Thread Number: 63723  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
[Down to Last]'s exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 862992   1/20/2016 at 02:52 (980 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

I think I recall when Whirlpool/Kenmore started making direct drive machines, but when did they actually finally quit making the belt drive models? I know for a time they made both and then the direct drive models took completely over. I remember because the sales men at Sears used that as a point to get people to buy a new machine before they completely changed over to the direct drive one, which was perceived as "cheaper" or not as good. But what year was that? Seems like they had cheapened the belt drive models to the point they did not last too long either.

Post# 862998 , Reply# 1   1/20/2016 at 03:03 (980 days old) by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        

neptunebob's profile picture
I remember because at the time, they had a Limited Edition that the lady said had a steel outer tub (belt drive) where the others had a polypropylene tub (direct drive). The Limited Edition in black was beautiful and about $1500 for the pair. Actually, they looked like they belonged in Darth Vader's laundry area.

Post# 863001 , Reply# 2   1/20/2016 at 03:15 (980 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

That was about the time I was thinking it was. I wasn't sure, but I do remember both being around for a while. Interestingly enough, it seems like the direct drive units started out being BOL machines at first and then rising up to TOL ones. Same thing happened when Maytag changed their mechanism over from the original Maytag mechanism to the Norge mechanism.

Post# 863003 , Reply# 3   1/20/2016 at 04:49 (980 days old) by washdaddy (Baltimore)        

washdaddy's profile picture

The first washer I purchased was a MOL Kenmore but it was in a 24" cabinet. 4 cycle machine, 3 water levels, 3 temp selections, and it was Direct Drive. I purchased it in either the fall of 82 or early 83 at the latest.

Post# 863007 , Reply# 4   1/20/2016 at 05:52 (980 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I think

86 was the changeover year, I have a Kenmore 70 that's belt drive and its a 85 model.

Post# 863020 , Reply# 5   1/20/2016 at 07:02 (980 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Last BD WP Built Washers

combo52's profile picture

Were actually built in early 1987, We were selling pretty much only WP washers at this time and by 1985 we were steering our customers to the new DD washers because from the very beginning it was clear that they were holding up so much better that the BD washers were.  We could tell by 1984 that the warranty call rate was 1/2 of the rate of calls on the BD washers, they also spun out the clothing much better.


Probably one of the best things about the DD washers was the plastic outer tub, even today with over 100 million DD washers produced [ more than any other AW in history ] you almost never see a washer with an outer tub leak.


John L.

Post# 863045 , Reply# 6   1/20/2016 at 09:55 (979 days old) by brainardcooper (Columbia, SC)        

Is there any way to exchange an old belt drive outer tub with one of the new direct drive plastic tubs?

Post# 863055 , Reply# 7   1/20/2016 at 10:55 (979 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

They are different in size and mounting.

Post# 863056 , Reply# 8   1/20/2016 at 11:09 (979 days old) by Stricklybojack (San Diego, CA)        

stricklybojack's profile picture
Our mid 80's belt drive had a plastic tub.
Unless I'm completely mistaken and it was actually a DD model.
See link for thread I posted about it.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Stricklybojack's LINK

  View Full Size
Post# 863072 , Reply# 9   1/20/2016 at 13:29 (979 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

gansky1's profile picture

I worked at Sears while in High School/College and remember the changeover to DD full-size washers and the new styling of the cabinets and panels & controls.   The compact 24" machines had been DD for a while - spin drain when they first came out - and despite the proven design, the sales people were aghast that Sears had abandoned the tried and true washers they'd known so well for so many years.  Of course, they were all proven very wrong as the DD platform turned out to be the most reliable washer ever.  


During the changeover day, all the remaining belt drives were moved to the aisles and drastically marked down.  More than a handful of employees snapped them up with their employee discounts and got really great deals.  Within days, the belt drives were completely gone and only a stray returned machine would show up from time to time in the months following.  

Post# 863073 , Reply# 10   1/20/2016 at 13:38 (979 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

volvoguy87's profile picture
Your washer is a Direct Drive, not a Belt Drive.

Post# 863082 , Reply# 11   1/20/2016 at 14:45 (979 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
IIRC, plastic outer tubs were used on belt-drive machines for a (short/experimental?) period of time.  I'm sure Combo52 or KenmoreGuy64 can clarify the timeframe.

Post# 863095 , Reply# 12   1/20/2016 at 16:41 (979 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Maytag did not change the transmissions in their real Maytag washers for Norge transmissions, but when they put the Load Sensor Agravators with their short, rapid stroke transmissions, they finally got good turnover.


Post# 863209 , Reply# 13   1/21/2016 at 05:00 (979 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

Yes, you can always tell a REAL Maytag machine from The Norge built machine. They always had the same type of tub and were porcelain enamel along with the two belt drive under the bottom of the machine. The plastic outer tub on Kenmore/Whirlpool I do remember from a belt drive machine back in the early 70's. From what I recall, it was a close to TOL machine. I know that when I was working on it and popped up the top, I was shocked that the outer tub was plastic. I think that was the only one I recall seeing back then. Don't remember the model number on it, there were sooooooooo many models of Kenmore machines. Another thing I thought odd was a Kenmore TOL belt drive machine from the late 70's that had the small skinny belt drive on it. It was a super capacity machine too. I thought that odd too.

Post# 863210 , Reply# 14   1/21/2016 at 05:35 (979 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
The "skinny" belt is related to the Quiet-Pak sound deadening design.  All the pulleys, of course, are changed to match the belt.  The motor pulley has a rubber bushing and the mounting bracket grommets are a different rubber design to further isolate the vibrations from resonating.  Quiet-Pak is traditionally only on the TOL Lady Kenmore model but there was a time in the 1970s when a few mid-line models had it.

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