Thread Number: 73122  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
repair or replace 12yo Maytag Ensignia (Norge style) Washer
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Post# 965956   11/4/2017 at 09:34 (324 days old) by thefisch (Florida)        

So my trusty 12 year old Maytag Ensignia (2005 Norge style MAV9657EWW) washer has developed an issue with the spin cycle. Earlier this week, after spinning most of the water out of two prior loads, the final load resulted in clothes that were too wet and needed to be wrung out. Clearly the spin cycle didn't work. The load was rather small so it wasn't overloaded. Trying the spin cycle again didn't seem to remove any more water after several more minutes.

If the repair is simple enough (like the pulley/thrust bearing), then I plan to do it as we enjoy this machine and they donít seem to be many like this for sale new. Over 12 years it has worked well except for a year ago when the slow start windings in the motor went out. I havenít bothered to change out the motor yet as it still works in all the speed selections that start off in fast speed which are the ones we mostly used. However, if this issue is related to the transmission, then I want to explore replacing the washer before putting another $350 in parts (plus whatever else I find) into the machine. I have ordered the pulley/thrust bearing, but while I wait for that to come in I started to explore replacement to options.

Replacement Options

We are partial to top loaders and like to wash with a sufficient water level. We donít have any unusual laundry needs Ė just a family of four with a dog. We just want a simple washer that cleans clothes the first time within a reasonable time period (not more than an hour). What I have seen in video and read about HE top loaders concerns me so we would prefer to stick with a top loading agitator style. Unfortunately, in our area, most of the TL agitator washers are budget options that donít appear to be built like our 2005 Maytag. Consulting with a local family own appliance store, they recommended the Maytag MVWC416FW as the best mid-range option with agitator for $500 or the Speed Queen AWNE82 as the top end option for $900. I know Speed Queens get rave reviews, but does anyone have experience with the Maytag model? Are there other mid-range TL agitator style washers I should look for?

Repair Background

Just in case anyone could lend me some repair advice, I will share information on what is going on. Sorry in advance for the length of the post.

I removed the front panel and raised the top to view operation. The wash/agitation cycle seems to work fine - agitation is normal with good suds and splash and the basket stays in place. When it comes time to spin, the motor reverses direction and the inner basket and transmission begin to spin as one, the agitator starts to spin along too, and the drain pump is engaged. As the spinning increases in speed, the water drains out just fine - small level takes about 20 seconds to fully drain. The speed gets fast enough that the holes in the inner basket and the splines on the agitator assembly start to blur as they spin. However, after about a minute in spin mode both the inner tub and transmission housing slow down and stop. The agitator assembly slows too and then begins to agitate back and forth like during the wash cycle (note there is no change in direction of the motor). The motor and drain pump continue to run as they normally would in the clockwise direction. There is no audible change in sound when the tub starts to slow and stop. Looking under the unit during the spin cycle (when basket is spinning and after it slows and stops), the belt and transmission pulley continue to turn without any signs of belt slippage or change in speed.

From what I have read online, if the agitator starts agitating in spin mode then it is a sign of a bad transmission. However, since my washer does spin at the beginning of the spin cycle, I wanted to explore the issue further. If I understand it correctly for the spin cycle, the motor reverses direction and the pulley moves to release the brake allowing the tranny and basket to spin. The agitator goes along for the spin - it does not shift back and forth like during the wash cycle. That is happening at first in the spin cycle but then something changes and the basket stops and the agitator starts agitating again, not spinning. When that happens, I am able to turn the basket by hand by grabbing the tranny housing under the tub, but it does not freespin, indicating there is some resistance (as compared to what I noted below). The question is when this happens during the spin cycle it that because some pulley components like the cams or thrust bearing are out of tolerance or maybe some part internal to the transmission fails. All I know is this happens all the time now - I can duplicate it every time I test the transition from wash to spin cycle.

I also took the belt off to inspect the pulley and brake operation from below. When turning the pulley CCW with the belt removed, I noted that the brake didn't appear to release even though the reference mark on the cam moves just past the minimum reference point on the pulley hub. I confirmed the brake was engaged by having a helper try to rotate the basket while I was turning the pulley CCW and it wouldn't move. So I used a screwdriver to rotate the cam further towards the maximum reference point and got about 2/3 of the way there and could sense the brake releasing. Then the helper could turn the basket by hand easily with less resistance than noted above. This makes me think there is something wrong with the pulley/cams. When the motor turns the pulley I expect there is more force that I am using and perhaps that releases the brake just enough to start spinning but after a minute of spinning as speed picks up perhaps the brake slips back down slightly causing too much resistance for the pulley to turn the basket.

To further test, I inserted a small wedge in between the lower cam and the pulley center hub to keep the brake disengaged. With the brake disengaged (verified by turning the basket easily by hand), I turned the pulley CCW and the basket did NOT turn, only the agitator shifted back and forth. That would seem to point to the transmission as the brake is released.

So perhaps the pulley components are bad since the brake won't release without extra force and the transmission is bad too. My plan is to replace the pulley/thrust bearing components to eliminate that as a cause. Even if the repair is successful, the replacement options are still relevant to me to plan for a future purchase in case something else goes.

If you've read this far, I appreciate your time and any advice you have to offer.

Post# 966126 , Reply# 1   11/5/2017 at 06:26 (323 days old) by thefisch (Florida)        

So it appears the transmission is bad. The new thrust bearing kit worked the same as the old. The issue is the transmission drive shaft is not locking up when turning CCW. It continues to turn CCW which doesn't create enough resistance to lift the brake and spin.

So now we are looking at replacement TL options with an agitator preferably. Thanks in advance.

Post# 966133 , Reply# 2   11/5/2017 at 07:43 (323 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
OK...well, that tranny is in need or repair, what has happened is the mechanism that locks the tranny for spin has broken in some any case, we are just going to move on....

as some don't favor these Norge built machines, for the most part, some are pretty durable....I had the Atlantis version, with the stainless tub and dual action agitator....really nice machine for the most part, holds a large load of clothes...

there have been tranny issues here and there, though not majorly an issue, pumps were the most trouble for some of these......

if you were to grab another similar machine....the motor pivot could always use cleaning and some new grease....after that, it will purr like a kitten....

your next choice, as we just mentioned in another thread, would be one of the True Maytags, or a DirectDrive Kenmore/Whirlpool....also as mentioned, one with the separate speed control is usually preferred(4 buttons---one option should be slowwash/fastspin)....your options would be endless for any type of load...

parts are still available for these, easy to work on, and you will still get plenty of years out of a used machine.....which would cost you under 200.00....

this at least would keep you in a traditional top loader.....

shop around....private sellers: you may have to clean the machine up yourself....for a used dealer: would already be checked out, cleaned, lubed, trade-in and delivery could be an option.....

a matched set for around 300.00 to 400.00, maybe less, would be a good choice.....

keep us posted to what you decide....or if you have more questions...

Glenn has posted a few pics of the control panels you should be seeking in this link.....


Post# 966159 , Reply# 3   11/5/2017 at 09:17 (322 days old) by thefisch (Florida)        

Thanks for the response and the link. We had a Kenmore 90 series (1998 build) but sold it before getting this Maytag (2005 build) that came with the house when we moved. That Kenmore was a good washer as I recall as was working well when we sold it. The Maytag seemed like an upgrade at the time and it has worked well for years. Disappointing that the first breakdown was due to the transmission. Would have love for it to just be a belt or thrust bearing so it could keep going.

A local repair shop/appliance has a couple of Kenmore 80 and 90 series for sale for $225. Problem is my wife is partial to getting a new machine, assuming we can find one that cleans as well and doesn't take an hour to do a load.

If we are looking at a new machine, is Speed Queen going to be the best option to get performance like our 2005 Maytag? Or can these new Maytag or GE TL with agitators perform similar to our 2005 Maytag?

Post# 966184 , Reply# 4   11/5/2017 at 10:55 (322 days old) by agiflow2 ()        

If you want a machine that is close to your old Maytag I would suggest a Speed Queen . You can still get the mechanical control model AWN432. That model has the eco normal cycle that does a spray rinse instead of deep fill agitated.

You can still use the Heavy Duty wash cycle to get the deep fill rinses and you still have control of water level and temperatures with these machijes

I have the older version of the 432 I got back in March of 2013 and it is still chugging along with no problems yet and a rock steady suspension. Hurry fast though. Time is ticking on these old machines that use plenty of water.

Post# 966199 , Reply# 5   11/5/2017 at 12:30 (322 days old) by thefisch (Florida)        

Thanks for the advice. We were looking at the SQ 82 model with electronic board. It is just $40 more than the 432 at a local store and with 2 extra years of coverage.

Time is not an issue - ours is not working so we are looking to purchase this weekend.

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