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Whirlpool LA9200W Washer On Last Legs - Seeking Replacement Advice


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#1 az_repair_gal

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 12:56 PM

Hi all! With the help of this forum, I've managed to keep my Whirlpool LA9200W washer and LE9200H dryer operational for more than 21 years. I've taken apart and reassembled the washer multiple times and replaced just about every part in the pair over the years. it's been an incredible journey.

Now the dogs have worn out in the agitator for the third time, the cabinet shakes, and there is advanced cabinet rust around the bleach dispenser. I'm finally, reluctantly, ready to call it quits on this pair.

However, I'm uncertain where to go from here. So much has changed in the past 2 decades! I am not a fan of front-loaders for various reasons, so I'm only looking at top-loading. Yesterday I saw the Samsung WA5451ANW / DV5451AEW. The pair is recommended by Consumer Reports and the washer gets good consumer reviews (although some folks are disgruntled about low water levels and not being able to change settings once a cycle starts).

I believe the washer is direct drive, but there is no agitator. The pair has only been on the market since 2011, so you should not have come across them for repairs yet. So I would appreciate some general feedback about Samsung in general. (There's a very similar LG pair but I've always heard LG has quality control issues - is that still true?)

So... for the masters that have helped me over the years, here are my questions:

--What do you think of this Samsung pair? ($999/ea retail, my cost is $850 ea + tax, delivery etc.)
--If money were no object, what toploading duo would you buy for your own use?
--Considering my experience with the Whirlpool pair, do you think I will be able to repair these Samsungs after they fall out of warranty?
--Given ease/difficulty of repair, would you recommend I purchase an extended warranty?

Thanks!

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#2 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 01:00 PM

--If money were no object, what toploading duo would you buy for your own use?

http://appliantology...d-washer-dryer/
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#3 az_repair_gal

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 02:13 PM

Thanks for the link, RegUS - so you think I'm better off sticking with something simple, something I know? I have to admit I was wowed by the new machines - 4.7 cu. ft, stainless tub, no agitator, etc. I figured I would have to deal with electronics no matter what I bought, but the machines in your link looks a lot like what I have now...

My biggest concern is that I won't have the skill to repair the Samsungs. That would be a big letdown after doing it myself for the last 2 decades.

Not to mention the price difference. Huh. This is definitely something to think about.

#4 Scottthewolf

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 02:27 PM

PLEASE do not buy the Samsungs. If you are in over your head one of the only companies that will work on them is the service department of Best Buy.

Samsung is a Korean company. Whirlpool is an American company and most of their products are still assembled in the USA. If you MUST buy a front load washer, buy Whirlpools. At least Whirlpool's parts are readily available everywhere and everyone works on them. Samsungs parts are hard to get and lots of servicers refuse to work on them.

Edited by Scottthewolf, 14 July 2012 - 02:27 PM.

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#5 az_repair_gal

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 02:39 PM

@Scottthewolf - did you mean if I must buy a TOP load washer? I really don't want a front loader. There's always the odd sock or something I forgot to throw in - also I've heard they have odor issues. Please feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken on this.

I've had (and repaired) my own Whirlpool pair for over 20 years. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong in that timeframe. Absolutely everything. I even refinished the tub and cabinet. I would, however, like to get a washer that won't wake the dead when I use it (an issue with the Admiral/Roper) and would prefer adjustable water levels.

So - if Samsung is not recommended - then can you give me some model #s aside from the lowest priced basics?

#6 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

The higher-priced models cost more because of electronic controls and government required energy savings and "lower water usage"
Most new front-loaders have electronic controls.
All Samsung parts are hard to get.
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#7 az_repair_gal

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 04:43 PM

I am soooo ambivalent about this. On one hand, I just can't see spending $400 or more for an Admiral or Roper that actually has less features than what I have now. We did that 10 years ago, and after one horrible day I gladly paid a restocking fee to return them.

On the other hand, I don't want to get something that I have to replace again in 4 years because I can't fix it. It's not the money - we are ok there. It's just that I don't want to feel like i made another mistake.

Dang. This is precisely why I keep fixing the Whirlpools. But I'm not sure if it's the dogs or something else - it's not agitating, but the shaft doesn't spin in my hands like it does when the dogs go out. I just don't think my heart is in this anymore.

Maybe I'll just replace the washer and take my chances. There's nothing wrong with the dryer. Who cares if they match?

#8 DADoESTX

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:57 PM

Far as I'm aware, that Admiral unit is no longer produced. No more Whirlpool-made direct-drive units of any brand except maybe a Whirlpool and Maytag coin-op or commercial on-premise model. Availability now is limited to stock on-hand at any given source. HomeDepot.com still lists it for $399. Be aware also that this is a one-speed machine. The delicate cycle runs at high agitation speed, but agitation is intermittent (something like 10 seconds on, 45 seconds off) for the duration of the wash and rinse periods. Spin speed is only high. It also likely has a "crippled" rinse water level, fixed at approx 5" to 6" depth regardless of what is the selected water level on the control (which is only for the wash level). Parts listing for the model ATW4475XQ0 shows two water level switches ... one accessible via the console (wash level), the other hidden inside not accessible (rinse level).

Used Whirly direct-drive machines are plentiful on the used market ... CraigsList and local reseller shops. Some very good condition, some rode hard and put away wet. Kenmore, Whirlpool, Roper, Estate, Admiral, a few KitchenAids, and Maytags produced between 2006-ish and 2010-ish. Check units of consideration closely to confirm operational details. Newer specimens with reduced water levels typically advise of it via the lid instructions.

A used machine can be a good and reasonable deal, even if some repairs may be necessary. A friend was going to throw out a 1999 Kenmore 90 that they thought had bad bearings, asked if I wanted it. Was only a broken drive coupler. I completely disassembled the machine, replaced the inner basket which had some rust development around the perfs from sitting unused a couple years. Replaced the lid which had been blown open and damaged during transport. Also rust-treated the base pedestal, tub support, rear panel, and interior of the cabinet just for insurance so it'll be good for a long time. It turned out in great condition (other than the replaced lid being white due to almond NLA). Cost of machine = free. Cost of parts = $217. I kept the machine for 1.5 years waiting for an incident of need to arise. My parents took it last week when the timer on their washer broke.

#9 Scottthewolf

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:48 AM

Well, then go for the Whirlpool family of top load washers if you don't want a front load washer.

General Electric makes a horrible top load washer, they eliminated the transmission and replaced it with this mode shifter assembly and motor with an inverter, which has a high failure rate.

Frigidaire's top load washer is mediocore in repairs, but easy to work on, it's design dates back to the 1970s. They are designing a new washer as we speak. If the Frigidaire washer engineers are as crazy as the refrigerator engineers, it will be overengineered and hard to work on.

Don't fall for the Fisher & Paykel top load washer, it may be a decent washer, but hard to get parts for.
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#10 az_repair_gal

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 01:58 PM

Thanks for the info on some of the other American brands - most appreciated.

Why do servicers refuse to work on Samsungs? Just trying to understand if it's a philosophical thing ("Buy American") or something else. Is there something aside from the parts being hard to get that I need to know about? Samsung hasn't been in the laundry game for very long, and I'm inclined to believe that the parts will be more readily available in time.

I'm pushing the point a bit because the reviews on the Whirlpools are just awful (the Cabrios seem to have a lot of problems that surface quickly after warranty expiration), whereas the majority of consumers seem very pleased with their Korean machines. And when I said I would like to be able to fix my own washer, I don't really want to have to do it. Unlike you, appliance repair is not my career and there are oh-so-many other things I would rather do with my weekends!

#11 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 02:36 PM

Why do servicers refuse to work on Samsungs? Just trying to understand if it's a philosophical thing ("Buy American") or something else.


Two Big Reasons:

1. They are buttheads with their tech info-- only their "authorized" slaves can have access to their tech information. Which you really need because...

2. Their parts ordering is clusterf*ck nightmare. They're famous for switching parts mid-stream in a model production so you often get the wrong part when you order. And their parts distribution system is an abortion that (almost) lived.

#12 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 03:52 PM

If you like the Korean models ..
Check out he LG's
We use a pair of front-loaders
Parts are now more readily available..
and service information for most models is also available here on-line
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#13 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 03:58 PM

Yes, I agree: LG would be a good choice. I also like LG because they make tech info available to all servicers at their tech assist website.

#14 az_repair_gal

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 05:29 PM

Ahhh... I am most honored that after all these years Grand Master has commented in one of my threads!!! Thank you so much for explaining. I will not be purchasing the Samsungs and will be heading out this afternoon to take a look at alternatives.

There seems to be a contingent of consumers dissatisfied with HE machines in general, but my impression is that these folks did not read the manuals.

I had dismissed front loaders because of issues with odor, but now I'm reading that the new HE top loaders may have the same problem if the lid is not left open. So...Should I reconsider front loaders? Do they really clean better? Are they harder to fix than toploaders? Any other drawbacks?

#15 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 05:32 PM

We have had a front loader for over 10 years, family of five, washer used daily. Not a single odor problem at any time. Most odor problems in frontload washers are caused by one of two things: people using the wrong detergent (non-HE detergent) or using too much detergent. Most people don't realize that detergent residue makes great food for bacteria, molds, mildew's et cetera. When it comes to detergents, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Have fun shopping!

#16 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 05:53 PM

... Are they harder to fix than toploaders?

... because of energy savings and mechanical changes (direct drive Motor, no Transmission, etc)
There are more electronics ..
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#17 Scottthewolf

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:46 PM

If you are considering a front load washer, you need to leave the door open at the end of every cycle. The door gasket is a breeding ground for black mold which does smell.

Hot water and bleach need to be used periodically even if you just wash towels or rags once a week. Many of the complaints on front load washers come from customers trying to be "environmentally safe" by not using bleach or hot water.

Sears, Home Depot and Lowe's all sell AFFRESH washer cleaning tablets for front load washers to use periodically to clean out the washer. When using these cleaning tablets they need to be used on a wash cycle with NO clothes in the washer.

If I were you, I would stick with a top loading washer. You still have the likelyhood of the main outer tub seal and bearing going bad in a front load washer which is very expensive to repair and I do not reccommend this job for a do it yourselfer.
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#18 az_repair_gal

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 05:22 PM

Thank you all for your feedback. I think we've settled on the LG toploader - WT5170HW and electric dryer - DLEX5170W. Searching for the best price... and still dithering on whether to purchase the extended warranty. Seems pricey to me (~$500 for 4 years), but I have no idea what LG parts cost. Could be a total waste of money, but on the other hand it could be a screamin' deal if something major goes wrong.

#19 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 05:52 PM

... LG toploader - WT5170HW
... electric dryer - DLEX5170W.
... whether to purchase the extended warranty.

here's a site: http://www.ajmadison.com/

WT5170HW $ 1099 - 10% = $ 989 (ends today 7/22) (sale sometimes every few weeks)

DLEX5170W $ 999 - 10% off = $ 899 (ends today 7/22) (sale sometimes every few weeks)
maybe free (curbside) delivery (enter zip code)
$ 99 (in house) (pair ?)

Warranty: Squaretrade
30% OFF sale every few weeks
Washer OR Dryer (up to $999) :
warranty 3 yrs $ 99 - 30% = $69
warranty 5 yrs add $ 100 = $ 169
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#20 Scottthewolf

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 08:12 PM

Sorry, I will still express my opinion on buying something made in Korea and the profits going OUT of the USA. That's why the USA is in this mess with our economy. People keep feeding the profits to other countries.

Good luck with your LG. Keep the Koreans working. Let those hourly employees at the Whirlpool washing machine plant in Clyde, Ohio get their hours cut or worse, let them get laid off.
Scott Wolf




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