Thread Number: 36112
Agitator fins keep breaking on Speedqueen top loader.
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Post# 538200   8/20/2011 at 00:25 (4,494 days old) by Museumtech ()        

After flawless service for over 10 years the 4 fins on the agitator in our Speedqueen heavy duty washing machine broke off, one after the other. We replaced them and, in less than a month, all four were gone again. Cheap replacement we thought and got another. The fins are bent and almost broken after less than a week. Has anyone had this problem and does anyone have any idea what is causing it? Any thoughts gratefully received. (note: the image shows the bent fins and the break line.

Post# 538201 , Reply# 1   8/20/2011 at 00:50 (4,494 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Porciúncula)        

Modern agitators are designed with a breakable points to protect the transmission in case of severe overload, as it's much cheaper to replace the agitator than the transmission.
Of course executives got this wonderful and simple idea to the wrong direction. Lots of consumers would simply realize they did something wrong and buy a new machine, more profit until the next break and could still save a lot of money if the machine is repaired under warranty (replace the agitator, not the transmission)

What i think SQ did was take this idea to the ultimate level... make the breakable points even more fragile, perhaps to compensate the weaker transmissions or deliberately to make them break after some time (specially 1 second after the warranty expires) because thousands of dumb consumers would buy new machines.

This is one of the examples of "programmed obsolescence" I always talked about...

Same happens with the bearings on front loaders.

Post# 538202 , Reply# 2   8/20/2011 at 01:04 (4,494 days old) by Museumtech ()        

Thanks Thomas. I could accept a degree of planned obsolescence, though not be happy with it. However, the machine was fine for 10 years but now breaks agitator fins within weeks of replacement. I suspect that there is something else at play. Some how there is excess load being placed on the fins. I am just not sure how. The agitator has about 4-5mm vertical freeplay and about 20mm (measured from the outer edge of the fins) rotational freeplay. The shaft bolt is tight. Could this cause the problem or is that freeplay natural?

Post# 538203 , Reply# 3   8/20/2011 at 01:06 (4,494 days old) by rapunzel (Sydney)        
It is obviously a quality issue

and SQ need to be held to account over this. I've heard that their customer service is pretty good. Keep us posted re the outcome of this.

So far I've not had any issues with my SQ, which has the same agitator as yours. I wash heavy loads frequently and it's doing its job as expected.

Post# 538210 , Reply# 4   8/20/2011 at 02:49 (4,494 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Defective lot of agitators?I can't beleive SQ would "sabotage" their equipment deliborately.And the broken agitator vane edges could certainly tear clothes.

Post# 538302 , Reply# 5   8/20/2011 at 11:18 (4,494 days old) by magic_clean (Florida)        
I think

the agitator problem might be a symptom. Is your machine spinning while it is agitating? The direction of broken fins suggest that the machine spins clockwise.

Keep us posted!

Post# 538340 , Reply# 6   8/20/2011 at 14:24 (4,494 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
You may want to try the solid vane rather than the flex vane agitator.....but it does seem odd to be breaking them all of a sudden

Post# 538369 , Reply# 7   8/20/2011 at 15:34 (4,494 days old) by coldspot66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

Probably worn or broken brake pads. Amanas are notorious for this. It probably is spinning while agitating.

Post# 538434 , Reply# 8   8/20/2011 at 22:50 (4,493 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

frigilux's profile picture
Nah, it ain't a spinnin' problem; it's all them bricks you been washin' in there, mate. S'truth!


Post# 538463 , Reply# 9   8/21/2011 at 07:27 (4,493 days old) by JETCONE (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Les & JOhn

jetcone's profile picture

Neat detective work there, I bet my Aussie dollar you've solved it. We will have to wait and see....tap tap tap .......what comes from M-tech.

Post# 538464 , Reply# 10   8/21/2011 at 07:54 (4,493 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

Yes there is differently something wrong with the washer. Agitators are not designed to break in any washer I have ever seen to protect the machine. If a washer is severally overloaded the only thing that is supposed to give is the overload protector on the motor will cycle the machine off. Even the drive cupping on a WP DD washer will not automatically break if you stuff the machine so full that the agitator can't move.

Post# 538611 , Reply# 11   8/21/2011 at 18:43 (4,493 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        

mrb627's profile picture
I agree. The tub break has failed. Not a big deal, IMO. Any competent DIY person can handle this repair.


Post# 538681 , Reply# 12   8/22/2011 at 05:14 (4,492 days old) by museumtech ()        

The tub doesn't appear to be spinning during the agitation cycle. And hints on how to check if the brakes need replacing?

Post# 538692 , Reply# 13   8/22/2011 at 08:07 (4,492 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

pierreandreply4's profile picture
in washers the thing that tends to break the most if the washer is overloaded is the washer motor that burns and when this happens the washer do not wash or spin i know happen to me in 1996 with my inglis whirlpool superb 2 washer they replace the motor and it was fix so its very rare that the agitator breaks.

Post# 1180185 , Reply# 14   5/9/2023 at 07:41 (214 days old) by Oldwasherguy (Ladson SC)        

oldwasherguy's profile picture
Anyone know what year speedqueen switched to plastic agitators?

Post# 1180219 , Reply# 15   5/9/2023 at 16:25 (214 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

maytag85's profile picture
I believe Speed Queen switched to plastic agitators back in the 1960’s.

Post# 1184485 , Reply# 16   7/9/2023 at 01:52 by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Porciúncula)        

I have a SQ with plastic agitator... and it's intact.

Post# 1184533 , Reply# 17   7/9/2023 at 15:23 by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        

My Speed Queen Top Loaders have agitators that are intact also.

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