Author Topic: Checking servicability before buying washer: Samsung WF431AM or LG WM3360HWCA?  (Read 3041 times)

Offline StevePgh

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  • Member Since: Dec 2011
  • Posts: 9
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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  • Member Since: Jan 2012
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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.


Offline StevePgh

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  • Member Since: Dec 2011
  • Posts: 9
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.

$1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50

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