Monday, July 25, 2011

How To Repair A Clogged Adora GE Washing Machine

I try to do laundry on weekends, since the electricity is cheaper, and I have more time to take almost-dry clothes out of the drier before they wrinkle.  Sunday afternoon, I noticed that the fabric softener "tray" was all backed up with milk water, rendering it functionally useless.  I Could Have called a service technician, and spent $100 or $200 to have someone attempt to fix it, or I could do what I did below.

Again, no warranty is implied or given here - do these repairs at your own risk, or don't do them.  I am not responsible for your actions.

The detergent / bleach / softener drawer comes out easily.  It's design is rather straight forward - which is nice to see.  There's a small tab on the left side that is easily depressed, which "unlatches" the drawer from its slide.  I carefully depressed the little latch, and pulled out the drawer which was near to over-flowing with milky white water/softener mixture, and carried it to the sink, where I dumped the contents.

Now, keep in mind, I've never had this apart before, so it took some learning.  And while the curve was not steep, and I had the right tools, taking the photos required some time, so altogether I had about 1/2 an hour into the rebuild. Even if you don't have all the tools, or an engineering degree, with a sink, some tooth pics and patience, you can do this too.

Upon removal of the softener tray cover, which lightly, gently "snapped in" to it's tray, the problem was readily identifiable.  Lots of white "goop" had clogged up the tray & its refill tube (as seen on the right).  I credit this to Arizona's low humidity, as well as Dr. Desert Flower's proclivity to wanting to use lots of liquid fabric softener.  (I personally use dryer sheets, 2 or 3 if doing towels or bed spreads).

Removing the bleach cover, I found no such goop under it.  Don't worry about confusing them, they're clearly marked BLEACH and FABRIC SOFTENER, so in case you forget when you re-assemble.  The middle one is bleach, the far right side is for fabric softener. 
I used a trickle of running water, and my finger, to get rid of most of the goop.  In late July, the "cold" water temperature here is above body temp (close to 100F) so you may need to run warmer water if you don't live on the surface of the sun.  The washing machine basically floods the tray from below, and the feed tube "bubbles" water up into the tray.  Solidified fabric softener had blocked that tube.  I used a small instrument screw driver and a dental pick to remove the residual goop there.

Cleaning out all of the goop allowed the back flow system to work properly.  The Adora's manual says that after 5 years, the owner needs to change out the tubing which will clog or embrittle.  I tried to see where these tubes were - hopefully serviceable? - but to no avail.  All I could find was a tray shaped cavity, with a little bit of residual goop, mold, and moisture in it.  A bleach sanitary wipe (generic Chlorox wipe) was able to remove the goop, black mold, and get the cavity nice and clean.
Reassembled, and re-installed, I've done 3 loads of laundry in the washer without problems.  One of those loads was a "cat wash" where I take the afghans, towels, and blankets we leave around the furniture for the cats to lounge on, and wash them to try and get much of the hair, dander, and residual kitty little out of them - after SHAKING them outside to get rid of the loose litter and hair - that's a nice sneeze-fest, and the wind needs to be blowing the right direction so that the shaken-off hair doesn't blow right into the pool (ew!).

So after completely reassembling, it is important to check the drain holes for the door seal to make sure they are not clogged either.  That is done simply by gently turning back the seal with your fingers, and looking at the drain holes. 

Any cat hair balls, or liberated bits of plastic or rubber from washing bath mats, or anything that is too large to fit through the three small rectangular drain holes can carefully be removed with your fingers to clear the holes.  I try to do this about once a month, at least.  If you're washing more nasty / dirty things, you should clean this out more often.

Oh, and the detergent tray is a rather simple plastic injection molding that was assembled rather rapidly, in a shop (probably China) that didn't have very tight quality control.  You can see here, in the photo below, the sprue that the assembler broke off hurriedly, and didn't trim.  Maybe it won't matter.. but maybe it'll catch on something some day, or cut someone who is making repairs. Sloppy work. (No, I did not cut myself, but I could have). 

I hope that helps others out there who may be having similar problems.  The "how to" postings appear to be drawing hits by the hundreds, so good luck to you.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment here, or email me at the address on my profile. - JJP

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