Thread Number: 77753  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Whirlpool/Kenmore Design 2000 Thread
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Post# 1017948   12/14/2018 at 02:29 (185 days old) by DDFan92 (Boise ID)        

I've been wondering this for a while now, and I couldn't remember the password for my old account on here, so I had to create a new one to post this.

I recently saw a court document about Whirlpool's initial invention and troubles of the dual action agitator in 1972, and it popped the questions of; When did Whirlpool (or Sears) designers initially conceive and start designing the direct drive system, behind the scenes? And what design configurations did they originally come up with before building the prototypes? Or is this all unknown? If anybody has any information they'd like to share, feel free to, I'm very curious about this.

Anybody have pictures of any 1980-1982 Whirlpool/Kenmore direct drive rear motor washers they'd like to post here? Maybe even a video? I'd love to know how the spin drain transmission sounds on those at the start of the drain cycle. Either way, I'd love to see them. I know about searspartsdirect, but I'd like to see the machine as a whole to really appreciate it's design.

Thanks in advance!


Post# 1017959 , Reply# 1   12/14/2018 at 06:43 (184 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
The Origin Of The WP DD Design 2000 Washers

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Great idea for a thread Steven.


As a WP authorized Servicer in the 70s we often heard rumors that WP was working on a heavily redesigned washer, we know that it was ongoing by the early 70s. The project was referred to as  LEAP I forget what it meant.


WP knew that a more modern, better performing, more reliable less expensive to build and easier to service AW washer would have to be built if they were to continue to be the largest builder of AWs in the North America.


The DD washers accomplished all this and more after just a few problems, the biggest of which was the cost saving idea of having a spin drain and taming the aggressive agitation with different agitators and wash speed options.


The DD washers went on to be the most produced, reliable, easiest to service, longest lasting and best performing traditional Top Load  AWs ever in North America.


They lived up to the vision of Whirlpool Engineers of being US designed and Union Built in Ohio.



PS, we have a late 1981 WP DD washer all restored and hooked up at the museum that you can come see work [ bring dirty laundry ], the spin drain does not sound any different than any other DD washer, you can throw any DD into spin with a full tub by opening and closing the lid at the start of spin if you like [ doing so will leave more lint and loose dirt particles in your clothes however ]


John L.

Post# 1017981 , Reply# 2   12/14/2018 at 09:59 (184 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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LEAP = Laundry Engineering Advanced Product (or Project?)

Post# 1018005 , Reply# 3   12/14/2018 at 13:26 (184 days old) by DDFan92 (Boise ID)        

That answers a couple questions, although I tend to get very analytical about stuff like this, but beg pard. Since DDs are my favorite machine, and are a thing of the 80s, 90s and up, I like to think they were technically around in the 70s as well, alongside their awesome BD predecessors. If it started in the early 70s, I would surmise it was around the same time as the DA agitator invention (1972).

A couple questions I ask myself which are probably unanswerable are:
*What did the whole motor, drain pump & transmission ensemble look like in the early stages of development? I'd guess probably nothing like what was actually built after the completed design.
*And what year did they complete the final drive train which became the machine we all know today?
*And did they ever design a Kenmore DD with the 1970's control panel, whether it'd be a fully built prototype or just a blueprint sketch?

I can't really seem to find any info on this from google or anything, so I figure what better place than here!

John, thanks again for your reply. Very much appreciated! I would LOVE to see your washer museum, but unfortunately I can't travel that far from Idaho right now. Maybe sometime in the future if I ever get the chance?


Post# 1018046 , Reply# 4   12/14/2018 at 18:39 (184 days old) by electronicontrl (Grand Rapids, MI)        

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Laundry Engineering Advanced Product

Post# 1018052 , Reply# 5   12/14/2018 at 20:11 (184 days old) by DDFan92 (Boise ID)        

This is a very interesting agitator to me. Lint filter unit off either a 10611 or 11611 model Kenmore. Barrel fins don't go all the way up like a regular Kenmore straight vane. I've never seen the one without the filter (model 11671). I had only seen this agitator for the first time just the other night!

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Post# 1018060 , Reply# 6   12/14/2018 at 20:47 (184 days old) by DDFan92 (Boise ID)        

More of the Kenmore agitator and a Whirlpool Surgilator from an original Whirlpool DD.

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Post# 1018169 , Reply# 7   12/16/2018 at 05:46 (182 days old) by StrongEnough78 (California)        

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I wonder what those agitators were like in action.

Post# 1018175 , Reply# 8   12/16/2018 at 07:38 (182 days old) by jmm63 (Denville, NJ)        

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I think it was 1987 when I got my first washer, which was a low end Design 2000. I had just bought my mobile home and my employees got a collection together for Christmas, and it was enough to buy the washer, $325, I sprung for the matching dryer. I remember looking at really inexpensive Frigidaires and the salesman said it would be nothing but problems and showed me the Whirlpools. It sure did look nice with the black and chrome. It was a single speed, lint filter agitator model with neutral drain. Was a touch rough on clothes but worked well for many years. Sold it with the house in 93

Post# 1018181 , Reply# 9   12/16/2018 at 10:30 (182 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

If you want to see an early version of a direct drive mechanism, look at a POD when Easy showed a cutaway version of their direct drive washer and you can see the juncture of motor, transmission and pump.

I like the DD KA machines because of the round tub opening and the fact that the machine can be made to spin drain. My KA machine is a great washer. The slower agitation and the larger agitator fins were gentle on fabrics, gentler in fact than the WP Duet I had briefly. I almost always used the wash water twice to help the water efficiency and I pumped the rinse water out onto the plants which saved some newly planted plants during a hot summer drought.

Post# 1018216 , Reply# 10   12/16/2018 at 18:43 (182 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I remember in the 80s

At our local Sears store , when these were introduced sevearal employees bought up the last of the belt drives because they figured the new washers would be junk, they were dependable but I hate them ALMOST as bad as I do Maytags, my second least favorite washer ever made, a DD Whirlpool /Kenmore.

Post# 1018235 , Reply# 11   12/16/2018 at 22:07 (182 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Sears began rolling out DD washers in like 1984 or 1985. A coworker and his girlfriend initially rented a house here and they'd been together since like 1984 or 1985. When I looked at their Kenmore 70n series washer, I opened it up and looked in and it looked a bit strange to me. What I later realized was I had been looking at an early DD style washer. The control panel was the typical 70 series center dial Kenmore and I thought the agitator was strange looking.

Post# 1018294 , Reply# 12   12/17/2018 at 14:06 (181 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Sears had KM DD machines in 1981, maybe late 1980, before WP offered them.  They were touted as a new design, different agitation, faster spin, compact size but took a full-size load.

The first WP Design 2000 model we sold @ the WP dealer was model LB5500.  Model searches match on LB5500XKW0 (1982) and LB5500XLW0 (1983).

I recall one of the DD deliveries, to someone I knew (she was a library aide at the school).  Ted and I rolled the machine in, got it settled.  Upon ready to leave, he mentioned to her that Sears had been selling the new style for a year or so.  Lillie, who didn't have much of a verbal filter, immediately commented "Probably cheaper .... Ohhh, well, thank you!"  Ooops.

Granny's LA7400XMW2 was bought in 1984 (S/N 35th week 1984).  It was still spin-drain and had the clothes guard ring added.  DD had been out on the WP label for a couple years.  Granny needed a new machine, I went to the WP dealer in her town (Brewer's Plumbing and Appliance) and asked for one.  The fellow got snippy, said he doesn't and won't handle those crazy things.  I told him OK fine, I'll go somewhere else.  I went to the dealer where I had worked and she bought the washer and also a refrigerator.

Post# 1018334 , Reply# 13   12/17/2018 at 18:53 (181 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
One Of The First WP DD Washers We Trained On

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Was this LB5500XKW0 Ser # C12301087, It was built the 23rd week of 1981, it should have been the 1087th off the line in that production period.

WP brought in 6 of these machines for us to train on, none of the older techs liked them, but Jeff and I immediately could see that these should be great machines. WP used all the tried and proven items from the old BD washers in this new machine.

It used the same spin tube and bearing and seal design, same agitator shaft and agitator attachment system. Same sand cast cast iron transmission lower housing.

We were pretty sure they had a success on their hands.

We bought all six machines that were used in training and sold them to our customers and had no major problems.

The following pictures are one of the original 6 that we got back from our customer after about 20 years of use and I wanted to completely restore it while we could get any needed parts, it is now living at our museum hooked and ready to wash.

John L.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 6         View Full Size
Post# 1018336 , Reply# 14   12/17/2018 at 19:02 (181 days old) by imperial70 (******)        
mini super surgilator

Wow! I'd like to see that side by each with a full sized super surgilator.

Those wings make all the difference IMHO.

Post# 1018370 , Reply# 15   12/17/2018 at 22:07 (181 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

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Does anyone know approximately how many DD washers were produced?  It would also be interesting to know how many are still in service but I suppose no good way to determine that.

Post# 1018374 , Reply# 16   12/17/2018 at 22:28 (181 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Number Of WP DD Washers Produced

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Almost ten years ago the number surpassed 100 million, they went out of the majority of WPs top loading production in 2010, but continued in their 24&27" top load stacks till early in 2018.


I would guess that the WP DD machines were easily the most produced TL washers ever in North America, it would be only a guess how many are still in use, but probably 50 million or 50 times more than dependable care Maytag washers that are left in service.


John L.

Post# 1018380 , Reply# 17   12/17/2018 at 23:04 (181 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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One only has to look to CL to verify your numbers, John. I cannot find anything but DDs anymore all other traditional transmission type TLs have long since worn out but the Whirlpools.

Post# 1018393 , Reply# 18   12/18/2018 at 03:07 (180 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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The one above spin drains- correct?

Would it be to much to ask for a wash video? Pweeeeezzz? ;)

Post# 1018402 , Reply# 19   12/18/2018 at 06:38 (180 days old) by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

I posted a while back about how Whirlpool was taken to court by GE and Maytag in Canada about a patent issue regarding the dual action agitator. In the court case there is a paragraph about how Whirlpool was researching dual action designs, with one of them being a direct drive machine that had its own auger drive shaft. Meaning the auger in the dual action agitator would not have dogs to cog it around, it was powered by the transmission. Neat. 

Post# 1018403 , Reply# 20   12/18/2018 at 06:53 (180 days old) by DDFan92 (Boise ID)        

Thanks everyone for your replies, I've been busy these last couple days so I haven't had the time to respond.

John, thanks a BILLION for the pics! I never knew how much different on the inside that one is compared to a later model WP. The tub design reminds me of that off an older Norge. Is that the original fabric softener dispenser?

I agree with chetlaham, a YT video would be nice. Who knows, it might even get a lot of views, just look at the view count on some of the other washer videos on there!

Post# 1018407 , Reply# 21   12/18/2018 at 07:34 (180 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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That looks to be a KitchenAid softener dispenser per the chrome trim.

LB5500 (and granny's LA7400) didn't include a softener dispenser but one could be added.

Post# 1018418 , Reply# 22   12/18/2018 at 12:05 (180 days old) by lowefficiency (Iowa)        

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>>In the court case there is a paragraph about how Whirlpool was researching dual action designs, with
>>one of them being a direct drive machine that had its own auger drive shaft. Meaning the auger in the
>>dual action agitator would not have dogs to cog it around, it was powered by the transmission. Neat.

You mean concentric shafts, like how a wall clock operates? That could have been interesting...

Post# 1018444 , Reply# 23   12/18/2018 at 17:14 (180 days old) by Eronie (Flushing Michigan)        

Concertic shafts? Never did happen.

Post# 1018473 , Reply# 24   12/19/2018 at 05:07 by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

"Concertic shafts? Never did happen." It did, in an experimental prototype that was never released to the market in the 70s. Read the link below.


Whirlpool when designing the dual action had concentric shafts where one shaft powered the agitator base, oscillated, and the other shaft was constant drive and powered the auger.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO potatochips's LINK

Post# 1021496 , Reply# 25   1/17/2019 at 12:30 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Heads-up if you didn't see it, Whirlpool's concentric-shaft agitator is featured in today's Patent of the Day!
(US Patent #4,068,503 for future reference.)

Here's one of the patent diagrams... there are several others in the patent document.

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