Thread Number: 73311  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Poor Cleaning Front Loader
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Post# 968417   11/16/2017 at 19:44 (369 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        

Going back and looking through some of my vintage CR washer tests, they always seemed to place the Westinghouse front-load washers at the bottom, just ahead of the 'not acceptable' ones. They state, consistently, that the washers don't clean as well as the top loaders they test at the same time. This opinion is consistent, whether it's the earlier slant-tub washer design, or the later one that isn't slanted.

I don't understand: why would these machines be so poorly-performing in their day and CR now just sings the praises of the modern front loaders? Oh, I know that the Westinghouse washers used more water. I'm pretty sure they only agitated in one direction, at least that's what I see on the YT videos. They certainly don't extract like modern ones since spin speeds are way below today's. But of course, that wouldn't explain why they would be rated so poorly for cleaning laundry. Looking at the tubs, these vintage machines appear to have vanes inside as they do now, and at least part of the time used them for lint control.

Is it because detergents and soaps were just so much worse, even into the eighties? I know the later ones from the 70's and 80's are considered crappy, but that's one machine I'd like to have just to admire for what it is.

Thanks for any education you can give me.

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Post# 968424 , Reply# 1   11/16/2017 at 20:10 (369 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

The wash portion of Normal and Heavy cycles on new front-loaders is much longer and the detergent solution is significantly stronger (less water in the tub). If I recall correctly, the wash time on my Maytag 8100 using the heaviest soil setting on the Normal cycle was about 50 minutes.

Small wonder new HE machines often take the checkered flag in cleaning performance.

Post# 968429 , Reply# 2   11/16/2017 at 20:41 (369 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I think...

Consumer Reports is about as credible as most politicians,,,The Westinghouses use enough water and don't start and stop every little bit, My opinion is they wash as good as anything!I think the new washers don't wash that great because everytime they stop to reverse...they are NOT washing!

Post# 968453 , Reply# 3   11/16/2017 at 22:32 (369 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
NorgeWay:  I think the new washers don't wash that great because everytime they stop to reverse...they are NOT washing!
Built-in soak function.

Post# 968455 , Reply# 4   11/16/2017 at 22:41 (369 days old) by brucelucenta ()        
consumer reports

Consumer Reports bases their ratings on performance. That is why in the early 50's Norge sold so many washers. They did a terrific job washing, rinsing and spinning the clothes, but were undependable as far as servicing and breaking down all the time. Norge had some of the worst machines as far as dependability ever made! So you can believe when they rate different machines as far as how well they do their job. They can only project how well they will hold up by the past machines and how well they did, which is not always accurate.

Post# 968459 , Reply# 5   11/16/2017 at 22:58 (369 days old) by Maytag85 (SoCal )        

Bruce, what usually broke on those Norge washers?

Post# 968516 , Reply# 6   11/17/2017 at 10:54 (368 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
one of those things where you don't know which was to think.....

CR for posting a magazine, or the people who read it, or better off, believe it!

surprised CR doesn't do an article on political electives....both coming from the same boat would probably cancel each other out....

they lost credit with me long ago, items they gave top ratings, turned out to be the worst piece of crap ever....versus items that got a bad rating worked and lasted the longest....

I have a BIL who swears by that magazine like its the Bible...and your not going to change his mind....then again, they both attract a certain type of individual...and that's not saying much....

I have yet to meet a Maytag Repairman who is bored and lonely....

Post# 968534 , Reply# 7   11/17/2017 at 12:54 (368 days old) by golittlesport (California)        
Modern FL clean better because:

1. Stronger detergent solution in less water today
2. Better low-suds detergents today than in the past (Tide was not making low suds products back then)
3. Better wash action -- larger drums drop solution-saturated clothes from top to bottom of basket; deeper water level and small drums in older FL's rolled clothes more than dropping them -- the deeper water cushioning the action
4. Slightly longer wash cycle time these days
5. Higher spin speed these days removes more dirty water/detergent from fabrics before rinse cycles

These are my guesses. CR usually rated FL wash performance as average back in the 60's and 70's. They stated they had to use low-sudsing detergent in them. I wonder if they used the same low-sudsing detergent in the all the machines they tested (TL's included) what the results would have been.

Post# 968542 , Reply# 8   11/17/2017 at 13:44 (368 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

ea56's profile picture
I agree with Martin about CR reviews, to me they’re not worth the paper they are written on, especially now. As I’ve posted repeatedly before, I owned an 87’ Westinghouse FL that I bought new, for 7 years and never had any problems with it. And our clothes were always clean, just as clean as any TL would have gotten them at the time. They had a larger capacity than most TL’s at the time when it came to bulky items like blankets bedspreads and the like. There was a water level control and having owned a 2015 LG FL IMHO the extra water in the older FL’s did a much better job cleaning.

The LG on heavy soil level hardly filled with any water at all, even on water plus setting. For the first 20 mins or more of this cycle I could clearly see that the clothes in the center of the tub weren’t even damp, let alone wet, how is this cleaning anything? Having owned both an older FL and a 21st century FL I believe that I can speak from experience. I’ll take the 87’ Westinghouse any day over the 2015 LG FL.

And BTW, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe that the 87’ Westy did reverse direction, I can’t find the old brochure, but I think this was new for the 87’. I know that the dryer reverse tumbled.

I believe older FL performance will always be a hotly debated topic on AW , just like Speed Queen is the 3rd rail of AW, LOL. Either you like them or you don’t, but its all good. What a boring world it would be if everybody liked the same things. This is a website devoted to the appreciation of all washing machines. I respect the opinions and preferences of everyone here. Its disappointing when members are personally attacked for their opinion about a particular machine. After all, even though most of us are passionate about our interest in washing machines, in the end they are just machines, people need to chill out. Save the snark for another place.

This post was last edited 11/18/2017 at 00:15
Post# 968590 , Reply# 9   11/17/2017 at 18:15 (368 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Eddie-- My Frigidaire-badged circa '87 tumbled in one direction. Still had solenoids that made a loud CLANK going into spins. I had no complaints about the machine's ability to clean. In fact, my short white socks--often nearly black on the bottoms--came out cleaner from the front-loader than they did from the top-loaders that preceded it. Except for the pokey spin speed, I thought it was a great washer.

My next front-loader, around late 1989 or early 1990 was the first to feature reverse tumbling and no solenoid clanks. Far less tangling, which was nice.

Next up was the first generation Electrolux-produced Frigidaire. The tub was larger, the spin speed faster (850 rpm) albeit only for the last minute or so of the final spin. CR gave it excellent ratings across the board.

All that being said, place me solidly in the camp championing new HE front-loaders. Both the 2010 Frigidaire and (especially) the 2015 Maytag were excellent machines. The 2010 was my first machine with an internal heater and I became a big fan of profile washes: Water begins warm and gradually heats to 150 degrees in a long, long wash tumble. Each type of stain was tackled by the perfect combination of detergent and appropriate water temp.

And all THAT being said...I do really like my old-school Speed Queen top-loader, In all honesty, it probably doesn't do most things as well as the Maytag, but it is great fun having a 'vintage' washer. And the clothes are clean, so it's all good.

Post# 968593 , Reply# 10   11/17/2017 at 18:26 (368 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

ea56's profile picture
Eugene, thanks, I couldn’t remember for sure if my 87’Westy reversed, but I sure do remember the soleniod sound.

I also had 2 of the next gen Frigidaire FL’s, a 97’ and a 03’, both were great. My next experiences with the gen of FL”s after that were not as good as yours. The 10’ Frigidaire was great, except I couldn’t get it to spin sometimes, and that was a deal breaker, but it used an adequete amount of water and the wash times were 60 mins. Then I got the LG in 15’, and I should have gotten the next model up with Turbo Wash, maybe then the small amout of water would have cleaned better, but the main problem was the capricious spin, maybe it would, maybe not.

I really do like the FL way of washing, but after the LG, I’ll take a break from them for a while. I’m very happy with my Maytag HE TL.

Post# 968595 , Reply# 11   11/17/2017 at 18:28 (368 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Thank you, Frigilux!

Your personal experience with my machine of interest is valuable input. I wonder whether you found the poor construction quality of these late-FL Westinghouse washers agrees with some other opinions on here, particular regarding rust.

My last FL was a Frigidaire that had an internal heater. I liked having the boosted 'sanitize' cycle, though I didn't use it that often. And you're right--it certainly got my dirty white gym socks as clean as they'd ever get.

Thanks again!

Post# 968603 , Reply# 12   11/17/2017 at 19:11 (368 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Eddie-- Have to admit that both my HE very-low water level washers sprayed water into the tumbling clothes so even BobLoads of bath linens were saturated very quickly. I would not have been happy to find dry areas in the center of things, either.

John-- I can't speak to the build-quality of the '87 Frigidaire, as I only had it for about a year-and-a-half. Moved to a tiny 1-bedroom apartment without laundry hookups for awhile before scoring a great warehouse apartment in early '89. Sold the pair to a farm couple.

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