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Sears Kenmore / Front Load Washer And Dryer (Frigidaire Assembled) / Machine quality is is very poor!

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We purchased a front load washer and dryer in 1999 from Sears, I've tried on phone to get help with problem machine quality is is very poor. The tub spider (trans) completely oxidized and came apart. I'm a commercial laundry mechanic for 26 yrs. The only way i can purchase part i need is to purchase new tub assembly. No one at Sears would give me any assistance. The machine has a 25yr warranty on motor and transmission. Their phone, customer service and warranties are a joke. Thank you.


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N  3rd of May, 2007 by 
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A 25 year warranty for motor and trans? Do you have this in writing?
D  3rd of Aug, 2007 by 
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Motor and transmission have a one yr warranty. Unless you bought a 25 year extended warranty! I don't believe they have a transmission. It is an electric motor and belt.
A  24th of Dec, 2008 by 
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The spider corrosion design failure on Electrolux/Frigidaire/Kenmore front loaders is well documented:


Mine failed after five years.

Electrolux/Figidaire have a 25 year warranty on the drum, presumably in recognition of the design error (see htp://ftp.electrolux-na.com/ProdInfo_PDF/Webster/40319een.pdf) but when my wife phoned customer service, they said the diagnosis and repair would have to be made by an authorized service technician, which we'd have to pay for.

You'd think they'd be bending over backwards to fix their problem and keep their customers happy.

I'm going to send my corroded drum to their office in GA and demand the replacement under the warranty. It shouldn't be this difficult. Needless to say, Electrolux/Frigidaire has lost a customer.
A  15th of Mar, 2009 by 
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My Kenmore front load washer also failed, and after only four and a half years. The drum dropped about 30 seconds away from the end of the last spin cycle. and although we have not taken it apart, I am sure the spider arms have failed after doing much research online. Youtube.com has a great video showing exactly what happens (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwpKP_9_fAA). The video shows the outer drum removed, the corroded spider arms, the three screws left protruding from the inner drum that score the plastic outer drum when the spider assembly fails, and when that happens if the outer drum has any amount of water in it, well the motor is underneath. You get the picture. I will NEVER AGAIN buy Kenmore. I am so disgusted I can't even put it into words. Am now trying to find out what I can buy to replace it with that is reliable and has a good reputation. Everything I research has complaints. Maybe the front loaders just aren't all they are cracked up to be...
A  13th of Apr, 2009 by 
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I've experienced the same level of dis-service. The warranty they use specifically references "For the lifetime of the washer from the date of purchase, Sears will replace the Stainless Steel wash drum due to defective material or workmanship."

So far my experience with them in arguing with them is the tripod assembly is not stainless steel so its exempt from the warranty.

I find this is severe misrepresentation to consumers, no wonder they've all changed the wordings of their warranties over the past couple of years limiting coverage to 1 year for everything. Also speaks to the poor quality of all front load washers.
A  9th of Jun, 2009 by 
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Kenmore HE model 417.xxxxx
7 years old and the spider that holds the drum broke. Aluminum arms that hold the Stainless Steel wash drum to the shaft that the motor belt spins. (get it, aluminum and steel in contact with water, chemistry students)

Great, it's a free replacement part, lifetime warranty.

BUT, they demand the labor to install it. $109 just to come over, the Sears Rep wouldn't even quote me the hourly rate to install it. (I'd already taken the machine apart, and was excited to put it back together) The Kenmore Manager won't even call me back.
I think Sears has a scam going and wish I could bring over the washer we had in France. High Revs meant that a dryer wasn't needed, just a clothes line.
A  16th of Sep, 2009 by 
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I have the same problem - spider gone, while I haven't seen it yet, I can hear it. So far I see the complete Tub Assembly Sears US p/n 134453200 lists for about $412. This is the 'super-secret' part number for the complete assembly, includes both outer halves and inner tub with spider - a sort of 'replacement module'. Note that this part number will show up when you enter it on the parts website but will not show up when you do the complete model / part look-up! You can call and talk to a parts representative and they can not find this part on their own. Research has shown that this item has about doubled in price within the last 2 years. At one time it was available at AP Wagner (Canada) for about $150. I was able to get to a Canadian parts store for Sears and got a price for this 'kit' using item number 269 70 134453200, about $230 US dollars. I'm going to first pursue warranty as my manual/model has a 'lifetime' warranty for the tub - and that the "For the lifetime of the washer from the date of purchase, Sears will replace the Stainless Steel wash drum due to defective material or workmanship." argument that the spider is not part of the drum... give me the part number for the spider - there is none, it is an integral/non-seperable part of the assembly, failure of any part is the failure of the whole. Also, contact you states Attorney Generals office regarding lifetime warranty with costs for labor - they may be illegal... Best of luck to all - I'll post again with my final resolutions.
N  11th of Oct, 2009 by 
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Some of these front load machines have aluminium (Al) spiders connecting the spin drum to the drive pulley.
Aluminium is corroded by, amongst other things, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) otherwise known as ‘bleach’, Sodium carbonate, Sodium percarbonate, (these later two I found listed on the contents of a popular laundry aid), sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) (this one is sometimes used as a stabiliser in ‘bleach’ but I did not find it listed on the two containers of ‘bleach’ I found in our house).

To demonstrate what ‘bleach’ can do to aluminium just find a piece of scrap aluminium, without any coating, or remove the coating and let it sit in air for a couple of days to develop the naturally occurring oxide coating, then put one drop of ‘bleach’, straight from the bottle, onto the aluminium and leave it overnight. The following morning you should have a nice little pile of corrosion products on your aluminium. This is what can happen to aluminium components in your washer, albeit at a much slower rate because the ‘bleach’ is diluted.

To check if any of your laundry products are harmful to aluminium perform an Internet search for the material safety data sheet for the chemical concerned (e.g. Sodium Hydroxide Material Safety data Sheet).

I know these spiders are fitted to some ‘Kenmore’ (manufactured by Frigidaire) machines, some Frigidaire machines sold under their own name, and some GE machines. Very likely there are many others. Additionally any aluminium component in the water area is susceptible to corrosion.

This information has been passed to Sears and Frigidaire.
Sears advise that the information ‘will be passed to the appropriate departments’ but have refused to pass any further information on to us.
Frigidaire have assured us that they use only the best quality materials and that they will pass on the information to their design engineers, the very people who would have specified aluminium in the first place. Hardly re-assuring.

My wife and I have two Sears 'Kenmore' washing machines built by Frigidaire.
I recently had to tear down the old one (8 years old) because of bearing failure. Nothing to fantastic there, those bearings take one heck of a pounding. In addition to the failed bearings and failed 'spider shaft' seal, likely caused by the bearing failure, the brass sleeve on which the lips of the seal run was scored, by the spring in the seal, rendering it unserviceable.
What I also found on dismantling the machine was a build up of a deposit, resembling powdered detergent that had got damp and 'clumped' adhering, quite strongly, to the spider (a shaft [of steel], and aluminium hub with three spokes) which attaches to the stainless steel inner drum and the driving pulley. This ‘deposit’ would not flush away, as powdered detergent, being soluble in water, would have. I took my pressure washer to ours but still did not get it completely clean. Whereupon I discovered that the aluminium portion of the spider was quite heavily corroded towards the centre with almost no corrosion towards the outer third of the spokes.

At first I thought this was galvanic corrosion caused by the steel of the shaft and the aluminium of the hub. There is quite an informative paper on Galvanic Corrosion, use ‘Yahoo’ and search for ‘UN1001 Reactor Chemistry and Corrosion’ and open the link that gives ‘un1001_Galvanic Corrosion’, the authors are Lister and Cook. The ‘deposit’ though had me puzzled until I researched corrosion of aluminium and discovered that it is normally corroded when immersed in an aqueous solution with a pH value below about 4.0 or above about 8.0 (nitric acid is apparently an exception). Common household bleach (sodium hypochlorite NaOCl) is a strong alkali. I placed a drop of bleach, straight from the bottle, on an undamaged section of a spoke from my spider and a drop of vinegar (acid), which my wife favours, on another arm and left them overnight. The following morning there was nothing left of the vinegar and no signs of damage to the spider. Where the bleach had been was a small pile of a whitish powder, which resembled the ‘deposit’ and was also, for the portion immediately adjacent to the spider, quite difficult to remove.

Numerous detergents are alkaline, they have to be or they would not work, also alkaline are numerous other laundry aids. Reference to the ‘contents’ labels on the containers and the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on the Internet will give more insight. In addition to ‘bleach’ I have found sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate in laundry products in our house. Sodium hydroxide, which is sometimes used to stabilize ‘bleach’, is also strongly alkaline, and corrosive to aluminium, it was not listed however on the two ‘brands’ of bleach I found in our house.

For some time prior to the bearing failure my wife had been complaining of a ‘moldy mildewey smell’ coming from the washer and leaving an odour on our laundry, particularly the towels. After I rebuilt the washer, new drum and spider, they are not available separately, together with new bearings and seal, it ran a lot quieter, no surprise, but here is the kicker, according to my wife ‘no smell’. Conclusion, the only thing different is no ‘deposit’. Now does the ‘deposit’ itself cause the ‘smell’ or does it collect undesirable compounds that cause the offensive aromas? I don’t know but it is certainly ‘food for thought’ particularly when I found two references on the Internet to people stripping their washers down and getting ride of ‘deposits’ which cured their ‘smell’. The odours, I fear, will return unless the owners alter their laundry habits.

To see what corrosion of aluminium can do perform an Internet search “Why Kenmore Front Loading Washers Fail” and watch the short video. I do not agree with the comment that it is galvanic corrosion between the spider and the stainless steel drum, should this have been the case one would have expected the spider to be corroded adjacent to its connection to the drum. Neither do I believe the deposit the gentleman showed to be caked detergent for the reason stated above (mine would not flush away).
A  24th of Nov, 2009 by 
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This is what happen to my Kenmore 417.41042000 front loading washer:

1) After 6 years of working fine, it started knocking and moving around but still worked. Then it got really ear hurting noisy.

2) I opened it up and found the 2 shocks broken, and a 4" x 6" chunk of the rear plastic tub broken out. I replaced the shocks ($27) and epoxied the tub pieces back in place. The inner SS tub moves up and down if you try to move it by hand

3) It runs now, but still noisy and won't do the final spin with a full load. It quiets down when it does do a high speed spin.

This is why it happened:

1) The spider bracket to the SS inner tub corroded and broke (maybe just one arm at a time).

2) The SS inner drum is still being turned by the remains of the spider hub causing it to bash around inside the outer plastic tub. The 2 round shocks broke at the top mounting rings due to the weird out of balance motion of the tub. The inner drum then moved around more and enough to hit an injection molding process high point on the inside back of the tub, busting out that section.

3) The installation of new shocks (of a different design) makes the tub to shake less, so it seems to runs better. It still turns noisily at low speed because the SS inner drum has the weight of the clothes in it as it scraps on the bottom inside of the outer plastic drum. At high speed, the clothes are pressed to all sides, so the SS inner drum is balanced enough to "float" due to centrifugal forces.

Future happenings:
1) If I keep using it, the outer plastic tub will fail due too the friction with the SS inner tub, the rear bearing will fail, or the motor/electronics will fail due the increased load.

2) Proper repairs means a new replacement inner/outer tub assembly, which is too expensive to justify the cost.

3) So, I will shop for a new washer! :)

This spider bracket failure can explain most of problems with all the postings, since the SS inner drum is allowed slowly to go out of balance stressing all component of the washer and the corrosion debris also get in the pump and clothes.
N  5th of Dec, 2010 by 
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Same thing happened to me. My kenmore m# 417.xx washer lasted 6 years then spider broke. Sears was no help, never again buying sears. I have front and rear tubs as well as bearings for this model washer if interested. weber.keith@sbcglobal.net
A  3rd of Mar, 2011 by 
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I am just another person with the same problem, the spider assy corrosion. No help from any parts store or from Frigidaire regarding the problem. Just wanted to add that almost all of these units were made by Electrolux so when you look for a replacement washer make sure it is not one that they had anything to do with.
A  21st of Mar, 2011 by 
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In scrapping this washer, the glass from the door is a nice salad bowl and the stainless steel inner tub makes a really cool fire pit!
N  2nd of May, 2011 by 
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Why is it they have not been forced to fix this problem by an consumer group if it has been going on for so long? Also Mine is now shot after 5 and a half years. We bought it in 2005 and the 5 year extended warranty ran out in October of 2010. Are they afraid to fix it so that the machines will last like a Maytag?????
N  10th of Jul, 2011 by 
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Purchased ours in 2003. Started knocking today, 2011. Took it apart. Corroded spider. Stupid design. Will never buy another Kenmore again.
A  27th of Jul, 2011 by 
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Problem #1
First problem I fixed was broken connection at the motor connector at bottom rear of machine. The connector is rigidly attached to plastic tub but the cable is not strain reliefed, so it eventually breaks at the juntion between the wire and the individual contacts. In my case the wire was touching the contact so it starts turning. This motion causes it to open and the drum turns back. I noticed a spark at the wire/contact connection while troubleshooting the machiune and was able to fix connectioin.
Problem #2
The stainless steel tub can be moved a couple of inches up, down and/or sideways. After reading the comments I believe the spider assembly is broken. If I could get a new spider assembly I would repair it, but afgter reading several comments about this design on the web, I doubt I can buy one without it being a part of the tub assy.
Looks like it is time to go back to a new top loading washer. (Not Sears, GE or Frigidaire)
Charlie Parent
N  5th of Apr, 2015 by 
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I'm feeling a bit lucky that my Frigidaire Gallery front load washer lasted 14 -15 years, repaired it a couple times. However at $341 dollars for the spider arm and inner drum, there was no way I was going to pay for the part - I did notice in the UK that the spider arm was sold separately - however the US parts person couldn't be certain it would fit and there wasn't a follow-up post. SPEAKING of FOLLOW- UP posts - I was hoping to one here from 16th of Sep, 2009 by tmdelisle ON their efforts to resolve this issue, if anyone has had any success please post.
N  18th of Feb, 2016 by 
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We purchased Kenmore Frontload Washer 417.42052100 in 2001. In 2016, after 15 years of solid service, I finally had to disassemble the unit as it stopped draining. 3 to 4 month prior to this the washer started to get really loud during final spin cycle, I suspected faulty ball bearing and didn't bother opening it up - it's in the garage, where we don't care if it's loud.

I opened it up and found the following:
1. Inner ball bearing failed and had hard time spinning, explains noise. Replaced both bearings + seal for $23.
2. One of the shocks broke at the top, so effectively only one was operational. Replaced with Electrolux equivalent for $19
3. Drain pump is fine, the pump and attached hoses had about a dozen coins and a key inside, jamming the whole thing. I tested resistance, input voltage and drain operation after cleaning it up - all good.
3. Surprisingly, spider arm is allright, there's some build up and relatively minor signs of corrosion. Not sure how to explain it, given everything I've read so far. The washer is used constantly, it's a single family house, but we have roommates/tenants, which makes it one of the most heavily used appliances in the house. We have water softener, rarely use bleach and buy either HE or organic detergent (again, not sure if this makes any difference). I suspect quality of the seal and ball bearing/seal assembly may have an effect on how long the washer lasts.
5. There are 3 screws sticking out of stainless steel tub rubbing against plastic outer tub assembly. This is a stupid design/spec flaw, take a metal saw and cut those off half length. A few people reported those screws cut into plastic over time and washer starts to leak.

I expect 5-10 more years out of it, after that I may need to replace rusting service panel and the spider arm, which I'm hoping to be able to 3D print by then :-). In general, I prefer to hold on to an older unit, rather than buying a new one, where all controls are on a single logic board with fancy LCD display, which can cost you $300-$500 to replace if if goes bust. Also, need to mention we also 417.xxx gas dryer with the washer. With the exception of two ignition valves, there's absolutely nothing there to break... I clear lint and replace the valves every 3-4 years, if needed. This you have to do in any case to avoid house fires and maintain drying efficiency. Hope this helps.

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