Opinion

Make Laundry Great Again

Dryer on angleThis was the beast after the job was done. It wasn’t easy to get there, to get it all back together again. But it was the culmination of my effort to Make. Laundry. Great. Again.

That’s right. This Whirlpool Dryer had quit working. Like a lot of older workers, it probably wondered what its fate would be.

If you’re old and unable to do the job any longer, it’s usually out with the old and in with the new(er) model.

Shiny.

Sleek.

Digital.

Smart.

New machines are not manufactured in this country. To be honest, this old trooper probably wasn’t either. I hear President Trump is in the process of talks with Canada and Mexico regarding renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

NAFTA is a bad deal according to our new President, but the truth is that factory jobs where dryers of this kind were manufactured are long beyond defunct. Automation has taken over and robots do all the heavy lifting now. I figure President Trump will eventually get this and look to focus efforts on retraining of displaced factory workers, instead of trying to bring back jobs forever lost.

That said, I needed to see if I could get the machine working again (before I would consider a newer one). It goes without saying that I needed to get this done at a reasonable price, too.

I began the process of working the phones and every appliance repair outfit in Kentuckiana is teeming with business–some so much so, that they couldn’t even have anyone out to look at the dryer before three to four weeks’ time.

When I did finally get someone to come look at it, I was informed it’d be $90 to come out, whether I was going to proceed with any repairs or not. I didn’t know the first thing about dryer repair, so I was pretty much stuck with this route. I should have prefaced this by saying it’d have been almost two weeks before a delivery and install of a new dryer would be possible.

Evidently, the appliance business is booming

An hour before the repair guy was set to come out, I got a call from him. I explained the symptoms and he told me it was definitely the motor. He further advised that I put the $300 plus he would charge for the repair towards the purchase of a new dryer.

That would not do. I was on a mission to make laundry great again.

I started thinking. What is the logical thing to do in this case with the information at hand so far? If you guessed YouTube you would be correct.

I found a video of what I thought was the closest thing to my repair scenario. It didn’t seem too difficult, but I’m a practical guy who understands it always takes more time than the guys doing it in the instructional videos.

I remained undeterred. After finding a video that appeared applicable to my situation, I grew confident. I ended up ordering a used motor on eBay for $25. It would be $17 and change to ship it. The best part was that it’d be here in no more than three days. This was important.

I had paid the people at the laundromat to dry the sheets and pillow cases that were set for drying in my unit before it failed. They ended up charging $12 and I thought I had missed my calling once again. To their credit, though, they did fold the linens nicely, including the fitted sheet which, as far as I was concerned, was a minor miracle in itself.

Dryer drumNow it was time to proceed once the new (used) motor, incidentally with 30-day warranty, mind you, arrived. I took a few pictures as I worked so that I wouldn’t lose my place so easily once I reconstructed the unit.

This sucker had seen better days. I found a couple of bugs that hadn’t breathed since the Clinton administration. I continued without reservation.

Dryer connection

This one was one of the connections I wanted to be sure I’d remember when putting things back together.

Dryer springs

These were two of the dryer springs that went behind the bottom face plate. I thought it important to remember their orientation, but in hindsight, it really didn’t matter which end was up.

Dryer pulley

This was the dryer pulley once I disconnected the belt around the drum.

Old dryer motor

And, finally, the old dryer motor: fuzzy, burnt up and laden with grime that predated the Carter administration.

The old motor was a story in itself. It was probably the original motor. The replacement looked identical to me, with the exception of the amount of bacteria engulfing it. I theorized the replacement motor was not an aftermarket item manufactured in China. I think I’m right, but time will tell.

When I first began this journey, I was not seeking to make fun of anybody, place, person or thing. I just wanted to see if I could repair the dryer myself. But, as often occurs during these travails, all is never how it seems at the onset.

In the process I learned a lot about the dryer, what it has to go through to get the job done and again wondered if it had been a “smart” dryer like those of today, would it feel I was dumb for repairing it?

I feel no emptiness, though. How could I? Everything is good when you can make laundry great again.

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