Repair or replace?

rogerv_gwMarch 14, 2014

I have a 13 year old Kenmore washing machine (fridgemore *smile*). Never thought we'd get 10 years out of this thing, let alone 13.

When a load of wash is done, there's a wet spot in the runner carpet in front of the washer, not ringing wet, or even all wet, just a spot about a foot in diameter. Any ideas on what this might be? It's not a lot of water, but some. And leaks don't tend to decrease over time, they increase.

What I'm trying to determine is what I would need to do to repair this, and whether it makes more sense to repair or replace it at this point in time.

Thanks much for any help.

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sparky823

Take the bottom of the machine off and run it to see where the water is coming from. Might be a loose clamp on a hose or from your detergent drawer running down or even the pump. Just need to watch it while running and see.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:33PM
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rogerv_gw

Good thought, need to find a diagram of how to take off the outside skin, then. I'll look for that online.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:52PM
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rogerv_gw

Not sure how you would take off the bottom? I can see how you could take off the top and still be able to run the machine, but I don't know if I'd be able to see what I need to see from the top?

Can ;you please clarify what you meant by "take the bottom of the machine off"?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:00PM
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rogerv_gw

I see now, you must be talking about the bottom front kick panel. Working on it *smile*.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:09PM
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sparky823

Yeah- Sorry. I should have worded that better. With that front cover off (bottom part) you should be able to see where the water is coming from hopefully.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:38PM
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rogerv_gw

Okay, there's a seam that I see in the bottom of the tank that contains the rotating part that the clothes go into *smile*. Highly technical terms here. There are regularly spaced hex-head screws that hold that seam together that you see the heads of when you look into the bottom of the washer that hold together that seam. The drip is from the lowest one of those "tank joining" points.

I can't see where the drip is originally from...it may be from the seam, or it may be coming from above and dripping off that lowest point on the tank. But I don't see any other drips, not from the water pump or drain hose or anything, but I can't see the stuff on top.

What are the chances that the tank seam itself is leaking? Does that happen often. I can take a picture if I have to, but that would be a pain, and it really wouldn't show any more than I've said above.

Any ideas?

Thanks again for the help.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 3:57PM
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rogerv_gw

Thought about trying tightening the screws that hold the tank together (the ones that I can reach from the bottom) to see if the drip from the seam stops (or slows down), but I'm thinking that the tank would have to be taken apart and a new gasket put between the halves.

If that's what has to happen, don't think that it's worth it. That would be total teardown, looks like.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 5:49PM
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Gwarstong

Umm...tank? Can you say make/model of this machine?

I'm thinking you're talking about the sheet metal that covers the exterior...which has no gaskets...and needs, simply, to be removed in order to see inside. Would like to help but confused by your description.

Typically washing machine water leaks are either diddly or catastrophic. Yours sounds diddly. Either can be easy fixes or not worth fixing. Would suggest getting a washer-familiar person on-site to eye-ball it for you since you seem to be unfamiliar. 13 years isn't an issue. Diagnosis is the issue. Might be easy. If you like the machine otherwise, I'd check it out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 6:02PM
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sparky823

At this point I would try to tighten the screws, just dont over tighten and crack the plastic. It might be a seal or Im not sure if there is a water line/source there above the tub that could drip on top of the outer tub(tank) and then run to lowest point. Before junking it I would take the top off the machine and see if there could be a leak from top running down from a water line. Feel your way up from the leak and see if you feel water towards the top or just at the bottom.

Does it leak the whole time it is running or mostly when or right after it has filled?

I believe the top is held on with screws from the back across top, then it just slides off. Worth checking out.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 6:19PM
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rogerv_gw

No, it doesn't drip the whole time, just when the rinse cycle has water in the tub and it is rinsing the clothes. Yes, I should take the top off, I'll see if I can manage it. I did feel around to try to see if the water was traveling from above, and didn't feel anything wet, but the tank on the inside is pretty cold, so it seemed like I wouldn't really be able to feel it.

Thanks for continuing to stay with me on this, you've been helpful. I've gotten sidetracked onto something else since I looked at it, and haven't tried to tighten the screws yet. The only way that I can do it is with the socket ratchet wrench and extender that I use to work on my car, and I'm a little nervous that I might over-torque the screws that way. Of course, the screw heads are in between the sizes of individual drivers that I have, Murphy's law I guess *smile*.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 8:20PM
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sparky823

Could be something with your dispensers? Does yours add bleach in the wash or rinse cycle? Some of them add it to the first rinse instead of to wash water. Might be softener dispenser but then it would be the last rinse before it adds so shouldnt leak until last rinse. Maybe hold off on the tightening till you trace the top first. If it was the seal/loose screws it should leak during wash not just rinse.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 2:14AM
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rogerv_gw

Yes, it leaks during wash as well, sorry to mislead you. I meant when there was water in the tub, not just the rinse part. So I should have said "when there's water in the tub and it's washing or rinsing".

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:13AM
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sparky823

Then you might try tightening the screws to see if they have worked loose a little over time. Other than that it may be the seal is bad. Go to You Tube and see what you can see there about fixing it. The plastic tub might even have a crack in it from time. Wouldnt think that would happen but anything is possible. If you have to buy a new one good luck with that!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:55AM
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rogerv_gw

Okay, just for laughs I took the top panel off. Totally dry up there, none of the tubing or tubing attachment points, or valves, etc. are leaking onto the tub. So the only source of the drips that we're getting is the seam in the tub itself *sigh*.

I'll try tightening the screws that I can reach on the tub, but it looks like we might be close to the end of life on this one.

We'll see.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 5:50PM
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rogerv_gw

Okay, tightened the screws that I can reach from the bottom that hold the halves of the tank together as much as I dared with my rachet wrench, and the leak has stopped!

Weird man, going to keep an eye on it, but if things dry out and don't get wet again, that's great. What's bothering me is that there are a lot more screws, and why just those should be "loose" (they weren't really loose, just not tightened) doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe it's more that those screws are the ones on the bottom of the tank, where the water sits, so the others don't matter as much for this particular leak...could be.

Anyways, I can feel good about having "fixed" this for the next few days. I'll keep the bottom open so that I can check for leaking for a couple of weeks when new loads of laundry are done.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:31PM
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venmarfan

Here's hoping that is it and you can feel like a star for resolving it plus saving the price of a service call.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 10:34PM
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sparky823

I think with age and the weight of everything in there and the shaking/jostling that goes on in the tub I am sure that causes the screws to get a little loose or also as the gasket ages it may shrink some and provide a small space for a leak which you solved by tightening up the screws. Hope that last for a long time and you can keep using this washer. Do you wash in all temps or just a certain one most of the time?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:04PM
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rogerv_gw

We use different temperatures, depending on what's being washed. Mostly warm wash, cold rinse, though (as I recall *smile*).

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 2:36AM
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sparky823

Just wondered. Maybe you will get several more years out of it with no problems.
Do you use liquid or powder detergent--that seems to be a factor with folks and the front load machines?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:01AM
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rogerv_gw

Yeah, maybe, you never know. I didn't expect to get 13 years out of it, that's for sure. Yes, we use powdered detergent. I've been trying unsuccessfully to get others to stop using fabric softener, since that seems to gunk things up and promote mold growth inside the dispenser drawer, but so far only I've done that. I'm using some dryer sheets that really help with wrinkles, static electricity, and softness...don't remember the brand at the moment.

Since I'm the one who periodically cleans out the dispenser drawer area, I do have a stake in having it stay cleaner longer *smile*.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:21AM
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mr._jms

Go visit www.automaticwasher.org and ask your question there. Someone will be able to assist you. If the machine is otherwise in good working order, it is worth trying to repair it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:52AM
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sparky823

Well I have used liquid and powders--like powder best. I do use liquid softener-downy free- but I dilute mine 7 to 1 with water in another bottle and it works fine. This way there is no gunk. Mine is 13 yrs old also. I have a Neptune. Had to have the door lock/board changed 12 yrs ago under warranty. No problems since then(Knock wood). Use hot water and bleach now and then on whites so no mold/mildew.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:39PM
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rogerv_gw

Yes, I can't get them to dilute the fabric softener, either, they're taking a hard line on that one *smile*. I could just dilute it for them, but I've suffered for doing that kind of thing before, so I'm not going there *smile*.

It lasts as long as it lasts, as they say. I'm not in love with it, it was an inexpensive front loader, but pretty solid. But it lasted through our having 2 kids here, and now it's dealing with 3 adults (sometimes 4), so if we can get a few more years out of it until the population around here thins out a bit, it would be great.

Since it doesn't have a water heater in it, we've always left the door cracked when it isn't in use. And I've been leaving the dispenser drawer open as well, seems to help with the mold fostered by the fabric softener *smile*.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:58PM
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dadoes

Using chlorine bleach on a whites load on a regular basis ... weekly or whatever ... will help a lot to avoid mold.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 6:21PM
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rogerv_gw

Hmmm...I thought that chlorine bleach was supposed to be bad for a stainless steel drum? Sounds like it would be helpful from a mold standpoint, though.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:53PM
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sparky823

Clorox makes a washing machine cleaner. Think it may have other additives than just bleach. Powdered dish detergent mixed with bleach good for cleaning the washer too. Also vinegar but not mixed with bleach. I remember asking Maytag about doing the cleaning and they told me to use vinegar (2 cups) with cold water. Even explained why to use cold but been so long I forget now. Other places all say use hot water.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:20PM
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