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We bought a Kenmore Tumble Action Washer (which the Sears website calls a Kenmore White-on-white 3.1 cu. ft. Front Load Electric Washer w/Eco Care™ System!) last Tuesday. It was delivered Thursday, but I didn’t see it in action until yesterday.


Wow. I’m not one to wax on about appliances, but this thing is awesome. It uses a lot less water than a top-loading model. It saves energy. It’s quieter. It’s fun to watch. It’s gentler on clothes. And it spins clothes much drier, so they don’t have to spend much time in the dryer.

This is a bottom-of-the-line front-loader; it only cost $600 some dollars. That’s three times what a cheap top-loader costs, but it might just pay for itself if it holds up for a good long time. Some of the reviews at Epinions make me wonder if we should have bought the extended warranty.

Update — July 27th: Mailed in my rebate coupon.
Update — September 4th: Got my rebate check.
Update — 2005: Washer destroyed by flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Published inConsumerismOur House


  1. I heard the lady who works at the 24-hour laudromat on 17th Street waxing poetic about front-loading washers. She said the top loaders don’t get clothes as clean–something about the centrifugal (sp?) force in front loaders compared to top loaders and the way dirt sinks to the bottom, soap goes to the top, and clothes don’t really shift position in top loaders. I figure if anyone knows, it’s the ladies at the laundromat.

  2. Plus top-loaders have those damn “agitators.” That doesn’t sound good. Agitators should be in politics, not your laundry!

    I forgot to mention that our sheets actually feel softer.

  3. Diane Diane

    You should buy the extended warranty. I have the same machine and our repair man (Sears) said the motor and computer board have gone. I bought the machine 2.5 years ago. The cost to repair is more than the machine. The repair guy also told me that he had %100 failure after 3 years with those components. The model # starts 417. Hope this helps. I am now in conversation with Sears Corporate to see if they will cover the cost of repair parts.

  4. BM BM

    I have the same washer and just had the glass on the inside of the door shatter into my clothes during a normal washing cycle. Has anyone else had a similar problem? I was told by sears that I should have bought the extended warranty for $60 at the time of pruchase because I just was forced to buy a warranty at $189 which was cheaper than the >$300 for a service call and part replacement.

  5. Heemstede Heemstede

    I had a cheap “asian” tumble washer when I lived in Holland 20 years ago. I had 3 small kids and up until that time when through Shout by the gallon with my american top loader. I loved my tumble machine. It got the clothes really clean and young children can make them very dirty! and my gallons of Shout turned into a cup. The machine would even take out set in blood! I loved it. Then I moved back to the states and could not find a front loader. They are available now, but in monster sizes. I want a small simple machine like my “asian” model that works well. Looks like I should stay away from Kennmore.

  6. I should note we never had any problems with the washer described above — but we only had it for little over a year before it was destroyed in the flooding of New Orleans.

  7. SS SS

    We have this machine and apparently fill it with too many clothes during washings. The door gets pushed out during the wash cycles enough to stop the machine, make it humm all night and not finish the wash cycle.

  8. Brian Brian

    Guess you sick about the Hurricane flood. However I should tell you what fun it is to spend four hours opening the inside drum to replace the bearing and then spending the hundreds for the new parts on my model 417 Front Load Washer. That hurricane did you a favor with yours. Hope you pick out a better washer in the future. Hey you could sell the parts on e-bay.

  9. Pos. washer Pos. washer

    I have a front load Sears model 417-43042200. It has been a piece of crap from day one! My clothes smell of mildew,it has flooded my home resulting in a couple month motel stay!!!!! After about five years of washing machine hell it now makes a very bad knocking noise. I am done with Sears Kennmore. What a waist of time and money it has been!!!!!!

  10. robin robin

    We just bought a kenmore tumble action washer about 6 months ago and the seal, is leaking slowly during wash. I think, the gasket maybe broken. anyone have this happen to them?

  11. ron ron

    We had our Kenmore 417 for six years and within last six weeks is now leaving brown stains on clothes that don’t come out. Apparently it is oil. Have seen a lot of mad people on net about problems with this washer. Had a White-Westinghouse front load for 18 years with only wear replacement of the belt pulley before we had to replace because couldn’t find replacement motor. This Kenmore won’t last half as long without major repairs. What’s quality?!

  12. Sharon Sharon

    Sears Kenmore Model # 417.43142300 has only lasted 3 years for 1 to 3 loads per week. Bearing failure just like many others have complained of.

    Can’t believe Consumer Reports rated this one so high.

  13. kay kay

    Kenmore was once a reliable name. No longer true, our model#417 is only four years old (not very long lived for a washer) and it is kaput. Oil on brand new white sheets and towels is an ugly thing. Given the price of this machine and all its praises, I am convinced Sears Kenmore has been aware of this problem of the bearings for a very long time and just opts to go for the quick dough. I will NEVER buy another thing from Sears and I do mean never.

    One more major rip-off by shoddy manufacturing and one more disgusted consumer.

  14. I hate Sears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They sold me on the stackable washer and dryer only 3 and a half years ago and the washer crapped out and the re pairman says $899.0 to fix? Get real it only cost me $600 in ’04. What kind of crap is that? He says a part needs replacement that had worn out. I do maybe one load every two weeks. I am single and wear a uniform to work. This is apsolutely ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so angry at Sears, that I am telling everyone and anyone not to shop at that store. My mother worked for Sears for over 50 years and I got a discount, free delivery and service, etc., and I am telling you all to but cheap and buy from whomever you need to to not get into this predicament, of bringing your laundry to a public facility to wash and this is why America is going to the crapper when we can’t depend on the institutions that we were brought up with that instilled quality and fair dealings. What a bunch of crap. Sears Sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Kathy3Kids Kathy3Kids

    We too have a eco system washer model 417 that we bought in 2004. It recently started knocking during the rinse cycle like the drum might fly out of it. I am very disappointed with this product. Now I’m afraid to buy another Kenmore! Sears said that they cannot send anyone out for a week since it is Xmas. With 3 kids, dirty clothes are piling up……

  16. Yvonne Yvonne

    I purchased Kenmore 417.43042200 3/2003 in 7/2005 stabilizer arm broke…1/2 cost of washer in repair costs. Found I was getting those mysterious brown marks on my clothes…found a build up of old soap and dirt inside the gasket that sells around door…cleaned it out (took some work) and no more problem…except now it knocks so bad while spinning it scares me…but I don’t want another $300+ repair cost after 5 years so I am really thinking of junking it for another model after reading comments here.

  17. Aimee Aimee

    I have owned the tumble action wahser (417) for 5 years and have loved it…yesterday I had wter flowing everywhere in my home. After taking the back of the washer apart I found a fist size hole in the holding bin that surrounds the steel basket. Has anyone experienced this problem?

  18. Nancy Wirth Nancy Wirth

    I have the Kenmore model 417 as well ans it recently started knocking during the rinse cycle like the drum might fly out of it…I noticed some other people have had the same problem…wanted to know if any of you have a suggestion on how to fix. THnak you for any help.

  19. Robert Keaton Robert Keaton

    I am looking into the mouth of the beast as I sit and evaluate the knocking noise that we started experiancing about 2 wash cycles ago. We had a problem with the front gasket getting twisted and holding water against the door after a wash. We had to hold a towl uunder the door evertime we opened it. I can live with a little water in the front, but the knocking during spin cycles is shaking the house. I will pull the back off and check the bearings. We purchased new LG washer and dryer last night from Home Depot. Never another Kenmore from Sears. I’ll let you know how the bearings turn out.

  20. james and charlotte james and charlotte

    The knocking that seems to make the house want to fall down is due to the shoch absorbers on the bottom of the machine or so I believe. I thought that the brown stains were just because I get my clothes Really dirty with oil but i guess it wasn’t my fault and now my wife can’t blame me anymore.
    It was always my clothes making everything dirty but low and behold it was evil sears….. u suck sears and well now i won’t be beaten anymore. I don’t think I will fix this machine but rather get a cool new LG

  21. Ben Ben

    Does anyone know if you can take out the bottom detergent drawer of the 417? The area where the washer/dryer is located is a tight fit and I can’t adjust the feet to balance the unit.

  22. I have a kenmore 417.43142300 that I purchased from Sears 2/28/2004. Last weekend I did a load of sheets and when it came to the spin cycle it sounded like it was going to take off. It was pretty much done so I shut it off and took the sheets out. Some of the sheets had grease marks on it and one pillow case had round grease marks from the drum. I didn’t want to call Sears because they are so expensive on repairs, so I called a guy who used to work for Sears but he didn’t work on appliances just TV but recommended I call a private repair guy that could really help me. My husband seemed to think the shaft was going and maybe barrings? When I told him my problem he told me these machines are known for these problems in 6 to 8 years and that I should invest in new machine. Definitely not buying from SEARS! I guess I really got the “SHAFT”.

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