KitchenAid KSM90WW Mixer Oil Leakage

 

Oil in end cap
Oil in end cap

 

Our KitchenAid mixer gets plenty of use turning out bread dough, but it tends not to get moved around a lot, because it’s an awkward and top-heavy bit of gear. Mary moved it recently and discovered oil puddles underneath. The scene put me in mind of my parent’s 1957 Studebaker President: it had a bad rear main seal and the oil leaked out just slightly slower than we could pour it in.

Anyhow, it seems our mixer isn’t the only one to have a slight incontinence problem, as a casual search on the obvious keywords will reveal.

 

Rear housing view
Rear housing view

 

I usually leave the mixer angled up, which caused the oil to drain to the rear of the housing, where it followed the main support strut downward into the stand. From there, it spread out and dripped off several local minima, forming perhaps four puddles. Most folks leave it horizontal, whereupon the oil evidently drips out of the lower cover into the bowl.

The rear view of the guts shows the oil oozing out both sides along the bottom of the joint between the housing and the end bell.

A rag and some denatured alcohol cleaned things up pretty well, but I do wonder what’s going on with KitchenAid… I’m not looking forward to replacing the piece-of-crap plastic bevel gear that evidently strips out after a while.

9 thoughts on “KitchenAid KSM90WW Mixer Oil Leakage

  1. I’ve had to do some basic KitchenAid maintenance in the past couple of years, namely replacing the mains cord. Luckily, my mixer’s gears are steel, but I attribute this to the fact that the thing was my grandmother’s and is literally more than forty years old.

    1. As nearly as I can tell, KitchenAid appliances (at least the mixers) have two generations:

      • The old ones that built their reputation by lasting forever
      • The new ones that are destroying it by leaking oil and stripping gears

      With any luck, your kids will still be using that relic… maybe with a new cord, but certainly with the original drive train!

        1. Examples are thick on the ground these days, what with the constant drive to reduce costs by any means possible.

          A reputation is easy to lose and hard to regain… just ask Toyota.

  2. Our KA mixer was hemorrhaging oil when we got it a year ago (a 1985 mixer, virtually NOS, from Craig’s List). The web sources said it was likely due to breakdown of the grease in the gear head enclosure. Sure enough, after changing out the ancient grease it stopped leaking and operates like new.

    I sprung for the OEM grease, KitchenAid/Whirlpool p/n 4176597. Just couldn’t see putting in automotive grease that close to things that go in my mouth :-)

    BTW, some folks say the fiber gear is basically a mechanical fuse. So if it strips, it was just doing its job (according to that point of view). Reminds me of some heated discussions I had in a past life, as to whether certain design characteristics were **bugs** or **features**.

    1. changing out the ancient grease

      Well, this one is maybe five years old and, as of when I rebuilt that countertop, continues to piddle: that grease certainly doesn’t have “long life” among its features!

      the fiber gear is basically a mechanical fuse

      So I can just print up another one from ABS plastic and it’ll be all good! [sigh]

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