Thread Number: 75029  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Whirlpool Reliability
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Post# 988493   3/27/2018 at 15:46 by Supersurgilator (Indiana)        

I was thinking about BD and DD Whirlpool washers, and while BD machines were around for years and I do like them, but I wonder if the DD was a more reliable machine. My aunt had a 1980 BD and it failed and was replaced in 1994, only 14 years of use. My grandma also had one and got 20 years out of it. It seems like the DD machines are much more reliable IMO.

Post# 988537 , Reply# 1   3/27/2018 at 20:57 by superocd (PNW)        

I'm too young to have been around the belt drive machines to experience them in depth, but I do know that the direct drive machines are bulletproof. I had a Kenmore 90 Series from around 2000ish that came with the house when my wife and I purchased it in 2014. The seller loved the washer but didn't want to take it as she was moving across the country. It was still working when we donated it to Habitat for Humanity to make room for my Kenmore front loader.

An aunt of mine still has the identical machine to the old Kenmore I had, except hers is from 1997 (which I thought was newer than that, but it wasn't, according to her Sears receipt, which clearly stated October something-something, 1997 as the date of delivery). It never saw a screwdriver. The dryer, same thing. Not even a belt. She wants to buy a new set but doesn't want a front loader, so I've told her to keep what she has as the new toploaders are not the same and if you buy new, might as well get the front loader.

My grandparents have one from the late '80s/early '90s that still works, after a three year hiatus when my grandpa surprised my grandma with a new HE3 set a few Christmases ago, which didn't work out as the control boards in both machines died. As far as I know, that set hasn't been touched by my grandpa (who is very handy) or a repairman, except to vacuum out the internals of the dryer. They've had that Kenmore set since I was in diapers, and it looks brand new. My grandpa waxes it twice a year, and I don't think he's the type that likes washers and dryers like us, he's just meticulous about maintaining things. So he's got me waxing my washer and dryer, ha ha.

Post# 988558 , Reply# 2   3/28/2018 at 05:46 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
WP BD vs DD Reliability

combo52's profile picture

The DD machines were differently more reliable and longer lived, as the years go forward it will not be uncommon to see DD WP washers still running when they are 30-40 and even 50 years old.


We were a warranty service provider for WP from 1979-2009 and when the DD washers were introduced in the early 80s we could tell within a few years how much less service the required during the 1st year warranty period. BD washer had around a 20% failure rate during the last 10 years of production and almost from the start the DD machines had less than a 10% call rate during the first year, which is really high by today's standards.


Today SQ TL& FL washers have only around a 1 or 2 % failure rate in the first year, from what I can tell WP-MT and probably the Chinese LG stuff is about the same low rate of failure.


John L.

Post# 988565 , Reply# 3   3/28/2018 at 06:58 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
John L.,

I thought the WP DD washers came out in '86? I don't doubt many are and will still be running for a long while. Even the early ones usually only need a motor coupling as far as the drive is concerned. My sisters rental condo has one.
I think some folks just buy a new washer because of rust on the cabinet, or excess crud on the top of the tub ring or dispensers.

Post# 988566 , Reply# 4   3/28/2018 at 07:02 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
WP built DD Washers

combo52's profile picture

Started full production in mid 1981 and took over all full sized 24" wide models almost immediately.


John L.

Post# 988568 , Reply# 5   3/28/2018 at 08:38 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

panthera's profile picture

did something with this line similar to FORD with their Crown Vic, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car - you know, the one which ran for two decades or so and ended up being police cars the last few years of its life.

They were very reliable because so many had been built over such a long span of time that even a low-quality company was able to figure out and get rid of the bugs.

Personally, I don't find a 10% failure rate all that good, but when you consider what GE and White Industries were putting out in the 1990s and later, well, yeah, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.

Personally, I still prefer the BD - so much easier on clothes and cleans just as well.

Post# 988573 , Reply# 6   3/28/2018 at 09:48 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
The 10% Failure Rate

combo52's profile picture
Was back in the 80s and was lower than Maytag or GE, and I won't even bring up WCIs 80s laundry products, but you are correct a 10% failure is unaccatbilty high today.

Today every major laundry product is under 5% and many much lower like SQ.

John L.

Post# 988576 , Reply# 7   3/28/2018 at 10:28 by kenmore58 (Rhode Island)        

kenmore58's profile picture
My DD Kenmore washer, that I purchased new when I bought my house, is 25 years old and still going strong. I understand it doesn't get the amount of use the "average" family gives their machines, but still not an ounce of trouble out of it. My matching Kenmore dryer did need a minor repair done a few years ago. And as the repair guy said, "You're good for another 20 years."


Post# 988582 , Reply# 8   3/28/2018 at 12:21 by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        

bajaespuma's profile picture

Are the Speed Queen front loaders still good machines to buy new?

Post# 988644 , Reply# 9   3/28/2018 at 21:34 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

In A Word YES, but supplies are limited, soon we will only be getting the commercial versions which will be about $1000 more and will have no labor warranty.


John L.

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