Monday, January 9, 2012

Fixing the Washing Machine

While I am not the most inept person at fixing things, I am far from a handy man.  So, I hate it when I receive a call from my wife like the one I got on Friday - the one where she says that something is broken.  This means one of two things, or both.  Either, I will spend a lot of frustrating time trying to fix the item, or I will spend too much money to have it repaired or replaced.  Or, I will spend too much frustrating time trying to fix the item and then have to spend more money to fix or replace it.

My wife let me know that the washing machine stopped working; it was running and suddenly stopped spinning.  She had several loads to do and we continually have to use it because there are nine people, including a baby who is constantly spitting up on everyone's clothes, in the house.  It needed to be fixed ASAP.

Since I do not know what I am doing, I decide to go online for help.  Using Yahoo, I start my search.  As I am typing in the kind of machine, the drop down menu suggests that I am asking about this machine not spinning.  When Yahoo knows my question before I even finish it, then this must be a widespread problem.  Why does there have to be a widespread problem?  Well, at least there may be several people offering help.

From reading the articles, it looks like the "coupler" is bad and some other husbands have fixed it.  Good - I have a chance. Now, if I only knew what a coupler looked like. 

That can wait.  Surely, I have to open the machine to get to the coupler.  I look in the machine and there is no water in it.  Again, good - I don't have to drain anything.  I disconnect the hoses and water shoots everywhere.  Perhaps, I should have shut the water off first.  At least I knew to unplug the electric before I started working on it.  I yell for towels and clean up the water.

Now, for opening up the machine.  I unscrew the screws in the back.  After getting every visible screw out, the back will not come off.  Back to online help.  Oh, apparently, the back does not come off.  Instead, the front slides off.  I find diagrams for removing the front.  That was not too hard.

I look inside and nothing is labeled as a coupler.  I go back online.  Now, I find a video.  This is great.  I follow the video.  I turn the machine on its side and remove some screws and a bracket.  Two part should now separate and the coupler should be in between.  No such luck.  It looks like more screws need to be removed.  Which ones?  I could remove everything I see like I did on the back.  That did not work, so I will try something different.  Back online.  Oh, the guy on the video skipped a step.  Three bolts have to be removed, but he did not show that.  All right - the pieces separated and I can see the coupler.

The guy on the video said that you can tell if the coupler is the problem because you can visibly see that it is broken.  I look.  It does not appear to be broken.  I pull it out and YES, YES, YES it is broken.  Out loud, I yell, "All right!"  Did I just cheer because something was broken?  Yes, but that is because I hope that it really is the problem.

Now, I need a new coupler.  It is too late on Friday to get the part.  Hopefully, I can find it on Saturday.  I don't want to order online, because that will take too long to get.  We need the washer now.

On Saturday, I go to a parts store near my house.  The lady behind the counter is on the phone.  She looks grumpy.  It sounds like the customer on the phone is giving her a hard time.  I hope she will be nicer to me; I am a novice.  She slams down the phone.  It is my turn.  I think, "She will be nice to me because I will be nice.  I will smile.  I have a simple problem, after all Yahoo says couplers commonly break.  This will be easy for her."  I tell her that I need a coupler for a Kenmore washing machine, model series 80.  She is very annoyed with me.  She wants to know what the model number is.  I thought I just told her, it is a model series 80.  Apparently, that is not good enough for her.  I explain that I think this is a pretty common part and fairly standard on all wash machines.  She disagrees but can give me what she will guess I need - but it cannot be returned if it is the wrong part, after all, I did not know the exact model number.  I still think it is a common part, so, fine, I will buy it for $28.  In the car, I look at the bag.  It says that it fits nearly every washing machine ever made.  So, I am exaggerating, but it did say it fits most Kenmore, Maytag, Whirlpool, etc. washers.  I knew it was a common part.

At home, the part fits perfectly.  The pieces go back together.  There are no left over screws.  The hoses are back on.  The machine runs.  It spins.  It does not leak. Mission accomplished.  And now I can proudly tell the world that I fixed a washing machine.