Washer Drive Systems
domestic clothes washers today still use a drive belt of one type or
another, and these LOOK like common ‘V-belts’ that can be bought at
any auto-parts store.
They’re NOT! Be aware that
most of these belts also serve as the spin *clutch*, and are specially
treated for ‘controlled slippage’. Regular, non-treated belts will
*fit* and the machine will agitate just fine, but will not slip, and all
you’ll hear is ‘hummmm’ when the machine tries to spin.
applies to those of Maytag manufacture (Amana/Speed Queen, Norge, Admiral,
Magic Chef) as well as Frigidaire/Electrolux products (Frigidaire, Gibson,
Kelvinator, Tappan, Westinghouse)
is, by the time you hear that dreaded ‘hum’, the tub’s already full
of soapy water and laundry, and on many models the machine won’t pump it
out because it can’t spin with the regular belt! It agitated just fine,
your tools are all put away, and you’re enjoying the admiration of the
laundry person, but...
are a couple of exceptions to the rule. GE still uses a spin clutch and
regular belt (although on their newer ‘Profile’ models, the belt slips
within 2-3 years from becoming oil-soaked!), and a ‘generic’
replacement will work. But the genuine GE belts are inexpensive and
if the GE or Hotpoint belt IS oil-soaked, I’m sorry to say, I usually
recommend you replace the machine with another manufacturer’s product.
Shame on GE for the low quality of their current top loaders - I know they
can do better than this!
currently being built by Whirlpool, called ‘direct-drives’, use no
belt at all, but a rubber and plastic ‘coupler’ instead (see coupler
picture and how-to-replace article here).
This has been a source of problems on these fine washers, but after 4 or 5
revisions of this part, they’ve hit upon a pretty reliable design, the
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