Thread Number: 35630
1985 Kenmore Limited Edition electronic washer
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Post# 531605   7/19/2011 at 13:15 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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I have been quite interested in these for some time. It seems that one day I am fascinated by BOL machines, the next its the other extreme. I never saw many of the electronic machines in my travels among the Kenmores when I was rebuilding these in their heyday back in the early to mid 1990s, so these are still fun to discover.

As has been discussed in various threads, there were exactly FIVE Kenmore electronic control models. The first was the 1978 Lady Kenmore, which debuted to much fanfare by Sears. I at the time was underwhelmed, as I am not much for change at times, especially in my washers. The 1978 machine was followed by a 900 series 1979 model (these seemed somewhat popular). Then the panel was redesigned in a linear alignment of cycles and options for 1980. This model had the three separate under lid dispensers for softener, bleach, and detergent. The 1981 model was essentially the same however it featured the famous triple dispenser in the top.

The final electronic machine was the 1982 Kenmore Limited Edition. This model was not called a Lady Kenmore, in fact shortly after this model debuted, the Lady reverted back to electro-mechanical control. The limited ed. model was different in that it featured the re-designed baseplate with different dimensions of the suspension rods and tub/basket. It also featured green LED lights in the control panel.

Early this year (it may have even been December of 2010) I secured my most recent supply of 'Arizona washers' as I call them, which I have enjoyed for their unrusted/unspoiled condition. My only issue so far has been the hard water deposits most of them have in the perfs of their baskets and on the walls of their outer tubs. This is not a huge concern.

My Arizona washers originate about 100 miles outside of Phoenix. I have them shipped to a washer-friendly vendor of ours in Phoenix, who in turn ships them to me in dribs and drabs as truck space allows. Sometimes this makes a slow boat from China seem rocket-fast, BUT, they usually get here ok, with one famous exception.

In this last load were a couple very cool washers, including this very nice looking BEAUT - a 1985 Kenmore Limited Edition in Almond (Please keep in mind I took these today with a cell phone)

Post# 531606 , Reply# 1   7/19/2011 at 13:16 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
A close-up of the controls, sort-of

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Now if I could just 'un-blur' it....

Post# 531607 , Reply# 2   7/19/2011 at 13:17 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
The panel from a bit more distance

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There is not a lot of space for this washer to pose in the warehouse, but here's a better shot of the panel

Post# 531608 , Reply# 3   7/19/2011 at 13:23 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Tub shot, with a modification of the famous "money shot&

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Here is a picture of what I have always called a 'short centerpost' or 'short post' machine. The agitator shaft rises out of the seals by about 5 or 6 inches. These are the centerposts that can fairly easily flood as compared to older models, when the spin tube and bearing seals begin to fail.

In this case though, the componets there look brand new - cause for a bit of visible excitement in me from what I was told.

Oddly, the machine is missing its agitator, which my washer pimp in Arizona failed to mention. I don't know if the agitator got homesick and ran off on its own after the washer left the nest, or if it was always missing an nobody noticed. It doesn't matter though, as I oddly enough bought the proper DA agitator on eBay a few weeks back just to have as a spare.

I love these white baskets. The big holes in the bottom are for a tub mounted lint filter, which most models except the Lady K and this machine were using. This model still has the old tub-mounted self-cleaning filter and the old-time 4-port pump (Yay for that).

Post# 531611 , Reply# 4   7/19/2011 at 13:27 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
One final picture...

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This one caught my attention from 30 feet away. The back of this machine is as finished as the front. The console access panel is painted black instead of baby-poop tan. It also has heat vent louvers in it for the bulb and electronics.

The back of the cabinet is fully painted, as is the service panel!! How cool is that!!! I never knew this was done on these machines. The interior is finished a little differently too, as the three corner braces are painted a silver color to match the chrome trim on the top.

This machine will hopefully clean up nicely. I'm a little nervous as to why it was replaced, so hopefully if there is an issue it is something typical or easy as compared to an electronics fault.

Post# 531612 , Reply# 5   7/19/2011 at 13:30 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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This machine is as-found - from sitting outside in the Arizona desert for some time, then in two production facilities while in transit, it looks pretty good. I hope it remains that way until after I finish with it. Should be fun to use, as I have a lot to experience and learn with the electronic models.

I will now be looking for a copy of the owner's manual. Does anyone have one from the 1980 model forward?

I'll keep you all posted on the stutus of this machine's rebirth. I am hoping its a fun one. This particular machine was built in mid-1985. I have a vague memory of this model being available when I purchased my 1986 Kenmore 70 in summer 1986, however the washer alone cost what I had budgeted for both the washer and dryer.

I hope you all enjoyed the story and pics...


Post# 531620 , Reply# 6   7/19/2011 at 14:27 (3,999 days old) by goatfarmer (South Bend, home of Champions)        

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Looks good, Gordon!  It would appear that the collection that came up missing a while back is being replaced, with a lot of great machines!

Post# 531621 , Reply# 7   7/19/2011 at 14:37 (3,999 days old) by frontaloadotmy (the cool gay realm)        

The  " matching " Gas Dryer showed up at the local Habitat Restore a few weeks back. Had never paid attention to the

fancy stainless trim between the cabinet top and body in the past.


Post# 531635 , Reply# 8   7/19/2011 at 15:44 (3,999 days old) by retropia ()        

Congrats, Gordon! This looks like the same washer I acquired in Michigan last year for Dave in Cincinnati. Yours looks cleaner, though.

Post# 531655 , Reply# 9   7/19/2011 at 16:22 (3,999 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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Doug -

Yep, that's the same machine alright. To my knowledge this is the only model with that chrome strip/trim on it.

This one may be interesting to see when it's all cleaned. I have a few machines to work on first, but this one may be back on the site this summer, hopefully in pictures up and running!


Post# 531661 , Reply# 10   7/19/2011 at 16:36 (3,999 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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Nice machine, Gordon! I've always thought these Limited Edition models were very sweet. In fact, in the spring of 1985 I fell in love with a black set in the store and bought them. Then went home and found out that the laundry closet in my condo wasn't deep enough for the dryer (it has the deep cabinet extension on the back which actually made the cabinet about 28 inches deep). Anyway, there wasn't enough room for the dryer and the exhaust hose behind the bifold doors; so I had to go back to the store and cancel the order. The sales person wasn't a happy camper as these were quiet expensive, and the Sears sales people worked on commission.


Post# 531662 , Reply# 11   7/19/2011 at 16:40 (3,999 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        
Yup, the same!

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I still prefer the black color to the almond or white, but it's so wonderfully TOL. I still need to test mine as I'm saving it as a reward for doing some plumbing improvements. I also have the 1981? model in pretty rough shape. Does anyone else have multiple KM Belt Drive electronic washers and/or dryers? Are there advantages to one version over another?


Post# 531682 , Reply# 12   7/19/2011 at 17:17 (3,999 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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beautiful just the same.........I had the DD 1988 with the electric dryer, I liked this one because I could make it fill and agitate at the same time........these were replaced with the 1995 Limiteds, this time with a gas dryer...3speed.....these 2 sets were both in Almond, would have liked Black, but I had the whole entire Kenmore Limited Kitchen, and since these were in the kitchen also, I wanted everything to match......

Post# 531714 , Reply# 13   7/19/2011 at 22:25 (3,998 days old) by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

The Limited Edition sets were definitely the main attraction on the Sears showroom floor. I remember seeing a black pair shiny and new just gleaming with pride as they basked in the attention of everyone who walked by. People couldn't help themselves. The price may have been prohibitive for some, but I wonder how many, if any, made an impulse buy of these.

My father's cousin had these, and I could not get over how quiet the washer sounded. Awesome pair of machines. Congrats on nailing this one.

Have a good one,

Post# 531728 , Reply# 14   7/20/2011 at 02:01 (3,998 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        
Nice machine Gordon

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I hope all is well and if anything is wrong that it's just a loose connection. If anyone can get it going again, you can. Best of luck.

Post# 531745 , Reply# 15   7/20/2011 at 07:32 (3,998 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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These were designed to be the ultimate TOL washer and dryer pair and they were the last great hurrah of the belt drive washers. These were available in 5 colors including the beautiful Platinum and Toast [ we still have a customer that has the platinum pair ].


Sears did a number of things to improve the overall quality of these models and all the KM limited edition appliances carried a never before seen or since Full Warranty for 5 Full Years on every thing, they also did this on a few refrigerators and the Limited Edition Ultra-Clean dishwashers [ they could have never done this with the D&M junk without going broke ].


To make the machines more rust resistant and better looking they gave the whole cabinet the final paint color and as Gordon mentioned the top suspension braces were galvanized instead of just painted to reduce corrosion.


We have a pair of these in black and Jason has another black washer, these were also built with a fully integrated Suds-Saver that required a different touch panel and computer board, I thought about ordering these parts and converting mine to a Suds-Saver but the parts are no longer available.


The nice looking trim around was unfortunately just silver tape and would often get damaged [ I sure that you could get something similar at the auto parts detailing store ]. Gordon what was the difference in the base plate and tub on this model? I never tore one apart that far, also the lovers on the back of the control panel are for the little speaker that beeps and bops as you program the machines [ also end of cycle signal on W&D ].


I am going to convert my machine to a 700 RPM spin and the dryer is going to get a 6,500 watt heater element to speed things up a little and so I can make them tier 1 Energy-Star compliant LOL. Details to follow on the conversions and its all done with off the shelf FSP washer & dryers parts.



Post# 531810 , Reply# 16   7/20/2011 at 13:32 (3,998 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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I agree with John, these machines appear to be pretty jazzy. I never knew about the rear cabinet dressing and the painted service panels, etc. The galvinized corner gussets are interesting, as indeed these do tend to rust. The machines from Arizona seem to be largely immune from rust, as least while they were out there anyway, so I wouldn't see the value of the rust proofing on my machine yet. When I opened the top and saw those shining silver corners, I was stunned.

As to the baseplate John, I may have mis-led you or you mis-understood me, I was merely saying that this model was built with the later 1981 re-designed baseplate and tub/basket (which every machine had by 1982, with this being an original 1982 model). Yesterday I learned that this new design/configuration was considered to be an energy efficient redesign of the original large capacity machine. The original held several more gallons of water, but I don't believe they washed much more laundry. The only previous Electronic machine that would have been in production at the time of this conversion was the 1981 Lady K, and I think it gave way to the Limited at about the time this conversion took place. The baseplate, unless it has special reinforcements or rust proofing on it, should be the same as the rest of the later 1981/1982 and later models with the old-style tub outlet hose, the 2.8 cu. ft. basket, the slightly shorter suspension rods, etc.


Post# 531879 , Reply# 17   7/20/2011 at 18:30 (3,998 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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OK I see what you meant Gordon, yes all the super capacity WP and KM models got smaller inner and outer tubs in 1982. They dropped the hi level water capacity from 25 to 22 gallons and it did seem to cut down the usable capacity a little. They did this both because of the required Energy guide rating [ WPs rating looked bad next to those little 19 gallon MTs that couldn't turn over the load that the standard 18 gallon WPs did anyway ] and because WP did have a problem with washer walking on its 25 gallon machines when they were on weak wooden floors.

Post# 531883 , Reply# 18   7/20/2011 at 18:38 (3,998 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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Question to Gordon or anyone else that might know. I would like to find one of the add-on balance rings that WP used to help stabilize the original 25 gallon wash basket machines. My 1971 LK that I converted to super capacity and to a 720 RPM spin speed could use one. The balance ring was installed inside the wash basket at the top with a bunch of plastic clips, so if you have one you can see it. If anyone ever finds an old machine with one I would gladly buy it.

Post# 532076 , Reply# 19   7/21/2011 at 18:46 (3,997 days old) by KenmoreGuy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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You may know this as well as anyone, but the kit for the balance ring was part number 358031. You may want to do some digging to see if any of your parts suppliers has one.

I myself have never seen one of these on a machine.

I'll definitely keep my eye out!


Post# 532088 , Reply# 20   7/21/2011 at 20:11 (3,997 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I've seen it.  Family friends had an LFA7800 that was prone to balance issues, the balance ring kit of discussion was installed to remedy the situation.  The machine is long-gone by now.

Post# 532220 , Reply# 21   7/22/2011 at 17:59 (3,996 days old) by aldspinboy (Philadelphia, Pa)        

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Hey Gordon this is a nice machine there is one in my friends garage , that the owner might part with..Who knows.

Low prority at this time but I know it's there if I pursue it.


I beleave Ben sold the washer or up for sale.

What a nice color that you have SWEET can't wait to see your results.

The white porcelin basket is a nice change then from a speckle one.

Gordon good vibes on the restore and would be nice to see it in action.


John that will be and undertaking, baffled on how your going to do it .

But I'm sure it will be an education.


Here is the one waiting who knows how much she wants for it.



Post# 532221 , Reply# 22   7/22/2011 at 18:02 (3,996 days old) by aldspinboy (Philadelphia, Pa)        

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Pic 2. Tub.

Post# 532222 , Reply# 23   7/22/2011 at 18:08 (3,996 days old) by aldspinboy (Philadelphia, Pa)        

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Pic 3. Dryer is being used by friends .

They pretty much take good care of it.







Darren k

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