Thread Number: 88654  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Living in Amana/Speedqueen hell - need some help from someone who has worked on them
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Post# 1131966   10/26/2021 at 09:37 (214 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

Hi Folks!

First, I am new to the forum and not sure if my post belongs in the 20 year old forum as my machine is kind of on the ragged edge. I have an Amana ALW480DAW "commercial grade" super capacity washer that has served us nearly flawlessly for about 20 years. My wife loves the machine, it has handled countless loads of laundry without complaint, and we have been very satisfied with it. About 3 weeks ago, she urgently summoned me to the laundry room because it was filled with acrid smoke. I quickly narrowed the problem to a burnt up belt on the Amana. After a few internet searches, I found the belt replacement procedure and went out and got a new belt the next day. (Yes, this was the original 20 year old belt.) I did read that a locked up transmission could fry a belt, so after verifying that this wasn't the problem, I installed the new belt and we were back in business. However, during the spin cycle I noted that the machine was very loud, so I figured a new set of bearings would be in the near future. That future came sooner than expected as it proceeded to burn up the second belt in fairly short order. Since my wife and daughter were going to the beach for 5 days, it looked like the perfect time to tackle the bearings and replace the hub and tub seal and discharge pump while I was at it. And that's when I encountered my first snafu - although this machine was made by Alliance and shares a lot of the same DNA with the Speed Queen machines, it has the plastic sided tub, and the seal/hub kit for that model is now unobtainium. After quite a bit of digging, it appeared that the 646P3A kit had what I needed, so I took a chance on it and ordered one, along with the bearings. So when my parts arrived, I deconstructed the washer, hauled the tub assembly out to my work shop, and went to work. When I pulled the original hub, I found that it was pretty much corroded and crumbling. It took quite a bit of work just to get the lint filter off of it. I was then able to pull the hub and replace the bearings without incident. However, as I somewhat expected, the seal that came with the kit was slightly smaller than the seal in the plastic tub, so I made the decision to just keep rolling, since the original seal showed no sign of leaking and I had to get it back together to promote marital harmony. I did notice that the replacement hub uses a little stainless sleeve around the sealing surface on that snout that slides over the splined shaft. I followed the directions that came with the kit, put it back together, and tested it. As soon as it went into agitation cycle I saw water leaking from under the tub seal. I shut it off, unplugged it, and vacuumed the water out. When I pulled the inner tub and hub off, I saw what the problem was. In addition to using the stainless sleeve, the new hub is about 1/8" taller at the snout than the original. So the back surface of the hub does not make proper contact with the face of the seal, hence the leak.

My original hub is too far gone to re-use. I suppose I could get a machine shop mill down the snout of the new hub and sleeve, but I still can't figure out why they went with that sleeve arrangement. I have seen a similar sleeve back when I used to rebuild car engines and the harmonic balancer would get a groove worn into it from the seal, but those kits used Loctite to attach the sleeve, and this kit didn't come with any. In fact, the instructions said to apply some grease to the inside of the sleeve. Makes not sense to me, and seems like a possible leak point. Has anyone dealt with these hub kits that use the sleeves?

I did find a part number on the hub that was installed on my machine - 40003902. There is actually a kit for this that goes by PN 40003901, but I am reluctant to dump another $150 into something that I am not sure will hold. If my machine was just a few years newer it would have the same porcelain and metal tub used by the Speed Queens, and I would be fine. I thought about ordering one of the tall tubs and switching everything out, but I feel like I may be peeing in the breeze at that point.

I really, REALLY want to keep this machine running for another 20 years. I like the fact that there are no fancy electronics to crap out on it. The wife is on the warpath for a new machine now, but the Speed Queen Classic is about $1150, and money is tight because I am currently unemployed and job hunting. It would be attractive to stay in the SQ "family", since I now know those machines inside and out, and I would have some spare parts, but damn - $1100!

Can anyone recommend a new machine that is a little more affordable but is still durable? I noticed that most of the "Home Depot" level machines carry a 1-year warranty, which I feel is kind of ridiculous.

Looking forward to any suggestions, especially folks who are experienced working on the Speed Queens and older Amana's. Thanks in advance!

Post# 1131969 , Reply# 1   10/26/2021 at 10:24 (214 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

BTW, found an old thread from 2014 of someone doing basically the same repair on a machine identical to mine. I guess the parts for the Amana were available back then. Maybe I should have stocked up. ;)


Post# 1131990 , Reply# 2   10/26/2021 at 14:08 (214 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

repairguy's profile picture
Iíve rebuilt quite a few of these machines without incident but not with the seal kit you used. Iím not sure if that is an issue or not. One thing I can tell you is that when the hub is sitting properly all the way down on the transmission shaft it should have a slight spring to it before the hub nut is installed. Also it is imperative that the plastic thread sealer ring is installed properly.

Post# 1132038 , Reply# 3   10/27/2021 at 09:39 (213 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

Thanks for the reply! The hub in the kit I bought used a similar seal to the one in the plastic tub model, but smaller in outside diameter. Yeah, I think the spring is to keep contact with the face of the seal on the back of the hub. The hub in the kit I bought had a sleeve that is too tall, so I don't think the hub was making contact with the face of the seal. I thought about machining the height of the hub down, but I think I have found the correct hub on eBay. It is on its way - we shall see.

While researching I saw a different two-piece seal that has the upper bearing built into the lower part of the seal that goes up through the bottom of the tub. It has a locating prong on it that holds it from spinning. Then there is another seal that is crimped down from the top by using a plastic ring under the hub and the nut is used to draw it down over the lower seal. That kit also seems to have a stainless sleeve, and I have read elsewhere that apparently the sleeves were a solution for corrosion issues on the aluminum hubs. The kit I just described seems to use loctite on the back of the sleeve - I am not sure why the kit I have does not also call for loctite.

Does the two-piece seal seem to do a better job preventing leaks?

Post# 1132051 , Reply# 4   10/27/2021 at 12:05 (213 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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R9900552 would be the kit for machines built before 2001 I believe. Whirlpool discontinued this kit which showed to be a replacement for the 646p3 kit. Amana was bought by the Goodman company in 1997 and sold to Maytag in 2001. The plastic outer tub was introduced around 1999. I kind of liked this because you didnít have to worry about rust. My sister has a Ď99 electronic model that I replaced the seal in around 2004 and havenít touched it since. When Maytag bought them they changed the seal and eventually the transmission and these machines were terrible at this point. Then when Maytag was bought by whirlpool in 2006 the Maytag and Amana washer designs were discontinued.

Post# 1132109 , Reply# 5   10/27/2021 at 19:44 (212 days old) by SueDenim (Lincoln, Nebraska)        

Sounds like your machine that died is the exact same model my mother had. She is happy with the GE she bought, but she also knows it won't last 25 years like that Amana/Raytheon she had. I agree with you about having no electronics and relying on manual switches. I don't think you're going to find a new machine that doesn't have a computer/circuit board running the show.

Post# 1132126 , Reply# 6   10/27/2021 at 23:46 (212 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

I am adding some pictures to demonstrate the differences between the old hub and the new one. Hopefully the one I just ordered will be an exact replacement for the original one.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 5         View Full Size
Post# 1132254 , Reply# 7   10/29/2021 at 09:20 (211 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

My new part is supposed to arrive today. Wish me luck!

Post# 1132284 , Reply# 8   10/29/2021 at 17:07 (211 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Good luck!

Post# 1132331 , Reply# 9   10/30/2021 at 09:19 (210 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

Aaaaauuuggghh! And of course, the new hub is not correct either. Looks pretty similar to the other incorrect one I have already - snout that goes down into the seal against the bearing is too tall, and this one takes the stainless sleeve too, although they didn't include it.

I guess I am at the jumping off point here. The wife has reached the end of her patience, and I guess I can't blame her. She wants to go shopping for a new washer today, and being unemployed I can't really justify $1100+ for a new Speed Queen, but I also hate the idea of spending $600 or $700 on a machine that is probably going to crap out in 5 or 6 years.

About all that I have left regarding the Amana is have a machine shop machine the snout of the hub down about .125" and try to use the new hub. If I could find a metal tub out of a slightly newer Amana or a Speed Queen with the tall tub I could just ditch the plastic tub in this one and switch to the metal tub. I thought I had hit paydirt last week when I found an older Speed Queen with some issues for $75, but alas, it has the short tub and will not work for my application. If it was totally up to me I would try to find a supply house that has the newer metal tub and top ring, and swap it over, but I am likely going to have to throw another couple hundred dollars into it. Of course, at that point I would have an essentially new Amana/Speed Queen washer, but we have laundry piling up and I'm under the gun here.

The idea of scrapping this thing after putting all this into fixing it doesn't exactly appeal to me. Guess I'm just stubborn that way.

Post# 1132332 , Reply# 10   10/30/2021 at 09:29 (210 days old) by Pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
try to check on facebook market place

pierreandreply4's profile picture
try looking on facebook marketplace you might find a washer in good condition like this whirlpool direct drive machine at resanable price

  View Full Size
Post# 1132344 , Reply# 11   10/30/2021 at 13:07 (210 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

Thanks Pierre - if it was up to me, I would do just that. But can't get the wife on board with buying something used.

Post# 1132368 , Reply# 12   10/30/2021 at 23:15 (209 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Find a good used one, get it cheap, bring it home, install it, and say "use it or do without!"  A used one might just last until the finances are in a better situation.  That's what I'd do.  I got my Miele used...went to NC to get least 5 years ago...still going strong (knock on wood).

Have you checked here?

Post# 1132715 , Reply# 13   11/4/2021 at 19:03 (204 days old) by Good-Shepherd (New Jersey)        
can't get the wife on board with buying something used.

Sheesh.. Just do it.

You already wasted time and credibility trying fix that POS Amana.

Get in your truck, go buy a decent used machine and bring it in the house.

if the wife asks whats going on tell her to get in the kitchen and make you a sandwich!

Post# 1132723 , Reply# 14   11/4/2021 at 21:43 (204 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

rp2813's profile picture

Douglas, you are preaching to the choir with that parting shot!

Post# 1132765 , Reply# 15   11/5/2021 at 16:12 (204 days old) by TominKY (La Grange)        

It's fixed. Had a buddy who owns a machine shop mill .125 off the snout of the hub. Put it all back together last night, and have run 3 loads through it without a problem. No leaks, no burned up belts, and runs much quieter. So I can at least sleep better knowing that I got it fixed. The things you do when you have a little extra time on your hands.

The down side - I caved and went ahead and bought a new Speed Queen Classic. The wife got a bonus at work, and that's what she wanted to spend it on. So at least I don't have to hear about that anymore. ;-)

I guess I could sell the Amana for a few hundred. Might just store it in the pole barn and give it to the older daughter when she graduates and moves into her own place in a few years. Have people had issue with mice getting into machines that are stored away? That would be my main concern.

Post# 1132778 , Reply# 16   11/5/2021 at 20:38 (203 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Congrats on getting the Amana going again. They really are good machines they just werenít as simple as the whirlpool direct drive machines of the time where you could replace just about any part in 30 minutes if you knew what you were doing. Probably another big reason that the Amana machines are scarce these days as they were definitely abundant in their time. Hope it gives your family many more years of service. As to storage mice and rats can wreak havoc on a machine by chewing the wiring and the rubber hoses.

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