Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Washer Tanked Again

I need to rename my blog The Washer Diaries or Saga of a Failing Washer or something like that. Seriously, my washer keeps raising it’s ugly head, way too often for my liking. And yet, I love my washer (when it works) and I just wanted to share how God helped me fix it once again.

A couple of weeks ago DH was doing laundry and the washer blew the GFCI outlet it was plugged into. Now, some of you will know that washers and GFCI outlets are not the best match and, while I didn’t know that till now, it had never given us trouble in all the nearly 8 years we’ve been in this house. Suddenly it was tripping the little breaker every time we tried to run it. Oh the humanity!




I did not feel like dealing with that washer any more. It’s always such an ordeal just to find the source of the problem, even though the people on the various forums I turn to are great; it just takes quite a lot of time and I felt quite defeated. I think DH realized this and for the first time since we got our washer way back in the late 90s, started to really consider replacing it.

The problem is that we just don’t have money for a new washer and, from what I read, used washers are not the best investment, especially the newer washers which seem to suffer a myriad of issues ranging from leaking to electrical malfunctions to more major part failures, often after only 3 or so years. They certainly don’t seem to have the longevity of the old workhorses that used to be built. Our washer would be considered one of the older ones though it doesn’t look that old, but the controls are all manual and much easier and less expensive to repair than the new, electronic driven ones. After nearly 2 weeks of no washer and behemoth piles of laundry, I finally decided I’d let my forum buddies have a crack at my washer’s symptoms.

There were a few different ideas ranging from a bad timer, bad GFCI outlet, bad capacitor, gunk in the motor connector causing grounding problems. The first thing we did was replace the GFCI outlet. The reason we put another GFCI outlet in is that the outlet is in a bathroom next to a sink.

Awhile back we bought a backup of our washer for cheap with the thought that if our washer needed parts, scalping them from the backup washer would be cheaper than buying new parts. So I pulled the timer out of the backup and put it in our washer. No change.

Next I pulled the washer away from the wall and tipped it back so that I could get to the underbelly. I got the pump out of the way, pulled out the motor to check the drive coupler and found a nearly spent coupler gasket, but more importantly, I found that the mounting plate that screws into the transmission, which the motor mounts onto, was being held on by one loose bolt!

Geo and I looked everywhere for the other bolt and could not find it. Where could it have gone? I’m still scratching my head about that one. So I asked DH to get me more bolts so I could fix that. I was hoping that it was the odd angle that the motor had to be at that put some strain on the motor causing it to trip the breaker.

As soon as I had the bolt, I put it all back together (both bolts present and accounted for and very snug) and … it was still tripping the breaker. Frustration. The next thing that I could try was to try swapping out the motor so I did that.

I went out to the backup and pulled out the motor from it. It was all rusty and not very convincing-looking, but I tried it anyway. You know what? It worked! The breaker held and did not trip. Hooray! I was still a little unsure about the backup motor because it seemed so tight/hard to turn compared to the zapped motor, but one forum guy suggested I let it run by itself, unattached, to see if that would loosen it up a little. It did seem a little easier to turn after I did that so I hooked it all up and I was back in business!!! I think what happened was that the missing bolt caused the mounting plate to hang at an odd angle which put pressure on the motor, causing it to blow out. I feel a little bad about that because I was the one who put in the transmission last so the missing bolt has to point to me though I do know how to put it all together and I’m just not sure how I would have missed that. :\

For the first week or so I had been praying multiple times a day for a new washer, that God would give us a new washer. It turns out that God knew what was best for me and when I submitted to the possibility that a “new” washer may not have been God’s will, I quickly found the cause and was able to remedy it. For the cost of a few bolts, I am back in the laundry business, praise the Lord!

I don’t know how long this motor will last, but when it dies, we can still replace it for much less than the cost of a used washer. The washer has a new transmission, relatively new clutch & timer, new drive coupler, new feed dogs, new lid switch. There’s only a few other things that might likely fail in the next few years and we basically have a mostly refurbished machine which might give us years more of use. God is good and I thank Him for all His help!

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