The Art of Keeping Things Running

The Art of Keeping Things Running

The disappointment over the quality of durable goods

Retirement hobbies and challenges

Joys of visible accomplishments

Having liberty of time to do anything that one wishes to do is a privilege and it is also a responsibility to assure that minutes and hours are spend in some valuable way. This value can be measured and judged in any which way by utilizing either a personal measuring stick or a public social judgement. As a test, I am throwing this one to the masses. A time-value of money measure for one who has more time than money but enough money to have time – how would you judge this?

Early in September my twelve-year old Samsung front loader washing machine started to throw an “Nd” code (No Drain Condition) – followed by some violent spinning and an “E3” code (a drum overflow with water). I opened the filter on the bottom of the washer and into my face spilled water mixed with “gray sand” and little specs of gravel. Alas! I considered two conclusions:

(1)    I or someone else washed a bunch of rocks and/or sand which made their way to the filter
(2)    Since I have a well, maybe the water going to the washer bypasses the whole house filter and some disturbance caused the washer to receive sand and gravel?

After diligently cleaning of the filter, I tried some rinse and spin cycles, resulting in a jumpy drum and more gray pebbles and sand coming out of the washer. Time to dig in deeper. Erik, my faithful partner who is always game for an adventure, and I took apart few elements of the washer. In the bottom hose connecting the drum to the filter, we discovered larger “rocks” that because of their size would have no chance to sneak into the unit via water hoses. Hmm?

Something big must be broken:
(1)    Step one – how much is a new washer? $900-$1200
(2)    Step two – how much is a used washer on FB market place? +/- $200 and up
(3)    Step three – what is wrong with the current washer and is it fixable?

Clearly getting someone to fix this twelve-year old unit would be more costly than paying +/- $200 to buy a used one and there are plenty to choose from but why not take this opportunity to play and maybe learn something? It took minutes not hours to locate a part called “spider” and a youtube video providing step by step instructions describing the process of replacing the broken part. Knowledge is so easy to find on the Internet and so is stuff, amazon was selling the part for $135 dollars with a free two-day delivery to my doorstep.

So let the games begin. It took us a little over two hours to take the unit apart following the youtube video instructions. Honorable mention to Erik and I for not getting overly aggravated with each other during the process.

Looking at the old spider we concluded that it is such a pity and frankly it should be an embarrassment to Samsung for utilizing such a crappy part for such an important function in the washer. Reading people’s opinions, a consensus is that Samsung wants this durable good not to be too durable. Quick Internet search says that an average lifespan of a washer should be 12 to 14 years. This sounds like I should be happy with my 12-year lifespan but frankly having a peek into the technology, I am NOT! Everything else seemed in a perfect condition except for the machined aluminum-alloy spider, the weakest link – and I think that is not OK!

I am so glad that the 45 minutes video ( is so tremendously detailed regarding how to take the unit apart and also how to put it together!

We totally anticipated that we would have issues putting the machine together but frankly the entire process was pretty simple the ergonomics of the design was impeccable making it an almost fool proofed solution. I would still fire the entire Samsung material engineering team for the quality of the spider but give bonuses to Samsung product managers who assess long term profits and force customers to buy new units (if only customers remain loyal to Samsung). Total assembly took us 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Once the reassembly was completed, we took the machine for a spin and bravo! Error codes were gone, the drum was spinning smoothly and there were no leaks!

  1. Total cost of the fix $157 (includes the spider, replacement screws, recommended replacement rubber gasket, threadlocker blue gel.)
  2. Total time for the project between 4ish hours
  3. Inconvenience of one week of not having a working washer
  4. Sense of accomplishment for actually fixing something. Appliance technicians recommended purchasing a new unit this one not being worthy of a fix.
  5. Joy of retaining a matching blue pair of appliances as opposed to mismatched pair of a new washer and an older dryer
  6. Learning experience of solving a puzzle, learning about appliances and perhaps being better next time if need arises (the next spider to go will be on the dryer)
  7. Bragging rights to friends and family for successfully accomplish a complex task|
  8. Bonding experience for a couple to do something together and to be successful at it

How do we summarize the overall event? I think it was worth it! An enrichment activity for a person with a little extra time and a too few dollars.

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