Thread Number: 74178  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
WP DD question
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Post# 979608   1/23/2018 at 18:07 (268 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I have a question about WP DD machines. For some reason, I am thinking that I might have read here that at some point Kenmore might have changed the DD design so that a normal cycle would have slow (less aggressive agitation) with a fast spin. (This is apart from models that have a speed selector independent of the timer.) Am I right in remembering this feature? Or was it something that was suggested as a "they should have done___" that never happened? And if it actually existed, is there some way of easily telling by just looking at the machine? (Such as maybe two different "normal" type cycles on the timer dial, say marked "Heavy Duty" and "Normal" or something.)


Also, assuming this idea actually existed, did Whirlpool do something similar?


Thanks in advance!

Post# 979613 , Reply# 1   1/23/2018 at 19:17 (268 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Some Kenmores (and probably Whirlpools) sported three agitation speeds: 160, 120, and 90 strokes per minute. A friend's Kenmore agitated at the medium speed on the Normal cycle and at the fastest speed on Heavy Duty.

My 1989 KitchenAid sported a larger-finned agitator than those in Kenmores and Whirlpools. Its high speed was 120. It would have shredded the load to ribbons at 160.

Calling our resident Kenmore/Whirlpool experts: Please correct/elaborate on the information above.

Post# 979643 , Reply# 2   1/23/2018 at 22:06 (268 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

There were a few Kenmore machines in Canada that had a Normal and Heavy Duty cycle on the timer. The normal cycle was slow speed agi with high speed spin, and the Heavy Duty was fast for both agi and spin.

But yes, some of the higher end Kenmores here in Canada, both two and three speed machines with the speed selector knob, had slow 120 SPM agitation on the normal cycle. 160 SPM was labelled as heavy duty.

Post# 979644 , Reply# 3   1/23/2018 at 22:07 (268 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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You remember what you read correctly.

Direct Drive Kenmores from 1982 through 1991 largely mimicked cycles from the belt-drives. In fact, for the first four years the machines resembled belt-drives very closely so that they would fit into the sales line-up together. Cycles had generally similar sequences except possibly spray rinses.

In Fall 1986 the large capacity direct drive Kenmores were introduced, and had the first wholly redesigned consoles in 11 years. Cycle layouts were still belt-drive inspired.

For 1992 that all changed. Machines retained the console appearance of the previous 80 series models for all series 60 and up. They also retained perm press cycles, some with pre-wash and pre-soak, and a few with second rinses. Gone though was the traditional Normal/Cotton Sturdy cycle that operated in full-time high speed, and the stand alone delicate cycle that agitated and spun in full time slow speed.

Instead a Normal cycle was redesigned to agitate on slow speed and spin at high speed. One of the settings within this cycle is for Delicate. The Heavy Duty cycle was "created" to operate like the former Normal at high speeds.

These new arrangements seemed to discourage the use of high speed agitation.

The machines with the speed switches became commonplace a couple years later.


Post# 979841 , Reply# 4   1/25/2018 at 02:12 (267 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Thanks everyone!


In case anyone is wondering, I'm curious because I'm half toying with getting my own DD machine one day. Yes, I've  had lots of comments about the "Shredmore"...but there are practical advantages (durability, ease of repairs, common, etc). I'm thinking I'd be happier with something that has gentle agitation available...and I'm glad that I was right in remembering it existed (past a plain delicate cycle).

Post# 979882 , Reply# 5   1/25/2018 at 11:47 (267 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Find a Kenmore 90 or Whirlpool Gold or late KitchenAid model with 3-speed motor and separate speed control.  Very versatile.  They usually have a Handwash/Woolens at Ex Low with intermittent agitation.

A slightly questionable aspect of the 2003 WP Gold I have is that the "Gentle Wash System" feature has the timer override the speed control at the last 4 mins of the wash period.  Normal cycle switches to Low (medium motor speed).  Casual/Perm Press cycle switches to Ex Low.  Thus (the questionable part), if Handwash or Delicates speed is used on Normal, it starts at Ex Low, then increases to Low (but still intermittent for Handwash).  The designated Casuals/PPress speed (High/Low) used on the PP cycle starts at High, changes to Ex Low which is a considerable difference, LOL.  Of course, any speed selection can be used on any cycle for any load.

Some DD models do a partial-drain cool down on perm press, and a few (including some KitchenAid models) have an old-style Super Wash that does a prewash, partial drain, and continues into Regular (or Heavy).  The 2003 Gold has a Super Wash designation on the timer but it's just a longer wash time, no partial-drain involved.  Cool Down on PPress is two spin sprays (Regular has no sprays in the 1st spin).

The 1999 KM 90 does a partial-drain cool down on PP, and supports 2nd rinse on both cycles.  And does not shift the agitation speed during the wash period.

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