$300 DIY clothes washer repair trumps $1500 replacement

Our Kenmore (Sears 417.43042200) front-load washer recently vomited it’s rubber boot out the door.  Annie and I fixed it with some great guidance from the Samurai Appliance Repair Man (Fermented Grand Master of Appliantology).  A load later it started banging like hell.

With further guidance and beer it became clear to me and Liam — my 5.9 year old, drill-wielding assistant — that one arm of the spider bracket was cracked, that the inner stainless steel basket had scratched the sides and ends of the tub, and that the rear bearing was a bit grickly.  Despite peaceful bouncing around the Sears customer stiff-arm departments (warranty, parts, parts PR, etc.), I failed to convince anyone there that the tub/bracket assembly had failed under a parts warranty.  They seemed willing to consider the possibility, but not without a site visit from a technician — for which we had lost patience and time.

Instead, I ordered from searspartsdirect.com 1 replacement boot kit ($38.49) and 1 drum assembly/spin basket ($200.99) with expedited shipping ($44.97).  Thus, for $311.47 including sales tax, we were ready to repair (with only moderate cynical reservations about whether that $300 was why Kenmore juxtaposed Al and SS metals).  I decided to put off bearing replacement since there didn’t seem to be much grease/mung leakage (though I wonder about some of the mysterious whitish/blue stains we’ve experience on our white/light clothes…)  With luck, we’ll get another few years out of it before having to disassemble again.

The alternative seemed to be to junk/sell the Kenmore and purchase a new washer that is (even more?) energy- and water-efficient.  The Miele and Staber were recommended as not having such crappy engineering, but the price tags were scary: $1500-ish, at least.

Here are some photos of our quite-satisfying Do-It-Yourself experience:

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