Thread Number: 71558  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Kenmore 400 Saved From the Crusher
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Post# 946843   7/5/2017 at 20:41 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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Couldn't resist this Kenmore 400, found and saved on July 4th at a dump. I believe this is a 1965 model? Very close to the most BOL if not absolute BOL. Everything seems to be there and original. Overall the machine is in very good shape. She passed the dry run so I ran a couple loads and it ran fine. The unit was fairly tired. The transmission and or gasket is fried though and she has slung a fair bit of oil in her career. I have an extra Kenmore transmission that I hope to swap in.

Post# 946844 , Reply# 1   7/5/2017 at 20:42 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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Post# 946845 , Reply# 2   7/5/2017 at 20:43 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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Post# 946846 , Reply# 3   7/5/2017 at 20:46 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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The lint filter was in decent shape. There was lint present, but nothing more than just the last load. Not sure if this machine was used off and on for the past 50 years? The pump spit out a bit of suds that didn't look too terribly old. FSP's advice of smacking the filter worked.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 5         View Full Size
Post# 946847 , Reply# 4   7/5/2017 at 20:47 (292 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Geeezzzz, what some consider some two-bit washtub, you made a great save!

Now git 'r work in' 'n look in' good, in all her finery, again...! Congrats...

-- Dave

This post was last edited 07/06/2017 at 00:03
Post# 946848 , Reply# 5   7/5/2017 at 20:48 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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The machine didn't leak much and everything seems to work.

Post# 946849 , Reply# 6   7/5/2017 at 20:49 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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First load

Post# 946850 , Reply# 7   7/5/2017 at 20:50 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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Youtube video of wash


Post# 946851 , Reply# 8   7/5/2017 at 20:52 (292 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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Fairly loud knock during spin. Kenmore experts probably have an idea what it is. Here is my spare transmission. I'm not sure if it is compatible, but I will likely try.


Post# 946854 , Reply# 9   7/5/2017 at 21:18 (292 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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A 400 isn't fully BOL.  Yours has a separate water temp control.  More BOL would be temps in the timer, and more than that would be faucet control.  There were/are 300, 200, and 100 models.

Post# 946855 , Reply# 10   7/5/2017 at 21:42 (292 days old) by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        
Very Cool Find!!

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Thank you for saving from the crusher! I have always been fond of the more basic machines, and this is definitely that. Looks pretty clean and I hope you get this one restored to its former glory! Thanks for posting.


Post# 946862 , Reply# 11   7/5/2017 at 23:09 (292 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Awesome Jed!

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That's really a great find Jed! Not too many of these machines have survived this long. You are right that this is either a 1965 machine or a 1966. There were similar models both years. Give us the model number and we will know for sure.

As to the BOL-ness of this machine, yes, it is as BOL as you got for a 29-inch Kenmore fully automatic washer for 1965. The 000,100, 200 and 300 models were 24-inch machines during this time. Machines with timer set temps (in the Bol world) came later in the belt-drive history. There were a couple not-quite-automatic washers in this period that had no temp selections at all, just a single solenoid water valve that the user manually manipulated incoming water temp.

It wasn't until the later 60s or early 70s that the 100 series was available as both a 24 and 29 inch machine in very Bol garb.

This 400 model had a long lineage, with similar models available for 62, 63, 64, 65-66, 67, and 68, all only differ cosmetically.

The knocking in the spin is badly worn bearings. This is also likely why there is oil slung in the cabinet. Not sure that I would worry much about the gear case, those bearings need first attention. Good part about that is that the whole machine can be renewed during this exercise.


Post# 946864 , Reply# 12   7/5/2017 at 23:41 (292 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Congratulations on your find! You know, we have a large scrap metal recycler not too far from me. Perhaps I should pay it a visit from time to time. 

Post# 946888 , Reply# 13   7/6/2017 at 06:47 (292 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Cool Basic 29" Kenmore Washer

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Growing up a neighbor over on the next street had this machine [ with a Suds-Saver ] when you think about it is about all the washer you really need.


Yes unfortunately as Gordon suggested the knocking during spin is likley badly worn main bearings, save the transmission for your rebuild and use the best parts then.


What is the serial # of your machine ?, while this style washer dates back to around 64-65 with the gold plastic lint filter I an going to guess it is more like a 67 or 68 washer.


John L.

Post# 946890 , Reply# 14   7/6/2017 at 06:55 (292 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Nice Save Jeb.

I see you're back home. Have you finished your armed service duties ? None the less, Thank You for serving this country.

How many machines would you have saved during your service ??? LOL...

Was anyone in your troop into appliances ?

John is right... How much more machine do you need ? Good Luck with the rebuild. Do you still have your Unimatic ?

Best of Luck to you.

Post# 946926 , Reply# 15   7/6/2017 at 17:43 (291 days old) by lebron (MN)        

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Thanks to everybody who commented on this beautiful washer!

Gordon - thanks for all the great information. A bad bearing makes sense. I'd like to restore the machine eventually. It looks like the bearing and seals kit is still available. Anything I need to know about using this kit?
Which tool do you recommend I buy?
My transmission has the splined agitator shaft. Were they all like that? I thought there were two major designs, but I can't remember the details.

John - I agree that this is all the washer that most people need. I forgot to photograph the serial number, and I don't currently have access to the machine unfortunately. Maybe the filter was a replacement.

Eddie - Yes I have finished my time in the service. I never asked anyone about appliances, figuring that some things were better left unsaid :)
I still have the Unimatic, but it has a bum timer and an electrical short. I think the route I would like to go is simply wiring manual controls to it. Unfortunately, I am not much of an electrician so that project will have to wait a bit.

Post# 946927 , Reply# 16   7/6/2017 at 17:51 (291 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

John beat me to it.I was going to say with that filter it is 1967 or 68.Love the blue basket and straightvane agitator.

Post# 946930 , Reply# 17   7/6/2017 at 18:09 (291 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Nice BOL find. Agitation seems slow, but, it keeps on going. Hard to beat for the basics.

Post# 946936 , Reply# 18   7/6/2017 at 19:02 (291 days old) by lebron (MN)        
Agitation seems slow

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I suspected this, but wasn't sure. What could be the cause? Do motors slow down over the years? Seems unlikely, but I don't know enough about the belt-drive transmissions to guess.

Post# 946943 , Reply# 19   7/6/2017 at 19:48 (291 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Slow agitation and other stuff...

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Jed -

Slow agitation is very possibly from a very worn belt. If I recall when I saw the spin video, it sounded like a worn or weak belt during the initial ramp up.

Regarding the filter, KM certainly made a lot of their machines well past their model year of issue, so if this is a '66 model for example, it could easily have been built in 1967 or 1968 based on other things I've seen in KM production. BUT, the gold polypropylene straight vane agitator replaced the Bakelite straight vane (I think KM called that a 6-vane) in 1968, but I can't quote exactly when. Most models that were current at the time of the swap got an engineering revision to replace the bakelite agitator, cap, and drive lug with the new gold cap and agitator on the production line. The new agitator mounts directly to the splined agitator shaft. And yes Jed, your machine should have the drive block mounted on the splines - this was done with a beefied-up gearcase in 1963 ish.

For the bearing kit, 285134 is the part number. There are lots of them around, including on eBay.

As far as bearing tools, best thing you can do is borrow those from someone here who will let you borrow them. They are bulky and somewhat heavy to ship, often expensive, and quite often hard to find. Unless you're going to do lots of bearing jobs, you'd want to be sure you want to marry this washer before you go that degree of expense and trouble to acquire your own tools, :-) When I did bearing jobs in the early 90s, I borrowed a buddy's tools. When I found AW and started this again, I bought mine on eBay, used.


Post# 946944 , Reply# 20   7/6/2017 at 19:56 (291 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Giving a nudge to Robert via an old thread

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This wonderful thread first introduced many of us to the 1965/66 KM 400. Gotta love the dark blue tub!!!

Thanks once again Robert!


Post# 946966 , Reply# 21   7/7/2017 at 00:55 (291 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

Awesome find Jeb. This model is definitely a BOL treasure, and thanks for posting a video of it in action. I hope you keep it and make it strong again.

Thank you for your service to our country as well.


Post# 946984 , Reply# 22   7/7/2017 at 08:27 (291 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Nice find, Jed!  I'll swear that it's easier to do a bearing job than to replace the drive belt on a Whirlpool/Kenmore washer.... LOL 


When the time comes to do the bearings, though, changing the belt will be easy, since you have to drop the transmission out of the washer.  Fortunately, the belt and so many other parts are not that hard to find.  


It's a really beautiful washer - I hope you have lots of fun with it!  

Post# 946985 , Reply# 23   7/7/2017 at 08:29 (291 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

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What a cool and unique find, Jed!

Post# 947026 , Reply# 24   7/7/2017 at 14:25 (290 days old) by sears9000 (Pensacola, Florida.)        

Jed, first of all thank you for your service to this country. Second, I commend you for rescuing such a fine machine from the junk yard. You can't find hardly any of those classic machines like that here in Pensacola anymore since a lot of them were destroyed after hurricanes Ivan, and Dennis. Plus a lot of them that weren't in climate controlled environments, rusted out quickly down here. My question is this, is it possible that since it looks like the tub ring is off center to the left, and it seemed that the agitator and basket was also leaning that way, could there be an issue with the suspension that could cause it to knock? Whatever it is, I hope you can restore the machine to showroom condition, and may it give you excellent service for many years. Again, thank you for service to this country.

Post# 947027 , Reply# 25   7/7/2017 at 14:30 (290 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Great find Jed, my favorite part is the bol wash basket that is porcelain blue without any speckles! The 1962 Kenmore 24" BOL washer we had when I was little had that same very rare basket and a straight vane agitator.

Post# 947050 , Reply# 26   7/7/2017 at 17:22 (290 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Whoops...posted something in the wrong thread. Sorry, guys!

Post# 947108 , Reply# 27   7/8/2017 at 09:08 (290 days old) by sears9000 (Pensacola, Florida.)        

Jed, I forgot to ask you this when I posted earlier. On these earlier models where the water temperature just says hot, warm, or cold like it does on my machine that I bought 17 years ago, is the rinse temperature cold like it is on my DD machine, or is it different?

Post# 947112 , Reply# 28   7/8/2017 at 09:29 (290 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Jim, on these, warm water rinse was offered with Hot or Warm wash water.  Cold yielded cold rinse too.  User guides with these type of machines instructed user to switch to cold water after the hot or warm wash fill was complete if you wanted a cold rinse. 

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