Kenmore HE3 Washer: End of Life

After eighteen years and one basket / tub replacement, our venerable Kenmore HE3 clothes washer has reached End of Life:

  • Kenmore washer - eroded tub A
  • Kenmore washer - eroded tub B
  • Kenmore washer - eroded tub C

I had looked in there (between the door gasket and the tub) to find any foreign objects making the horrible noise and again, perhaps a week later, when I replaced the shock absorbers, after which the corroded spider in the back finally broke enough to let the basket flop around continuously during the spin cycle and erode the tub rim.

In round numbers, we heard the first sign of trouble three weeks ago: a very loud, but only occasional, KLONK due to protrusions on the side of the basket or the fractured part of the spider on its back hitting indentations in the tub. The KLONK remained intermittent during half a dozen loads, until it became pretty much continuous.

We installed the washer in early 2004, replaced the tub and basket in 2010, and it’s now 2022: the first spider failed after six years and its replacement lasted twelve. After nearly two decades, the tub and basket are no longer available from the usual appliance part sources, so (even if I wanted to) I cannot repair the washer.

Another washer, also a front-loader, also highly rated, will arrive shortly. For the first time ever, we bought an Extended Service Plan good for five years. The alert reader will note the difference between the first failure and the length of the plan, but reviews of similar new machines suggest having Lemon Replacement coverage. In this situation, I am willing to pay for the talismanic effect of coverage that may never pay off, if that makes any sense.

14 thoughts on “Kenmore HE3 Washer: End of Life

  1. Seems reasonable and proportional to the appliance in this particular case. I find it funny how Amazon vendors want to sell these sorts of warranties even with low cost items. I wonder what the process has been like for those who have had to use such a warranty?

    1. The combination of “Subscribe and Save” and “Extended Protection” on a bag of screws is a puzzlement.

  2. RIP. They don’t build ’em like they use to. A few months ago I replaced my 37yo bottom-of-the-line Hotpoint with a basic Whirlpool (no I don’t want a WiFi connection or 12 different cycles for that matter!). It was leaking. I didn’t consider repair. I doubt this one will last that long but it is unlikely that I’ll last that long either. Friends who have more experience say “Five years”.

    1. “Hotpoint” is a brand I haven’t seen lately. Wikipedia says Haier now owns it in the US after buying GE Appliances. Dunno what any of that means to folks on the factory floor, but you hope they’re still doing a good job.

  3. “After nearly two decades…”

    “The clothes dryer saga”

    “I don’t want it fixed. I want a new one,” Bev retorted. “You’ve already replaced the heating element twice and the drum bearing wheels once.” She paused briefly to let the facts sink in and then returned with the finale. “It’s fifteen years old, it’s beginning to burn clothes, it sounds
    like it’s going to take off, and it doesn’t owe us a thing.”

    — Jeff Bachiochi, Circuit Cellar October 1994 ;-)

  4. We went the other way. Decided to go old skool – base model, top loader, Speed Queen, still made in USA. It cost 2x what the major brands charge for an entry level top loader but the SQ is built like a tank and appears to have avoided the cost reduction trend of major appliance brands. At least SQ still builds ’em like they used to. No extended warranty necessary.

    1. All I know is what I read in Wikipedia, but their cheapnified version did such a bad job they had to throw it out and go back to the basics. Maybe other manufacturers could buy that hint?

  5. We bought our Asko in 2005 and it’s still going. I’m kind of curious the shape the spider is in, but apparently they somehow created one that doesn’t corrode away quickly.

    1. Sounds like an SF mystery: The Case of the Noncorroding Spider.

      If looking at the spider didn’t require tearing the carcass apart, I’d’a taken some pictures!

  6. couple years ago I picked up a free Maytag washer and dryer in case/when my current units quit. I’m using the Maytag dryer that Grandma bought in ’77, harvest gold, btw. Gotta be 15 or 18 years since I bought our washer, used, Maytag also. Had to put in a motor last year, though. Luckily I had one, courtesy of Grandma’s washer, scrapped when the transmission died.

    1. Ya gotta have stuff … and it seems you do!

      That said, it’s painfully obvious there is no reason for manufacturers to stockpile parts (for those of us willing) to keep old machinery / instruments / PCs / whatever running for decades.

      1. Why purchase radiation-hardened ASICs, when components cannibalized from a microwave oven fit the bill (roughly)?

        “Sanctions forcing Russia to use appliance parts in military gear, U.S. says”
        — Washingtonpost.com, Jeanne Whalen (May 11, 2022)

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