a different opinion on the Maytag. That style Maytag is probably the best machine ever made. That's the consensus among service techs. They're built like a tank and very forgiving when it comes to overloading or washing tough items but that's usually the major cause of something failing. When it starts making a bearing noise and you let it go it will eventually cause other parts to fail. First it's one bearing then another bearing then a seal then another seal and in some cases an outer tub or transmission. Other than the timer and selector switches, most all parts are still available. They're one of the easiest machines to work on.

You asked if there was a new machine that will last 35 years. I'll be honest with you. With all the electronics and computers in todays machines you'll be lucky to get three to five years before it's first repair. In the past 10 years there's been an huge increase in the number of extended warranty companies if that tells you anything. All I can say is do your homework.
 

Chicago Al

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
39
Location
Illinois
Rick, I wasn't seriously asking about 35 years, I know modern appliances don't last that long. They do a lot more and do a better job generally but are much more complex, that's the tradeoff. And I'm not expecting to be around for another 35 years myself! ;- )

But I take your point completely. The Maytag is a simple, almost bulletproof machine. And I'll kinda miss it! But this one is on its way out, due to the seal on the transmission failing. I looked into this in 2017 when I last repaired it and found the transmission oil spilling out onto the floor. The seal can't be replaced, the transmission is no longer available, and I'm not going to go looking for a used one. It could run another year as is but it's been on borrowed time for years already.

I seriously thought about spending $25 on a new motor pulley just to keep the Maytag going until either the tranny failed OR we got to Black Friday or some other time with a great sale going on. But my wife picked a Maytag front loader with good ratings from CR, and I spotted an open-box floor model that was marked down substantially. We opted for a 5 year service contract due to the complexity of any repairs, and it was still only about $725 delivered and installed. I'd have done the install myself but they're only charging $30, for the hoses. I figure this way if the 'open box' one has any problems, they can take it away rather than me get on the phone and start trying to talk to CS.
 

Chicago Al

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
39
Location
Illinois
I was having second thoughts about discarding the Maytag. It goes against my thrifty nature (and that of my ghostly ancestors) not to wring every bit of use out of something. Over the weekend I found a video showing how to replace the transmission seal on the shaft, even getting around using the special $90 tool for removing the old seal. Apparently you could do that and then add oil to the transmission if needed.

I was stumped why I didn't do this in 2017, when I went through the whole process of pulling the brake, etc so I could replace the snubber pads. i had the distinct memory of finding that it wasn't possible.

I started looking for the parts this AM and remembered: the transmission seal is NLA at RepairClinic.com. It must also have been out of stock at other places I looked then. Without the seal--and it's not just a random O-ring--no point in adding oil.

There's a shop near us that sells old and refurbed appliances, mostly to the immigrant community. I'll offer the Maytag to them before putting it out for scrappers; they may be able to cannibalize parts and get a working machine out of two.
 

rickgburton

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The seal in the mounting stem?

 

Chicago Al

Premium Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
39
Location
Illinois
Thanks for the reply Rick. As you can tell I am interested in this stuff like few amateurs are. I have no training and certainly didn't pick anything up from my dad, a wonderful man but not at all handy. Somehow though I'm a tinkerer.

I thought the failed seal that let the oil out was part #A04298, the Agitator Drive Shaft Seal, which is NLA.

However upon watching a better video (at AppliancePartsPro.com), it appears to be the Transmission Lower Lip Seal, #207843, which is available and cheap.

Well dang. However I'd have to add that to the motor pulley which is needed, and include some oil for the transmission, a gasket for the transmission, and the brake removal tool. (I had one of those tools but was able to resell it via eBay.) Also as long as I had the darn thing apart, the mounting stem repair kit might be a good idea too, and the spanner wrenches to install that. It could easily get to well over $100. And that's assuming there is not another repair right about to be needed.

I evidently misunderstood or just missed something when I did the snubber pad repair in 2017. If I'd replaced the seal and added some oil then I'd feel more confident in the washer. Too late to worry about that now, though. 35+ years is a pretty good run!

I think we'll stick with the new washer.
 
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rickgburton

Appliance Tech - Moderator
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OK AL, good luck with the new machine. I'm just going to add this in case you change your mind:
Chicago Al said:
.....oil for the transmission, a gasket for the transmission,...
Any HD gear oil and 100% silicone for the gasket.
 

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