The word length effect is the finding that short items are remembered better than long items on immediate serial recall tests. The time-based word length effect refers to this finding when the lists comprise items that vary only in pronunciation time. Three experiments compared recall of three different sets of disyllabic words that differed systematically only in spoken duration. One set showed a word length effect, one set showed no effect of word length, and the third showed a reverse word length effect, with long words recalled better than short. A new fourth set of words was created, and it also failed to yield a time-based word length effect. Because all four experiments used the same methodologyand varied only the stimulus sets, it is argued that the time-based word length effect is not robust and as such poses problems for models based on the phonological loop.