Thread Number: 10502
When did Maytag go Bad?
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Post# 192027   2/18/2007 at 09:12 (3,686 days old) by cny4 (Central New York)        

There has been a lot of discusiion about the center dail Maytags that were produced until about 1980. Then it was said that the machines after were still very good machines. When did things go bad? In other words what years differentiate the good the bad ...................and the ugly?

Post# 192048 , Reply# 1   2/18/2007 at 11:10 (3,686 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        
When Good Companies Go Bad....

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The trouble began very slowly in the '80s, with a gradual lessening of quality, almost too small to notice. The real problem began with the advent of the Neptune, an over-featured, under-engineered product. There was nothing wrong with Neppies that couldn't be fixed, but Maytag management of the time took the stance that they were going to make consumers pay for Maytag's design mistakes. Control boards, wax motors, and boot kits galore were installed at the expense of consumers who had not a damned thing to do with their design. The Neptune became the subject of successful class-action suits, and one of the most prominent subjects for consumer "horror stories" on the Internet. As the word about Neptune got around, Maytag's formerly enviable reputation got trashed in the process.

The whole Neptune debacle is a textbook example of the cost of short-sighted management. By not stepping up to the plate on the design flaws of the machine, management ensured a large base of unhappy customers. The power of the Internet was seriously underestimated; no one at Maytag seems to have understood just what damage this new technology could do to a company's reputation. And no one seems to have understood the inability of many consumers to differentiate between "good" and "bad" products in a company's range- many people heard SOMETHING about bad Maytags, and never bothered to investigate what was going on, choosing to avoid Maytag altogether instead. Later, Maytag reefers began having control board issues, and if there is one product you'd better build right, it's the machine that keeps Baby's milk and Daddy's beer cold.

It was really sad. A company with decades of reliable quality behind it trashed in less than ten years over design problems that could be (and eventually were) dealt with. Had Maytag management undertaken an aggressive campaign to fix design-based Neptune problems at their expense, the total cost would have been high, but not nearly as high as the loss in value of Maytag as a company.

The people I really feel sorry for are the good people of Newton, Iowa, who now have to transform their town from a "company town" into something else if they're to survive economically. Their livelihood has been taken away from them by short-sighted management people who bailed out on their golden parachutes and never missed a lobster dinner. Labor did what it was hired to do. Management didn't. Sadly, labor pays the price.

Post# 192064 , Reply# 2   2/18/2007 at 12:43 (3,686 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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The loss of Maytag can be attributed to the Neptune, as stated above, but also going from the Dependable Care washers, to the Amana based washers. The DC's were pretty much trouble free, easy to service,etc.


Post# 192065 , Reply# 3   2/18/2007 at 12:46 (3,686 days old) by mixfinder ()        
Good Washers Gone Bad

Maytag assimilated the Magic Chef Company and began selling rebadged Maytag refrigerators in 1988. In the middle 90's Maytag, Amana and Magic Chef (Norge) all got shook up in a bag and many permutations of original designs were instituted. The Atlantis, a huge, feature laden, top loader did a wonderful job of washing but had a timer recall. The Performa series sold under the Maytag label was much lighter in construction, prone to off balancing and had transmission issues. The Amanas had a tub seal of poor design which allowed undetected leakage until motor and rust issues came apparent. The service went to an 800 dispatch and connections with a local dealer and trust relationships went by the way side.
That said, members of family and myself have had stellar luck with both the Performa and Atlantis machines. Bigger tubs, faster dryer, and better permanent press performance.

Post# 192070 , Reply# 4   2/18/2007 at 13:01 (3,686 days old) by peterh770 (Marietta, GA)        

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No, the Neptune came out much later than the orbital drive. Whatever it was at the time that made them decide that changing the transmission to the orbital drive as a cost cutting measure and a way of moving forard was the beginning of the end.

Post# 192071 , Reply# 5   2/18/2007 at 13:01 (3,686 days old) by peterh770 (Marietta, GA)        

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Pardon me...

Change to the orbital transmission, the drive is still the helical drive. My faux pas...

Post# 192081 , Reply# 6   2/18/2007 at 13:31 (3,686 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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I think the transmission problem was very survivable; companies do make mistakes, and consumers do forgive them up to a certain point. With some redesign and an aggressive recall campaign, it was no biggie.

The Neptune, on the other hand, was a real booger. Correcting the problems on a Neppie probably more than wiped out any profit margin on the machine- it took a new control board, new wax motor, and new boot kit (all redesigned parts) to really fix the problem. Multiply that times the number of units sold, and management had all the incentive anyone needed to stick its head in the sand and try to postpone dealing with the situation, to avoid the dread "bad quarters", "write-downs", and plunges in the company's stock price, all of which are the things that get management booted.

When management realised what a godawful corner it had boxed itself into, someone must have damn near fainted. Neptune had been a very successful product introduction, with a lot of units sold. When it became apparent that EVERY ONE of those machines was going to cost a fortune to fix, that's when the denial started, if you ask me. Customer Care reps were suddenly telling consumers that the mould problems were the result of improper use, or that the machine should always be left with its door open, or that a bleach cycle with no laundry should be run every fourth load. As John Stossel says, give me a break! People don't necessarily know that much about their washers, but they knew THAT wasn't right. Trust in Maytag came to an end with that "disinformation" campaign, if you ask me.

Another thing that didn't help was the company's effort to boost profits by slapping the Maytag name on some cheap promotional products. About three years ago, Home Depot set out its annual Spring supply of cheap, nasty LG-made window air-conditioners, at $59 for a 5000 BTU model. Yep, they were branded Maytag. That's when I knew the writing was on the wall.

Post# 192088 , Reply# 7   2/18/2007 at 13:58 (3,686 days old) by wannapinkset ()        
power of the internet

Yes, the internet is a useful tool for communications but you are all underestimating the party lines on the phones and the fact that people talk........alot! Bad news has always spread faster than good, and while it may take a bit longer and become somewhat distorted, the end result is that a bad product always gets discussed and a companies reputation completely done with folks. The ability to spend vast amounts of money for a shoddy product that cannot even last a year without major problems is news, no matter the lines of communication. Be it horse and buggy, party lines or internet. Money is and always was just too darn hard to come by and insulting and taking someone is bad form all around. Always has been. You can only get away with that kind of business ethic so long before there is no longer a business. They merely ride a good reputation till it is done and then sell. Uncontionable.

Post# 192102 , Reply# 8   2/18/2007 at 14:36 (3,686 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        
other corportate bungles too..

The Dixie Narco vending chapter(soft drink vending machines), Poor Hoover, What was the high end Jade or something commercial cooking stoves, Jenn AIR. I basically understand corporate diversity, I really do understand TOO Many Irons in the fire. those of us that watched this unfold, it was pretty obvious that they had no corporate vision, for Maytag, as we knew it.

Post# 192124 , Reply# 9   2/18/2007 at 18:08 (3,685 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        

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When did the Maytag family stop running Maytag?

Post# 192215 , Reply# 10   2/19/2007 at 02:34 (3,685 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        
Krummy Products

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The last Maytag family member to lead the company died in 1962. In 1980, under CEO Daniel J Krumm, who became CEO in 1972, Maytag engaged in an acquisition spree that intially was successful, positioning the company as a full-line appliance manufacturer, one of the top four in the country. In 1986 Maytag Company became Maytag Corporation, and acquired Magic Chef. But in the 90's, the recession took it toll on Maytag, which was already burdened by a heavy debt load due to aforementioned acquisitions. In particular the acquisition in 1989 of Hoover - which included vast European and Australian operations, and an ill-planned promotional program that cost the company some $30 million, further weakened the company. With Hoover's parent company, Chicago-Pacific, came $500 million in debt, which was viewed as a good thing since it helped to thwart takeover. Isn't it odd how corporations can put their priorities not on profits but on debt?

Krumm retired in 1992, and his successor Leo Hadley sold off Hoover Australia and Hoover Europe - which had never made a profit - for a combined loss of about $180 million. But the revenues from these sales helped to reduce the company's long term debt from $800 million in the early 90's to under $500 million by 1996. Along with this was an effort to increase profits by introducing lower quality washer lines such as the Performa. The company also spent money redesigning its admittedly weak refrigerator line to increase capacity and shorten cooling times. And of course, the introduction of the Neptune in 1997.

In 2001 Ralph Hake became Maytag CEO. Initially heralded as a "fixer", this former Whirlpol CFO brought some life back to Maytag by focusing on higher end appliance lines such as overpriced American Hoover vacuums, three door refrigrators, and LCD "Stain Brain" Neptune washers. Unfortunately, the Bush recession with high unemployment caught up with this strategy, which turned a 40% rebound into a rout as the company's stock lost 40% of its value over the next five years. Many if not most consumers were more interested in keeping their old appliances limping along than buying new ones, let alone go for expensive top of the line models. That Maytag had been rapidly earning a reputation for unreliability didn't help. By 1996 Maytag was bought by rival Whirlpool, with Hake getting a $12 million severance package for his dubious accomplishments.

A number of factors led to Maytag's slide over the years: over ambitious diversification and internationalization in the 80's and early 90's, two Bush recessions, a decline in product quality and reliability, assumption of massive debt and year to year red ink with the Hoover Europe acquisition, miscalculation of the marketplace for high end (or perhaps more aptly put, high priced) goods all played a role. Perhaps it can all be summed up as a company that went from putting product quality first to one that put short-term profits and executive compensation first. That Maytag's final downfall happened as it was led by an accountant probably says it all.

Post# 192217 , Reply# 11   2/19/2007 at 04:02 (3,685 days old) by populuxeforever ()        
The road to hell...

Initially, Maytags intentions were good, both for Maytag, and the consumer. In the late 80's, Maytag set out to complete their product line to include all items that a consumer needed/wanted in their home. Timing seemed excellent, as many smaller companies were looking at hard times and faced extinction or buyout.

Enter Maytag, who goes on a "wild shopping spree" and purchases the following brands: Brown(Ranges), Hardwick(Ranges), Magic Chef(also ranges, but also pretty close to a full product line, including:), Dixie-Narco(a Magic Chef brand that manufactures vending machines, Norge(Washers and Dryers), and Hoover(floor care products). Now with the facilities to build all the products that they wanted, Maytag began to intergrate the products into their line. The biggest fanfare came in 1988 when Maytag introduced "their" new refrigerators. (As mentioned by Mixfinder previously)

This all took place around the time that the last of the Maytag family relinquished the reins of the company to an outsider. As you know, a family owned company usually doesen't do well in the hands of strangers, and Maytag was no exception. The vision that the founder of Maytag, as well as his sons, had for the company of quality and dependability first, quickly went by the wayside as profits became the order of the day and short sighted management ruled.

After the refrigerator, Maytag decieded that it was time to make the Maytag brand affordable for everyone. This meant one of two things: 1, cheapen the products that made the company sucessfull, or 2, rebadge cheaper products. Maytag initially went with door #2 and rebadged the Norge & Magic Chef washers & dryers as "Atlantis" & Performa. These machines also sold under the Jenn-Air name. They were relativly good with the occasional rash of problems with "thrust bearings" and drain pumps.

Then, in about 1997, Maytag single handedly revives America's love affair with front load washers with the introduction of Neptune. With design improvements that made it superior to most front loads of the 50's, Neptune quickly started showing up in homes all across the country, despite its, at the time, outrageous price of about $1100 for the washer and about $700 dryer.
Danemodsandy gives a great account of the trouble with Neptune in a previous post. The only thing I would add to that is the problem that they also had with Motors/Motor control boards, which despite the motor being covered for 10 years, the board that controled it was not. Maytag later came up with a "Motor conversion kit" that contained a motor and board(from a new vendor) and this seemed to be a better, quieter motor. Maytag however, would not cover the motor conversion kit under warranty unless the motor itself was bad.

The next batch of problems would surface when Maytag got hungry again in about 2002. Maytag decieded to go on another shopping spree and buy Amana. This one was a little bit messier that the first round of buy outs. The biggest mess concerned Amana washers. For decades, Amana & Speed Queen washers rolled off the same assembly line in Ripon Wisconsin and Sercy Arkansas. When Raytheon announced that it wanted to get out of the appliance game, the big wigs at Speed Queens' commercial/coin-op division got together and formed Alliance Laundry Systems, and bought the rights to the Speed Queen Coin/Commercial product line. Since the Coin-op machine was identical to the domestic Amana (aside from the timer and control panel)this made for a legal issue with the purchase. The two companies finally agreed that Maytag would get Sercy Arkansas Assembly and the washer, minus the transmission.

At this point, Maytag would have been wise to drop the battle over the Amana washer, after all they already had: Dependable Care (Newton, IA), Neptune (Newton, IA), Atlantis and Performa (Herrin, IL). With 4 different laundry sets (some of which had different models with different feature combinations), the last thing Maytag needed was to battle it out over an inferior laundry system, let alone one that didn't even have a transmission with it. Greed got the better of them, and so began the end of Maytag.

With the Neptune disaster at a full boil, Maytag was busy re-engineering their precious Amana washer to accept a Herrin built transmission. The result was horrid. The machines had severe leakage problems from the main seal, which often times also damaged the main bearing. Since the bearing was pressed into the "milkstool" tripod that held the tub, the whole assembly needed to be replaced, this meant more labor costs and more part costs.

Between the class action Neptune lawsuit and the bad publicity with it and the Amana issues, Maytag was now on the recieving end of a buy out and in December of 2005, Whirlpool absorbed the Maytag corporation.

So ends the saddest chapter (so far) in Maytags incredible, proud history.

Post# 192220 , Reply# 12   2/19/2007 at 04:58 (3,685 days old) by irishwashguy (Salem,Oregon.............A Capital City)        
Little moves, big action........

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My mother went and bought her first Maytag in 1974,By the time i was in HS, we had wore it out. Well, yes, my mother bought another one.One thing was clear as the 1990's came and went, Maytag was little by little changing, and not for the better. The Transmistion change, well, from five moving parts with 100 weight oll, down to just two moving parts, well, not bad, My mother bought hers in 1987, my friend Bonnie in 1988 with the new trans, both are still in operation.
When I knew that there was no turring back for Maytag was the time that I was told that they were 'becoming more compeditive"----simply to me ment, they got greedy. Putting the Maytag name on something that was not a Maytag and living off of a legacy, will last a while, like everything that coasts, they get to the bottom of the hill. The Neptune fiasco, where yours truely was burned,was the beging of the end for Maytag. When i bought my machines, I had a chioce, being a FL lover, i chose it for the name and the reputaion. It ment quality, now it means junk.
PS---when they had gotten to the end of the class action lawsuit, it was ditermined that the consumer would be given a voucher for a new Maytag of their choice in hundread dollar increments in various amounts, for another Maytag. Now it is Whirltag. A dark day on their calandar passes.

Post# 192221 , Reply# 13   2/19/2007 at 05:18 (3,685 days old) by tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Maytag made a great deal of noise about engineering the horizontal axis washer, like nothing before the Neptune existed, but in their engineering, they left the Neppie with two struts below the tub and 4 springs above it. Off balance loads would pivot on those two struts and the back of the tub would fishtail or sway from side to side. You do not want that to happen. You have lost control of the dynamic forces and will not get the stability you need to advance to spin. Four struts would have been better.

However, the real problem Maytag had was being too late to try new things in the 60s. When the load-size wars started with GE's V-12 machines, others followed. Most manufacturers had wider machines and wider tubs than Maytag, so doing a little deepening of the tub and beefing up the internal support gave them machines that really looked like they would wash more. Maytag stuck with their original width washer cabinet and tub. In the 06 series, they introduced the deep tub machines which would handle a 10 to 12 pound load, but they did not compete with the genuinely large capacity machines that would handle up to 18 pounds of laundry like WP, GE, Norge and later the totally redesigned Frigidiare 1-18. WP went further and designed the dual action agitator to enhance their machines' performance. Not even when Maytag came out with the big mouth washer which made the tub opening larger and gave some illusion that the regular tub was somehow bigger were they serious about a large capacity Maytag. As soon as WP patents would allow, they introduced a dual action agitator for their washers, but it was still a smaller tub machine. When they began to really be considered the teeny-weeny washer company, they bought the Norge-Tragic Chef machines and thought that by putting MAYTAG on them they would solve all of the problems in those machines. It was the company's refusal to do the necessary R&D to make a real Maytag washer with a true large capacity in the 1960s when the company's finances were strong, that started Maytag on a course that would send them toward corporate disaster. The name that once stood for dependability had been slapped on so many mediocre products that its only hope for survival with any class at all was to be a badge for Whirlpool products that would at least bring some quality and dependability to the Maytag brand even if the appliances had to be made by someone else.

Post# 192226 , Reply# 14   2/19/2007 at 06:34 (3,685 days old) by tumbler ()        
Recent Maytag history

My mom still owns two Maytag A-412's; one in her year-round home and one in her vacation home. I had the factory run the serial numbers, and they date from '87 and '88. If I'm not mistaken, they are the successors to the "center-dial" machines. These machines, though I'm not a fan of top-loaders, are nothing if not reliable. I've changed a belt on one of them (a 5-minute procedure, if that), and done nothing to the other. They're not gentle on the clothes (and they don't have a gentle cycle), but they run and run. Seems that their troubles began with the Neptune, and continued on into the advent of the Samsung-based front-loaders (junk) and the "Atlantis" top-loader (junk). Now that Whirlpool has taken them over, perhaps we'll see the quality return, though it won't do the good, hard-working folks of Newton, Ia. any good.

Post# 192245 , Reply# 15   2/19/2007 at 09:09 (3,685 days old) by runematic (southcentral pa)        

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Danemodsandy, while I agree with a lot of what you say, the part about Maytag not helping customers on the Neptune issues is not quite right. You'd be surprised at all the free control boards & wax motors we installed. Maytag issued the PHA kit for mold issues (included new inner door panel, control board, boot). That was free. All the customer had to do was call in. Maytag was fixing three & four year old machines out of warranty FOR FREE. Out of warranty is out of warranty. Customers fumed that their machine was out of warranty & Maytag wouldn't fix it for free. Believe me, I heard alot of bitching & groaning. They finally had to put their collective foot down and say enought was enough.

On the other hand, the Dependable Care replacements were horrible. The Performas, Atlanti, Amanatags, BAD IDEAS. At every sales meeting we used to go to, we were told not to worry about price. Don't compete on price. Then they come out with the Performa. It was suddenly all about price at the meetings. Someone got the wonderful idea of going after the bottom-end of the market. Why? The margins are so slim on both the wholesale & retail ends. It hardly seems worth it. They also sold their soul to be in Sear's, Lowes, HD, etc. What they should've done (in my selfish opinion) was go the way of Stihl & Snapper. They nurture & support their independent retailers & shun the bigbox stores. It's just a shame the way the company chased volume & numbers. For that though, you can also blame Wall Street & the shareholders. If you remember back to the Clinton Admin & the way the tech boom was going on. Day trading was huge. I remember watching Maytag's stock go from around $20 (where it had been for a number of years) to up over $70. Then the stock market bubble burst. Maytag's stock nosedived (came back to a more realistic level). Sorry to ramble, I've been away from the computer for awhile.

Post# 192246 , Reply# 16   2/19/2007 at 09:23 (3,685 days old) by gocartwasher ()        
maytag neptune

yes I have a set that was given to me ,the drum bearings noisy ,to my major dismay the whole outer tub assembly has to be replaced at a cost of over $400.00,,, no bearing & seal kits avaible,what a throw away mententialty ,,,,
My old westinghouse "weigh to save" front loader washer you can get the bearings & seals to replace them only ,I did this back in 1997 still working good

Post# 192249 , Reply# 17   2/19/2007 at 09:57 (3,685 days old) by danemodsandy (The Bramford, Apt. 7-E)        

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You said, "Out of warranty is out of warranty."

I'd like to offer something here that I think is basically wrong with a lot of American manufacturing nowadays, not just Maytag during the time of the Neptune debacle. Today's "cost-effective" engineering cycle for new products is resulting in significant design flaws that significantly affect the reliability and durability that consumers should be able to expect. On the Neptune, certain electronic components on the control board were not of the capacity needed, the wax motor was not well-sealed against moisture intrusion, and the boot did not- against all common sense- have a drain provision.

Now, can you tell me why in tarnation the consumer should have to pay- in or out of the stated warranty period- for poor judgement and excessive penny-pinching during the design process? We have a legal concept in this country called a "warranty of merchantability", which means that when you buy a product, you have an inherent right to expect that the product will do what such products normally do. Having a premium-priced consumer durable like an $1100 washer fail quickly, to the tune of half its purchase price (or more on multiple repairs, which many Neppie owners experienced) because of bad design is, to my way of thinking, a violation of that principle. Whether or not the product was within its stated period of warranty on manufacturing defects was less important than the idea that Maytag completely, totally, and willfully dropped the ball on intrinsic quality.

Maytag was not and is not alone in committing such violations of trust in the design process. I've had a Ford Taurus fail completely at 66,000 miles due to a poorly designed electrical system that permitted electrolysis current to leak into the cooling system. The problem caused internal corrosion that destroyed my freeze plugs, radiator, water pump, and heater core, despite my obtaining and installing the Ford-designed kit designed to correct the problem, and despite the fact that I flushed the cooling system twice a year- far more than mandated by the maintenance instructions in the owner's manual. Ford had been designing cars and cooling systems for over NINE DECADES when they designed that little horror; Taurus owners had every reasonable expectation that their cars' cooling systems would be designed in accordance with standard auto-industry practise.

We are seeing more and more and MORE premature product failures due to bad design and cost-cutting measures. How many major appliances are dying in two or three years due to flimsy control boards, cheap plastic parts, and a lack of the most basic water-resistive measures?

As energy savings and global warming become bigger and bigger issues for the inhabitants of this planet, I think it is time to demand better of our industries. The frank fact of the matter is that many consumer durables consume more energy during their manufacture than they ever will during their working lives. Every new appliance that must be created because an old one failed is just that much more energy consumed. When an appliance fails needlessly, the energy consumed in its manufacture is squandered- something that Spaceship Earth can no longer afford.

My own thinking is that it's time for some law addressing this problem, in the form of a mandatory design warranty protecting both the consumer and society at large from the various costs of defective design. It's my feeling that such a warranty should last at least five years. For major appliances, five years is not an unreasonable expectation for lifespan. For cars, five years is the amount of time it takes to pay for the damn thing, so why shouldn't it be covered? Many Taurus and Dodge Intrepid owners have been faced with horrendous design-based problems that destroyed their cars before they were paid for.

So, that's where I'm coming from, and you may agree or disagree. But I see no reason whatever that Mr. or Ms. Consumer should have to bear unexpected costs because some bean counter decided that a given triac was too expensive, or that actual road-testing of a new engine design wasn't necessary, because cheap computer modelling "proved" that it worked okay. Those decisions are not in the hands of consumers, and consumers must trust corporations to act responsibly. Unfortunately, many companies have chosen to breach that trust lately.

Ultimately, such legislation would be good not only for consumers and the environment, but companies themselves. Maytag is a ghost of its former self. Ford may not survive. Daimler is toying with the idea of selling off Chrysler. And it all happened one cheap-a$$ decision at a time.

I'm off my soapbox now. *grin*

Post# 192279 , Reply# 18   2/19/2007 at 14:15 (3,685 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        
"...the company's refusal to do the necessary R&D t

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Ah, but there is more to making a larger washer than just a bigger tub/drum and cabinet. The moving components (motor, transmission, etc) must also be beefed up to handle the larger loads. As I recall, some early large Whirlpools failed because the larger capacity over-taxed the drivetrain. Perhaps one of the reasons why the earlier (08 and earlier) were so long-lived was that the machines were not super-sized at the expense of durability. After all, you can't make a stretch limo out of a rear-engine VW bug and expect it to last.

The point I was trying to make with my post was that Maytag's downfall was not due to any particular machine, but to a management that really didn't understand washers, the washer business, and the need to focus on the core business.

Also, the last Maytag family member to lead the company died in 1962 - long before the so-called downfall process began. The company was doing relatively well - in fact, its profitabilty and low debt load made it a potential takeover target - until Krumm came along, and decided to "go big" with not only the washers but also the company. It was during his era that Chicago-Pacific was aquired, which brought with it Hoover Europe. Hoover Europe not only bled money every year Maytag owned it, but Hoover Europe exec also dreamed up a disastrous customer incentive program that lost millions. That program promised trans-atlantic air travel tickets for a paltry $165 if a customer bought a Hoover Europe product. Some 220,000 customers took the bait, costing Maytag some $35 million in airfare costs.

When Hadley came along he had the sense to dump Hoover Europe, but not the sense also to dump Hoover America. Still, Maytag had gone from a potential takeover target in the 70's to a company with $500 million in long-term debt in the 90's. Perhaps that crushing debt-load led the company to do half-baked R&D on appliances like the Neptune. Then the final fool came to lead Maytag, Hake. He appeared to have a weird dual strategy for the company's product lines - add gizmos to the mid range line to make it top of the line (Neptune) while at the same time cheapen the low-end to something much less than planned obsolescence. Initally the Neptune strategy worked - Wall Street was all agog at Maytag's new profit margins with the Neptune, forcing Whirlpool/Kenmore to follow suit with the HE3 series (which had more than its share of teething problems). As Runematic pointed out, to Maytag's credit, once it finally woke up to the customer revolt over the Neptune, it started offering free warranty repairs to machines that were years out of warranty. That could not have helped the company's profitability, and really didn't do much to restore the company's good name.

Post# 192287 , Reply# 19   2/19/2007 at 15:01 (3,685 days old) by geoffdelp (Foley, Minnesota)        

As stated previously, Maytag started to go "downhill" when the family interests were sold.

Read the following about F. L. Maytag, II's son, Fritz. He did quite well in the beer industry; his interests were certainly different than the family business.

He "wanted out" and when his father died in 1962, he found his opportunity, I guess.


Post# 192325 , Reply# 20   2/19/2007 at 21:08 (3,684 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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Your stacked Neptune set could probably be retrofitted with aftermarket bearings and seals. A chap over on THS did this with his Frigmore, which also has an integral tub/bearing design. I don't see why the same could not be done with the Neptune. He simply pressed out the old bearings, looked up their numbers on the internet, ordered replacements, and pressed the new ones in. As I recall.

Post# 192337 , Reply# 21   2/19/2007 at 21:42 (3,684 days old) by khodabear ()        

Or you could find an original New Old Stock Washer component for your stack for $200 as I just did :~)
I'll go through it and update the weak links before placing it under our good dryer and run it for another 10 years!

Running a Chop Shop
in Denver

Post# 192362 , Reply# 22   2/19/2007 at 23:48 (3,684 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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"Maytag started to go "downhill" when the family interests were sold"

The last Maytag to lead the company died in 1962. But the company continued to produce good washers well into the 80's. That is fact, not opinion. The real slide started when the company - led by Krumm - jumped on the expansion and diversification bandwagon. This in turn put the company heavily into debt - to the tune of $800 million - and from that it never recovered.

It was not necessary for a Maytag family member to lead the company for it to succeed and produce good machines. It was necessary, however, to have good management that focused more one excellent product rather than short term profit. In that respect it failed, but perhaps it was not all that unusual among American appliance manufacturers in that regard. Look at GE, Whirlpool, WCI/Frigidaire. Look at the demise of Amana, Norge, and many others that fell by the wayside. The difference is that Maytag simply could not recover from its grossly ill-managed attempt to grow from a small washer company to a major mfg of a full line of appliances. Hoover Europe pretty much sank that dream. Instead, Maytag eventually wound up as a division of one of its rivals.

Post# 192763 , Reply# 23   2/21/2007 at 22:50 (3,682 days old) by bongobro ()        
From "the number one name in laundry" to "a d

When I replaced a nine-year-old Whirlpool because the dual-action agitator began crapping out in 2002 (among other mechanicals), I knew what kind of washer I wanted to replace it. My mother's first and only clothes dryer was a coppertone center-dial "New Generation" Maytag electric which outlived her and moved out of her home into one of my brothers' homes (and may still be running even now).

I looked for a Dependable Care model (even though the control panel had changed, I knew the mechanics were the same as the "New Generation" series)...but Home Depot was the only place I could find them, and they told me they were more expensive than the newer models. I should have suspected something then.

I should have suspected something when the salesman at the Maytag dealer in Granite City told me the Performa models performed as well as the Dependable Care models, even though it had a plastic tub rather than a porcelain one...and the agitator looked like they'd yanked it out of my old Whirlpool. That was June 2002...

Four-and-a-half years later, the top of the control panel has all but completely torn away from the back of the control panel (where the screws join the two pieces together)--just from everyday use (and mucho shaking from unbalanced loads). The machine is making all sorts of noises at this point that remind me of the last couple of years of the Whirlpool's existence. Ironic that the machine I bought because of "Maytag dependability" is no better--and maybe worse--than the one it replaced. This kind of nonsense didn't happen on the older models because Maytag focused on what it did best...washers and dryers.

I think Maytag started going south when it tried being everything to fact, many of the companies Maytag bought were once the leaders in one appliance category...maybe two at most...and now they're all down the drain, too...

Amana Refrigeration--Freezers, refrigerators and microwaves

Magic Chef--Ranges (at their peak, Magic Chef was based in St. Louis, by the way)

Hoover--Vacuum cleaners and floor care...

And now "the number one name in laundry" is just another big zero (or should that be an "O"?) in the Whirlpool family...pity...

Post# 847123 , Reply# 24   10/22/2015 at 21:18 (517 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Killeen tx USA)        
When maytag went to hell...

Ever since Maytag came out with their Neptunes, things took a turn for the worst! People hate Maytag for this reason! Mold and mildew! Electronics issues! Clothes not getting cleaned! Obnoxious vibration!

Post# 847173 , Reply# 25   10/23/2015 at 08:13 (517 days old) by mayken4now (Panama City, Florida)        

mayken4now's profile picture
Well, all said, I still have my MAH4000AWW and they are going strong, both the dryer and washer. Yes, I had to do a rebuild of both, but we are on load #3755 with no issues.

Post# 847185 , Reply# 26   10/23/2015 at 10:12 (517 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        
One name.......

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Ralph. Hake.

Post# 847308 , Reply# 27   10/24/2015 at 08:57 (516 days old) by runematic (southcentral pa)        

runematic's profile picture
not sure what happened that my post was removed. didn't think I said anything bad???

Post# 847407 , Reply# 28   10/24/2015 at 18:35 (516 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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Interesting information. I didn't know MT had so many problems. I remember MT stores in early 2000s. That was probably just a flash of glitz temporarily, while the former Whirlpool CEO prepare MT for the take over. [shaking head]

What's also interesting, while looking at the various posts in this thread, is that roughly a 1/3 of profiles are deleted. I'm wondering how many are inactive/abandoned.

I wonder if that is normal "turn over" for interest groups.

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