Thread Number: 68715  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
POD 1/11/2017
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Post# 915059   1/11/2017 at 05:28 (312 days old) by brucelucenta (Italy)        

These machines were at the beginning of the reverse motor mechanism made for home use. Unfortunately, Speed Queen decided to change the basic mechanism to save cost I am sure and eliminated the two large solenoids that engaged wash and spin. It also incorporated a brake, when the spin cycle stopped. These machines were trouble prone and did not hold up as well. It was just downhill from there.




Post# 915065 , Reply# 1   1/11/2017 at 07:00 (312 days old) by mayken4now (Panama City, Florida)        

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I think maybe up hill from there Bruce?  If I had to buy new today, no chance on earth would I look anywhere else.  


Post# 915124 , Reply# 2   1/11/2017 at 12:34 (311 days old) by brucelucenta (Italy)        

Agreed, if I was forced to buy a top load machine they would be the one. But from the 70's on, speed queen washers were extremely problematic and many were tossed in the first few years of life. That same basic design that was so much trouble from 1980 on is still the same in many ways today. Maybe standards are just much lower.

Post# 915166 , Reply# 3   1/11/2017 at 16:55 (311 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

It did seem like the old solid tub SQs had short lives. Kind of like Norge,Bradford,Wizard, etc. Like John said "too much pot-metal". Some of them have survived pretty well though. Martin has one I rescued from a farm north of Cincinnati over a dozen years ago. I think it is a '67 or so. I didn't have to do much. The pot metal clip holding the sediment tube had rusted through and the tube was scrapping the side of the outer tub during spin. Likely the cause for it being taken out of service. Greg told me how to fix it and I did. I was using it as a daily driver for a while. One day I was watching tv while a load was going. Suddenly a cloud of noxious smoke rolled into the room. I ran to the kitchen to find the machine enveloped in smoke. It smelled electrical. I couldn't get the front panel off fast enough. I had visions of the motor on fire. Nope, the Spin Solenoid had fried. That little thing really put out a lot of smoke. I had to put fans in the windows and ventilate the house for hours. Got a new solenoid at Fox and was back in business. I passed the machine on to Georgedon, then it went to Martin. That thing is a pretty tough machine.

Currently, I have a '68 or so I got from Greg about ten years ago. It was originally a three-speed however, a certain mad scientist cherry-picked the original motor. (Not Greg!). A single -speed replaced it. It works just fine. It does have a Quirky timer. When the temperature drops in the basement in the winter, it refuses to fill in the Wash cycle. If I turn the timer to the Rinse fill---no problem! It only does it in the cold weather. Go figya.
It has a gray, speckled Enamel tub. I like it much better than SS. Funny how they made such a fuss over SS tubs and then used pot-metal everywhere else.

Through Greg's generosity I also have one of the last of the solid tub machines. It has the larger solid tub and reversing motor. It still works just fine if a little "knocky " during agitation. Great machine, however, due to Government interference, they dropped a minute of the Rinse Fill to save a bit of water. Consequently, most of what SHOULD be an Overflow Rinse isn't because it starts agitation before the tub is full. Removing water restrictors made no difference. Oh well.

The longest lived SQ solid tubs seemed to be coin op machines, probably because they were constantly being repaired. The laundries loved them though. I saw plenty of them with pretty serious rust that were still in service.


Post# 915178 , Reply# 4   1/11/2017 at 17:17 (311 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Not to bash vintage SQ's, but the new toploaders--with their Surgilator-like agitator--do a much better job of rolling a load over; especially maximum capacity loads. As Bruce and others have mentioned, the only current toploader I'd own is a Speed Queen. Liked my AWN542, but almost always opted to use the 2010 Frigidaire frontloader parked next to it. The SQ now works hard for a family with kids.

Having lived with a 1960 Kenmore with a frequently-replaced pot metal pump, I can only imagine how pot metal would wreak havoc with the vintage SQ's.

By the way, I've been enjoying the dialogue in these POD threads.


Post# 915203 , Reply# 5   1/11/2017 at 18:57 (311 days old) by HiLoVane (Columbus OH)        

I have a SQ AWN432, and I think the agitator is more of a cross between a Surgilator, and a Maytag Power-Fin. But, that's just me...

Post# 915250 , Reply# 6   1/12/2017 at 02:32 (311 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
Your thoughts?

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I'm glad that there have been even a few POD threads so fat, I'm already losing track...

I think we should always discuss those old appliances! Also have some aged so much, that we should be open to more old ads as long as the appliance IS 20-years-old, or in most cases, THIRTY- or more?

What about stuff other than washers, dryers, and dishwashers, just for the sake of variety, then?


-- Dave


Post# 915257 , Reply# 7   1/12/2017 at 04:59 (311 days old) by brucelucenta (Italy)        

With just a few changes in material used, the old speed queen washers with solenoids could have lasted nearly forever. The pot metal they used for the center post for the agitator shaft was a poor choice and they used that right up until the last of the solid tub models. The clip that held the sediment tub in place was aluminum, if I'm not mistaken and was easily bent. That allowed it to bend and the tube to slip out along with it getting mutilated by the tub rubbing against the outer tub when the load would be off balance. Just a lot of little things that would have made it a better machine, if someone had changed them. It does seem silly to have high grade, heavy stainless steel tub when you have pot metal attached to it that would most certainly break and wear out. I think the one's in laundromats were used so much they never had a chance to sit and let the elements get to the pot metal as much.

Post# 915270 , Reply# 8   1/12/2017 at 07:58 (311 days old) by rapunzel (Sydney)        

I am onto my second SQ top loader. The first lasted over 20 years and I bought my current washer during the early 21st century. No quality issues so far. Oops, sorry, I did have to replace the timer on my current washer about 2 years ago. However, I could still run a cycle with the malfunctioning timer. "Is that still possible with modern electronic machines?" You ask. "Not!"

Post# 915272 , Reply# 9   1/12/2017 at 08:00 (311 days old) by brucelucenta (Italy)        

I'm sure much of it has to do with how you care for them and what kind of detergent you use too. The dozens of early s/q machines I worked on in the 80's ALL had tub main seals that went out and corrosion around it. Many of the outer tubs were corroded where the seal was and could not be fixed. I just found it a shame that this happened, since it caused the bearings to go out too. The replacement seal was designed a little differently and fit differently too. That was when they still had the tall agitator shaft too. Another thing that was problematic was the pump and belts. I do think they greatly improved them since then, but there are still issues sometimes with the tub main seal.

Post# 915273 , Reply# 10   1/12/2017 at 08:05 (311 days old) by rapunzel (Sydney)        

Perhaps. I do care and my stuff usually lasts longer and looks better than other peoples'.

Post# 915274 , Reply# 11   1/12/2017 at 08:09 (311 days old) by brucelucenta (Italy)        

I will say that if I HAD to buy a top load machine, Speed Queen is the ONLY one I would even consider. They do a good job of washing, rinsing and spinning and take much less time to do it. They were sure the last hold out of solid tub machines.

Post# 915283 , Reply# 12   1/12/2017 at 08:49 (311 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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One of my aunts had a 1969 SQ.  I never knew anyone else who had a SQ, it was the go-to brand in their town at the time.  Rural area, well water.  Husband's family business with his brother and father (they also had SQs) was a dairy and crop farm, so LOTS of heavy laundry.  As I recall they had the SQ until sometime in the early 1980s, it was replaced by a WP belt-drive.


Post# 915366 , Reply# 13   1/12/2017 at 16:16 (310 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Glenn, I think most of the machines of that era were made to clean field hands clothes. The SQ agitation is very aggressive. Similar to a Norge, if it can't roll it over it just thrashes the dirt out!

Bruce, I can remember a lot of coin op SQ solid tubs, that used an abbreviated first spin. Just as the tub got up to full speed, it would shut down the spin and start filling. It was ridiculous to think those clothes got a good rinse as the sudsy wash water was still in the tub and suds cake on the clothes! Those detergents were pretty high sudsing in those days, too. Just to save a few minutes. I always thought the owners of those laundries were cheap. I usually didn't go back.


Post# 915455 , Reply# 14   1/13/2017 at 05:46 (310 days old) by brucelucenta (Italy)        

True enough about how quick the cycle was. As I recall, the race was to have a machine that would do a cycle in the quickest amount of time. The normal cycle was about 30 minutes, but many of the newer machines had an abreiviated cycle of about 18 minutes, which was scarely long enough to clean anything. The wash alone was 8 minutes. I recall from the commercial laundry magazines that they boosted a very quick cycle time along with Frigidiare and Maytag back in the 70's. It really depended upon the laundromat, some had the brief cycle and some did not. I think you could order the machines either way.




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