Monday, March 15, 2010

The Maytag repairman is still lonely

posted Sun, 30 Apr 2006

And the deed is done! SH arrived chez moi at 2:20. I fed him lunch (it’s only right, don’t you think?), but didn’t let him dawdle as he usually does over meals. By 3:15, he was in work clothes and the basement. I had the scene set: the work light, the new parts, a regular screwdriver, a Philips-head screwdriver, and a wrench. If any other tools were going to be required, we were going to be in trouble. I do have a super-duper Swiss Army knife – surely anything else we needed could have been found on that. I have also found that hitting something with the heel of one’s shoe is often effective. If nothing else, it relieves frustration on the part of the hitter.

We tackled the dryer first. SH had found a very useful website showing the routing of the belt for a Magic Chef dryer. It was quite useful, because we couldn't do as for most repairs -- look at what the thing is now and then make sure it looks like that again when you are done. But with a broken belt, you have no “before” to see. You have to count on the diagram.

The diagram would have been even more useful if it hadn’t been backwards.

No matter. We soon figured it out and then had to go on to the challenge of actually 1) getting the belt onto the two little thingamabobs, 2) pulling the one thingamabob back and maintaining the tension on it so there was enough slack in the belt so we could 3) put the drum back in the body and put the belt around it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Ha. Not so easy. I don’t know how one person does this alone. We knew exactly what needed to be done but we needed four arms – really long, skinny ones – to do it.

The washer was actually easier to repair. Physically, I mean. SH found a fabulous website that explained every step of how to replace the motor coupling for my washing machine. It even had photos! This was great – the part had come without instructions, despite Keisha’s assurance that it would have instructions. The washer is so old that the owner’s manual is out of print.

But every single step had photos. It wasn’t like the Haynes Automotive Repair Manual. If Haynes wrote medical manuals, they would describe a heart transplant like this:

1. Cut open chest.
2. Remove old heart.
3. Installation is the reverse of removal.

We followed the steps and soon had the old parts (what was left of them) off and the new ones on. A suggestion to Whirlpool – maybe if you made the parts out of metal instead of plastic, they wouldn’t wear out. Just a thought. Any engineers out there who want to tell me why plastic is preferred over metal, jump into the fray.

It took us two hours to repair both machines. SH was superfantastic and wonderful and I am thrilled and grateful that he surprised me like this. Cost of parts: $36.78. Cost of labor (to me): I bought lunch and then took SH to a concert. Way cheaper than new machinery or a repairman. Maybe I’ll set up shop. It’s very satisfying to fix things and way more fun than looking for a new job.

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