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September 20, 2016

The Disintegrated Spider – Fixing a Sears Kenmore – Samsung Front-Loading Washing Machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:19 pm

This brief post is about repair of what is apparently a common fault of front loading washers that have been made by Samsung and other manufacturers in recent years.  Recently, our Kenmore model 592-49057 had started making alarmingly loud thumping noises during operation, especially during high speed spin cycle segments. The cause turned out to be a broken support flange or “spider” inside the washer tub. Sears Canada was unable to supply the part I needed, but after finding the Samsung model number, actually 59249057 (surprise!), I was able to figure out the Samsung replacement part number DC97-14875B for the spider for our “Kenmore” machine. I found it on ebay via a parts source in Pennsylvania by searching on the part number. It was about Cdn $140 with shipping to BC. The actually repair is pretty easy but a lot of parts have to come out before you can get at the spider.

corroded and broken

I need a new spider

Tools needed: nothing special, just a socket set (10, 12, 13 and 19mm sockets -the 19mm is just needed for the big bolt into the motor) and some common Phillips screwdrivers (standard and large heads).  I’d also  recommend wearing leather gloves while doing the work on the machine since there are some sharp sheet metal bits in the interior.

Cause: It turns out that the aluminum flange support (“spider”) corrodes rapidly in the presence of common laundry detergents, particularly ones that make the washing solution alkaline (“basic”, pH>7). After only about 5 years of use, one of the three arms of the spider had broken off completely. Apparently this corrosion can be reduced by rinsing the machine with plain hot water or a slightly acidic solution (e.g. add some vinegar) regularly, e.g. once a month, to get the basic detergent residue cleared away.

The Repair: Refer to the photos below for some details, especially for reassembly work to know where all the parts have to go back to. Ultimately, the big plastic washer tub containing the stainless steel spinner that the spider is bolted to, has to come out of the washer for external disassembly, but to have clearance for doing the tub removal, the top cover and and front upper covers, including control circuitry and the detergent dispenser have to be removed first. Finally, the large lower front panel with the washer door needs to be removed. That requires removal of 2 clamping rings around the soft door gasket, then careful disconnection of the gasket itself from the tub. There are also 2 crossbars, one that goes front-to-back down the middle of the top of the machine, and another that runs across the front that need to be removed. Once those parts are out, there are intake and drain hoses that need to be removed from the tub. Next, the 4 shock absorbers at the bottom of the tub need to be disconnected from the tub, by removing the large bolts at the tub side. That will leave the tub suspended in the washing machine frame by 2 large springs, one on each side. With the help of a strong assistant, you should be able to lift the tub and detach the springs. Careful with this; the tub unit is pretty heavy.

Once you get the tub out of the machine, put it on a cushioned floor area to prevent damage, with a lot of space around for you to work in. With the tub front facing down, unbolt the motor central bolt (19mm socket, I think) and gently but firmly remove the motor casing from the tub back, and put it aside. Carefully remove the large self-tapping bolts (about a dozen) holding the front and back halves of the tub together. Pull the back of the tub off. That should expose the inner spinner and the spider. You’ll next need to remove the broken spider by taking out 6, 8mm bolts (2 per spider arm).  You’ll probably find a lot of badly corroded aluminum pieces that have broken off the spider. Clean those up thoroughly and get them out of the drum before you continue with the repair.  Finally, bolt the replacement spider in, and reverse the above steps to put the thing back together.

It took about 3 weeks for me to get the replacement spider shipped to me. Fortunately, our kind neighbour Klari, who has a newer version of almost the same washer, lent us the use of hers in the meantime -big thanks to Klari for that. It took me a few minutes to bolt the replacement spider in, and then a couple of hours to reassemble the machine. Success! It actually works fine after the repair.

This was a relatively easy repair, just with a lot of parts to take out before one can get at the broken component.Front load washers can have certain advantages over top-loading alternatives such as reduced water usage, but this design flaw is worth being aware of.

11 Comments »

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  1. Dave: Thanks the for the how to, followed it to the same conclusion you did. I wanted to add that in disassembling the washer I found what looked like rocks in the filter on the front, which turned out to be pieces of the disintegrating spider. Anyone thinking they may have this same situation should take a look in the strainer, there may be proof there that it is the spider, rather than shocks, broken weights,or whatever else might also be suspect.

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Sephton — October 15, 2016 @ 5:14 pm

  2. Thanks for your comment. Good point. Completely agree; I meant to add a note in the how-to about chunks in the strainer; that is exactly what I observed too!

    Comment by David Baar — October 19, 2016 @ 7:33 am

  3. Hi, I had the same problem! Opened it up (lots of screws and parts) only to find that the spider flange was totally corroded, along with the 6 bolts holding it to the drum. The inner portion of the plastic drum was also badly damaged, as well as the soft door gasket. Instead of repair, we’ve decided to buy a new washing machine (a Samsung one actually). We are hoping that this spider flange corroding is an isolated incident for this Kenmore 592-49057 washing machine.
    Just curious, how has your replacement spider flange held up thus far? Was there any other damage to the machine? Did you have to get replacement bolts since they were probably corroded along with the spider flange?
    Also, do you know the corresponding model number for the Samsung for this Kenmore 592-49057 washing machine? Samsung 59249057 does not pull up any search results.

    Thanks for your very helpful how-to!

    Comment by Dan — September 23, 2017 @ 12:04 pm

  4. You’re welcome. In our case, we were somewhat lucky that the broken spider didn’t cause any other damage to the machine; maybe in our case we just caught the problem in time. So far the replacement spider has held up for a year. We switched over to liquid detergent, and also run the machine with hot water and no detergent once in a while, to clear it out. I suspect that the same problem will happen with many front load washers using similar designs and an aluminum spider.

    Comment by Dave — October 10, 2017 @ 8:31 am

  5. Dave thanks for this info and anyone else that did this project what was the approximate time it took to complete this project?

    Comment by Josh — December 30, 2017 @ 7:03 am

  6. Hi, Josh. You’re welcome. I figure I spent about half a day on the project in total, but a lot of that was exploration; I didn’t initially know what the problem was, and I’d never taken apart a similar washer before. I think if I had to do it again I could do the same repair in <2 hours.

    Happy new year!
    Dave

    Comment by David Baar — January 1, 2018 @ 12:42 pm

  7. Thanks Dave i will let you know how it goes. I got mine off a site for $211 with shipping included (https://www.reliableparts.ca) Just in case someone needs a link. I needed it quickly so I couldnt wait too long, but it arrived in a few days. I hope that’s the issue though, we will see once i get it apart. All the issues you explain are the exact same ones i have.

    Happy New Year to you too Dave

    Comment by Josh — January 2, 2018 @ 12:26 pm

  8. Dave/ Mine is making the same thumping sound and had a service person in to see what the problem was. He is a trusted repair person as we have used him for over 25 years. He told me that the bearings were shot and that the shaft could be damaged also. He said the only fix was a complete drum unit which is expensive. I had the same problem finding any parts as the model number doesn’t show up in any search. What would be your recommendation as we have the dryer staked on top. He recommended selling the dryer and giving the washer away and purchasing all new. He said this was a chronic problem with this model.

    Dave

    Comment by Dave Fischl — January 4, 2018 @ 8:38 am

  9. Dave, did the repair person actually take your washer apart and see a non-broken spider? If not, I would not be convinced of his conclusion given the documented spider failures here and elsewhere. I also suspect he is storytelling re “chronic problem”; we know for sure what one of the chronic problems with this model is, from the posts here, and that one is not failed bearings. From what you have said so far, the cause of the problem remains unknown.

    One symptom of a failed or failing spider that you should look for, as other commenters here have noted, is bits of oxidized aluminum in the strainer filter for the washer drain, which you usually can access from a small door at front of the washer. The bits will typically look like small rocks. If you find those, expect the spider to be the problem, not the bearings.

    As for the model number, what is that, from e.g. the nameplate on your machine? It’s a rare case these days that parts aren’t pretty easy to find, as was the case for mine and many others.

    If you are thinking about junking it anyway, then why not take it apart yourself and have a look? Unplug it first for safety if you do.

    Purchasing new at this point and junking the potentially repairable machine just seems to be giving up too easily, and does not match the theme of this blog.

    Happy New Year.

    Comment by admin — January 5, 2018 @ 8:49 am

  10. Hey Dave,

    So after a couple days of repairing the spider arm (Kids making the job that much longer). It was a SUCCESS, it is so quiet now. I cant thank you enough for this post Dave. I found a couple videos showing how the repair is done, which i found a lot easier to follow(No offence Dave). Visually seeing it is always better for me. The one i watched was for a Samsung but it is all basically the same just a few different parts. Also just a change from what you did is to take off the stator before removing the tub it will make it a lot lighter for you to do it by yourself. Also dont forget to have some blue loctite on hand for some of the bolts like the weights bolt and the stabilizer arms.

    Anyhow Like the admin said you have nothing to lose by opening it up and seeing if it is the arm. But if your drain has pieces of metal in it most likely this is the issue. My arm was a mess when i took it out and broke into pieces.

    Again thanks so much it saved me 800 bucks.

    Comment by Josh — January 5, 2018 @ 1:28 pm

  11. You’re welcome, Josh. Very glad you got yours fixed successfully. I sometimes consider doing video too; I actually like state-by-state pics for details as the minimum, but maybe I’ll do video + photo for more complex future repair writeups.

    Happy New Year!
    Dave

    Comment by admin — January 6, 2018 @ 9:00 am

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