Thread Number: 59287  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
An update on the 1960 GE WA350 Automatic washer
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Post# 818799   4/11/2015 at 14:22 (1,221 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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With the Blackstone washer repairs done and the KitchenAid KDS54 leak-proofed, I thought I'd take a run at the GE BOL automatic that I got at the big appliance auction last November.  


I figured it would be good practice to tear into this washer before attacking the 1953 or 1957 GE's that are ever so patiently waiting their restoration...  


Mechanically, this washer is very similar to the 1953 GE.  The transmission and clutch seem to be identical.  When I tested the 1960 one, I did manage to get it up to a spin after some messing around but it would never agitate.   My theory is that there is a transmission problem; and to get to a GE washer transmission, you've got to get the tub out. 


Full disclosure - I have been trying to get this bleeding tub out for a month now... I think what finally did it was some PB Blaster on the tub nuts.  I put on several coats since I got a can in Vermont on Thursday and today I managed to undo them without stripping or breaking them.  

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Post# 818800 , Reply# 1   4/11/2015 at 14:25 (1,221 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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One does have to be careful not to break the fill flume when removing the tub.  Mr.Know-It-All here very cleverly broke this one BEFORE removing the tub...  FFFFFF....Flipping Heck!


I should be able to repair, though. 

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Post# 818801 , Reply# 2   4/11/2015 at 14:26 (1,221 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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This was encouraging to see.  Both the transmission boot and the water level switch diaphragm seem to be in good shape still.   Amazing and very lucky since both parts are NLA!

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Post# 818802 , Reply# 3   4/11/2015 at 14:36 (1,221 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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So I took off the belt and figured I had nothing to lose by seeing what happened when I turned the drive pulley by hand. 


When I turn it clockwise (spin), the pulley turned smoothly, but did not make a full revolution.  The pulley seemed to hit something and would turn no further.   I then tried to turn it counter-clockwise (activation); the pulley turned maybe a little more than a half a revolution, then hit something and seemed to lock into it.   I somehow managed to free it up again by turning the pulley clockwise again.   On the next attempts I turned the pulley slowly until I felt the 'stop'.  I did notice the the basket drive was moving as I turned the pulley. 


So now I'm going to be studying the transmission service notes that I have on GE's but before I go off on a wild goose chase, does this sound familiar to anyone?   My first (and as we all know usually wrong) guess is that this may have something to do with the Snubber Band that can cause the dreaded 'sympathetic spin'...   


Any advice or suggestions are always welcome - I've never torn into a GE transmission before!





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Post# 818807 , Reply# 4   4/11/2015 at 15:15 (1,221 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Well, here's my first incorrect assumption!  The transmission on the 1953 GE automatic washer uses two belts, not one, so they are probably completely different.  Good thing I wasn't tearing the 53 apart to use its transmission... LOL  If anything, the 60 would be sacrificed if the '53 needed a part!!

Post# 818870 , Reply# 5   4/11/2015 at 21:16 (1,220 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Looks this poor machine was used as a cement mixer - that's some hard water!


Aren't those fill-flume mountings silly?  Breaking one is part of the solid-tub GE initiation course.  Congratulations, you will never do that again :-)


Post# 818916 , Reply# 6   4/12/2015 at 07:24 (1,220 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Yes, this washer sure saw some rough duty in its lifetime, Greg!   Given where I found it, I suspect it was used in a summer cabin where they pulled water directly out of the nearby lake or swamp....  


I'm not going to be opening up the transmission today - the sun is shining and it is NOT, I repeat, NOT snowing today!


Stay tuned for more updates and photos of the oily mess I will probably wind up making.... LOL 

Post# 818919 , Reply# 7   4/12/2015 at 07:35 (1,220 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Aren't those fill-flume mountings silly?

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Yes they sure f**king are.


And, yes, I broke my first one on my first try removing the cover from the WA-850P I got from Colorado. Fortunately Mr. Nunn had a spare but I'm still swearing about it. Isn't interesting that your absolute BOL has a fill flume with the opening for the elegant TOL  "Rinse" dispenser on top that has been plugged. I have seen some with and some without so there must have been a big box at the Louisville factory that they just grabbed from to complete these machines. Even more bizarre, on both my Solid Tub machines, the little gasket covering the top of the fill flume as it connects to the outer tub gasket is help in place by two of those flimsy brass paper clips that we had to use on our book reports in Parochial school. I'm not kidding. Yours is swathed in some kind of goop that I'll bet Hans put over the whole thing.


I'm rooting for you Paul even though you are, after all, my ARCH GE NEMESIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. There's still 1, count it, 1 stuck tub bolt on Aunt Clara that I've PB blasted, drilled, torched and sworn at vigorously that is refusing to budge.


Let's help future Filter-Flo virgins; pay attention now:



Post# 849261 , Reply# 8   11/2/2015 at 11:37 (1,016 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Finally made some time for the GE!

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Sheesh, it seems this summer just flew by with the big CBS Wash-In and the move from the crumbling core of downtown Montreal to the wilds of St-Liboire!  Every time I was down in Ogden, I kept meaning to get back to work on the '60 GE, but no... 


Well, housework and cooking be damned I said yesterday and went on the offensive!


I knew I'd have to remove the transmission in order to service it, so that's what I did yesterday.   First, though, I had to take off the transmission boot.  I was very happy that it was flexible enough to do so and, fingers crossed, will be relatively sound when eventually re-installed.

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Post# 849263 , Reply# 9   11/2/2015 at 11:39 (1,016 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Hello down there!!


I've never done any transmission work on a GE, so I proceeded slowly and cautiously... 

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Post# 849264 , Reply# 10   11/2/2015 at 11:42 (1,016 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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It wasn't as bad as I had imagined!  Heavy beastie, but not impossible to handle. 


In the last picture, the transmission has been upended to remove the pulley and cover, hopefully without creating an oil slick on the basement floor.  Hubby's off to Brazil for 2 weeks so after I drive him to the airport, guess where I'm heading??  


Question: to pull the drive block from a GE of this vintage, can I use a regular wheel puller??



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Post# 853252 , Reply# 11   11/23/2015 at 09:30 (995 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
The Lack of Progress Report....

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GGGRRR! This GE washer transmission is a tough nut to crack. And I mean that literally...

Here's what I'm up against: I need to remove what is called the bearing plate to be able to get inside the transmission.

The Service Literature (found here in the Manuals and Literature Library) says to tap around the bearing plate to break the seal, then pry the bearing plate out with two screwdrivers. HA! I've tried tapping and prying to no avail. I've tried using a chisel to help break the seal, but I fear that I'm going to damage the bell end of the transmission. I've tried heating the seal area gently, but that didn't get me very far either. I was a little paranoid about taking a blowtorch to an oil-filled item, too so maybe I went a little too easy on it.

I did manage to get the activator drive block off; it was in such bad shape, it split as I pried it off. I tried to take off the basket drive hub, but sheesh! The bolts were so corroded that I managed to break both of them, leaving the basket drive hub still very firmly in place.

I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't be looking for a replacement transmission instead... If I were to go this route, would later GE transmissions be compatible with the 1960 version (it's a WH38X29)?

Needless to say, you can all imagine who is suggesting this washer would make an excellent planter in the garden in Ogden...

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Post# 853261 , Reply# 12   11/23/2015 at 11:13 (995 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

HA-HA, Bell End. What a funny insult and a transmission has one, too.

Post# 853262 , Reply# 13   11/23/2015 at 11:17 (995 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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You might want to try taking a torch gently to the outer portion (transmission housing) to get it to expand Paul.

Post# 853340 , Reply# 14   11/23/2015 at 19:01 (995 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Rebuilding A GE Washer Transmission

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Paul you are now in uncharted territory even for me, I have NEVER tried to fix a GE washer transmission, I took one or two apart just to see how they worked.


GE always had such a good rebuilding program for their washer transmissions that I never bothered trying to fix one, GEs transmissions were always one of their weak features anyway. GE automatic washers were like the Volkswagen they always needed a new engine,  GE needed a new [transmission ] and in both cases the company was good at keeping good rebuilt ones available and they were also easy to install in both cases.


We have a 1960 Pair and a 1958 pair of GEs and I want to restore one pair, I am hopping that one of the washers has a decent transmission in it. Otherwise I may find out what you are going through.


The get the bottom cover off I would use a tapered putty knife and just drive it under the steel plate.

Post# 853404 , Reply# 15   11/24/2015 at 04:05 (994 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Paul here is the link to the thread where I

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rebuilt the 1956 GE transmission.


 A tapered putty knife will do nothing bend and waste your time.


I had tapped all around the bottom plate with a chisel ,hitting those raised counter weights. It took several days but it slowly began to lift.

If your tranny is jammed it could be the brake material has come loose and is jammed in the gears, ( seen that before) , or the nylon snubber has broken off. Have not seen  a gear failure inside a GE tranny before, that would be new.




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Post# 853412 , Reply# 16   11/24/2015 at 06:52 (994 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Jon, thanks for that link! I guess where I am a little mixed up is the way the bearing frame seems to fit so snugly into the transmission case of the 1960 version - the doctrine I have for my still-waiting-ever-so-patiently-to-be-restored '57 WA855 shows a transmission exactly like the one you have in the '56.

I'm pretty sure that there's something broken and jamming the works inside this transmission - for all the GE 'Complaint Charts' a lack of activation is not well-explored.

I'll keep trying, but I may be asking Santa for a new GE transmission this year...

John, do you by any chance have any spares?? Just in case...

Post# 853424 , Reply# 17   11/24/2015 at 08:03 (994 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Paul they all go together

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the same way. Slammed --together LOL !

Post# 862504 , Reply# 18   1/18/2016 at 09:02 (939 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Progress... Kind of...

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We had a mild day about a week or so ago, so I figured it would be a good time to haul the 'ol GE transmission out to the garage to see if we could coax that bearing frame loose. 


We used persuasion and a blowtorch this time.... LOL   But that did it - we got the transmission open!

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Post# 862505 , Reply# 19   1/18/2016 at 09:03 (939 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Now, what looks wrong in this picture?  I was amazed that I could even get the darn thing to spin!!

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Post# 862512 , Reply# 20   1/18/2016 at 09:17 (939 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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You have my complete respect !

I've replaced my fair share of GE transmissions, but never opened one up, nor do I ever plan to.

This, plus the Norge? My hat's off to you.

Post# 862527 , Reply# 21   1/18/2016 at 10:17 (939 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Busy Boy !!!

Post# 862627 , Reply# 22   1/18/2016 at 18:13 (939 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
OK, I'll bite!

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I'm not afraid to reveal how clueless I am; what was wrong inside that transmission, besides all the rust?

Post# 862670 , Reply# 23   1/18/2016 at 20:42 (938 days old) by Bigalsf (Salt Lake City)        

No oil (or very little). Your right, not sure how it could have moved at all(?). Was there any evidence of oil leaking?

Thanks for the photos. Good luck!

Post# 862771 , Reply# 24   1/19/2016 at 06:28 (938 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
We have a winner!

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Spot on, Alan!  I don't know a heck of a lot about GE transmissions, but in the documentation for this one, there should have been 54 ounces of oil in it!  I didn't see any evidence of an oil leak - I suspect that the oil leaked out a loooonnnng time before I found this washer.   GE's do have a nasty habit of losing their oil when a seal or two fail.


Now I'm patiently waiting for some warmer weather to clean up that gunk and do some further disassembly.  Our local hardware store in Ogden is going to assume we're living off the grid when they see how much kerosene gets purchased... LOL 

Post# 862790 , Reply# 25   1/19/2016 at 07:14 (938 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Contaminated Oil

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It does look like in addition to have almost no oil in it that some moisture has also contaminated the oil. The washer spinning with such low oil levels is not so much a problem as agitation would be without lucubration of the moving gears.

Post# 862791 , Reply# 26   1/19/2016 at 07:23 (938 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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John,  do you think that this gummed up, contaminated oil is the reason why I could never get this beastie to agitate?  Or should I say 'activate'?   LOL

Post# 863027 , Reply# 27   1/20/2016 at 07:47 (937 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        

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thats LOW! It should almost be full of oil. You gotta leak, and I'll bet its at the top going into the tub and down the drain, which is why it looks like that oil is water contaminated.


I think you can get the seals still for the top but getting that tub support off to do that is near impossible at this point. 


Hmmmmm............thinking hat on




Post# 864013 , Reply# 28   1/25/2016 at 14:58 (932 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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We didn't get the snow that battered a lot of the Eastern Seaboard up in Ogden, but it was effing cold!  It was not a good time to be messing with a well-chilled Norge out in the garage, so I thought I'd do some more messing with the ol' GE transmission... 


The doctrine I have on these transmissions indicated that the seal here at the top of the agitator shaft should be removed as part of the process to dismantle the transmission.   It literally disintegrated when I attempted to tap it off.  OOPSIE.... 

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Post# 864016 , Reply# 29   1/25/2016 at 15:09 (932 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Then there was this son-of-a-thing.... The basket hub was in pretty rough shape to begin with;  I snapped the bolts holding the hub clamp off while trying to remove them.  I managed to drill them out, but I was not able to even budge the hub off the spin shaft.


I also observed that the agitate shaft is totally and completely rusted, hence the lack of agitation... 


I am thinking that this is going to end badly...  I do have some spare GE parts, but I had gotten them specifically for the '57 Filter-Flo (yes, it's still around and sitting around in the garage).   I think I know why the GE service literature specified 'replace transmission' as a solution to the 'no activation' problem in their diagnosis charts!

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Post# 865047 , Reply# 30   2/1/2016 at 08:16 (925 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
GE 1WA352T1W - 1960-2016

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Sigh...  It was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to walk away from this 'project' on the weekend.   I just don't have the know-how, equipment, and spare parts to rebuild a GE washer transmission;  I hate to give up but there was just no easy way out of this one... 


I am trying not to take this as a personal failure;  I learned a great deal about the mechanics of a GE washer and tearing the machine down will hopefully help me with the '57 and '53 washers that I have been reluctant to work on due to my lack of familiarity with GE washers.   And I can take some solace knowing that I was able to save a good motor/clutch, timer, water level switch, and possibly the water valve.  That motor may just be what the '53 needs!


And in the greater scheme of things,  I will now have room for the Norge (which I am remaining optimistic about), eventually the ABC-O-Matic, and there may even be something new making its way into the washer collection soon...  Stay tuned.

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Post# 865055 , Reply# 31   2/1/2016 at 09:35 (925 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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That breaks my heart.  I don't believe I've ever seen a sadder photo - a dead Filter-flo.



Post# 865069 , Reply# 32   2/1/2016 at 11:50 (925 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

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I think another, much newer, transmission can be used in its place.

Post# 865072 , Reply# 33   2/1/2016 at 12:31 (925 days old) by phmorrow (Lexington, TN)        
I agree

I'm pretty sure they used that same Trans. For 30 years or so, you could probably find a newer filter flo in a scrap yard..

Post# 865096 , Reply# 34   2/1/2016 at 17:50 (925 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        

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Somebody Save That !!!

Post# 865108 , Reply# 35   2/1/2016 at 18:39 (925 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
The solid tubs

Used a different transmission, they didn't have the brake in them.

Post# 865160 , Reply# 36   2/2/2016 at 08:59 (924 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

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I am completely unfamiliar with the solid tub GEs.
Are the solid tub and perf tub transmissions the same dimensions? If the difference is only the presence of a brake inside, how would that alter the performance?


Post# 865168 , Reply# 37   2/2/2016 at 09:37 (924 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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The transmission between the perforated tub GE washers and the solid tub are completely different. For one thing the agitation is a shorter faster stroke in the perforated tub machines, the solid tub had a longer stroke slower agitation. GE did add a tub brake to the 1960 solid tub washers, the least year before they went to the perforated tub redesign. The spin speed on the solid tubs was about 650rpm and they reduced it to 575rpm on the perforated tubs.

I'm not sure the tub mount would even fit the earlier solid tub machines. So the newer perforated tub transmission are not a good substitute for the older machines.

Post# 865195 , Reply# 38   2/2/2016 at 11:44 (924 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Esteemed Nemesis, this is not a failure!

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This was an honorable quest with unexpected outcomes and rewards. Being your arch-nemesis I should be jumping up and down and clapping my hands with glee(isn't that how our people are supposed to do it?) at your trials but it occurs to me that you chose to rescue a machine that on its best day was a parts-donor. Do put aside this frustration for now and preserve all those lovely and always unavailable parts for use or for profit. I have no doubt that another solid-tub Filter-Flo will present itself in time.


Meanwhiles, I continue my quest for the rare turquoise Empress 30

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Post# 865213 , Reply# 39   2/2/2016 at 15:24 (924 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Late 50s solid tub GE washers

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The transmissions in the preparated basket washers was considerably beefed up in a much more reliable unit and definitely not interchangeable unfortunately.

Hopefully a good donor transmission will show up, last Saturday I was in Larry's old parts shop in Ohio and they're still quite a few parts for those older transmissions in there. Sharon Larry's widow just sold the shop to VNV appliance parts but so far the parts are still there.

Post# 865217 , Reply# 40   2/2/2016 at 15:39 (924 days old) by rpms (ontario canada)        

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That last picture of the washer out in the snow is so sad looking.

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