Thread Number: 39001  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
The last GE Filter Flo ever made
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Post# 578281   2/26/2012 at 01:56 (2,251 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

I'm not sure if this belongs in this forum or not, I apologize if it doesn't..

Does anyone have pictures of the last, honest to God Filter Flo washers that GE ever made? I believe that I'm talking about 1995 vintage here before they switched over to their new design.

(OK, I'm about 3 years out, but close enough?)

In a lot of ways, I really wished I had known about the changeover happening in 1995 so I could have picked up a brand new TOL set before they stopped making them.

Oh well...

Post# 578318 , Reply# 1   2/26/2012 at 06:48 (2,251 days old) by angus (Fairfield, CT.)        

I don't have a picture, but it was around 1994-1995. the latest models of the old style GE's abandoned the "filter flo" and mini basket concept for the Hotpoint self cleaning filter ring and handwash agitator. The only model that had the filter flo/mini basket was the TOL "Profile" model with the white angled control panel. I know because I bought that to replace my perfectly operating 1980 model. Unfortunately, GE quality had already started to decline at that point. That washer only lasted two years. The transmission failed twice, belts were replaced twice and the lid began to show significant rust. Also at that time, GE customer service had started to decline. I won't even go there - while they acknowledged an "early transmission failure" on those washer models, they fought and insisted that I had to pay for a new transmission and the labor to install it. Foolishly in this instance I did not have the extended service contract - a decision I based on the long and flawless performance of my other GE washer. Very sad!! I still look for filter flo/mini basket washers (up to late 80;s vintage only) at every estate sale and on local Craigslist. However, the ones that do exist are usually sold before I get there. That says something!!!

Post# 578329 , Reply# 2   2/26/2012 at 08:14 (2,250 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Last GE FF Washers

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We have a restored fully functional GE WOW Profile washer at the warehouse like the one described in the last post. I wanted to keep this one because it is the last and because it has the Spot-Scrubber feature that works with the Mini-Basket.


As to reliability I didn't see any real difference on these 1990s models. We always replaced a lot of transmissions on GE washers, whether you are talking 1960s, 70s, 80s or 90s. They would usually leak oil on the clothes, on the floor, agitate and spin at the same time or just stop doing one or the other. I always thought GE washers were the appliance equivalent of air-cooled Volkswagen's as they frequently needed new engines during their normal life. Certainly no other washer came close to the number of transmissions replacements that GE and Hotpoint experienced. To GEs credit they offered reasonably priced high quality rebuilt transmissions so the break down didn't always result in trashing the washer.


Of the well over one thousand rebuilt washers that we have sold we never sold more than a few dozen GEs as they were just to unpredictable when it came to reliability. We warranty every rebuilt appliance for one full year of free in home service and you could put a GE into perfect working condition and it would often come back with unexpected repairs, sock in water pump, off-balance and walking problems, two-speed clutch problems, top outer tub seal leaks, FLOODS from the unexpected transmission boot pulling off at the outer tub and the a fore mentioned oil leaks with upset customers about ruined clothing and floor damage.


About 90% of the washers and dryers we sold were WP built models. If you did a through job repair and rebuilding these you would have very few problems or consumer complaints for 5, 10 and even 20 years even on a rebuilt washer or dryer. We also sold some MT washers and SOH dryers but the MT washers usually gave us more customer complaints about performance, [ capacity, cleaning,stopping due to being off-balanced and machine vibration due to the difficult to level design of their washers.

Post# 578497 , Reply# 3   2/26/2012 at 17:32 (2,250 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Heres a pic of one of the last ones........not impressed with the tilted panel.....rather had the standard/traditional one with a light...something fun to tinker with just the same....quality of materials seemed to diminish.....

Post# 578498 , Reply# 4   2/26/2012 at 17:34 (2,250 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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RimFlo filter and handwash 2-n-1 agitator......still preferred the minibasket

Post# 578558 , Reply# 5   2/26/2012 at 22:39 (2,250 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Thanks everyone. So realistically, the last GE FF machines with the filter pan and the mini-basket were made sometime around 1994 then?

There was a member with a really nice 1992-1993 vintage Filter Flo who was scrapping it. It's a shame that I lived so far away, otherwise I would have considered picking it up.

What was the cause of these transmission failures? Were they using plastic gears at that point in time?

Post# 578568 , Reply# 6   2/26/2012 at 23:39 (2,250 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
FF tranny failures

i have never personally found a broken filter flo tranny,but i have found plenty
with a leaky lower seal-cause of that is all the metallic particles and debris
filter flow trannys generate internally as they operate,this filters down through
the oil and collects atop the lower seal and wears on it or get between the seal
lip and the input shaft-causing the leak...Most of the metallic particulate is
generated by the way the brake band is connected to the tranny's internal mechanism
(steel end of band fits into a notch in the gear train frame)the spring clutch and
hub can wear and generate particulate too...There was a '90s filter flo on here
that would drain and agitate when it was supposed to spin-cause of that was a
broken clutch spring or loose spring hubs in the tranny-an easy fix.Poster didn't
have time to fix the washer and it was junked.
There are a couple other filter flo mechanical"nits",but i still like these
washers :)

Post# 578652 , Reply# 7   2/27/2012 at 10:30 (2,249 days old) by mtn1584 (USA)        
Sorry for the stupid question but.......

did the knobs on that filter flo just "yellow" naturally after time, or were they that way all along? I could swear that they were white when they were first introduced, I can remember seeing them at Montgomery Ward. Also why do the knobs and such / plasitc parts turn yellow on appliances after time?

Post# 578696 , Reply# 8   2/27/2012 at 13:13 (2,249 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
yellowed white plastic

UV light exposure seems to do it-happens with some plastics worse than others
My neptune apparently hasn't had much UV light exposure as it's white plastic is
still white,but i have seen neptunes that were yellowed...

Post# 578769 , Reply# 9   2/27/2012 at 18:24 (2,249 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Yeah, I thought about repainting them just to brighten them up and make them match....would have worked out well if the whole machine was almond!....

the white on white seems bright and clean, but awfully plain, and the gray lettering just fades into the background......they should have chosen a few colors to make them on the black consoles, a little shiny chrome, some brilliant stand out colors, and some detailed print.....just more appealing

like one of these......shiny beads, just so purdy!

Post# 578771 , Reply# 10   2/27/2012 at 18:33 (2,249 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        

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I don't know what year these were made but it was during the white on white phase of appliances so must have been in the early 90's. I always liked these and almost got them but ended up passing on them. Now I wish I hadn't.

Post# 578772 , Reply# 11   2/27/2012 at 18:34 (2,249 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        

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Post# 578773 , Reply# 12   2/27/2012 at 18:35 (2,249 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        

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Post# 578793 , Reply# 13   2/27/2012 at 20:15 (2,249 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Wow those I like....the trim in gray with the chrome buttons.....very nice.....never seen ones like these

Post# 578799 , Reply# 14   2/27/2012 at 20:33 (2,249 days old) by magic_clean (Florida)        

think there were ever any plastic gears. Combo52 can confirm. GE did change the upper transmission housing to plastic many years ago. Don't think it impacted performance. It improved servicing.

Post# 578813 , Reply# 15   2/27/2012 at 20:56 (2,249 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
The demise was not a surprise.

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 Jack Welch was putting the screws on every department at GE to strip down to profitability (real or cooked) at any cost. Many GE babies were thrown out with their bassinets. I remember seeing a couple of disembodied washing machine backsplashes on the upper floors of the East Building in Easton (where Welch and his lieutenants had their offices) sporting the new company graphics at that time. Must have been the last gasp from Louisville. The dryers must have been cheaper to produce than the Filter-Flo's and appealed to a lot of different markets because the basic design from the late 50's still exists in modified form.  I have a couple of the last brochures that I will try to dig out, scan and post. Stay tuned.

Post# 578902 , Reply# 16   2/28/2012 at 01:21 (2,249 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

Oh awesome.. That's fantastic. Love those white ones. :)

To answer the question about plastics...

Ever notice how a lot of computers these days are being sold with black plastic? This is because black plastic doesn't yellow.. It's a huge problem in the vintage computer community.

Here's a great webpage which shows the yellowing effect on plastics..

Those engineers were smart when they chromed the buttons. They stand up to wear and tear better and they don't have that nasty yellowing issue.
(Except for maybe when the chrome film de-laminates from the plastic I guess.)

Baj, I appreciate your input and look forward to seeing those brochures.

So, I know that the first filter Flo's were introduced in 1956.. When was the first "Long Run" Filter Flo introduced? (ie. The same layout as all subsequent Filter Flos made until the early 90's) .. I think it was 1962 I think, wasn't it?
(The water spout being at the 2 o'clock position instead of at noon, and the one piece plastic filter pan going over the agitator instead of the copper one.)

Didn't they also make the plastic filter tray smaller too? I've seen some which are larger than others, so I'm a little confused by this.


Post# 578953 , Reply# 17   2/28/2012 at 08:00 (2,248 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
GE FF Transmissions

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Yes there were no plastic gears in GE Transmissions [ if there had been the lower oil seals would probably have lasted longer ], I do believe that many of the lower transmission oil seal failures that GE was famous for were caused by the fine metal that settled to the bottom from the metal gears wearing. GE did change to a plastic outer housing in the 1980s for the transmissions case. Like most times in automatic washer history when a part was changed from metal [ especially aluminum-pot metal ] the machines durability improved.


This was again the case with the plastic transmission case, I never saw a single problem with the plastic cases. On the aluminum cases we would occasionally see the top corrode through and the water would enter the transmission and the oil would float up into the wash water BIG MESS. GE also had a problem in the 1970s with the brake assembly breaking and knocking a 3/4" hole in the lower side of the aluminum transmission case, this resulted in two quarts of oil on the floor in less than a NY minute, LOL.


I remember trying to lift the broken transmissions out of these washers when there was still oil on the floor and my feet were sliding out from under me. I even remember one customer that had a newly redone laundry area in the master bedroom with a TOL GE pair that did this and the shag carpeting was soaked in two quarts of spilled oil. And we think that we have problems today with appliances LOL.

Post# 868208 , Reply# 18   2/21/2016 at 16:07 (794 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Killeen tx USA)        
filter-flo discontinued

Excuse me if I am late, but I believe GE discontinued the filter-flos in 1995. I have the 2000's version with the matching dryer. I too expected a filter-flo/minibasket feature. It will be truly be missed.

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