Author Topic: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more?? (Read 11152 times)

RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« on: April 17, 2014, 08:29:03 AM »
Trying to decide if it is worth it to replace the 'mother board' on our five year old Kenmore washer (Model 417 48102701) for $400ish or buy a new washer for around $700ish?? **Bought the washer before i was a snowball rolling gazelle trying to grow a mustache, so don't shame my obviously uninformed purchase. ;) ** Buying a used washer would be 100% my first choice, SO many great deals to be had, but the husband has put his foot down on the issue... So the options open are fix or buy new. Or, maybe another option if anyone knows of one, or knows of a way to get an amazing deal on a new washer! Or the best most economically priced, longest lasting, washer. Any help is appreciated... You can also send quarters, lots and lots of quarters! :)

Note :: I am handy. And can almost always fix, or at least attempt to fix, things that need a repair. Unfortunately, not when it comes to a major repair of an appliance. So, I have no clue if it really is the mother board, or if I'm being ripped off. The work comes with a 90 day warrantee, at least! :))

mboulder

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 09:28:38 AM »
A quick internet search shows new control boards for your washer at around $160. I also found this video of someone replacing one on a Kenmore:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hPJC1wG2oOE

I don't know how applicable this is to your washer if the model is significantly different or if the video sucks (youtube is blocked on this computer so I couldn't watch it) but it may give you an idea how easy it is to just fix it yourself.

Otherwise it might be worthwhile to check out a Sears outlet in your area. (http://searsoutlet.com). This is where they sell scratch and dent models, usually for around 10-20% off the retail price. I got a washer from them over 10 years ago dirt cheap, and new aside for scratches in the side, and it's still kicking butt.

Another Reader

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4113
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 09:39:40 AM »
Washers that require complicated motherboards are part of the problem. If you must replace, get yourself an old fashioned Whirlpool or GE top loader. Not the HE models, just the basic machine with a couple of speeds, three cycles, and the capacity to use warm and hot as well as cold to wash things. Don't get the smallest capacity, get something in the 3.8 cf range. On sale at Lowes or Home Depot for $399 or less most weeks and delivery is free. Your clothes will be a lot cleaner and the machine should be good for 15 years. Or better yet, pick up a used one from someone that is moving or is "upgrading" to a front loader with the automotive pearl paint job. Probably less than $200 for a newer one.

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1796
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 09:41:48 AM »
My daughter just had to buy a new washer, but when the repairman came out to look at the dead one, he said the best thing to do if you can find one is to look for an old second-hand washer that still has the non-computerized motor. He says they can be fixed forever--it's just a matter of replacing mechanical parts-- but that the computer washers are junk and are always going to break down on you--expensive to repair, probably not worth it, you'll spend a lot of money over the years buying new washers due to the planned obsolescence.

Another Reader

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4113
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 12:48:58 PM »
My theory is that the old fashioned top loading washers with all temperature cycles eventually will become like old American cars in Havana - highly prized and maintained like new. The front loaders don't do the job, have mold issues because they are sealed, and break down all the time. But you must buy one, mandates the government, because they are efficient!

Mechanical things are generally easier and cheaper to fix, as long as parts are available and there's a mechanic that can fix them.

zolotiyeruki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 07:19:36 PM »
Who actually does the laundry in your home? If you're the one doing it, I don't quite understand why your husband should have the last word...

jba302

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 624
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2014, 07:52:59 PM »
My theory is that the old fashioned top loading washers with all temperature cycles eventually will become like old American cars in Havana - highly prized and maintained like new. The front loaders don't do the job, have mold issues because they are sealed, and break down all the time. But you must buy one, mandates the government, because they are efficient!

Mechanical things are generally easier and cheaper to fix, as long as parts are available and there's a mechanic that can fix them.

If you open the door there's no mold issue, we have noticed same cleaning ability between our rental's top load and our home's front-load. Though you have a really really good point about the motherboard issue, our top load is mechanical and the front load is definitely not.

Reminds me of a conversation I was having with a friend recently. I commented "you know, what I'd really like is an all-mechanical car, but built in the last 10 years." Guy almost jumped out of his seat saying how much he agreed.

Thegoblinchief

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7137
  • Lunatic urban homesteader
    • The Goblin Chief
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2014, 07:53:33 PM »
I'll chime in as another fan of low-tech washing machines. Maytag Legacy that was $300 brand new 7 years ago. Still great :)

I would definitely fix the existing machine before buying a new one if those are the two choices. I hate throwing broken things out.
Rabbit: it's what's for dinner.

Another Reader

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4113
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 07:59:18 PM »
Sixteen year-old Maytag here. Clothes are as clean as the 35 year-old Whirlpool in one of the rentals.

Rube

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 08:25:33 PM »
I don't know what kind of top loaders you have but we bought cheap appliances when we built our house and that old top loader was mechanically sound but the part where it cleans clothes made it a complete piece of crap.

First of all it's noisy, uses way more soap, way more water and doesn't get stains out all that well. I still have it in case someone needs one or we acquire some vacation property.

I love the front load...quiet, uses a tablespoon of soap, 1/3 the water if even that and is much more gentle with the clothes. And gravity gets all the kids' stained clothes clean.

Mold is not an issue if you leave it open and remove the soap tray. Ideally you should buy one with a drainback under the seal.

I can't tell for sure but I think your particular Kenmore is an LG so maybe you can find one with a bad bearing or motor that's being scrapped for parts.

RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 06:59:50 AM »
Who actually does the laundry in your home? If you're the one doing it, I don't quite understand why your husband should have the last word...


He does the laundry. So, last word goes to him on not wanting to buy used. :)

RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2014, 07:05:25 AM »
My daughter just had to buy a new washer, but when the repairman came out to look at the dead one, he said the best thing to do if you can find one is to look for an old second-hand washer that still has the non-computerized motor. He says they can be fixed forever--it's just a matter of replacing mechanical parts-- but that the computer washers are junk and are always going to break down on you--expensive to repair, probably not worth it, you'll spend a lot of money over the years buying new washers due to the planned obsolescence.

Our repairman said the same thing... The new ones are just going to keep breaking. Seems like such a HUGE waste our resources to keep building things to only work for a few years before becoming scrap. :(

RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2014, 07:09:42 AM »

Mold is not an issue if you leave it open and remove the soap tray. Ideally you should buy one with a drainback under the seal.


We leave it open, but I have never heard to remove the soap tray?? Maybe that is where the smell is coming from! Thanks for that tip. :)


PMG

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 651
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2014, 07:19:02 AM »
I'm a big fan of repairing. Of course you take a risk in trying to do it yourself...

If you do the credit card rewards game this moth my chase card has 10% cash back at lowes. I think that has to be an online purchase. I think they also add a year to manufacturers warrenty if bought on the card....

+1 buying simple.

RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2014, 07:27:48 AM »
Our repair service, SUPER nice people, gave us some pretty good advice.... Basically, the mother boards in the 'new' appliances are what end up breaking *always* before the mechanical parts. It's unfortunate, and they talk with very unhappy users everyday. They suggest going with the brand Speed Queen if you buy a new one instead of fixing your existing (they aren't sellers, so don't think the opinion is tainted) or finding one with all mechanical parts.

Also, our bill is actually $310 to fix with 90 day warrantee. We get a $90 credit for the diagnostic visit. So, now I'm leaning very much to the 'fix it' and make it last? Then do major research before purchasing our next units..... But, I am going to go check out the Maytag's that have been mentioned first. :)

zolotiyeruki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2014, 08:13:29 AM »
We're just finishing up year 9 on our mechanical top-loading Kenmore (purchased new when we graduated from college). The only problem we've had is the door switch failed. But that's actually a *plus* to me, because now we can leave the lid open and watch the clothes get washed! :D

ChrisLansing

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2014, 08:16:15 AM »
I agree with "Another Reader" the problem is a washer with motherboards.

We bought a HE front loader a few years ago and one board went out ($300 repair on a $700 washer) A year later another board went out. Still cheaper to fix than buy new. Finally we had the problem that one board was not talking to the other. At that point I decided on a washer that didn't talk. We bought a used Whirlpool top loader with about 3 cycles and 3 water temp choices. I did have to replace the "dogs" that cause the agitator to turn, but otherwise it's been trouble free for about 3 years.

We all have different abilities; I can (and did) put a new roof on my 2 story house. I can't fix anything electronic. I opted not to try to replace boards myself, reasoning that they are all made in China and would all fail after about a year anyway, so even if I could learn to do it I'd still be doing it every year or so and spending over a hundred bucks on a board.

I found it cheaper to have a used TL (and a new TL would probably be cheaper too) even though my water use is greater. The high initial cost of a FL and the constant repair bills will buy an awful lot of water.

It's a pitty, because the FL washers really do use a lot less water. But if you are judicious about water settings on a TL washer you'll be ok.

As an aside, I'm considering catching rainwater and using that for washing loads when it's available. In a sense it's "free" water, as it would only be running off the roof anyway.

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1359
  • Retired at age 33. 2 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2014, 08:22:14 AM »
I've replaced a motherboard on an electric range ("main control panel" IIRC). It was incredibly easy (like 15 minutes). Unscrew some screws, disconnect the mobo plug, remove board. Reverse process. Done.

Sears wanted $400 to replace ($300 part, $100 labor). I ordered a refurbished board off ebay for $85 shipped, watched a 10 minute youtube video to learn how to do the fix, then did it myself. I saved my in-laws $315 for maybe 2 hours total work including sourcing the part, researching, troubleshooting, and drinking the beer afterward.

I have no clue if a mobo on a washer is as easy to replace as on an electric range, but I wouldn't be surprised. Try to get a used or refurb part if new are unreasonable.
Retired at age 33 to spend more time with my wife and 3 kids. 2 years in and still loving every minute!
Sharing my thoughts on early retirement, finances, taxes, travel, and life in general at rootofgood.com

ChrisLansing

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 339
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2014, 08:29:47 AM »
RootofGood,

Good advice. We can learn many things from Youtube. Maybe even I could learn to replace a "mobo".


RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2014, 08:47:49 AM »
A quick internet search shows new control boards for your washer at around $160. I also found this video of someone replacing one on a Kenmore:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hPJC1wG2oOE



Ok!!! Totally inspired!!! After watching the video, I pulled the front off my washer, and I think I may go the fix it myself route! I had no idea the motherboard was only 3 screws away. Going to search around and see if I can find a board for a bit less.

RelaxationSpecialist

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2014, 08:53:19 AM »
I've replaced a motherboard on an electric range ("main control panel" IIRC). It was incredibly easy (like 15 minutes). Unscrew some screws, disconnect the mobo plug, remove board. Reverse process. Done.



Seriously, I'm IN on fixing it myself now!! Another user shared this video https://youtube.com/watch?v=hPJC1wG2oOE I had no idea the mb was so close at hand. I've always had a major fear of fixing anything with wires, but this seems like a very reasonable and easy fix. Already unscrewed the front, going to take lots of pictures of where the connectors reconnect, then take the part up to our local appliance repair shop and check there first for a refurbished part..... PSYCHED!!! Thanks for the encouragement!

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1359
  • Retired at age 33. 2 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2014, 08:55:03 AM »
Seriously, I'm IN on fixing it myself now!! Another user shared this video https://youtube.com/watch?v=hPJC1wG2oOE I had no idea the mb was so close at hand. I've always had a major fear of fixing anything with wires, but this seems like a very reasonable and easy fix. Already unscrewed the front, going to take lots of pictures of where the connectors reconnect, then take the part up to our local appliance repair shop and check there first for a refurbished part..... PSYCHED!!! Thanks for the encouragement!

Give it a shot. It might save you hundreds of dollars with little downside risk.
Retired at age 33 to spend more time with my wife and 3 kids. 2 years in and still loving every minute!
Sharing my thoughts on early retirement, finances, taxes, travel, and life in general at rootofgood.com

Rube

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2014, 10:20:28 PM »

Mold is not an issue if you leave it open and remove the soap tray. Ideally you should buy one with a drainback under the seal.


We leave it open, but I have never heard to remove the soap tray?? Maybe that is where the smell is coming from! Thanks for that tip. :)

Yeah I dunno I just started doing it one day. I make no promises. :-) I only run a tablespoon of bleach through twice a year and wipe down the seal if it looks like it needs it. I really think that drainback is the key.

greaper007

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1130
Re: Fix broken washer or buy new one for not that much more??
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2014, 10:32:03 PM »
I love the front loader. We have our water usage down to 24 gallons per person, per day. And I have young children so I generally do a load of laundry a day.

I live in Colorado, so water's a much bigger deal and more expensive here than it may be for the coasts and midwest.