Thread Number: 81373  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
1964 Kenmore 70 Suds-Saver Rebuild
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Post# 1054063   12/12/2019 at 10:36 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        

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Itís me again! Thanks for checking out my series of posts on the 1974 model Lady Kenmore washer and dryer rebuilds. Shortly after acquiring that set, another club member posted about this 1964 Kenmore 70 located near Boise, ID. I took a chance and filled up the truck with gas. Turns out it wasnít such a bad idea. The machine is in nice shape for its age but needed a tuneup pretty bad.

Main issue right off the bat was a burned out panel light. Normally I would just scrap a machine for a burned out bulb but I grudgingly decided to give her a chance at life. Haha...ok not really, but the bulb was burned out. This one had a loud spin due to bearings in the center post presumably being worn or corroded somehow.

Time to get inside and break it down. I was able to get a bearing removal tool as well as a bearing installation tool on loan. Since this machine is basically identical to the Lady Kenmore I just rebuilt this will be a little less descriptive.

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Post# 1054064 , Reply# 1   12/12/2019 at 10:44 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Basket removal

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This machine was probably never serviced. Everything appears original including hoses, seals, etc. the basket was incredibly difficult to remove. I had to stand in the basket and pretty much stomp hard side to side to finally get it to break free. Crazy!

Agitator block is a typical challenge as well. Before even trying to remove it I went ahead and added lots of heat. Instead of a spline on this agitator shaft, the top of the agitator shaft is a smooth cylindrical shape with a notch on the side that the block slides over and is locked down by a nut and bolt. To remove the block I wedged a wrench underneath it and tapped upwards on the wrench. With penetrant and heat it finally made its way off!

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Post# 1054067 , Reply# 2   12/12/2019 at 10:56 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Outer tub

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This has to be the hardest thing to remove. It was horribly difficult in the Ď74 and this was just as bad. Basically, that center post seal has to be destroyed a number of various ways in order to detach the tub. Sawing, cutting, penetrant, etc. This one was so stuck that I finally grabbed the torch and just started burning it. After a few minutes of burning rubber the tub lifted right out. Good to know! Outer tub actually looked really good. Couple of spots to rust proof but otherwise in great shape!

The center post looks a little icky so hoping itís salvageable.LOTS of rust. For that, wire brush on a high speed drill works great for getting the loose pieces off and removing a lot of the buildup. Then clean it off and wet it down with Phosphoric Acid to stop the rust process. Once itís clean and dry, I slap a few coats of POR15 on it to seal it up.

Check out that baseplate! Two clean base plates in a row for me! Time to place her in the flat doggy (I looked that up in the urban dictionary) and get the pump and tranny out. We need to see whatís going on with the bearings.

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Post# 1054068 , Reply# 3   12/12/2019 at 11:04 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Transmission removal

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Pads underneath and another inside to protect the cabinet. I suspect this transmission will be more difficult to remove since thereís likely corrosion on the spin tube. Either way itís coming out.

Pump looks good. Recirculating filter hose was dry rotted and spit so thatíll get replaced likely with some heater hose. The air gap hose (this is before they used the plastic air dome) also broke off. Luckily I found a parts store that actually still had a new air hose and coupler available so those are on their way.

Transmission did require some extra lubricant and muscle but eventually made its way out. I have a new clutch brake assembly Iíll install and Iíll use the spin tube from the Ď74 on this machine since it was in very nice condition.

All the center post seals will get replaced as well as bearings. Kits are still available which is nice.

The issue appears to be the upper rim of the center post has corroded a bit and lost its seal. The inside of the centerpost has some rust and debris which would explain the noisy spin. Itíll get a good cleaning and oiling.

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Post# 1054069 , Reply# 4   12/12/2019 at 11:12 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Removal and replacement of bearings/seals

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I didnít show many pictures of the tools because I didnít want to completely grease up my phone. Messy job! Essentially, the removal tool has a couple of spring-loaded grabbers that lock into the back side of the seals and bearings. On the other end is a support, thrust bearing and nut. Tighten the nut to slowly extract the old bearings. Do this on both ends of the center post.

Apparently Robinair, who made these tools, also had a specific center post cleaning brush. I used a wire brush on my drill with an extension rod. That did just fine to get all the debris out.

The bearing replacement tool installs both upper and lower bearings simultaneously as well as the lower seal for the upper bearing. Lots of lubricant and care goes into installing because they need to be lined up just right to avoid damage. These went in without a problem. Upper seal went in way too easy because of that corrosion on the lip of the post. I decided to use marine sealant to make sure no moisture finds its way back into the center post.

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Post# 1054070 , Reply# 5   12/12/2019 at 11:19 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Transmission reinstall

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The old transmission worked fine during the initial test. Just going to clean it up and grease the cam bars. They arenít distorted or damaged at all. Pulley wheels turn smoothly and wig wag looks good.

The new clutch assembly and spin tube install easily onto the transmission. Details on the clutch assembly, check out the Ď74 Lady Kenmore thread. Itís exactly the same.

Installed a new belt and the sealant as mentioned. For The outer tub, I went ahead and installed a new tub grommet which is the rubber gasket under the outer tub (big opening bottom left in the photos.) the old rubber was like a rock. Lots of blue gasket maker to seal this all up. Now we wait for the new air hose to arrive before we can replace the basket. This forces me to do cleaning in the meantime and, of course, get the stupid light bulb replaced. Haha more to come...

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Post# 1054075 , Reply# 6   12/12/2019 at 11:35 by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

That centerpost looked pretty bad but sounds like itís going your way. Congrats again!

Post# 1054078 , Reply# 7   12/12/2019 at 12:20 by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

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after the rebuild hope you plan on posting a vid of the washer doing a full cycle jons1077 also love that washer agitator since it reminds me of the agitator that was in my grandmother old inglis liberator that was a 3 cycle washer with only wash rinse temp no water level she now in heaven but do not prevent trips down memory lane

Post# 1054096 , Reply# 8   12/12/2019 at 14:18 by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

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I don't know. You might be over your head on this one. I think the burned out bulb was the signal that this things a lemon. Just sayin'....

Did you in fact change the bulb? ... and if so, did it ACTUALLY come on when the timer was turned?

Or did it dim up and down randomly reflecting a possessed spirit from within?

cuz, I had that happen once.  No seriously I'm wondering if anyone else has.....

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Post# 1054109 , Reply# 9   12/12/2019 at 15:28 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        

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It was a close one. I very carefully approached the machine with a new bulb concerned that it may become offended and disturbed by the presence of new lighting spirits. There was a slight frigid breeze in the garage. I persisted nonetheless and ever so cautiously inserted the new bulb. Much to my amazement it was a perfect fit, one of all ages. I plugged it in and suddenly the clouds parted. (Literally, itís been raining all damn day and the clouds did actually part about this time.)

Whew! That was a close one!

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Post# 1054110 , Reply# 10   12/12/2019 at 15:32 by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

When it comes to sealing that you want to use clear non flowing permatex silicone if you want it to last. You also want the upper bearing to be at the lower depth so you can fit two upper seals.All the kenmores with one seal had all the bearing problems.I did hundreds of these bearing seal and tub seal jobs back in the day. That machine is in exceptional condition for its age.Very nice machine.

Post# 1054111 , Reply# 11   12/12/2019 at 15:41 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        

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My plan was to install two upper seals on this machine but what I noticed is the centerpost is drilled out to a depth that would allow only a certain depth for the bearing. This forced me to only install a single seal and use sealant to ensure it was a good seal.

Post# 1054129 , Reply# 12   12/12/2019 at 17:28 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

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Hi Jon,


Thanks for posting photos!  The main control dial is exactly like my ‘64 80 Series Coppertone Kenmore I lost in the wildfire in 2015...

Post# 1054158 , Reply# 13   12/13/2019 at 00:38 by 70series ( Connecticut.)        

Glad to hear things are coming along with this washer. The lit up dial looks pretty neat. Looking forward to more.

Post# 1054257 , Reply# 14   12/14/2019 at 08:28 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Another excellent Kenmore save, with a suds-saver, to boot! Thanks for taking the time to document your rebuilds.

I notice the lint filter is missing--or do you have it stashed away somewhere?

Kenmore went through a couple modifications with their fun-to-watch waterfall lint filters. The owner's manual for the 1960 Model 80 I grew up with showed a brush-type filter with no latch (the latch can be seen in the first photo at the top of the thread). However, ours came with a metal mesh filter, as shown in the manual from a 1961 Kenmore.

However...while our '60 came with a mesh filter, it had no latch. You simply pushed it firmly into place. The problem was that as the filter filled up with lint, the added back pressure would often move the filter slightly out of place, thus developing a couple of impressively strong vertical-shooting leaks--think of a whale's blowhole, LOL. While it was fun to open the lid and see a thin column of water shooting upwards about a foot, sometimes the leak would be aimed right at your chest or face--something my mom did not find humorous in the least.

When the washer needed service around '63, the Sears repairman also updated the filter housing, which included a latch to prevent the filter from losing its seal during the cycle.

Photo #1: The filter shown in the manual for our 1960 Model 80. This was not the filter that came with the machine. Ours looked like the one shown in photo #2, but with no latch in the filter housing.
Photo #2: The updated filter installed in the same washer around 1963 (photo from a 1961 mid-line KM manual).

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This post was last edited 12/14/2019 at 11:25
Post# 1054326 , Reply# 15   12/15/2019 at 00:49 by dartman (Portland Oregon)        

Reminds me of the teardown I did to my Kenmore when the main tub shaft bearings and seal went away. I bought the special bearing and install tools for mine too. Mines a newer HE top loader and it was about as much work as yours to tear it down then the seal was installed improperly and leaked so I got to redo it again. Good job, looks like a nice machine that hopefully will last longer than the 5 years the bearings and seal typically lasts in my machine.

Post# 1054393 , Reply# 16   12/15/2019 at 20:47 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        
That Kenmore looks neat!

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That's cool the way the cycle knob lights up! Your Kenmore restorations are amazing! I can't wait to see this Kenmore up & running. Is this a standard capacity washer?

Post# 1054446 , Reply# 17   12/16/2019 at 10:55 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
While we wait...

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Just like with the last Kenmore washer, Iím at a standstill until a crucial part arrives which, in this case, is the air dome hose. Should hopefully have it sometime this week. Iíve already received the air dome coupler.

Regarding the lint filter, I was surprised to pop on to eBay hoping to find a filter and ended up finding a NOS filter housing and Whirlpool filter of the same era. The new ones do not have the latch but they are brand new and very nice looking. Iíve also received new rubber feet and leveling legs that I will install. Final touches will be repainting some of the chips in porcelain with whirlpool appliance touch up paint.

According to the lid instructions, this machine is rated for 12 lbs of dry laundry. The basket is definitely shallow compared to the large capacity machines so between that and having a super Roto-swirl agitator, Iím sure the washing ability would be quite rigorous and superior.

Iím anxious, of course, to get her fired up!

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Post# 1054988 , Reply# 18   12/21/2019 at 02:02 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        

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My NOS air dome hose finally arrived tonight and I was able to get it installed onto the outer tub. The little plastic coupler is separate so that has to be inserted into the hose and reconnected to the water level air hose.

Since sealant has to dry around the new hose I went ahead and started reassembling the machine. Iíll give it a test run in a few days. The shroud is as clean as it can be. The water must have been pretty hard in Idaho. Also got the NOS filter housing and filter installed. Finally, I reinstalled the lid and replaced the lid bumpers with new ones.

Almost done!

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Post# 1055032 , Reply# 19   12/21/2019 at 12:41 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        
looks like....

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This is coming along nicely for you! I'm getting excited for you! It's looking GREAT! Anxiously waiting to read when you've completed this restoration and seeing the video of this KENMORE in action...

Post# 1055063 , Reply# 20   12/21/2019 at 19:14 by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

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Looks great.  Your attention to detail is awesome. 


Was the other dome crumbling?  That just seems like an odd part to go bad since it doesn't move.

Post# 1055066 , Reply# 21   12/21/2019 at 20:25 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Air dome

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This air dome is a rubber hose with a coupler attachment. There was a little bit of rust at the insertion site of the hose to the outer tub. The old hose was dry and broke off when I removed it so it needed to either be glued or replaced. Since I managed to find a NOS hose I opted to replace it. The new one is soft and pliable and fits exactly. Since the gasket sealant has had a day to cure i will go ahead and give it a test run tonight and see how it goes.

Post# 1055185 , Reply# 22   12/22/2019 at 19:50 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Time to do some testing

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Everything in place, my first issue was no spin. Argh!!! Did a closer look and realized I had installed the yoke incorrectly with the retainer spring under rather than on top of it. That meant loosening the transmission and taking the spring out and replacing it correctly. Thankfully, that did the trick!

Did a quick check for agitation and spin before adding water to the mix. Shifts were pretty smooth and the agitation very smooth. The spin is absolutely quiet!

I typically have bad luck when water becomes part of the equation and that holds true. I noticed dripping at the large grommet to the outer tub. Iím guessing from all the tilting and moving from trying to replace the spring, I probably lost my seal. No big deal. Itís a very slow leak so gonna go ahead and run some cycles tonight and then Iíll re-goop down there. I took a few short snippets so please enjoy the 1964 Kenmore 70!

Post# 1055189 , Reply# 23   12/22/2019 at 20:01 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
First spin test

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Post# 1055190 , Reply# 24   12/22/2019 at 20:04 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Water test

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First agitation with water


Post# 1055191 , Reply# 25   12/22/2019 at 20:07 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
First wash

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Queen sheet set on hot/warm


Post# 1055192 , Reply# 26   12/22/2019 at 20:12 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Final spin

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Kicking into the final spin with the first load. Enjoy the smooth and quiet new bearings.


Post# 1055198 , Reply# 27   12/22/2019 at 21:49 by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

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I'm so excited.   I can't wait to see the sud-saver work.

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Post# 1055239 , Reply# 28   12/23/2019 at 12:25 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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It's looking great and running so smoothly!


Post# 1055336 , Reply# 29   12/24/2019 at 04:43 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Congratulations, Jon! Thanks for the videos, as well.

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