Written on: 03/12/2004 by rgmvmm (1 review written)
Easy to repair, good service manual, energy & water efficient, Cleans clothes well
High Failure rate, Expensive to repair
In 1998 I purchased a Maytag Neptune Washer/Dryer Stack set for about $2000 because it fit nicely in our small laundry area and provided more area for laundry products and dirty laundry storage. The machine worked well for a few years. I did not have any of the mold problems that have been reported here and elsewhere. Then the problems started. Intermittent resets of the control, wax motor/door lock issues which kept the machine from going into spin, etc. With some urging Maytag fixed the "mold smell" non issue with the new seal arrangement and at the same time added a new control board in the console to "enhance the washability". In truth, it was probably because they had many problems with control board failures.
About this time, worried that other problems might show up, I sent an email to Maytag Customer service asking for a service manual. They sent one out immediately (Stacked Laundry Service Manual - Issued 7/98). NOTE: This is a fairly well written manual which includes detailed descriptions of the individual subsystems and how they work, Exploded view of components, Troubleshooting Flow Charts, Electrical Component tests and Repair procedures. I recommend that anyone that is the least bit "handy" get a manual like this for their machine. Even if you don't fix it yourself, it gives you a good idea of the complexity of some repairs and hence, how much you will pay in labor.
Two months after the above "Fixes", my wax motor/door lock went. The door would no longer lock, the "locked Light" would not come on and the machine would not go into high speed spin. After analyzing the circuit I determined that you could put a flexible shim between the door lock throw piston and the spin enable micro switch. The door still would not lock but the machine would go into spin. I used a small piece of stiff foam to make this shim. I also warned my wife not to open the door while the machine was running. She indicated that she would never try to do that no matter what.
The above fix (with a foam shim) lasted for several years until the foam took a permanent set. Then I just replaced the foam shim.
Several months ago I got the literature mailed to me concerning the class action lawsuit. I filled in the paperwork and sent it out hoping that nothing else would go wrong before I received a settlement. Well, I was wrong. Must not have "knocked on wood" or something. Two weeks ago the washer section started to have a "howling" noise when it went into high speed spin. I knew that this was NOT GOOD. It was probably a problem with the tub/spinner bearing assembly. There was no "play" between the inner and outer tubs so I hoped that the bearings just needed lubrication. After reading the service manual I deduced that the minimum that I would need would be a spinner shaft seal. I was lucky and found the right shaft seal at my local appliance parts store. (Most internet parts dealers have this part.)
I set to work tearing the machine apart. No fancy tools required. The repair manual was a big help. Everything was fairly well laid out including tricks to get the front shroud unfastened and tucked around the side of my stack set (out of the way). If you have to take apart the outer tub to get access to the inner tub for cleanout or for removing the inner tub, DO NOT REMOVE THE WIRE LOOP AND SPRING. The outer tub cover and seal assembly will come off as one piece after you remove the thirteen tub clips. This will save a whole bunch of time. I then removed the back cover, the pulley bolt/washer and the pulley which came off much easier than I expected. I tried to pull out the stainless spinbasket with the spinner support and shaft attached. I tried loosening the shaft with a hammer and hard wood block driving it toward the front of the machine. It wouldn't budge. I then took out the rear baffles in the spinner tub and after marking part locations removed the three locking nuts. The tub came off the spinner support easily. After several hits with the hammer and a hardwood block the spinner support popped loose and was then removed from the outer tub/bearing assembly.
After popping out the inner part of the water seal which was dry (No seal lubricant) and worn and removing the plastic spacer, I was finally able to see the inner bearing. By this time I was about two and one-half hours into the repair. It was immediately obvious that the inner bearing was lacking lubricant and had been subjected to water incursion (rust around the bearing seal). Crossing my fingers and hoping that the bearing was not damaged (according to Maytag, you can't replace the bearings without replacing the whole outer tub assembly) I lubricated the inner bearing using a needle grease adapter and marine (Water resistant) bearing grease. It took quite a bit of grease. I also lubricated the outer bearing on the back of the tub support which took very little grease and then started the cleanup/assembly process. The cleanup took a little time because of the dirt/scum built up in the pockets of the spinner assembly and on the back of the inner tub at the spinner/inner tub interfaces.
I replaced the spinner support shaft seal per the instructions and then proceeded with the reassembly of the machine. I reinserted the spinner support shaft through the bearings and lightly seated it hoping that the seal would go into place. It did when I put the pulley on the back and tightened up the pulley bolt. It seemed to run quite smooth but was tight which I attributed to the new seals. I reassembled the rest of the machine, kept my fingers crossed and put it on "Final Spin". When the machine got up to several hundred RPM (800RPM is the maximum final spin speed) I could tell that the bearing had been damaged when it ran out of lubricant. Instead of "Howling" at high speed it now had a lower volume rumble coming from the tub. Luck was not with me!!
I went on the internet and looked at how much it would cost me to replace the outer tub/bearing assemblies. Most suppliers showed the part as "No Longer Available - Call the Manufacturer". Sears had it for about $200. At this point I had a decision to make. If this were a washer and not a washer dryer stack set, I would probably have tossed the washer to the junk man and bought a new washer. I sure did not want to buy both a washer and a dryer and reconfigure the laundry area, so I decided to repair the washer myself. Two estimates between $500 and $600 from appliance repair services also made this decision quite easy.
I called Maytag Customer service and complained about the short life of the seal and the fact that a $30 dollar water seal failure also cost me an expensive outer tub/bearing assembly. What a dumb design!! The bearing assembly should have been designed so that it was replaceable (They are two simple [$10 - $15] sealed ball bearings with a spacer between them).
Their answer was typical "Parts do fail" and they sent me over to their parts department. This was a bonus because their prices for all the parts were about 70% of what they would have cost at Sears or other internet appliance parts dealers. I ordered the Outer Tub/Bearing assembly, the spinner support seal (again), the tub cover seal (good insurance policy), new tub clips which hold the tub cover to the outer tub assembly and a new drain pump. The last was also an insurance policy because the motor driven pump was 6 years old and was getting noisy. While I had it apart, I thought that I should replace the pump.
My goal is to try to get another 5 to 6 years out of the machine before I replace it. I am now waiting for the all the parts from Maytag. Lets hope they can get a simple parts order right!