Thread Number: 37751
Whirlpool Duet Bearing replacement
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Post# 561590   12/6/2011 at 21:12 (4,551 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

A relative has a 3 year old Duet, 9600 TOL steam unit with a bad bearing.  I've seen several here replace the bearing and watched a you-tube video or two and it does not look too hard.  I'm thinking of tackling it, perhaps after the holidays, any tips?


Question, how do I get a replacement bearing and seal?  Where?

Post# 561600 , Reply# 1   12/6/2011 at 21:44 (4,551 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

If you can get a service manual, that would help..

I bet most appliance shops which sell Whirlpool could sell you the parts you need.

It's my understanding that a bearing kit isn't too expensive to purchase.

Good luck!

Post# 561607 , Reply# 2   12/6/2011 at 22:20 (4,551 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

when i did the bearing job on my 1998 "frigilux",the bearings were just standard
industrial parts as used in machines of all descriptions- 6306zz and 6307zz IIRC
-avalible from electric motor shops or other industrial suppliers.I got the seal
from my local car quest for around $14,almost exactly the same double lip design
as original.

Post# 561640 , Reply# 3   12/7/2011 at 01:10 (4,551 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Interesting, thanks.  I guess I'll tear into it at some point and see how difficult it is...

Post# 561643 , Reply# 4   12/7/2011 at 01:45 (4,551 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

arbilab's profile picture
Sorry, this doesn't contribute to the solution, just an editorial comment from Mr. Obvious:

A 3yo TOL should NOT need bearings and seals replaced. But they do, don't they? That's something you used to have to think about at 25yrs. So design/component integrity has dropped by 7/8ths.

Cynic that I am, that's even worse than I would have thought. The industrial world should be ashamed.

Post# 561692 , Reply# 5   12/7/2011 at 10:16 (4,550 days old) by qualin (Canada)        
To Arbilab

I think it all comes down to capacity. The problem is, washers are rated in North America typically by cu.ft of the tub, not by the wash capacity. In Europe, they rate machines by wash capacity, usually 5 kg or 8 kg.

Capacity in Cubic Feet = Capacity in Kilograms / 3.5 (According to Samsung)
1 Kilogram = 2.204 lbs.

Doing a bit of google-fu, The Duet 9600 is a 4.0 cu.ft washer. That would make it a 14 Kg washer, or about 31 lbs, theoretically.

The problem is, if the washer is "Stuffed and Packed" with laundry, this rating can be exceeded, causing premature bearing wear. This is especially true if the high spin speed is always used all the time on all loads.

I have a sneaking suspicion that if owners of these machines are complaining about bearing wear this early in their life, they're either overloading them or Whirlpool is under-engineering the bearings in these machines to only really handle about 1/2 that rated load.

I'm going to try not to go into propaganda mode, but the below will give you good reason to understand why this is happening...

I've attached a link to a PDF showing the difference between a Whirlpool Duet machine and a Huebsch (aka Speed Queen) FL machine. You'll notice the size of the Trunnion shaft is about 90 percent larger.. and that's on a machine with a smaller 3.3 cu.ft tub. A 3.3 cu.ft tub has a rated capacity of about 11.5 kg, or about 25 lbs.

So, my question is, why is a machine which would be rated for about 6 lbs less worth of laundry have a Trunnion shaft which is nearly 90 percent larger? This is where all the wear and tear happens on those heavy unbalanced loads.

To answer your question Arbilab, it's not the industrial world which should be ashamed, it is the bean counters that should be put to shame, who have influenced the engineers at Whirlpool to cut corners to make a product with a short life when it is used normally.

To MattL, can you get some information as to how the washer was used? IE. Were lots of heavy items (ie. Denim) routinely washed in this machine? Was the machine ever "Stuffed and Packed"? My fear is that even if you do replace the bearings, you'll need to replace them again in another three years.

My advice, perhaps after the bearing replacement, the user should consider keeping the loads of the machine to about 1/2 to 3/4 of the maximum rated capacity of the machine and keep the spin speeds to around 600-1000 RPM except for clothing which needs extra extraction. (ie. Towels) Clothing should be placed loosely in the drum and when the drum is full, take one medium sized item out to allow the clothing to tumble.

Oh.. and a little bit of advice, whatever you do, do not attempt to clean the trunnion shaft with sandpaper or any other kind of abrasive material. If the shaft looks scored, it'll have to be replaced completely. You'll have to check with the service depot, but it is my understanding that if the trunnion shaft requires replacement, you'll have to order an entirely new inner drum assembly.

(Again, I don't service these machines myself so I could be blowing smoke out of my butt, take what I say with a grain of salt. Someone please correct me?)

I've seen youtube videos of people doing it myself, it doesn't look too difficult but it does look quite time consuming. Since you will have the outer drum completely apart, I'd recommend checking to see if the spider looks damaged or cracked. If it is, you'll certainly need a new inner drum assembly. I doubt that this will be the case, but it never hurts to check.

I apologize if it sounds like I'm dissing your machine, but like Arbilab said, it's abnormal that a machine that young should require a bearing replacement. This is something which I would expect would need to be done after ten years of use.


Post# 561703 , Reply# 6   12/7/2011 at 11:54 (4,550 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Whirlpool Duet Washer Problems

launderess's profile picture
There are enough posts on the Internet regarding problems with the Duet washing machine including bearing failure on machines <5 years old.

As one has stated repeatedly with front loading washing machines there isn't a free lunch in terms of R&D vs cost. Either the thing is built to handle stresses of an average duty cycle or it isn't.

Look at the bearings on commercial front loaders as well as those made by many TOL and even MOL European washing machines, they are much more substantial even for units rated to hold less laundry.

What is the point of selling a washing machine that is marketed to hold 12 pounds of washing and spin at speeds >1100rpms if the thing must be babied to last?

H-Axis washing machines normally perform best when used at or near their rated capacity. This includes less difficulties in balancing and spinning wash loads which in theory should place *less* stress on bearings).

Post# 561750 , Reply# 7   12/7/2011 at 16:47 (4,550 days old) by arbilab (Ft Worth TX (Ridglea))        

arbilab's profile picture
Thanks for that essay and comparisons. Duets look huge, like you could put two dogs in there (just an expression). Might invite overloading. But then there's that shaft diameter thing. How much more could a properly-sized 6" machined rod possibly cost than a skimpy one? The machining is the same and the material is not "that" expensive.

I'm accustomed to seeing US washers rated in pounds. But honestly I haven't looked lately. I'm sure marketing rates them by whatever standard makes them seem the most competitive, whether it's honest or not.

My FL is always UNDERloaded, with assorted sizes that mostly manage to find balance. Might explain why it's lasted 13yr. It's a BOL Frigiwhite, nothing special. The drum looks 'packed' with a full queen bed set in it, but once it's wet there's room for another. I can see that if I crammed it full of towels, once they had soaked the water the mechanics could be straining.

Post# 561810 , Reply# 8   12/7/2011 at 22:06 (4,550 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
frigilux bearings

one thing good about the frigilux front loads is the bearings are plenty stout-
6307 and 6306-i once had a chart for the load capacity of those bearings and it
was quite impressive...The bearings in my frigilux were ruined by a worn seal
leaking water into them.The spider in my washer was still in good shape with just
a little surface corrosion-besides the bearings/seal,the only other part that was
on it's way out was the pump-front bushing was worn and pump was loud though it
still worked good.I checked the brush length of the main motor and there was
plenty of brush length left:)

Post# 561852 , Reply# 9   12/8/2011 at 00:46 (4,550 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Well I own the Duet now...  My relatives didn't want to deal with it, so I brought it home tonight.  Put it through a cleaning cycle, wow, it's a Hurricane in a machine!  Wish my other Duet did that.


It is loud on spin, I'll tear it down soon.  Not sure which unit I"ll keep, my older one that works well, or this one with the steam feature and more attractive controls....  I pretty much always under load the machine so it should last with new bearings if I keep it.

Post# 561858 , Reply# 10   12/8/2011 at 02:51 (4,550 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

mark_wpduet's profile picture
My Duet pair is nearing 7 yrs. It does an average of 16 to 20 loads per month.

It has been overloaded before, but not that often. Usually it's a large/medium load where the drum looks full when dry, but when it tamps down it tumbles. Max spin is used 95% of the time.

Hey Matt- Glad you got to see the clean washer cycle. Do you notice a difference in the use of water on the newer Duet vs your older Duet?

Post# 561889 , Reply# 11   12/8/2011 at 07:32 (4,550 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

In Europe the Duets (or Dreamspace as are called here) are rated 11 kg and yes, they're prone to failures.

My father had 2 of them in the past and none make it to the second year. The second machine was indeed a replacement one, shoddy construction and components. The second machine had the door and plastic trims failing in just a few months...

Other vendors have similar machines and can withstand faster spin speeds (duets are only 1200 rpm while over here many machines are 1400 or 1600 rpm) and similar loads without trouble.

Post# 561935 , Reply# 12   12/8/2011 at 12:33 (4,549 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Mark, I did one small load of rags that I had laying around and if anything it used less water.  I opened it up and it has a very different pressure control for water level, quick look did not disclose any adjustment screws.   I'll play withit and see how well it works, one will go- right now I have 4 machines in my laundry room....

Post# 562083 , Reply# 13   12/9/2011 at 06:02 (4,549 days old) by qualin (Canada)        
To MattL

If you do tear it down, please provide some photos of the bearings. (Old and new) I'm also curious to know the diameter of the trunnion shaft as opposed to the circumference of the inner drum itself.

To put Launderess's comment into perspective, Apparently Asko washers (At least the European ones) use the same bearings as what Volvo Semi-Trucks use for wheel bearings... and that's on a 2.5 cu.ft machine, about 8 kg or ~18 lbs.

So, if some engineer decided to use bearings like that on a washer that small, can you imagine the kind of bearings you would need on a machine with a 5 cu.ft drum if you wanted any kind of longevity?

Whenever I try to do the math on the clothing weight and G Forces, it kind of scares me because I don't think it can be right. If my math is even half correct, it is downright obscene the amount of force which can be exhibited on the inner drum during a 1000 RPM spin...

Post# 562098 , Reply# 14   12/9/2011 at 08:04 (4,549 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Will do...


From what I've gathered the bearings and seals are off the shelf items at auto supply stores, I wonder if there are differing grades available.  Don't know if I'll tear into it before the holidays, but it's really got me curious.

Post# 562335 , Reply# 15   12/10/2011 at 04:11 (4,548 days old) by qualin (Canada)        

That's something I'm not sure about..

My thought is, if there are different grades of bolts you can buy, maybe there are also different grades of bearings you can buy as well?

I like the idea of using automotive grade parts if you can get away with it. Then again, I don't service these machines for a living so I'm not the best person to talk to.

I wish you the best of luck!

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