Tuesday, August 07, 2012

This Close to Genius

Hey there! Well... I've been away... went on a roadtrip to Birmingham to help my daughter get her new apartment in shape to move in. Access to the computer was nil most of the time and we were away the rest of the time traveling back to Atlanta to deliver a washer to someone (ironically) as well as enjoying the longest yard sale (woohoo! We got to go for a day!), so blogging got pushed to the wayside for awhile. I'll tell you about the sale later. Today, I want to share with you my near - genius with washing machine repair.

It so happened that the day before I was to leave, my own washing machine broke down, in that it won't spin. There was a lot of wringing of clothes and hands because, well, a washer does play a unique and useful roll in the life of our home. However, I had so much to do to get ready for my trip that I gave up worrying about it for the time being. What else could I do? It would be here waiting for me upon my return. Now I'm back, and I was right. It's still broken. The magic fix-it fairies must get more vacation time than I do because they haven't been by. The nerve.

So I drove North to the beauty of Birmingham and my daughter, Cally, by way of the Florida Turnpike for starters.

For those of you who fret about such things...don't worry...these photos although taken while driving about 78 mph, were done by just holding the camera up, pointing it in one direction or another without looking and letting it focus itself. I didn't ever take my eyes off the road or put my eye to the camera. It was the best I could do as I was traveling alone. It was fun to see later what kind of shots I actually ended up with.

I didn't get out the door as early as I had planned, but it was still dark when I left, and I got to watch the sun come up and the fog burn off as I drove.

But before I can get to the story of my trip and the longest yard sale adventure, let me tell you about today's joyous events.

The need for clean clothes still hangs heavy, but replacing my washer is tricky. Getting it out from where it is and getting a new one in place is difficult (not to mention expensive). So I decided to try to diagnose the problem myself with a little help from the internet. I mean, really, one step at a time, shouldn't I be able to figure out how to take it apart and find the problem?

Sometimes the internet is helpful and gives you the detailed directions on how to do things. I'm not usually that lucky, but that didn't stop me from wasting hours searching first for inexpensive washers and then for a magic do-it-yourself guide. I did manage to get some hints from the misdirections I found, and after having already ripped off  carefully dismantled the two front panels of the washer, I proceeded to do my best to tear the washer completely apart thoughtfully and painstakingly remove one part after another, hoping to find a sock wedged somewhere...a sock that would prove to be the culprit as well as prove my genius and save me a bundle of money, as well as the aggravated, frustrated and really ticked off vocalization of emotion I'm prone to while working on things I have no idea how to do while I dream of someone riding in on a white horse who might save the day. Don't laugh - it could happen. See my previous experience with such here: To Those Who Ride White Horses. Face it, I've had more than my share of white horse riders gallop in to save the day. However, today is not one of those days. Today I'm on my own. I wanted to attempt a daring feat and be able to shout out, "I'm a genius" as I'm prone to doing whenever I figure out something tricky.

I also figured I could avoid getting sweat and dirt all over my clothes as I try to unwedge my washer, scrape the walls up as I try to get it up one step, through two doorways, around a corner, down two steps, through the grass and to the road (and it can only be done on Wednesday night or the code guy will fine me). Then I'd have to find a way to haul another one home, do the whole process in reverse and try to hook it up with the same rig job the old one had to prevent the wash water from overflowing, which was a problem for three years previously, and I have no idea how to do that plumbing. That is another whole story altogether. I'll spare you.

Well, it so happens the air conditioning doesn't reach where the washer is and I had to attach one of the clamp lamps I found at a garage sale onto the washer so I could see. (Score one for the things I purchased knowing one day it would come in handy. It did!) So I was under the hot light sweating profusely and getting dirt and grease all over me anyway. So much for bypassing that by tearing this apart and trying to fix it myself. And so much for trying not to sweat and get dirty since I don't have a washer to wash my clothes!

I was thrilled when I actually had the right socket wrench piece to remove the bolts to get the front pieces off of the washer. Now that I could see in there, I could tell the belt was not broken and that it moved fine. So that's one thing I know is NOT the problem. The motor area at the bottom of the machine looked much more complicated, and it was beyond me to know what down there could be the culprit. I hoped I could discover something around the agitator area because that seemed like the easiest for me to figure out and to fix, so I worked diligently to unclamp the tub from the barrel part hoping my eagerness could just will that to be the problem. I managed to get all but two stubborn clips to come undone.

Finally, after nearly removing the tip of my right forefinger in the process of trying to work the tough ones in the back (a finger tip which I would like to keep), I got one of the stubborn clips undone, and only one remained.

I lifted as much of the top piece I was trying to unclamp as I could but apparently this step was not helpful yet, so I moved on to get the dispenser cap off with a screwdriver (tricky but doable eventually, if you don't give up). After that I could remove the agitator and then hopefully the liner to the tub.

There was a bolt down inside the agitator that I had to undo to get the agitator off. I found the right sized socket for it and got it off! I was feeling pretty good about my mechanical skills at this point because I was so close to getting it apart. I felt very close to being able to proclaim my genius as I uncovered the problem. Oh the anticipation! Hopefully a pesky sock was wedged underneath stopping the thing from turning. Please, please, pretty please, let that be it!

Once that part was off though, my hopes were dashed! I was discouraged to discover there was nothing caught there. My genius hit the wall and there was nothing more that I could possibly do from what I considered the "easy" angle.

In the back of my head was the hope that even if I couldn't find the problem, maybe tearing this thing apart would save money when I do have to call a service guy who charges by the hour (or worse yet as someone online suggested: by the quarter hour!). Knowing what the problem ISN'T should be an asset too and save him some time as well, right? Wouldn't that be genius? At this point I was grasping at all "genius straws".

I almost threw in the towel though and got ready to put everything back and figured it truly was a problem just from underneath in the motor area. But then I cleaned up some of the lint and saw that the lint was concealing four more bolts which attach the tub to the base. Ah, ha! I could take that part off as well. I hoped doing so might lead me one step closer to solving the mystery of the spinning problem. If not, maybe I would be one step closer to saving on the labor costs, and I hoped I wasn't just causing more trouble by removing things the repair guy (if I ever even call one) would have to put back on. Perish the thought!

But, wouldn't ya know...the bolts were stuck. My brute strength was waning. I finally did something that loosened one, but no matter how much I worked the others, they would't budge. My hands were sore from trying to undo and pry things and my bony wrists are hardly any match for these bolts, so with one of them removed,  I was stuck. There are no strong arms or hands in the vicinity to pick up the slack.

So sad. I was this close to genius...

I know - what a shame, right?

Who knows what I may have discovered once I removed the tub. At least I know now that things don't get trapped under the agitator. I always wondered. Some consolation. There is no way for anything to get stuck in a drainage hose either, which I always thought might be a problem. Woopie.

I spent close to an hour on this, between running for new tools, the light, etc., and then figuring out how to get the parts off. By that time, I decided I had wasted enough of my limited vacation time trying to do something that may or may not pan out. I will take a few deep breaths, go play around with the junk I bought at longest yard sale in Gadsden, AL last week and plan my next move.

I didn't buy much, but here's a hint at a few of the items I snagged.

This, that and the other...

More to come on the sale and my trip to Alabama and just a little something I made for Cally's new room at her new apartment.

That's right...I finally got one of these!

If you've ever torn your washer apart to discover why the tub won't spin and had success at it, feel free to share your genius. I could use a genius refresher course right about now. I'm not giving up yet, just taking a break to blog and eat, and of course I have to mow the lawn now too. Aren't vacations great.

If you haven't ever torn your washer apart, now you know a bit more about what's behind and underneath that metal covering.

Yes, of course, you are very welcome.


Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style


  1. I'm no help... but I AM laughing. Not AT you... but with you. LOL!

    Maybe tonight the bolts will loosen THEMSELVES and you can continue with your appliance repair side-job! On the flip side... if they don't and the tub liner stays out... put some casters on it and a glass top. They make really cool side tables!

    And! At least you took a road-trip, complete with garage sales!!!

    :) robelyn
    (i'm staying tuned...)

  2. That sounds just like something I would try. Oh Lord, why do we do this??? I just end up more aggravated than ever. Can't wait to see what you got at the yard sale!

  3. I'm sorry,I know I shouldn't laugh,but you are so funny. I don't know where you got the energy to attempt it. I take my hat off to you for trying. I bet you fix it too with that determination and some fuel inside you. My dad used to say,it all else fails, wash your face and have a cuppa tea. :) xx Good luck

  4. well, the trip and yard sale sound fun---the washer, not so much:( i'm wondering if the motor on it died...i hope the rest of your week is better:)

  5. I never attempt to do that. Good thing hubby is great fixing
    our appliances. At least you tried ;)


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