Thread Number: 11060
I Love Whirlpool Belt Drive Washers
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Post# 199882   3/28/2007 at 05:20 (3,620 days old) by liamwa ()        


I'm new here, and I'm glad to find out that I'm not the only one who is fascinated with vintage washing machines. My favorite type is the classic Whirlpool/Kenmore/Inglis belt drive machines. I grew up with one, and the things I liked about it where the sounds it made. The wine and hum of the motor and transmission, and all the wonderful wigwag mechanical shifting noises. I also loved its silky smooth operation. I would like this thread to be dedicated to the Whirlpool belt drive. What do you think of them? How do they stack up to other designs such as GE FFs, Maytags, Frigidaires, and others.

Please discuss.


Post# 200007 , Reply# 1   3/28/2007 at 19:55 (3,620 days old) by blackstone (Springfield, Massachusetts)        
I like them, too, until.....

blackstone's profile picture
you have to lay on a damp, concrete floor in someone's house for an hour changing that belt. I've repaired a lot of these machines over the years, and changing the belt hardly ever goes easily.

Post# 200008 , Reply# 2   3/28/2007 at 20:06 (3,620 days old) by coldspot66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

I've always felt that Whirlpool washers and dryers were excellent quality for the $$$$. Their potential for long lasting, dependable performance were a match for Maytag at a better price. Even though the direct drive washers of today aren't as well built as a belt drive, it's still the best t/l washer for the money and easy to service.

Post# 200025 , Reply# 3   3/28/2007 at 21:10 (3,620 days old) by liamwa ()        
Washer Sound

Hi again,

I know the belt is very hard to change, the Whirlpool folks did not make these machines very service friendly. I still really like these washers though, mainly for there sound. I am in the recording business so audio is very important to me. I have a question for all you guys out there. How important is your washer's sound to you? Also what is your favorite sounding washing machine?


Post# 200029 , Reply# 4   3/28/2007 at 21:33 (3,620 days old) by pturo (Marietta, New York)        

I am thinking that the least sound they make the better, so I can listen to music. I do like the faint sloshing of the Maytag dishwasher though, while sitting in the kitchen. It is relaxing while working on the laptop or paying bills. I just never thought clothes washers were relaxing sounding, I am always waiting for some erratic, scary sound or want to quick get the load into the dryer. I guess because the washer has always been in the scary, dark cellar, where God knows what could go wrong, and then there are the little people who live under the stairs....yeah, I think I should move the laundry equipment upstairs after my next therapy session, but thats my take on sound and environment. Don"t get me started on smell. Phil

Post# 200060 , Reply# 5   3/28/2007 at 23:31 (3,620 days old) by spinmon (st. charles mo )        
hear that special 'K' sound

liamwa,did you look at 'see it wash'? There's a '64 Kenmore to watch & HEAR! I know I've watched about 10 times.The spin engage sound is cool,yet half the time they'd just catch it right & no 'scowech'type sound!This '64 sounds a little more 'clickety' than the '67 we had,but still 'gets it'!

Post# 200072 , Reply# 6   3/29/2007 at 00:24 (3,620 days old) by liamwa ()        


Yes I've seen that vid, took me back, so many memories. Love those Whirlies


Post# 200086 , Reply# 7   3/29/2007 at 06:44 (3,619 days old) by jasonl (Nunya Bizzness)        

YES there are a bunch of us Whirlpudlians and Kenmoreians in here.

For sound, you can't beat it. I love the "woo woo woo woo" when it agitates and "Grrrrind-click-clunk-zzzzzzzzzzzzzz" when it spins.

Post# 200136 , Reply# 8   3/29/2007 at 10:56 (3,619 days old) by laundryshark (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)        
That Classic Kenmore/Whirlpool Sound!

Nothing like that classic belt-drive sound! Curious to know: When did Whirlpool start making those belt-drive models and what did older Whirlies sound like?--Laundry Shark

Post# 200148 , Reply# 9   3/29/2007 at 13:05 (3,619 days old) by liamwa ()        

I believe that Whirlpool made it's belt drive chassis from 1948 through 1985 with virtually no changes, all that changed were the cabinets, consoles, convenience features, and agitators. There were some models made in the 1970s and 1980s with "Quiet Pack" using a skinnier belt and pulley system but other then that no changes. So a 1948 should sound pretty much the same as a 1985.


Post# 200154 , Reply# 10   3/29/2007 at 13:56 (3,619 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

panthera's profile picture
I suppose my favorite TL sound is the real Maytags. That churn-churn with the pump whish every other turn is wonderful.
Why did Whirlpool get rid of an outstanding design that had worked perfectly for 37 years?

Post# 200177 , Reply# 11   3/29/2007 at 15:31 (3,619 days old) by laundryshark (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)        
Classic Maytag Washer Sounds

Would love to either find or receive a Windows Media file of those classic Maytag washer sounds.--Laundry Shark

Post# 200186 , Reply# 12   3/29/2007 at 16:55 (3,619 days old) by brisnat81 (Brisbane Australia)        
I would assume due to

The cost of manufacture/design:

The machine was dependant on the rigidity of the cabinet for the suspension to work.
The amount of metal in the huge gearbox
Heavy metal baseplate
The weight of shipping
The time it took to assemble
Additional Electrical components (IE Wigwag) requiring additional wiring and Extra timer components
Slow stroke of gearbox making it less effective when abused by owners

The Cost of servicing:

Neccessary to lay the machine down for most servicing.
Cramped space and bolts required to remove the pump.
Belt taking ages to replace
Recirculation hoses hard to get at
Seals require full dissassembley of the machine to replace (IE Tub to Pump Grommet)
Lots of metal components to rust and then become impossible to remove.

The DD that replaced it:

It takes two screws to reveal the entire workings of the machine and service can be done with the machine in place.
The pump pops off after removing 2 clips and can be replaced in less that 5 minutes
The entire workings of the machine are in a gearbox slightly smaller than a Bowling ball, when it fails it can just be replaced as a unit in less than 30 minutes.
Bottom mounted suspension results in a lighter cabinet as the load is on the base rather than the sides
Machine is much lighter and therefore cheaper to transport
A greater use of plastic means that most parts are easy to remove even after they've been installed for 10 years plus.

The BD needed to have the weight to counteract the spinning forces and keep the machine in balance. It could've been cheapened with newer suspension, plastic tubs, gearbox, lightweight base plate, but it still would've been expensive to assemble.

And for the record, BD whirlpools are my favorite TL machine, Having worked on them though, I can see why the design became the DD version.

Post# 200197 , Reply# 13   3/29/2007 at 17:42 (3,619 days old) by rickr (.)        

rickr's profile picture
Have restored severalWP/KM belt drive machines. They are one of my favourites. I do agree, they are somewhat hard to service. Even an adjustment requires removing the rear panel and tipping the machine forward.
Each one I have worked on seems to have a unique personality of it's own. They may sound close, but not exactly the same. Of course, most I have worked on were from the 1950's and early 1960's. I did work on one from the early 1970's and one from the mid 1980's. Both of those were ner TOL models, but had corners cut in the manufacturing, and were not of the same quality of the older models.

Here is a pixs of the "guts" of my 1956 Kenmore.

Post# 200198 , Reply# 14   3/29/2007 at 17:45 (3,619 days old) by rickr (.)        

rickr's profile picture
Pixs of transmition/ spin tube and clutch assembly of 56 KM

Post# 200291 , Reply# 15   3/30/2007 at 01:08 (3,618 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

I like the BD WP-KN machines as well I used to have a DD KN machine but even traded it for a BD WP Imperial 90 that is MUCH better in performance-and less clothes shredding as well.Yes,replacing the belts in these is a pain-so is changing the blade belt on a Snapper riding mower-The mower belt is about like changing the WP-KN belt.Fortunately you don't have to replace the belt on either device often.At present I have 3 BD KN and WP machines.Plan to hang onto them as long as possible.

Post# 200503 , Reply# 16   3/31/2007 at 11:43 (3,617 days old) by liamwa ()        
Bad washer sound

Hi again,

It's great to see all the posts on this thread. Anyway I do have a Kenmore belt drive washer, it is in a holiday home we bought and are fixing up. The machine works just fine, however it makes a vibrating noise during agitation, and only in agitation. When it shifts into neutral drain and spin no noise. Any ideas what this might be? I should also mention that the shift into agitation makes quite a loud "BUZZZ TICK CLUNK". Is this a sign of wear or can I fix it with lubrication. Please let me know what you think.



Is there a way to tell how old the machine is by the model number, it starts with C110. I will get the whole number for you the next time I am there. I think the C at the beginning is for Canada. By the look of the machine it is from the late 70s or early 80s..

Post# 200504 , Reply# 17   3/31/2007 at 11:52 (3,617 days old) by liamwa ()        

BTW rickr. What does "ner TOL" mean? I'm not yet familiar with washer lingo and short form abbreviations. Maybe someone could post a key for me.


Post# 200518 , Reply# 18   3/31/2007 at 13:23 (3,617 days old) by rickr (.)        

rickr's profile picture
Sorry, my typo...
Should have read, "near TOL"
TOL stands for top of line, BOL stands for bottom of line, and MOL stands for middle line.

Post# 200609 , Reply# 19   12/31/1969 at 18:00 (17,221 days old) by laundryshark (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)        
Turquoise Kenmore Washer Demos

Still enjoying that Turquoise Kenmore Washer (wash and spin out videos) from our Web site. Brings back memories of Mom's late sixties Kenmore, except hers was white instead of turquoise. Also, my stepmother had an old white colored Whirlpool from about that time with that similarly uplifting belt drive sound. Then in the early eighties, Mom had an almond colored Whirlpool, which sounded more like a direct drive model.--Laundry Shark

Post# 200643 , Reply# 20   4/1/2007 at 12:49 (3,616 days old) by mistereric (USA)        

mistereric's profile picture
hearing all this about the servicability of these machines, I am a little intimidated thinking about digging into my first antique - the frogeye I picked up 2 months ago that seems to have a frozen transmission.

where is the best place to pick up a replacement tranny? repairclinic seems to have no idea what the machine is, even with the model number.

Post# 203122 , Reply# 21   4/11/2007 at 15:26 (3,606 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        

johnb300m's profile picture
gosh, that BD WP looks pretty miserable to assemble.

What Whirlpool should've done is adopt the true Dependable Care orbital system......actually.........maybe they will!

I understand why they cannot right away. They're all tooled up for DD machines. It IS possible for them to retool in the future and build orbital machines, Maytag style, and spread those across the company.

But, as cool as that may be, I don't see it happening.

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