atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,


The washing machine died tonight. Specifically, the belt in the washing machine died, and it died a horrible, smoky, stinky death.

I was laying in bed, having a bit of a lie-down before making dinner, when this HOT RUBBER smell began pervading the house. I came out of the bedroom and looked around.

Mrs. Fungus said, "I smell it too!" But a quick check of the bunker showed nothing obvious wrong, which meant it was probably something in the basement--

Then I remembered that Mrs. Fungus had been doing a load of laundry, and it all clicked.

Downstairs, a toxic cloud of burned rubber smoke hung in the air, a sickening miasma of carbonized latex. When I lifted the lid on the washing machine there was smoke hovering over the damp clothes. I unplugged the washer and felt the sides to make sure it wasn't on fire--there was enough smoke that I was worried it was--but everything was quite literally cool. Smelly, but cool.

Got the indoor tool kit, popped the front off the washer--everything looked okay to casual inspection, so I plugged it back in, set it to a spin cycle, and...nothing. I started to wind up some unhappy words, but then remembered that washer doesn't spin if interlock is out so I found my screwdriver and pressed the interlock switch, and the tub started turning.

Good news! It's not the motor!

Unplugged it, then had a gander at the motor and transmission. The whole transmission turned in the "spin" direction--as it's supposed to--and the tub pulley turned easily enough in the "wash" direction once I got the clothes out. That left the belt. It's been at least nine years since I last had this thing apart, so it took me a few minutes to figure out how to get the belt off, but once I had it off, the tale was plainly told: the belt is shot.

Thank God it's just the belt. It's maybe a ten or twenty dollar part, and it ought to be good for a few years at least. The belt that died this evening, as I said, went on in 2006 at the absolute latest, but I seem to recall putting it in not long after I moved back here in 2004--and if it's been ten years, then how the hell can you complain about that?

Of course, if I put a new belt in this thing and it still doesn't work, then we're back to square one. But there's nothing wrong with the electrical system, and as I said the mechanical parts turn easily enough; it's just that the belt won't transmit torque from the motor to the tub pulley. If there's another issue I for dang sure ought to be able to figure it out and fix it. Right? Right??


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