Thread Number: 72294  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
WP BD basket capacities
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Post# 955707   9/2/2017 at 08:18 (289 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

What are the different basket capacities WP had for the BD? Can anyone (I'm looking in your direction, John) provide pictures of the different sizes and how to tell?

In Canada, Every machine I've come across, including TOL, seems to have the standard capacity basket. Only in US machines have I seen bigger sizes.

Post# 955728 , Reply# 1   9/2/2017 at 10:13 (289 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Hello Kevin

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Interesting question!

I'm not John, but I have a lot of information to offer you.

First, it does seem like the Canadian Inglis machines were nearly all standard capacity. I did see some pictures of a late model large tub machine with the Penta-Vane, made I think several years after U.S. production ended. If I can dig it up I will post it or post a link for you.

Here is what I can tell you about U.S. machines: There are five distinct capacities / tub sizes, with a tweak to the standard capacity in 1981 that might change this to six.

First and smallest is portable tub that began production in the early 70s. I do not have a pic of one of these right now. This is the revised, fast spin portable that replaced the older portables which were near clones of 24-inch stationary models.

Next is the 24-inch cabinet machine that I just mentioned. Many people mistake these for standard capacity 29-inch tubs, but they are noticeably smaller in overall height and diameter.

Then comes the 29-inch standard capacity tub. These were in production from the 1950s to 1981. One of the 'Features at a Glance' stickers still on one of my machines states the tub capacity to be 2.36 cu ft. This is with a straight vane agitator. When a DA was used, this number may have increased.

Maybe next is the late 1981 and later standard tubs. I say maybe because their outer tubs are 3/4 of an inch wider, but I do not know if the basket was redesigned, I have never been curious enough to measure one, but I assume it was. This change came about when the switch was made to the 'energy efficient' belt drive in summer 1981. Dimensions, capacity and water usage were reduced slightly for the large capacity models, to make them compare better on energy guides. Large tub water capacity went from 26 gallons to 22. When this switch was made, the standard tub retained the same outer diameter as the new large, just with a reduced overall height. The older standard tubs have continuous rows of perfs at tub bottom, the newer have interrupted perfs just like in the large tubs, in fact I think the factory used the same stamping dies to punch the perfs in both sizes, which is why the large tubs have such a tall un-perfed region toward the top rim. I do not have a pic of one of these either, but there have been some good ones over the years here on AW.

Next up in size is the 1981 and newer large capacity that I mentioned above. 2.8 cu ft capacity was always quoted on these, with DA, Penta-Vane, or DoubleDuty Surg.

Finally, the largest is the 1967-1981 large capacity. This tub can be most easily called-out by the four rows of bottom perfs, that are clustered into three groups, followed by large areas with no perfs. Water capacity is up to 26 gallons, but later, some models were set to use only 25.something, probably to reduce published energy consumption. These are the largest belt-drives, and probably the largest machines available in their time. I have seen capacity quoted from 2.67, to 2.71, to 2.98 cu ft on these, so either measurement standards changed, or the capabilities of agitators was being considered along with tub dimensions even back then.

I took a bunch of pictures with my iPad today for you of machines that I have either installed now or in my garage. I hope these pics and info helps.

This post was last edited 09/02/2017 at 11:17
Post# 955729 , Reply# 2   9/2/2017 at 10:17 (289 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Pics - first up 24-inch stationary machines

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I am not certain what the capacity was quoted as on these, but here are two of my machines, a 1982 built 200 series Kenmore and a 1967 model Kenmore 100. I don't have the best overhead lighting for photography in my garage.

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Post# 955730 , Reply# 3   9/2/2017 at 10:19 (289 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Next, the original standard capacity

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Note the distance from the agitator fin to the basket wall is much wider. This is a 1979 KM 500 and my 1976 KM 60, the green beast.

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Post# 955731 , Reply# 4   9/2/2017 at 10:21 (289 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
1981-newer large capacity

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Penta-vane has a much wider skirt

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Post# 955733 , Reply# 5   9/2/2017 at 10:25 (289 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
The largest, the near 3.0 cu ft, big tub

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Not the best pictures. I may try to re-take these after I return from some errands. My phone will be less awkward than the iPad.

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Post# 955737 , Reply# 6   9/2/2017 at 10:51 (289 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

Thanks so much Gordon! This was very helpful.

On my searching of the forum earlier I did read about the large capacity machines that were near three cubic feet. Weren't these machines rare?

Canadian Kenmore machines were made in the Inglis plant too. I was a little confused when I saw the DA agi in a standard capacity machine. It was interesting that even in high, only about half to two thirds of the auger was submerged where as some US machines had most of it submerged.

I have a BD portable with the dinky tub that spins very fast.

Post# 955738 , Reply# 7   9/2/2017 at 11:09 (289 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

Interesting indeed, I was only aware of 4 different tub sizes myself. I had no idea they had changed some of them during the time belt drive machines were built.

Post# 955740 , Reply# 8   9/2/2017 at 11:16 (289 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Model rarity

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The near 3.0 machines overall are not rare, but early examples are. These started around 1967 as answers to special family needs, etc and did not have matching large drum dryers. They were sold in the same part of the floor at Sears where the 24-inch machines and portables were kept, as in special niche models. Finding one of those from 1967 thru 1973 is a real rarity now. In 1974 Sears made model pairings with a number of machines, near Bol to Lady Kenmore, matched with new dryers that were 1.0 cu ft larger. These sold in huge numbers, and almost overnight the market changed to a large capacity focus.

Standard tub DA machines were available in the U.S. also, but are really quite rare. The agitator base for these is the same as large capacity, but uses a shorter auger, and even then, yes, it does not get fully submerged. I have one that I need to restore, would be interesting to see if the DA offers any real benefit in this capacity / size.


Post# 955757 , Reply# 9   9/2/2017 at 13:54 (289 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

I do remember back in the late 60's the Sears here having a model that in appearance looked like many of the other models of that era. It had one important difference, a very large deep tub with an agitator that looked much like the old bakelite straight vane agitators that were so common except it was actually slightly bigger in size. I know that Whirlpool had similar models. So in the beginning of super capacity washers, the agitator was actually a little taller and would not fit the standard capacity machines. Later on that changed.

Post# 955767 , Reply# 10   9/2/2017 at 16:16 (288 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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What were the best agitators in those large machines?

Post# 955786 , Reply# 11   9/2/2017 at 19:56 (288 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Best agitators

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Well, that's another good question.

In reply #5, both machines are installed right now at my house. In the older large tub models, the ultimate agitator, in my opinion is the Dual Action.

The Penta-Vane and Penta-Swirl have limitations. Penta-Vane can be a bit rough on lower water levels, and both struggle in the roll-over department on full fill loads, the 'Swirl more so than the other. My solution when using the Penta-swirl is to extend wash time by two minutes, no problem there, but it can be just getting a load moving in a two minute rinse when the timer advances to drain.

I have been using the DA in various machines since 1983, in both large capacity tub sizes. I have no complaints at all. The agitator is not overpowering in smaller loads, but handles large loads more effectively than any other agitator.

The DA can be noisy, and it can interfere with the soothing sounds of a BD, but for getting laundry done efficiently and effectively, there is nothing better in these machines, especially in the largest tub.


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