Thread Number: 79022  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Frigidaire unimatic WDU-57 Motor start capacitor
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Post# 1029750   4/13/2019 at 11:30 by Marks (West Milford, NJ)        

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Hi Everyone,
Does anyone know what the proper replacement start capacitor is for this machine? Iím just getting into the restoration of it and this is pretty shot.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size

Post# 1029757 , Reply# 1   4/13/2019 at 13:06 by sfh074 ( )        
This one will .......

work just fine for any uni or multimatic frigidaire washer and most rollers as well except for the S model.

Bud - Atlanta

Post# 1029760 , Reply# 2   4/13/2019 at 13:13 by Marks (West Milford, NJ)        

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Bud, that says 220v. Will that work on the washer?

Post# 1029766 , Reply# 3   4/13/2019 at 14:17 by sfh074 ( )        

Less likely to be damaged with a power surge, and voltage rating of cap does not affect its capacitance rating. I normally double the voltage rating of whatever the cap being replaced says. Cost is only a dollar or two more for the higher voltage rated caps and adds a measure of longevity.

Post# 1029792 , Reply# 4   4/13/2019 at 20:32 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Start Capactor For A Uni-Matic Motor

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Hi Mark, the one Bud suggested should work fine, I just went and looked at two new motors we still have in stock for UMWs and FD was supplying a 230-265 MFD 140 volt capactor with the replacement motors [ these replacement motors were built in 1971 ]



Post# 1029819 , Reply# 5   4/14/2019 at 00:02 by Marks (West Milford, NJ)        

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Thanks! Order on eBay placed!! At least I can get one working!

Post# 1029935 , Reply# 6   4/15/2019 at 11:44 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Very cool find Mark! You know the 1957 Deluxe model came in two version, the Unimatic WDU-57 and Pulsamatic WD-57. I have the WD-57. I'm pretty sure you have the very first WDU-57 to surface since the beginning of this website. The Imperial WI-57 model has been found many times, but the Deluxe model is much more rare! The Super Model WS-57 (on the far right of the image below) has never been found as of yet.

By the way there is a chance that the capacitor is good and the motor start switch is causing the problem. You'll know for sure once you get the new capacitor installed, the new capacitor will be good to have no matter what. In case it is the start switch that is at issue, years ago I created a thread on how to fix the start switch...


Post# 1030042 , Reply# 7   4/16/2019 at 09:34 by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        
It's a Unimatic

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It's in good hands with Mark.
I'm watching this one VERY closely because I have a Unimatic to restore as well. I have exactly zero experience working on Frigidaire laundry and I don't want to screw it up. Is anyone else putting off projects because you're afraid of them?

FYI Mark, you're coming to pay me a visit to teach Unimatic repair 101! You'll be compensated with Cincinnati delicacies like goetta & chili, and you can even lavish attention upon my cat! If you want, you can borrow my bellows pliers.


Post# 1030250 , Reply# 8   4/19/2019 at 06:06 by akronman (Akron/Cleveland Ohio)        

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Hey Dave,
"Is anyone else putting off projects because you're afraid of them? "

Well, my 1952 Blackstone has waited years now.

Long time no see, Dave, hope all is well!

Post# 1030252 , Reply# 9   4/19/2019 at 06:57 by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
OK I have to ask...

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Can someone please tell me what the difference is between a " Unimatic " and a " Pulsamatic " ?

Thank you


Post# 1030256 , Reply# 10   4/19/2019 at 08:28 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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A Unimatic in wash (advance to 6:00 minutes into this video)...

A Pulsamatic in wash (advance to 2:30 minutes into this video)...

The Unimatic agitates 330 pulses per min, a Pulsamatic at 630 per minute. Unimatic spins 1140rpm, Pulsamatic 630rpm. A Unimatic is a direct drive transmission, the Pulsamatic was Frigidaire's first belt-drive transmission.

Post# 1030259 , Reply# 11   4/19/2019 at 10:14 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
The FD Pulsamatic Washer

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Was designed to lower production costs by only having one speed reduction form a normal US induction motor speed of 1750 RPMs, this is why it spun at 660 RPMs and agitated at 660 pulses per minute.

FD only tried this once and only for a few years, after the unimatic design was dropped for home machines they added a 2nd second belt and set of pulleys so the agitation speed could return to 330 PPM where it stayed through several more mechanism designs till FD stopped making washers around 1980.

Other washer builders over the years used the same cost reduction in their washers design, The Philco Automagic is another.

More modern examples are the WP DD washers and the Maytag helical drive washers with the orbital transmissions.

All these designs had a faster agitation rate with a shorted stroke, it has been hotly argued over on this site whether this was a good idea or not.


Post# 1030273 , Reply# 12   4/19/2019 at 12:55 by sfh074 ( )        
From a rebuilding/restoring standpoint ....

I have noticed that most of the pulsamatic transmission (made from '57-'58) part numbers are the same as the '59-'60 multimatic part numbers. Even the '61-'64 multimatics reused a lot of the same part numbers. The biggest change came in '61 when they increased the tub size by 2 lbs .... which in turn they simply shortened the agitator drive shafts by about 2 inches This allowed the tub to be made deeper, but all in all, most of the parts remained the same.

Here is a picture of the 2 shafts side by side. The shorter '61-'64 multimatic on the left vs. the longer '57-'60 pulsamatic/multimatic shaft on the right.

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Post# 1030279 , Reply# 13   4/19/2019 at 13:37 by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

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First of all -- Congrats, Mark, on landing a '57 washer/dryer pair! Both look to be in great shape!

I've only seen one other Deluxe '57 with the Unimatic mechanism. This is quite the find! Robert's suggestion on the motor cap and the start switch are a good place to start. Hopefully the lower oil seal is not giving out and dumping oil down the shaft, causing it to fling out on the start switch. Once this happens the start switch will often times act as if it is stuck in start upon spin. Let us know if you run into any issues.

The side by side photo Bud presents is really interesting. The length changes more than likely coincide with the cabinet and outer tub changes for the 1961 model year. The tub diameter increased in 1963 with the introduction of the 12 pound tub, with the tub heights being the same as earlier tubs.


Post# 1030888 , Reply# 14   4/26/2019 at 12:45 by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

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Things have been challenging, but hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm still envious of your Hamilton dryer.



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