Thread Number: 74618  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Refurbishing a 1978 Kenmore belt drive.
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 984176   2/24/2018 at 20:40 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

No questions, just a bit of a rant. Every time I fix one leak I create another. It all started with about a palm sized puddle when it sat overnight full of water. Then the air dome steady peeing, now I got a very small puddle coming from the drain port area.

The washer is otherwise working well thanks to my friend Bob. I feel like the motion is a bit lackluster. Iím going to check the rpms tomorrow. It seemed a bit slow even for a belt drive.

Ok, that feels better. Thanks for listening, donít forget to subscribe if you havenít already.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Lorainfurniture's LINK

Post# 984178 , Reply# 1   2/24/2018 at 21:18 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

speedqueen's profile picture
A beautiful machine and a good restoration. Are you going to keep it for personal use or sell it as a refurbished machine at your store?

Post# 984180 , Reply# 2   2/24/2018 at 21:31 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        
I canít really sell them

When they get that old. I give a pretty good warranty, and parts are not as abundant as they used to be. Under some circumstances I would, only to the right customer. I just canít bear to deliver a vintage machine to a ďregularĒ customer. Itís like a death sentence for the machine.

I wonít be keeping this one as I already have my turquoise belt drive.

This washer will go to a collector only after I get it sorted out 100%.

Post# 984182 , Reply# 3   2/24/2018 at 21:40 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

speedqueen's profile picture
Do you have a bunch of these machines piled up, unrestored from trade-ins that you just cannot bear to scrap? I certainly understand not wanting a regular customer to take most vintage machines, I could see still selling and warrantying a refurbished center-dial or '80s helical drive Maytag, those things are bullet proof.

Once everything is sorted out, I hope you don't mind me asking what your price would be on it?

Post# 984186 , Reply# 4   2/24/2018 at 22:17 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

No hoarding. The Maytags Iíll sell as they basically run forever. At this point I only get a few decent belt drives a year. I usually can find a home for them before the next one stumbles in. When they come in they get fixed or parted out. Iíll consider keeping one only if itís really special. Iíd keep a 1-18 or a combo unit, or anything else I can justify as a display piece for my store.

My friend bob has the matching dryer to this Kenmore, so I may sell the set for around a grand to the right owner.

I was actually thinking about giving the set away on my YouTube channel to help drum up some subscriptions. Iím still trying to work it out. Once I run ten or so loads through this machine without any leaks Iíll have a better feeling about what to do with it.

I really love fixing them more than I like looking at them. Once I get them running perfect my love affair with them starts to dwindle. I really get a lot of pleasure getting them in the hands of people who will enjoy them and take care of them.

Post# 984199 , Reply# 5   2/24/2018 at 23:58 by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

kenmoreguy64's profile picture
Hi Eugene,

Before I get to the reason for my post, I'd like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your recent posts and videos. I would imagine that Speed Queen is not as keen on some of them, but I find them very informative, well produced, and incredibly enjoyable to watch. Thank you for making them available to us!!

I have an affinity for belt drives like you do your KA Direct Drive, and have been using them my entire life. No new/modern machines here - The newest washer I have is a 1993 KM 70 series DD which I got new, but it has only 2 years or so of single-person use on it. The rest of my machines are an assortment of Belt Drives, 1960s to late 1986. I rebuilt and sold 50+ of these black panel machines in the 1990s when buyers seemed to be waiting in line for them.

I have three machines installed and ready to use at my house at all times. Currently a 1976 KM 60 standard tub, a 1977 KM 70 almost identical to yours, and a 1980 KM 80. The '77 has been installed this time for more than a year. It has a Penta-Swirl agitator like yours. I thought I would make a few comments about the rebuild, and also about using this machine:

First, these were the largest capacity belt-drives made. They hold a max of 26 gallons of water and were made 1967-1981. The tubs in these are so wide in diameter that the cabinets have rounded cut outs on the inside rim to allow for the wide tubs to be fitted into the cabinet. When we try to reinstall a tub with the tub mounted filter and air dome still installed, and a gearcase in place, it can be awkward indeed to get the tub in place without knocking the air dome. I usually take the air dome off. It often needs to be cleaned of debris and a clean sealing surface created to assure a no leak install, but only a time or two have they caused me much trouble after that.

The drain grommet on the other hand is a different story. This grommet (WP called it an outlet hose) is very different than the smaller grommet used in standard tub models, and in later 22-gallon large capacity machines. On the smaller grommet, they can usually be re-used after removing the outer tub, but original large grommets in my experience have been troublesome to successfully re-use. The sealing grooves collapse from years of pressure under the tub, and simply do not re-seal easily. I had enough trouble with these that I always replaced to drain grommet regardless of leak or not just to avoid negotiating with the machine and a fickle old grommet. New ones of these are still out there, but unfortunately you would have to pull the outer tub again...

As to using the Penta-Swirl --- it takes getting used to, and has its limitations. And this is coming from a belt-drive regular user. For someone more familiar with DDs and late model machines, this agitator may seem very lethargic. I had no exposure to this agitator as a user until I refurbished my '77 in 2009. The agitator does an exquisite job on medium to med-high loads, and is gentile but effective, but once the water level is above the first or second row from the top on tub holes, heavy or large loads are slow to turn over. In fact, when I run my machine full, I add 2-4 minutes of wash time and often double the rinse time to get one or two roll-overs.

If you do some agitator tests with this machine, definitely try a DA. You will see how much more effective the DA is. I would say it changes the personality of the whole machine. The Penta-Vane is better on full loads, but a bit rough on smaller ones to the point that I cut back on wash time when using it.

WP / Kenmore worked for nearly ten years to get a great overall agitator for this big capacity set-up. The original two Bakelite agitators of the 1960s and the big Roto-swirl that replaced the KM agitator seemed to put too much drag on the gearcases, and the two Pentas improved on that, but still had their issues. What you have in your hands is an example of why KM made the advancements they did for 1976 with the DA, and why these were so incredibly successful.

With the DA, extended or reduced wash times are not necessary, even large or heavy loads roll over many times. I think you might enjoy experimenting with different agitators, but since these are pieces of appliance history, the Penta-Swirl is fun to use occasionally. I don't use detergent pods very often, but when I do, full loads get two with that much water involved.

I hope you get your pesky leak fixed and am sorry you are getting indoctrinated on the joys of working on belt-drives --- you can probably see why DDs were designed as they were.

Good luck!


Post# 984284 , Reply# 6   2/25/2018 at 12:34 by Kafooty06 (washington )        
Thank you for your video

kafooty06's profile picture
Hi I have a washing almost like the one in your video , my washer is a little newer it's a 82 Kenmore 70 series Center dial. I saw you put in an older motor and it worked, I want to restore mine do you think I can swap out a motor and transmission other parts from a newer belt driven Kenmore 70 series from the 80s ? The control panels are different but look like there parts will work.thanks

Post# 984288 , Reply# 7   2/25/2018 at 13:11 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

I believe you can. As long as the motor is a 1 speed, I believe the transmission never really changed. Bob had mentioned that there is a difference between a ďhigh postĒ and ďlow postĒ machine, I believe that has something to do with the spin tube.

Someone with more experience can chime in, but Iíd say that 80% of the parts are interchangeable

Post# 984289 , Reply# 8   2/25/2018 at 13:18 by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture

Eugene, I look forward to your videos.  This washer was the exact model my parents bought, along with the plug-door companion dryer, for our lake house in like 1976/1977.  Gordon, I concur, the agitation was somewhat lethargic on full loads, especially with towels.  Given my mom always underloaded a washer it wasn't much of an issue.  But when I did loads of towels or brought my laundry from my college apartments ,...  It had a tendency to cause large loads to bunch up in a way and cause off balance buzzer being triggered.  But I look forward to a load (or 3) with the original agitator.  I remember recognizing agitation wasn't all that great and it was not too soon after purchasing the set that Sears had a campaign of offering a DAA agitator so that people could upgrade the performance for these large capacity pentavane models. 

Post# 984290 , Reply# 9   2/25/2018 at 13:35 by kafooty06 (washington )        

kafooty06's profile picture

Post# 984291 , Reply# 10   2/25/2018 at 13:40 by joeypete (Concord, NH)        

joeypete's profile picture
Great videos Eugene! Thank you for sharing! I love those old belt drives. We had a WP one when I was a little kid in the late 70's. I remember standing on a chair and watching the WP logo go round and round LOL. Fun stuff.

Post# 984329 , Reply# 11   2/25/2018 at 18:38 by kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

kenmoreguy64's profile picture
Eugene and Kafooty/Steve,

There is essentially 100 percent parts interchangeability under the baseplate between a 1978 Whirlpool / Kenmore belt drive and the last belt drives made in early 1987, and all in between, excluding pumps. Just match up the capacity, as the only difference is in the springs on the basket drive brake drum, but I don't think the springs matter a whole lot, weaker springs could simply slow the braking a little bit.

Eugene, what you mention about high post and low post, or tall and short post refers to the center post. The height of the center post changed for 1978, shortened by 5 inches or so. The same bearings are inside the centerpost, but meatier seals are used 1978+ and two of them vs. the one previously. The basket drive/spin tube is correspondingly shorter, but the agitator shaft and transmission did not change. In fact, as you said Eugene, the transmission did not really change much, and not significantly at all since 1963.

Steve, if I remember right, your machine is a low use 1983-1986 model. There wasn't anything newer or more revised from Sears. Do you know what parts you need or want? If your machine is low use, I am not sure that donor machines would have any parts that are better than yours. Your transmission should not need replacement, but if it does, the best gearcase to use is a 1977 and older because wear caused by the spin tube wears grooves into the agitator shaft, which can prematurely wear out new seals. Since the centerpost and spin tube heights were lowered in 1978, using a 1977 or older gearcase will start you out as if you have a brand new agi shaft, which is great for brand new seals.

You might want to look on eBay for a new basket drive 383929 / 285897. 285317 pump, 95405 belt, 285134 bearing kit, and a new or used motor, which many sellers sell under part number 285222. That will get you started toward a good support supply of parts.


Post# 984337 , Reply# 12   2/25/2018 at 19:48 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Motors For BD WP-KM Washers

combo52's profile picture

Are all interchangeable, you can put any motor motor in any machine, it does help however to put a 2speed motor in a 2sp washer if you want to use both speeds, but you can put a one sp motor in a 3 sp Lady Kenmore or a 3sp motor on a washer designed for  2 or 3 speeds as long as you wire it it up properly.


To put a one speed motor in a machine designed for 2 or 3 speeds just add a jumper wire from blue to orange and pink/gray terminals, and to put a 2 or 3 speed motor in a machine with less speeds just leave the extra terminals empty.


John L.

Post# 984345 , Reply# 13   2/25/2018 at 20:27 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

washerlover's profile picture
Hi Eugene,

I really appreciate your posts and the videos! Very fun and informative. Thank you for sharing!

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

The Discuss-o-Mat has stopped, buzzer is sounding!!!
If you would like to reply to this thread please log-in...

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy