Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

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Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Liam » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:42 pm

We have a Maytag DE410 electric dryer and a Maytag A710 washer, both purchased new in 1983.

They have served well over the years, but now the dryer is making rattle noises. I checked the drive motor/belt pulley/tensioner module via the access hatch, but the noises seem to be coming from the drum rollers and/or the drum bearing. The dryer still works, but it sounds like a handful of ball bearings are mixed in with the clothes -- plus, the sound is not always there, it's periodic.

The real question here is: are either of these worth fixing? Thirty years and a family of four equals a lot of service.

Thanks for your thoughts?
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby mbres60 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:54 pm

I read this to my dh and his first response was "Seriously, can you still get the parts?" My first response was "no". Get a new dryer. You could spend the money to repair and then it breaks down again. Also, newer dryers may also use less energy.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby jsl11 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:00 pm

My reaction is that if you can get the parts and fix it yourself, it is probably worthwhile because it will not cost too much. However, if you need to hire a service person, it probably would not pay to do so.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby BigOil » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:16 pm

jsl11 wrote:My reaction is that if you can get the parts and fix it yourself, it is probably worthwhile because it will not cost too much. However, if you need to hire a service person, it probably would not pay to do so.
Jeff

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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby prudent » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:24 pm

Heck, by my definition it's not even broken! Just noisy. :)
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby dickenjb » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:54 pm

I would get a new dryer. This one doesn't owe you anything.

I had a Maytag washer I bought in 1981 that lasted until 4 or 5 years ago, they don't make them like that anymore.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Toons » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:08 pm

Wow fast forward 30 years , I would say that you have MORE than gotten your monies worth out of that dryer,technology has Vastly improved , I would buy another one and plan on it lasting another 30 years( 2 dryers 60 years ,not bad :D )
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Rubiosa » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:15 pm

Our washer and dryer are in their 39th year and going strong. Call a maintenance man.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby prudent » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:56 pm

I would plan on a 5-7 year life if you replace it with a new one. Not so long ago when appliances needed to be repaired, you could get them repaired. Now after a few years, they simply tell you they can't get parts any more.

The days of appliances lasting 20-30 years are gone.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby BenBritt » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:11 pm

Yes! My Maytags lasted 39 years. New ones around 5 years with luck.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby mrspremise » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:36 pm

The life span isn't as long on the new ones, but they actually do a better job of washing and drying clothes, for the most part. You might even consider if you want to upgrade your washer too, as the front loading washers are more energy/water efficient and get your clothes dryer such that they don't need as much drying (which is more energy efficient and easier on your clothes). You can't throw in a sock at the last minute, but you get used to it.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:49 pm

If you go to a front loading washing machine then there is a big saving in water (about w2/3rds I believe) and in energy (about -60%).

If you go to a 'heat pump' dryer then the saving is around -60% on electricity consumption.

However if you simply replace like for like then I believe that your savings will be relatively small (I don't know, I have not looked this up) perhaps 20-30%.

If you can keep that dryer going I would. The newer ones will probably not have the same reliability.

On the washing machine, when it goes I would replace with an Energy Star front loading model. (ditto on the dryer when it finally goes).

But I wouldn't hurry the process-- there is an environmental cost to replacing something old with something new.

Couple of questions:

- can anyone actually fix this for you, now?
- fire risk of a malfunctioning dryer-- to be honest this would worry me the most
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Dianne » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:56 pm

If you do buy a new dryer, keep your existing clothes washer. The federal government issued new efficiency standards for washers less than a year ago (http://aceee.org/press/2012/05/new-clot ... hwasher-st). Remember when they issued new standards for toilets, and it took several years for the manufacturers to figure out how to make compliant toilets that actually worked? I suspect that the washers on the market right now are experimental at best, so this might be a bad year to buy a washer.

From what I can tell, dryer standards haven't changed recently, so the ones on the market right now probably work as well as they're ever going to. Just resist the sales pitch to replace them both at the same time.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Jordana » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:57 pm

You can't get a Maytag like that anymore. They do not make them; I don't know about the parts. I just bought a SpeedQueen which is said to be like the old Maytag and the salesman said it would last 20 years. Thirty years seems like the most you will likely get. The SpeedQueen is like our old Maytag (which we left when we sold our house). My recommendation is to buy a SpeedQuee. You will fix an old machine and then have to buy a new one anyway in X months or years.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby obgraham » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:58 pm

I say fix it if you can locate a serviceman and parts. You'll be fortunate to get 5 years out of a new one.

As for "new technology" -- excuse me? Clothes are dry when they are dry. Nothing new about that! The toilet analogy was apt: use less water, but requires several "go's" for it to "go"!
Last edited by obgraham on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Watty » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:00 pm

Even if you don't do anything else, be sure to replace the hoses to the washing machine if you have not replaced them in the last ten years or so. These get brittle and if they break while you are not home then they can cause major water damage.

Once concern I would have is that the wiring may be getting brittle so if you do work on it be sure to inspect the wiring too.

I used to always buy Maytag appliances but after having some major problems with three different newer Maytag appliances (Stove, dishwasher, and washing machine) I did some research and Maytag has gone through a soap opera of mergers and moving production out of the country and their quality has gone way down. After the problem I have had with them I doubt I will ever buy another Maytag appliance again.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby dratkinson » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:35 pm

I'd fix them if I could.

Owned a Maytag pair (avocado green washer and half-depth stacking 110v dryer) in the early '70s. Lost them when I sold the house in '81. Hated to see them go. Was already hearing reports that the new stuff wasn't as well built.

Just for grins, do a google search for "appliance repair manual". If you find the information you need to diagnose/fix it and the parts are still available, then why not try it?
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby jsl11 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:19 pm

Watty wrote:Even if you don't do anything else, be sure to replace the hoses to the washing machine if you have not replaced them in the last ten years or so. These get brittle and if they break while you are not home then they can cause major water damage.

This is a good recommendation for everyone. Even better, when you replace them, use stainless steel armored hoses. They should only cost $20 to $25 for a pair. It's cheap insurance.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:00 am

obgraham wrote:
As for "new technology" -- excuse me? Clothes are dry when they are dry. Nothing new about that! The toilet analogy was apt: use less water, but requires several "go's" for it to "go"!


I don't believe that is entirely correct.

I don't have the time to pull up the references but there are some neat charts on appliances on the likes of the Siemens website, and also US National Research Labs have done the homework. See also Energy Information Administration. The dramatic move is in fridges (down 60-75% in 30 years on total pa consumption of electricity) but wet appliances have also made significant improvements.

DC motors are a lot better than they were-- that saves juice-- variable speed controllers etc.

Spins are a lot faster at least in washing machines (not sure dryers) -- that saves a lot on the heating element.

The modern ones have moisture and weight sensors so they adjust to how big the load is and how wet-- don't overdry. That's a big saving.

There's the whole point about condenser dryers (marginally less efficient) v vented ones. So technology change there, too, if not improvements in drying efficiency per se.

And then we get to 'heat pump' dryer technology: Siemens, Bosch, Miele all do them now. (Siemens and Bosch are the same company). The energy use drops are dramatic (c. -60% vs. a modern 'conventional' dryer). At my electricity price (USD 22 cents) that gives me a sub 5 year payback. If you have time of day pricing (we will) then the payback could be much quicker than that.

I'll stick with my original advice which is OP should not replace if at all feasible. Because there is an environmental cost in building a new machine. And all things being equal they are more complex and therefore likely to be less reliable.

Exceptions would be in water short areas (go for a front loading washing machine) and fridges/ freezers, where if it is pre 1992 the savings are extraordinary. Even at US electricity rates (c. 10.5 cents/ kwhr but over 30 in California) this can save $10-20 pcm. Also for a fridge you ensure safe disposal of the CFC Freon, one of the worst environmental catastrophes of the 20th Century-- you don't want that to leak out into the atmosphere. There are incentives from the utility if you are in a water short area (my parents received one in Ontario).
Last edited by Valuethinker on Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:02 am

dratkinson wrote:I'd fix them if I could.

Owned a Maytag pair (avocado green washer and half-depth stacking 110v dryer) in the early '70s. Lost them when I sold the house in '81. Hated to see them go. Was already hearing reports that the new stuff wasn't as well built.

Just for grins, do a google search for "appliance repair manual". If you find the information you need to diagnose/fix it and the parts are still available, then why not try it?


Often when old ones are being scrapped, they pull out the parts to use as spares.

Long after spares are 'unavailable' from the OEM, repairmen can get them. Check repair forums and even ebay. Good repairmen are like pack rats-- they keep *everything*.

London Underground (subway) gets its signal controller chips off eBay-- the parts are no longer made, so they pull apart old computers to get them, a mildly troubling thought for a system that carries over 1 billion people a year! ;-).
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:09 am

Watty wrote:Even if you don't do anything else, be sure to replace the hoses to the washing machine if you have not replaced them in the last ten years or so. These get brittle and if they break while you are not home then they can cause major water damage.

Once concern I would have is that the wiring may be getting brittle so if you do work on it be sure to inspect the wiring too.

I used to always buy Maytag appliances but after having some major problems with three different newer Maytag appliances (Stove, dishwasher, and washing machine) I did some research and Maytag has gone through a soap opera of mergers and moving production out of the country and their quality has gone way down. After the problem I have had with them I doubt I will ever buy another Maytag appliance again.


Almost a case study in how to screw up a great brand-- offshoring etc. Solution to corporate problems by merger and restructuring, just causing more problems and damaging the brand, maybe fatally.

GE is actually moving some appliance manufacture back onshore.

There's a wonderful piece in Steven Covey (7 Habits) about marriage. He can't understand why his wife will not buy anything other than a GE machine. Then finally he finds out that when his father in law was down on his luck, in the 1930s, GE store lent him the money to buy their first appliances, and his daughter remembers that. Teaches Covey a lesson about loyalty and why people make decisions.

Big technology shifts coming: European machines tend to be more sophisticated than American (on average, or so I believe), and the Koreans are no slouchers. As water and energy efficiency moving up to the fore-- parts of the USA are absolutely water short, have rising population and so the top loader will disappear. I saw some incredible statistic that Las Vegas now uses less water than Las Vegas in 2000, despite a +40% rise in population?

My washing machine (front loader) uses 56 litres (about 13.5 US gallons) a wash-- it's a big chunk of our water use, done 5 times a week.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby glenn_1 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:48 am

Unless the motor is making the noise, if you are reasonably handy I'd take a shot at fixing it. Do a search on YouTube for "Maytag dryer roller replacement". Parts are widely available on the internet and it's a pretty easy repair. At this age, I'd suggest a new belt and the two plastic/cork guides that support the front of the drum (when they wear out it squeaks like crazy) while you are in there. Ours runs nice and quiet now.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby nomadgecko » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:09 pm

It would be interesting to see this as a yes/no poll.

My vote is:

1) Google the model number and see if there are parts available. I've recently repaired our old GE dryer (the owners manual looks like something you'd see on Mad Men). All it needed was a new belt, and it was available on Amazon (not some obscure place).

2) If you can find parts, fix it yourself.

They don't build them like they used to.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby SamB » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:05 pm

I have a 25-year old Maytag dryer. It started making noises and it was not due to worn out bearings, but worn out dryer wheel. Eventually they come loose and make noise, which can be intermittent.
Here is an example, http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Blower-Wheel/Y303836/1245880?modelNumber=DE410

It is an easy fix. However, if whatever your problem is costs more than $50 I would buy a new dryer.

I replaced the blower wheel two years ago, and have had no problems. The next breakdown would probably mean a new dryer.
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby TimDex » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:16 pm

I have new washer and dryer.

Worthless. I should have kept my old maytag.

My advice -- if they can be fixed do it. Newer washers in particular do not wash clothes like old ones. Do not listen to any nonsense about how new appliances are friendlier to the environment.

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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby stevep001 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:21 pm

While I'm generally a Mr. Fixit, in this case I'd probably get a new one, as a functional replacement for what I have is about $500 at Sears today.

Reason 1: Low remaining useful life on dryer means that spending significant $$$ on fixing it is likely wasteful. That said, if you're talking about 20 minutes of your time and a $10 bearing, go for it.

Reason 2: Newer dryers (newer than 1983 I suspect) have moisture sensors and a post-drying cool down. Three benefits: lower energy costs (you don't spend money heating clothes that are already dry), not as hard on clothes, folding is easier with the cool down.

S
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Re: Worth fixing a 30-year-old Maytag dryer?

Postby Carl53 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:34 pm

My in-laws replaced a 49 year old Maytag dryer(I believe it was a DE-510) last year. The heat was cutting out too soon before the clothes were dry. I'm sure it could have been fixed as from what I read the copper moisture sensors probably just needed cleaning after many years of fabric softener. Those units were amazing. As other posters noted, a number of replacement parts are still available for these units.

I've still running their old 1955 Westinghouse chest freezer. I tried to convince myself to replace it, but after checking the power usage with a kill-a-watt meter I decided it would be a decade or worse to break even. We even are using a Westinghouse Roaster Oven my folks got as a wedding gift in 1946, although only occasionally. They certainly used to make appliances that could last.
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