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Miele W1918 gets W770 heart transplant

15 years ago

3 years ago I picked up a used Miele Novotronic W1918A + T1515 set.... been pretty happy with it, but over the past year the washer had developed a worsening wobble on high-rpm spin, which eventually turned into a loud knocking noise, and clothes came out too wet.

The inner drum also made a "creaking" noise when turning at low speed. One day when the knocking became a deafening banging and white smoke appeared in the drum during spin, I knew it was time to Do Something.

I had a tech out to look at the machine. He said there was a plate in back of the inner drum that had broken or cracked. Apparently, with the advent of the 19xx series, this part was cast from cheap "pot metal", making it both susceptible to failure and impossible to fix.

Officially, if this happens to your 1900 series washer, it's toast. Miele service simply won't fix it, since you'd have to completely dismantle the drum, which is a 10-hour job.

Unofficially? If you can find a drum assembly from a suitable earlier model, such as the W770, you can do a "heart transplant" and resurrect your faithful servant. This may be a better road if, like me, you have your doubts about the durability of later models, don't like dumbed-down Miele USA controls, don't need a cubic furlong of wash capacity, don't want to blow another $2K on appliances, or just like the idea of salvaging sturdy old equipment instead of junking it.

A replacement drum must be in good shape, no dents, and with no play in the bearings...drum rotation should be silky smooth with no creaking noises or slop. I don't know the cross-compatibility for all the different models... obviously your donor machine has to be the same capacity and drum depth at the least. My tech had a few spare W770 drums just lying around and was kind enough to give me one. They looked almost like twins side by side... compared to the 1918, the W770 drum lacks the tarry layer of sound-deadening material on the rear surface, but has the tougher steel inner drum backing plate, plus an extra cross-brace up front.

Pulling the drum isn't rocket science, esp if you have a torx screwdriver, 10mm and 13mm sockets, an array of pliers, and a very long ratchet extension, plus a little muscle & ingenuity. You remove the top cover, open the front panel, detach the door seal from chassis. Disconnect and remove the water inlet module, control and heater wire harnesses, and bottom drum/motor mounting bolts (leave shock absorbers in place). Then tip machine on its side, unhook tension springs and ease drum out (stop part-way to disconnect whichever wire or hose you missed the first time around). Swap motor, drivebelt, door seal, and any other needed fittings to your "new" old drum. You can swap the heating elements if you're concerned they may not be the same wattage.

In reassembly I had to use the 1918 bracket plates that mount the motor and connect to the shock absorber, because they were different... so these got swapped over along with the motor. The oversudsing/vent hose that goes from top of drum to rear of soap dispenser is a larger gauge at both ends in the 1918, so I used the older W770 tube which fit the drum opening but had to be stretched a bit to fit over the barb on the 1918 dispenser. The extra cross-brace made the mounting of the plastic water-level sensing device a bit different--a bolt instead of a plastic pin--but I was able to swap over the one from my 1918.

I've done 3 loads so far with no problems... great to have my Miele back!

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Interior Style by Marisa Moore
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