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Maytag MAH5500BWW Neptune washer eats bearings


The one they call... Tim

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Trying to press the bearing in carefully didn’t go very well. The last thing I can think of that might help the installation is to super chill the bearing down to see if I can get them in without violence. 
Frankly, I’m thinking something is fundamentally wrong with the tub, like the bearing seats are not co-axial or not parallel. Or that inside bearing is always such a bear to get in, maybe the bore is too small and it compresses the bearing too much? I could try reaming it out some, but I don’t really have a way to do that with the precision it deserves.

except… the first time I fixed this, I got a couple years out of it before it went bad. Then each time since, the fix has lasted shorter and shorter amounts of time. 
I wire wheeled the bearing seats, so no foreign bodies to mess up alignment or put pressure in weird places. Added a little silicone grease to the seats to help installation (& removal if there is a next time).
 

Does anybody have any more thoughts? I’m about ready to give up on this thing, but it kills me to be outsmarted by a washing machine.

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The devil is in the details. Review your steps in detail. Anything not exactly as it should be fix it. First thing that jumps up at me is that nut you have there on the pulley. I'm sure the right way to fasten the pulley should be with a bolt. I don't understand what you have there... a treaded rod with a castle nut and a wire? Why?

Here is the proper bolt and washer, it has a certain length, when it's all the way in, you know the pulley is tight properly.

bolt WP22003937
washer 1 1/4" WP22003936

Once that is done, you can eliminate that as a potential problem and move on.

Banging on a bearing without something in between that is flat and has the same size as the bearing is going to result in a damaged race. That will pinch the bearing balls and cause them to seize up. Been there. 

Fashioning a tool seems like fun, but when it needs to be precise, it could be a waste of time. The Cabrio washer bearing tool for example works great but the knockoff version causes problems. It look the same, just isn't machined precisely. Just rent the Tony Tool if you're having so much trouble.

Also if I was in your situation, I'd be scanning the ads for a used broken neptune for parts.

Just my observation.

 

 

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Seriously, I think you're totally wasting time and money on this one - it looks to me like the main tub support shaft is damaged and probably not fitting correctly into the new bearings.

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Are you installing that thick metal spacer that lives between the two bearings?

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9 hours ago, Lorainfurniture said:

Are you installing that thick metal spacer that lives between the two bearings?

The cylinder? Yes. I left it out once or twice early on, then figured it’s absence might be part of the issue, so reinstalled it with the more recent fixes. Made no difference either way that I could see.

 

15 hours ago, Budget Appliance Repair said:

Seriously, I think you're totally wasting time and money on this one - it looks to me like the main tub support shaft is damaged and probably not fitting correctly into the new bearings.

Tru, dat. Think of it as an academic problem. Or maybe I’m just a stubborn old cuss. I’ve passed the threshold of fiscal sanity for this issue long ago. This is my last go around, though. If the combined experience on this site and the internet at large doesn’t figure out what I’m doing wrong, I’m about ready to admit defeat. 
regarding the shaft being damaged, I’m listening. Damaged how? What are your thoughts? It is superficially rusty, but otherwise seems fine to me. It seems a good fit into the bearings. The shaft slides into them easy, but there is no discernible play when newly installed. 

 

23 hours ago, igloo said:

The devil is in the details. Review your steps in detail. Anything not exactly as it should be fix it. First thing that jumps up at me is that nut you have there on the pulley. I'm sure the right way to fasten the pulley should be with a bolt. I don't understand what you have there... a treaded rod with a castle nut and a wire? Why?

Once that is done, you can eliminate that as a potential problem and move on.

Banging on a bearing without something in between that is flat and has the same size as the bearing is going to result in a damaged race. That will pinch the bearing balls and cause them to seize up. Been there. 

Fashioning a tool seems like fun, but when it needs to be precise, it could be a waste of time. The Cabrio washer bearing tool for example works great but the knockoff version causes problems. It look the same, just isn't machined precisely. Just rent the Tony Tool if you're having so much trouble.

Also if I was in your situation, I'd be scanning the ads for a used broken neptune for parts.

Just my observation.

 

I had mentioned that above in my saga. I couldn’t keep the bolt in. It vibrated out no matter how tight I torqued it down. Locktite made no difference, it still vibrated loose. Finally, I sheared the head off and had to drill out the remains of the bolt. Not having a good way to jig that up, the threads got damaged, so I figured JB Welding a threaded rod in there would be more secure than depending on damaged threads. I think that nut vibrated loose, too, or maybe I just didn’t take a chance at that point and installed the wire immediately. I don’t remember. 

To go back to the original bolt would require a new shaft, spider, basket, so that would be too expensive to be viable.

I’m not seeing why this might be part of the issue, but please explain?

As it stands now, I tighten that down as best I can with an 18”? breaker bar. I know the torque specs are pretty high on that bolt. 50 ft-lbs comes to mind? I did measure that early on, but it still didn’t keep the bolt in. I’m sure I’m somewhat exceeding that now, but probably not by a lot. It seemed like being high would be better than being low, thinking the spacer would prevent any side loading/thrust issues.

Maybe lack of precision in placing the spacer is the issue? That would actually make some sense. Is there a special alignment tool for that?

Your observations are welcome! Your observations are why I’m here! I’d post a video of how I do this, so you can all laugh at me and pick me apart, but a few second video I shot of the thing running the other day was too big. I guess I could link to Dropbox or YouTube or something if it comes to that. I imagine that’s what you did for your vid up there? I don’t think that’s one I’ve come across before. Will definitely check that out.


Does anybody know the precise diameter and tolerances are for the two bearing seats? I still wonder if reaming them a few 0.001” larger would help. 

 

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29 minutes ago, The one they call... Tim said:

To go back to the original bolt would require a new shaft, spider, basket, so that would be too expensive to be viable.

I’m not seeing why this might be part of the issue, but please explain?

My thought was that any chance the bolt isn't straight or not the right torque may cause additional vibration of the pulley. Sorry didn't read your post carefully enough to know you drilled it out. Looking for things that cause vibration and that usually is imbalance. This wouldn't be the main problem, just may contribute. As far as what went wrong, considering the shaft is straight, I ask myself this, kind of like a checklist. Do the bearings require packing or are they ready to use? Is the area where they go clean of rust, dirt, scratches, nicks that cause raised surface that wouldn't let the bearing slide in straight? Are the bearings in all the way and are they straight?

I still think any banging on the side of the bearing directly will cause some micro damage that will pinch the bearing balls in there or narrow the race a bit in a section. 

 

Quote

Maybe lack of precision in placing the spacer is the issue? That would actually make some sense. Is there a special alignment tool for that?

Yeah it's called the Tony Tool! 😉

 

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It doesn’t look like the Tony Tool is still available. Does anyone have one or know where I can find one to rent?

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1 hour ago, The one they call... Tim said:

It doesn’t look like the Tony Tool is still available. Does anyone have one or know where I can find one to rent?

http://www.neptunebearing.com/index.html

The red text near the bottom mentions 2-28-2022, so the site is current

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I had a set of bearings go out on our sears front loader. I replaced them keeping everything I could think of as close as possible with as little force as nessary to reassemble the thing.

This set of bearings lasted close to 3 years.

On my second setup I noticed a place on the spider where the bearing sat. I cleaned it up shinny new all around except for this little cutout or rust out spot. Thats when I knew I had a seal problem this little nick not even a 1/16 size would let water in least i figured it would. So I invested in a new spider and when I compared them the old one had the nick new one did not. 

I wonder if this might help others. Seems if something will clean up Shiney all over it must be true to line up and seal off. Could this be an easy to not catch problem? I do note a Shiney ring where the bearing rides but the seal under it looks , not so well?

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I would guess whatever vibration issues you have is the root of the problem.  I can’t imagine any bearing lasting with that kind of  shake 

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1 hour ago, Far field said:

I wonder if this might help others. Seems if something will clean up Shiney all over it must be true to line up and seal off. Could this be an easy to not catch problem? I do note a Shiney ring where the bearing rides but the seal under it looks , not so well?

Interesting. So you are suggesting the leak caused the bearings to go bad, rather than the bearings going bad causing the leak? Could be. I have not worried about that too much up until now, figuring the only sliding seal was within the seal which was swapped out new each time. Seems like this possibility could be taken off the table by setting the seal in RTV or something, too.

 

1 hour ago, Lorainfurniture said:

I would guess whatever vibration issues you have is the root of the problem.  I can’t imagine any bearing lasting with that kind of  shake 

I have had that thought, but didn’t know what to do with it. It’s a washing machine, so it’s going to see some mighty unbalanced loads. But then when it  goes to fast spin, it should blast through the unbalanced load natural frequency and reduce that amplitude to zero. But what about higher frequency imbalances? Isn’t that what the fluid trapped in the drum rim is supposed to balance out? That always seemed counterintuitive to me, as that concept seemed like it should always make vibration worse. But they brought it to market, so I’ll accept I just don’t fully understand the physics of this particular feature unless it is simply a matter of damping? More to the point, though, if it stops working, what do you do to correct it?

obviously a bent shaft would explain this vibration, but the drum spins straight and true when newly installed, so I don’t see that it could be bent.

I just had another thought though. Maybe the shaft isn't bent, but maybe there is a fatigue crack? Nominally, it is straight, but when it spins up fast, maybe any little imbalance would kick it off center, thus opening the crack and making the whole drum no longer coaxial with the shaft, and therefore even more off balance than just the load could make it. That would explain a lot, and all of you guys saying there was a problem with the shaft would have been right. Maybe this is exactly what you had in mind when you said that, but I wasn’t thinking of this possibility, yet. I never saw the crack because it was normally closed when at rest, and of course you can’t observe it directly when it’s in fast spin. 

That would explain why the bolt vibrated loose even very quickly with new bearings. That would explain the situation getting progressively worse each time, even though my bearing installation procedure (while still admittedly problematic), has gotten smoother and gentler each time.
If I do attempt this one more time, I will definitely clean up the entire shaft and try putting lateral pressure on it to see if I can find any cracks. 
if this is the problem, I’m just surprised the drum hasn’t just completely severed from the shaft by now.

What do you think? Want to place bets now? Fatigue crack in the shaft?

 

 

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4 hours ago, igloo said:

http://www.neptunebearing.com/index.html

The red text near the bottom mentions 2-28-2022, so the site is current

Ok. I see it. Found the page for tool rental. I don’t see anything saying the is the same Tony Tool discussed above, but willing to assume it is or is equivalent. However, I just refused to put down a ridiculous $400 deposit on a rental car last week, I’m not about to put that down on a tool like this, even temporarily. I appreciate the information, but I’ll find another way.

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27 minutes ago, The one they call... Tim said:

Ok. I see it. Found the page for tool rental. I don’t see anything saying the is the same Tony Tool discussed above, but willing to assume it is or is equivalent. However, I just refused to put down a ridiculous $400 deposit on a rental car last week, I’m not about to put that down on a tool like this, even temporarily. I appreciate the information, but I’ll find another way.

It is the same Tony Tool, those two guys work together marketing it. There is a video with both of them, the other guy being the guy who invented it. Deposits are temporary and get refunded. It prevents people from keeping the tool for the price of a rental.  This tool has been rented out over and over for 15+ years, I'm sure the guy isn't there to rip people off and not refund their deposits. But do as you like.

Here is a video of him during one of his annual June discount sales on the tool rental, but watch the video, about half way he mentions what happens when the spacer is left out and he has an improved spacer he describes in the video that you can buy too. 

I had a vibrating blower wheel once on a laundromat dryer, blower wheel was aluminum, finally found a hairline crack, barely visible after polishing it with a wire brush drill attachment. So check your shaft and spider too. And the aluminum inside the drum for damage that may not seat bearing at right distance.

 

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Even with no seal the bearings will still last a month or two.  The bearings I sell are packed with grease and have rubber seals on each side.  
 

as the vibration goes, your vibration is so severe it’s shaking the rear nut off.  I’ve never seen that happen on a Neptune before and I tighten them just to around spec which is around 30-40 lbs.  I can only imagine the vibration is acting like an air chisel on your bearings, that is really the only thing that would explain your failure.  
 

Send me an email, I’ll send you another kit on the house.  Just include your order number from your original purchase.

im like you, it’s about solving the mystery, the economics are secondary lol

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On 3/3/2022 at 9:11 AM, Lorainfurniture said:

Even with no seal the bearings will still last a month or two.  The bearings I sell are packed with grease and have rubber seals on each side.  
 

as the vibration goes, your vibration is so severe it’s shaking the rear nut off.  I’ve never seen that happen on a Neptune before and I tighten them just to around spec which is around 30-40 lbs.  I can only imagine the vibration is acting like an air chisel on your bearings, that is really the only thing that would explain your failure.  
 

Send me an email, I’ll send you another kit on the house.  Just include your order number from your original purchase.

im like you, it’s about solving the mystery, the economics are secondary lol

Thats very generous. Thank you!

Let me pull the tub and check for cracks first. No sense continuing to pursue this if I find a big ol’ crack once I clean up the shaft.

You don’t have a Tony Tool I could borrow, too, do you? ;)

If we do go ahead with this, it seems like it might be instructive to spin it up to full speed a several times while it is all opened up. Is there anything other than the door switch that I would need to defeat to let me do that? I just tried it with the door open, with no luck. It looks for not only the button being depressed, but also the presence of the catch in the lock apparently. I imagine I can fake that with a piece of wire? Ok, tripping the latch worked.

 

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On 3/4/2022 at 12:59 PM, The one they call... Tim said:

You don’t have a Tony Tool I could borrow, too, do you? ;)

I’ve done hundreds of Neptune bearings but still could never justify buying that tool.  
 

You can defeat the switch by pushing the button in and replicating the U shape wire catch on the door with a thick coat hanger. 

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Well, I always hate it when someone posts a vexing question, helpful people engage in a good faith effort to figure out the issue, and then the original poster never checks back in to provide an update on whether the problem got fixed or what the real issue turned out to be. So I am doing just that. However, my answer isn’t going to satisfy your curiosity. 
 

This is because I did ultimately follow your most logical advice just to replace the machine. I wanted to at least pull the drum again to see if I could find a fatigue crack in the shaft, because that seemed the most likely explanation for the repeated bearing failure beyond simply my ineptitude at installing new bearings without damaging them. However, I just had too much stuff going on and could not spare the time, energy or space to pull it apart yet again. 
 

Thank you to @LorainFurniture who offered me a new bearing kit simply out of curiosity to see if we could try one last time to figure out the cause, but that will not be necessary. The machine, and therefore the problem, is gone. Thank you to all who offered opinions. 
 

We now have a newer, old Maytag that we like even better, though we do miss the easy access that the Neptune’s upward-canted drum provided. This new Maytag has a couple minor issues now, though, so I will start a new thread for that.

 

Thanks, all!

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