Kenmore HE3t Washer Stainless Steel Tub Self-Destructed

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on September 17, 2006

in Washer Repair

Mary B. posted this sordid story of schlocky appliance service in the Samurai Appliance Repair Forum:

Last week, during a normal load of laundry our HE3 Washer started making a horrible loud sound! It sounded like a car coming through our garage. We got the washer stopped. When we removed our white clothes, there was a rust color all over them. There is a gaping hole under one of the baffles in the seam of the Stainless Steel tub.

I did not buy the extended warranty 3 years ago when we paid $1,000 for this machine. I called Sears, their service guy claims he had never seen this before and handed me an estimate for $1,100 to repair it. I laughed and showed him out!!!! I read in the manual that the Stainless Steel tub has a Limited Lifetime Warranty, so I called Sears to complain. The service guy said nothing about this warranty. When I explained to the woman on the phone what had happened, she looked up my model (Model # 110.42822201) and told me there were two Service Flashes on this model for tub problems. They are sending a different service guy out tomorrow. I am mad that the first service guy did not know the warranty and knew nothing about the Service Flashes.

Split Drum Seal, Kenmore HE3t (Whirlpool Duet) WasherWhere can I go for some of these answers. I have digital pictures of the damage it it helps. (Note from Samurai: the photo Mary posted is shown here, click it for a larger view.)

After a several phone calls to the corporate bureaucrats at Sears and a visit by another Sears tech, Mary ended up with a choice: pay $300 toward the repair cost with Sears covering the rest OR take a $500 store credit toward a new washing machine (limited, of course, to what’s available on the Sears floor). Oh, BTW, they did offer to just give her the parts to do the three-hour, two-man job repair herself. :roll:

Even though the Sears techs claim they have never seen this problem, my latest intel shows that this drum seam failure is an emerging issue with these washers (also sold as the Whirlpool Duet). The problem is aggravated in areas with corrosive water, which apparently accelerates the corrosion at the critical drum seams, resulting in the Mary’s dilemma.

So what should Mary do? I give Mary the same advice I gave Rickie on his Asko washer. Look, if you buy the store brands, you are resigning yourself to bending over for one of the Big Appliance Manufacturers and appliance servicers. Is Sears going to give you technical repair help on the phone or in the form of repair manuals? Is Whirlpool? Is Asko? I think you’ll find that you are SOL, my friend. Why throw good money after bad and buy yet another store brand with all the built-in obsolescence and secretive technical information?

But, hey, this is Ameedica, and we still have some remnant of the free market which means you still have other choices. And your best choice for a washing machine is the Staber washer. You can read my copious writings on the Staber washer here and it was featured in the Fall 2006 issue of our newsletter.

Staber Inner Drum, Looking InsideIs the Staber just as vulnerable to the drum seam failure that we’re starting to see in the Kenmore HE3/4t and Whirlpool Duet washers? Short answer: NO. Why? Completely different construction which doesn’t rely on cheesy little folds in the stainless steel to hold the drum together. I’ve posted a picture here– see for yourself (as always, click the thumbnail for the larger, annotated view).

Isn’t it time to finally wake up from your life-long marketing-induced slumber and buy a Staber? 8)


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