Author Topic: Checking servicability before buying washer: Samsung WF431AM or LG WM3360HWCA?  (Read 3587 times)

Offline StevePgh

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Thank you all for your input and information.

I'm not sure that searching for the number of hits on each in this forum is telling of reliability, as who knows how many units of each are out in the wild.  There is also not a 'Samsung' section here, which means it may not attract repair techs or others to post.  Consumer Reports rates these two brands with identical reliability.  JD Power (in 2011) rates these brands slightly favoring Samsung with a score of 834 vs. 827 on LG vs. 825 on Kenmore Elite (which I think are all LG OEMed).  I'm not a huge believer of brand ratings in white goods - due to price point pressures by retailers, every major brand these days creates models that are not as well designed because they need to compete on price (I sold appliances in the early 90's, trust me, I know).  Some high-end only brands are immune to this pressure because creating a 'cheap' version destroys the brand equity.

I physically took a look at both products last night and was surprised how similar they were in overall design.  The seal between the drum/tub/front panel/door seemed of very similar if not exact design.  The motors are brushless and direct drive. Both have cleanouts for the pump's prefilter.  Both service manuals have what looks to be extensive diagnostics.  They both have a cleaning cycle for the drum/tub - that seems to be present in all steam washers, however.  Neither cook hot dogs, however, but I am told a special cycle will be added for models released on 4/1/2012 - unfortunately I can't wait that long to buy one.  O0

The Samsung warranty: 1 year P&L, 10 years parts motor (not specified what motor parts/sensors), 2 years parts on control board, and 3 years on the drum.  It also has the "Power Foam" feature, and the drum is designed quite differently from other brands in that it has very small holes.  The repair manual posted here (not for this specific unit, but probably telling enough to draw conclusions on the real one) is very well done, including control board electronic component call outs.  In searching other repair forums around the interwebs, you don't see many mentions of Samsung, and I was unable to find anything that I could determine to be a consistent problem across the brand. I don't see the bearing as a line item in the parts list (again, manual is not for this unit), so it may involve a tub replacement.

As for the LG...  Warranty: 1 year P&L, 10 years parts motor (stator, rotor, and hall sensor), and lifetime on the drum.  The service manual makes most tasks look easy.  I did not like that the manual kind of 'ends' early with the parts explosion without calling out component names or full part numbers. A quick trip to Sears Parts Direct yielded the parts diagram with MOST of the names (some parts are listed against the wrong diagram so check all three), and reasonable pricing.  The manual is also not as complete (board components missing) as the Samsung. The bearing looks to be replaceable without replacing the tub (it says that the bearing is included with the tub, however).  I'm not sure that Samsung has it or not, but I like the slot (technically for the heater) that is called out as a means to use a rod to extract items that may be caught between the drum and tub.  I wonder if a boroscope would fit in that gap if more visualization is needed...  Many of the Kenmore's were OEMs from LG, which tells me there should be decent part supply.  Are the actual part numbers, schematics, and board components, etc. called out in technical service documentation that is inside the washer?

Ultimately, I'm probably going to go with the LG - perhaps I should start an ongoing review thread like the one AJ referenced - that was very helpful. I haven't seen very many repeat issues on the LG aside from the oversudsing sensor, which from what I can read seems more like folks not using HE detergent.  Anything else to look out for on the LG?

As far as maintenance and visual checkups on these units, is there anything other than this list?
- inspect and clean water supply line filters.  Every year?
- run sanitary cycle with Affresh after cleaning pump prefilter. Every month?
- check and clean bellows.  Every use?

Offline Mettalikatt

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  • Member Since: Dec 2011
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I've been into more samsungs,  but am just now getting parts available for the lg products.  Both are shiny and new.  They seem quite similar,  in fact some parts are interchangeable.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk

What parts?

I was able to use samsung rollers on an lg yesterday.  The heating element is similar however I haven't checked it yet

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk

Offline StevePgh

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I ended up purchasing an LG WM3360HWCA, and so far I am happy with it.  I do wish it had a spin only cycle. 

I was not present when it was delivered by Sears (my wife was), and unfortunately the delivery folks took the shipping bolts with them.  I called within two hours of the delivery time to see if they can get a hold of the delivery team and grab the bolts, but I presume the call taker in another country couldn't do that.  Instead, they ordered the bolts new and had them shipped to me.  I ended up receiving a total of six bolts.  It looks like they ordered two of each A104 (4011FR3159E), A105 (4011FR3159D), and A106 (4011FR3159J).  The A106 part was substituted by another A105, so I have two A104 and four A105 bolts.  Does this substitution make sense?  If it does, I am not sure as to why they have A106 called out separately... 

Thanks for all the assistance!

Offline wildimaginations

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  • Member Since: Jul 2011
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To go into spin directly:

Push Power ON
Push the SPIN button to desired speed setting
Push START

It will go into drain and spin directly.




The shipping bolts are different.  I don't know what it would be but it's LG prerogative what they do.
Appliance Service Technician
Authorized servicer on LG appliances.
About 45 mins east of San Francisco

Offline g

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  • Member Since: Jan 2012
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StevePgh, thanks for the research you instigated.  I recently 3 days ago took my Kenmore 42062 3.1 cuft washer tub apart because it sounded to be self destructing during the spin.  The process was pretty easy and inside 1 hour I had the drum separated from the back half of the tub.  I found the spider corroded and cracked just like you found and the tub liner significantly damaged.  My unit had 8.5 years on it and 2600 cycles.  Cost to own [not operate] $200/yr.  I need a new unit and the reliability and repairability of it is critical since the cost of the washer is about 20x the cost of water and energy in BC. Can you share why you picked the wf431 or wm3360 as the ones to focus on?

I look forward to your reply.

Offline StevePgh

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g, my first focus was simply based on what models have a clean-out for the pre-pump filter that is easily user serviceable, which weeded me down to LG and Samsung and one other model (I can't remember it at this point).  Then I looked at things like motor brushes and if they are available as parts (many are not - this means motor replacement or access to a ton of brushes to find one that is close enough to hack).  The construction of the unit was derived from looking at the service manuals (thanks to the folks on this site) and looking at the unit itself.  Overall, the direct drive units (no belt, no brushes, no motor bearings) offered by Samsung and LG seemed the better design.  JD Power and CR ranked units from those brands near the top.  Looking at parts availability, the price of parts, and the fact that the bearings look replaceable without replacing half the guts of the washing machine was what made me go with the LG.  I've been happy with it thus far.

Samsung has the better service manual, hands down.  They have complete schematics of the control boards, which means a geek like me who works with even smarter Electrical Engineer geeks could probably do component level replacement so long as the custom designed logic chips are still good.

As far as the "Direct Drive" system goes, it is hard to get a handle on what that means from the marketing fluff.  The pictures in the service manual helped a great deal.  The entire drum is lined with coils essentially making it one giant motor.  From LG's website on the topic: "Direct Drive is state-of-the-art technology that integrates the washing machine’s motor, belt, and pulley into a single, quiet, and durable mechanism, attached directly to the drum. With a Direct Drive motor, there are fewer moving parts. This means less vibration and noise, increased efficiency, and a decreased chance of breakdown or brush and belt replacement."

The last piece of advice no matter what you go with is to spend $30 or so on a 4000+ J surge protector to protect those electronics.  In both the Samsung and LG there appears to be an AC line filter, but who knows what they are rated for.  You'd do it for your TV, so why not also protect your washing machine (which is probably the larger investment).

Offline g

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StevePgh: 
Thank you for the great response. A few of those reasons I had not considered and the surge protector is a great idea.  My focus is the longevity of the units both in # cycles and time to bring down the cost per year.    I have seen data that shows LG reliability is getting proportionally better than the competition  ~2004-2009 22% better than competition and 2005-2011 33% better than competition.  LG is the only option in my opinion.     I am looking at a few models from LG new WM3360 or WM2901 and  WM2550 or WM2501, they are effectively the same except for the size and the 2x01 models are discontinued.  Is there a particular feature in the WM3360 that set it apart from other LG models?

I have a price point that i am trying to stay under and that is the $200 yearly cost of my previous set. I expect the WM 3360 to last 10 years based on 2600 cycles and cost $180 per year to own.  My concern is that the some part of drum will corrode over time or special unique sensors will cause needless trouble.

My next step is to review the drum design and unique system sensors.  The posted manuals here are great.

g

Offline StevePgh

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g - my model choices were limited to what Sears carries because I had a credit because my old one was unrepairable under the Sears extended warranty.  I had the same concern on components, sensors, etc. which is why I scanned some repair forums and posted the question I did here. 

When mine was down for repairs I was spending around $4 in transportation costs plus $10 per week ($2.50/load in SMALL front loader, 4 loads) on washing machines at the laundromat for my wife and I.  That took 4 washers to do the same laundry I would do at home in 3 loads.  $14/week is $728/year.

My yearly operating costs for a front loader washer at home doing 3 loads per week: 
Electric = $5.00/year (electric hot water heater, 3 loads/week, 10.65 cents per kwhr)
Water = $24/year (14 gallons/cycle == 2184 gallons/year at a rate of $10.76 per 1000 gallons consumption and sewage)

Not owning a washer would cost me $699/year which means I need an almost 2 year lifespan to break even.  Doubling the amount of laundry (perhaps a family of 4) makes the yearly cost of not owning one $1190.  One reason to insist on a solid guarantee on whatever you buy, using your AMEX card to double the manufacturer's, or buying an extended warranty is to MAKE SURE your break even point gets hit.

If you can own one for $200/year that is damn good, but I wouldn't knock what you got out of your old one by a longshot.

 

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