Thread Number: 74654  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
BD Sounds
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Post# 984602   2/27/2018 at 16:37 (205 days old) by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

I got to thinking, why do old whirlpool/Kenmore belt drives sound so much different from one another? Some machines have a louder woo woo sound than others, others have that grainy whine to them. Some also have a higher pitch sound while others are deeper. Is it all in the motor or other parts of the machine? I can't say I've noticed this difference in any other type of washer out there. All DD machines pretty much sound the same.

Post# 984650 , Reply# 1   2/28/2018 at 06:36 (205 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

I know what you mean. I listened to our 1960 Kenmore Model 80 for years and knew every sound it made quite well. In an attempt to keep the machine alive, he transplanted the innards of a hardly-used mid-1960's washer into it when I was in college. The sounds this 'new' washer made were different. The quality of the woo-woo and the sound of it kicking into a spin seemed to be the most altered. Even the spin itself sounded different.

Post# 984698 , Reply# 2   2/28/2018 at 13:26 (204 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
noticed this too...

different motors,belts,pumps,agitators,could affect the sound along with belt tension and ambient temperature :) my 1977 24"BD,with GE motor,has a deeper hum than my 1980,Emerson motor 24"BD.BDs will always be the coolest sounding washers :)

Post# 984705 , Reply# 3   2/28/2018 at 16:09 (204 days old) by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

It also seems that the 24" models were quieter than the 29" for whatever reason. When did they change from Ge to emerson motors? Does anybody know what brand are used in DD machines?

Post# 984708 , Reply# 4   2/28/2018 at 16:39 (204 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
The grandmother's 1970-ish KM 70 was MUCH noisier (motor vibration, it *seriously* would have benefited from the QuietPak design) than my aunt's 1968 KM 800 or our 1962 and 1976 WP (none of which had QuietPak).

Post# 984714 , Reply# 5   2/28/2018 at 18:23 (204 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
quieter 24"s ,motors used

24"BDs use a polygroove "flat"belt like an automotive "serpentine" belt-quieter than the notched v-belt used on most 29"BDs-I have never seen one,but I have heard certain 29"BDs used a smaller section,non-notched belts for quieter operation.The regular large belts are notched so the belt can flex around the small diameter motor and pump pulleys easier,the notches creating the woo-woo resonance as they whiz over the pulleys.All WP motors,BD,DD,VMW,seem to have been all Emerson from ~1978 onward,1977-earlier, GE and Emerson used with Packard motors ~1960 and earlier.

Post# 984715 , Reply# 6   2/28/2018 at 18:26 (204 days old) by rickr (.)        
WP/KM sounds

rickr's profile picture
The early belt drives were very loud, and WP changed the wig wag, in the early 60's to quiet is down somewhat. I think it is the belt that makes the woo-woo sound. Perhaps when they added the transmission braces in 1961, it helped quiet the machine as well. The early belt drives sounded the best. I sort of like the sounds these machines make. Here is an old video of my 1956 WP Imperial set.


Post# 984716 , Reply# 7   2/28/2018 at 18:35 (204 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

Its interesting watching some on YouTube, every single one sounds different. I had two machines at one point, and both were within a year of each other in terms of age, yet, sounded much different.

Post# 984746 , Reply# 8   2/28/2018 at 22:10 (204 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        

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GE supplied some motors for belt drives in the early 80s, but they were uncommon. The mounting brackets on them were painted tan/brown instead of the earlier gray, and they had start capacitors unlike the vast majority of their motors from the 70s. By the time I was seeing these in the 1990s, they seemed to be already past their prime --- running hot due to worn bearings. Have not seen one in a BD in many years.

The GE motors supplied in huge numbers to Whirlpool in the first half of the 70s seemed to have lousy bearings as well, and would vibrate and cause a lot of extra noise, on their own operation and in resonance noise from other parts vibrating, including the center post / spin tube / agitator shaft. When there is already some wear in this area as there naturally is over time, these lousy motors would make the center assembly echo like an old 4x4 truck with mud grip tires and no mufflers.

Having given this a lot of thought over the years, I believe BD sounds are affected by many aspects:

Condition of the belt and its overall tension

Operating condition of the motor

The tightness of the motor mounting brackets, and the condition of the isolating grommets in these brackets.

The floor the machine is on

Then there is an unknown amount of random variation, machine to machine.


Post# 984749 , Reply# 9   2/28/2018 at 22:30 (204 days old) by Maytag85 (SoCal )        

maytag85's profile picture
My Lady Kenmore portable washer is vertically silent, and I believe it has the Quiet Pak transmission. The full size Whirlpool/Kenmore belt drive washers make the buzz-click-clunk sound, but my Lady Kenmore portable washer only does the buzz-click-clunk sound when the Permanent Press and Delicate cycles, and it doesn't really make the buzz-click-clunk sound in the regular cycle.

Post# 984766 , Reply# 10   3/1/2018 at 04:02 (204 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
There is no QuietPak transmission regards to internal components.  QuietPak involved a thinner, non-notched v-belt with matching pulleys on all the components and different motor-mount grommets (and brackets to accept them) to isolate its vibration/resonance.

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