Thread Number: 18681
New for 1956! Imperial Unimatic by Frigidaire
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Post# 302855   9/10/2008 at 21:16 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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I think this may be one of the first times that I've brought home a washer that I've never seen before in person. What I mean is, I've never seen a 1956 Imperial Frigidaire washer before in person. I always thought they looked cool from the few photographs that have surfaced over the years here at automaticwasher.org, but it seems to be the read-headed step child of the Unimatics. We've seen plenty of WO-65 machines, quite a few control control towers, a 55 set here and there, some showing of the early WA machines, and the elusive Custom Imperial, new for 1958. Either the buying public did not generate enough enthuiasm around the pink trim, or by chance this one off model year made it to the crusher more often than it's siblings.

I've always been the kind of person to root for the little guy, so when I saw this WI-56 come up for auction, I thought what a great washer to bring home and have around as a project. (I will say it now, for those who will ask, I was not able to retrieve the dryer. It has found a new home in applianceville heaven). I could tell from the photos that it would need some work in the tub, and it also appears there will be some fun work on the mechanism as well.

So - without further adieu, here she is! First up - as seen from my front door. I think we'll be seeing - and using - a lot more of these crates in the next few years here at aw.org!! Fresh from the DFW area.





Post# 302856 , Reply# 1   9/10/2008 at 21:17 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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I'm not sure what is under this cover. Let's take a look.

Post# 302857 , Reply# 2   9/10/2008 at 21:19 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
BAM - a Frigidaire!

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I couldn't believe the condition of the outer cabinet when I pulled off the cover. Even the driver was impressed!

Post# 302858 , Reply# 3   9/10/2008 at 21:19 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Close up of the dirty controls.

Post# 302859 , Reply# 4   9/10/2008 at 21:21 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Let's take a look inside. Yep - this tub is going to be a project in of itself. Happy to see the lint chaser and circulator rings, even if they have drooped over time.

Post# 302860 , Reply# 5   9/10/2008 at 21:22 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Look ma - no cracked glass dial! YAY!

Post# 302862 , Reply# 6   9/10/2008 at 21:23 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Dirty controls. The load size selector seemed frozen in place - more on that later. Again, I still don't understand the logic of these safety lid switches....

Love the font!


Post# 302863 , Reply# 7   9/10/2008 at 21:24 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Rear shot. Everything seems to be in place.

Post# 302865 , Reply# 8   9/10/2008 at 21:25 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Wiring diagram. Look ma - two pilot lights!

Post# 302868 , Reply# 9   9/10/2008 at 21:27 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Thought this shot was fun. That tape is going to be a PITA. So, is this lid smaller than that of a WO-65?

Post# 302869 , Reply# 10   9/10/2008 at 21:27 (5,376 days old) by a440 ()        

Very nice!

Post# 302870 , Reply# 11   9/10/2008 at 21:28 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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YAY - the Healed Unimatic has company.

Similar, but yet very different washing machines.


Post# 302872 , Reply# 12   9/10/2008 at 21:29 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Lids up - and yes, it appears it does have a smaller lid. Again, love the grey porcelain on the lid.

Post# 302873 , Reply# 13   9/10/2008 at 21:29 (5,376 days old) by rickr (.)        

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That is a beautiful machine Ben! Congratulations!

Sure a lot of vintage Frigidaires showing up lately! Keep em coming... <:


Post# 302874 , Reply# 14   9/10/2008 at 21:30 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Woops - as always, a mistake.

Post# 302876 , Reply# 15   9/10/2008 at 21:31 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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I just couldn't go back to work, so I stayed for a bit and cleaned it up for a few minutes. BAD, BAD!

Post# 302879 , Reply# 16   9/10/2008 at 21:32 (5,376 days old) by rickr (.)        

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Love the chrome trim!! Looks to be in very nice condition too!

Post# 302880 , Reply# 17   9/10/2008 at 21:33 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Okay, I just had to know what the dialed looked like all lit up. Just too kewl. (Don't worry, no power was applied to the mechanism.)

Cool - at least on bulb was working!


Post# 302883 , Reply# 18   9/10/2008 at 21:34 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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So tonight after work, I decided to see what condition the mechanism was in. First off I wanted to see what the water bellows looked like.

Here is the pulsator column. I think I may be the first person to take any of this apart. I love the droopy circulator ring.


Post# 302884 , Reply# 19   9/10/2008 at 21:35 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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I've never seen this plastic washer before either.

Post# 302885 , Reply# 20   9/10/2008 at 21:36 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Underneath the pulsator, we can see the original grey color of the rubber parts. Again, gotta love time, and bleach.

Post# 302887 , Reply# 21   9/10/2008 at 21:37 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Ah the tub. A before shot. (btw, bellows: good shape)

Post# 302888 , Reply# 22   9/10/2008 at 21:38 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Time to take a look underneath the machine. When I pulled out the drain hose, I was happy to see the original drain hook!

Post# 302889 , Reply# 23   9/10/2008 at 21:39 (5,376 days old) by tagfan75 ()        

Congrats!! A great find...and in such good shape for its age. Will be a real beauty when she's done! I know your Unimatic has to be glad to have some company now...lol!

Post# 302891 , Reply# 24   9/10/2008 at 21:40 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

swestoyz's profile picture
Hum, things aren't looking so hot down here. The snubber is going to need a good cleaning as I can barely move the mechanism on it. Also, all the hoses will need to be replaced. A trip to the auto parts store will be my destiny. I bet the cap will be shot too.

Post# 302893 , Reply# 25   9/10/2008 at 21:43 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Hum, let's see if the motor will spin. UH OH! The fan seems to be tight as a _____________ (fill in the blank) with no movement, what so ever. I think a complete rebuild will be in store. Good thing power wasn't applied to this yet.

Post# 302895 , Reply# 26   9/10/2008 at 21:45 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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with the back panel removed. Everything seems to be in good shape up here, and the timer seems to be advancing just fine. The linkage to the escapement is nice and loose, so I imagine that it is jamming up somewhere prior to. This girl will need a complete resto! And I'm looking forward to it ;-)

LOOK - WE HAVE LIGHTS, two of them!


Post# 302897 , Reply# 27   9/10/2008 at 21:48 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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After scrubbing on the bizarre hole in the tub for about five minutes, this is what I was able to get it to look like. So, I'm interested to hear what you guys think caused this. A manufacturing defect? A hex? A sour piece of candy? Had to be something!

As soon as I get time in the next few months, I'll start to dig into it. Till then, enjoy the photos!


Post# 302899 , Reply# 28   9/10/2008 at 21:50 (5,376 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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One last photo. So guys and gals, say hello to the red-headed step child Unimatic! The 1956 Frigidaire Imperial Washer.

Ben


Post# 302901 , Reply# 29   9/10/2008 at 21:52 (5,376 days old) by tuthill ()        

Wow Ben, congragulations... it looks to be in really good shape!! I love the dial lights!! Hopefully she won't be too much of a pain in this ass, and you'll have her purring away in no time. Looking forward to seeing the progress and good luck.

Post# 302912 , Reply# 30   9/10/2008 at 22:24 (5,376 days old) by tlee618 ()        

Oh Ben, Congratulations I am so happy that you got this beauty!! Looks like it is going to be some work but well worth it in the end. I love the gray lid as well, so neat. What a glam shot with the control dial all aglow!! Thanks for sharing and do keep us posted.

Post# 302915 , Reply# 31   9/10/2008 at 22:28 (5,376 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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where's the dryer?

Post# 302926 , Reply# 32   9/10/2008 at 22:56 (5,376 days old) by autowasherfreak ()        
Congratulations!

That's a real pretty machine you have there. I have been checking craigslist several times a day for free washers and dryers & sale washers and dryers. I found one local that has a free washer, dryer, and dishwasher emailed him to get more details.

James


Post# 302951 , Reply# 33   9/11/2008 at 00:22 (5,376 days old) by golittlesport (California)        

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Congratulations! Such a beautiful machine!

Post# 302952 , Reply# 34   9/11/2008 at 00:23 (5,376 days old) by frontaloadotmy (the cool gay realm)        
Ben - What a Cool Machine

I bet you'll have it back on line in a jiffy. Perhaps a dol-
lop of some very caustic residue stuck fast in the tub ; maybe
some thing heavy and sharp got dropped in, or a manufacture on
a Monday or Friday! It is a beautiful red-headed step child!
Con grats..


Post# 302953 , Reply# 35   9/11/2008 at 00:46 (5,376 days old) by jetaction (Minneapolis)        
Congrats Ben,,,,,

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As long as it lights up, the rest is easy! LOL

Post# 302959 , Reply# 36   9/11/2008 at 02:39 (5,376 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        
Another Beauty

toploader55's profile picture
Congrats Ben. She sure is Purdy. I wish a few of those would pop up here. Seems like Massachusetts has a ban on Unimatics.However just south of Boston seems like Hobart Country.More and More KitchenAids have been popping up lately. Good Luck on your rebuild. Eddie

Post# 302963 , Reply# 37   9/11/2008 at 03:32 (5,376 days old) by trainguy (Daytona Beach, FL)        
Congrats Ben!

trainguy's profile picture
This is one beautiful machine.

If those people still have the dryer, I would be glad to buy it from them. I already have 2 washers, but my dryers aren't in the best of shape.

Thanks,
Rich


Post# 302965 , Reply# 38   9/11/2008 at 05:32 (5,376 days old) by gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Ben, when I see a tub problem like that the first thing I suspect is that something heavy enough to chip the porcelain fell into the tub, (perhaps from a shelf above where the machine stood) rust started and there you go. Use JB Weld to patch it and you will be pleased to find it is almost the exact gray color as the tub.

The '56 Unimatic was always my second favorite after the '58.
The copper trim was wonderful and would go with all kinds of earth-tone colors. (Especially when combined with Sherwood Green).

Yeah, when I see that solenoid soaked with oil----it usually means water has invaded the oil pan----not a good scenario.

Best wishes with your new toy!


Post# 302991 , Reply# 39   9/11/2008 at 08:36 (5,375 days old) by bethann (Indianapolis)        

Yay Ben,

Glad you got her! Maybe your pictures will help me when you tear her apart! LOL!


Post# 302997 , Reply# 40   9/11/2008 at 09:09 (5,375 days old) by unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Ben that is super cool, what a beautiful machine. I bet the capacitor will be just fine, I've only seen one bad one in a Unimatic, that was in my '47 Unimatic. Now put some hot water down the drain hose and start him up. Let it agitate a few minutes to get the oil pump pumping oil up to the spin bearing and put it into spin, if he purrs he's ready to wash, if he roars well then you have some work to do :-).

To patch the tub I would pull out the tub and use Plumbers Epoxy to seal below the hole and as Steve recommended a good coating of JB-Weld from above.


Post# 303086 , Reply# 41   9/11/2008 at 17:15 (5,375 days old) by geoffdelp (SAUK RAPIDS)        

Well, Ben ... you ARE full of surprises, aren't you?

"Red-headed stepchild", indeed. I don't see anything that's NOT to like about that machine.

How unique that you are able to rescue it!!! It's in a good home. Besides; it's good to think of something other than a Maytag, huh? :-)

I like Robert's advise; try it out and let us know!


Post# 303113 , Reply# 42   9/11/2008 at 19:47 (5,375 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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It looks beautiful!

Can you see the agitator going up and down when you turn the tub? If you can't turn the fan/motor shaft, you may not get far testing it. Hot water in the pump may free up the seal and you could be good to go.

Perhaps we need to have another Unimatic weekend? Get those lab coats pressed!


Post# 303135 , Reply# 43   9/11/2008 at 21:18 (5,375 days old) by gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
We need to have another workshop-----

hell, everybody in that old photo still has hair.

Post# 303138 , Reply# 44   9/11/2008 at 21:30 (5,375 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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hell, everybody in that old photo still has hair.

And I think Greg is still drinking Diet Coke out of the same cup!



Post# 303140 , Reply# 45   9/11/2008 at 21:35 (5,375 days old) by gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
Ben, I don't know about that-----

the Diet Coke likely ate the bottom out of the old one long ago.

You can believe the stuff is still flowing though-----
bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Post# 303144 , Reply# 46   9/11/2008 at 21:42 (5,375 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Can you see the agitator going up and down when you turn the tub?

Yes, if I would spin the tub, the pulsator would go up and down.

I decided to take the plunge and took Robert's advice tonight. Unfortunately the original drain hoses were not in great shape. I trimmed down the hose from the pump outlet to the garden hose connector to at least allow water to travel through it for this test. I then cut the petrified drain hose to about 3 feet long, and poured about 16 ounces of HOT water into the pump. Then I placed the original drain hook in the hose and set the bucket underneath. I let it sit for about 10 minutes, did a few hail marry's - and plugged her in.

The first pass the motor was locked up. Waited 20 seconds, tried again - still locked up.

I thought I'd give it a third shot, and BAM, I heard some garbling! I looked in the bucket that I had placed under the remaining 3 feet of water and saw some nasty gunk that had flown out. The mechanism had worked itself free!

I then cut the threaded end off of a bad inlet hose, and stuck it along the backside of the wash tub so I could pour some hot water in the outer tub. I got about 2 gallons processed and the pump was flowing out clear water.

Then came time for a spin test. Engaged the spin, could hear the solenoid engage, and .... nothing. The machine continued to agitate and the was just coasting at a snails pace - hardly 1140 RPM. What does this mean, to those who might not be quite 100 percent about the Unimatic mechanism? Let's find out from the Frigidaire doctrine.



Post# 303148 , Reply# 47   9/11/2008 at 21:47 (5,375 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
BIG OH NO!

swestoyz's profile picture
Rats - the clutch torque spring is probably broken. When I engage the trip I can hear a rattle inside the mechanism, probably the broken segments just laughing at me inside. I should take back my statement of thinking that I was the first to pull things apart. I could see some orange RTV around the drain plug tonight, which leads me to believe that someone has been inside of it before.

So, I've got some parts to start gathering up. Probably could use a new carbon seal for the pump, new clutch spring, and may as well put a new bearing in it if I'm going to have it apart. One of those is easy - the other two hard. The only lead I have on parts for Frigidaire lost EVERYTHING in the Floods that happened back in June. I will go back to beg and plead to go through the stuff to see if I can find anything. Otherwise, she'll be a pretty show piece while I go searching for the parts.

Until then -

Ben



Post# 303178 , Reply# 48   9/11/2008 at 22:32 (5,375 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Ben, it's gorgeous

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How cool that the '56 has LIGHTS. The Blackstone uses the same kind of Christmas tree lights. Just think you can change them for any holiday--green for Saint Paddy's, red for Valentine's, etc. Jon put Halloween orange in the Blackstone.

Good luck on the parts, Buddy, and with your Karma--hey--a piece of cake.


Post# 303185 , Reply# 49   9/11/2008 at 23:12 (5,375 days old) by unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Post# 303231 , Reply# 50   9/12/2008 at 08:31 (5,375 days old) by geoffdelp (SAUK RAPIDS)        

Ben ... will it be almost impossible to find that clutch torque spring?

Well ... at least you know what the problem is.

You love a good challenge, don't you?

:-)



Post# 303233 , Reply# 51   9/12/2008 at 08:50 (5,374 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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... will it be almost impossible to find that clutch torque spring?

I think if I cross my arms in front of me, and nod my head down real fast, one will magically appear in front of me ;-)

You love a good challenge, don't you?

Life just wouldn't be fun without them.

I love Robert's message. I'll make sure to remove and bring the mechanism to the 'shop', which is about 20 feet away ;-)


Post# 303315 , Reply# 52   9/12/2008 at 17:52 (5,374 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Be careful with those spells - you might just get stung!

Post# 303316 , Reply# 53   9/12/2008 at 17:54 (5,374 days old) by pulsator (Saint Joseph, MI)        

pulsator's profile picture
I can hear the music from Pyscho!!!!!!! There is nothing more horrifying than finding your Unimatic replaced with a MODERN machine!!!!!!

Post# 303422 , Reply# 54   9/13/2008 at 10:55 (5,373 days old) by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

What does the little white button do on the water level control?

Post# 303426 , Reply# 55   9/13/2008 at 12:26 (5,373 days old) by golittlesport (California)        

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When the lid is fully open and rests against the little button on the load size control it shuts the machine off. Sort of a safety shut off, but not really. On my 1955 model that little shut off button is in the middle of the water temperature dial. (But mine has been conveniently disconnected.)

Post# 303561 , Reply# 56   9/14/2008 at 13:38 (5,372 days old) by trainguy (Daytona Beach, FL)        

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Torque springs are around, if you do need one. This '56 sure is nice. I'm still curious as to who got the other set.

Rich


Post# 303630 , Reply# 57   9/14/2008 at 19:42 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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I got a little antsy Friday afternoon before going out (since I was at a good stopping point on house work), and found myself digging into the '56 for no apparent reason. With all the Unimatic fun that is going on this month, I thought I'd provide more for the fun!

Top off. I was very relieved to find that the gasket is in superb shape. Not to say that was the same fate of the fill hose. Mind you, this was as far as I wanted to go.


Post# 303632 , Reply# 58   9/14/2008 at 19:43 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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"Ah what the heck, pull out the pulsator," I said to myself. Well that was easy.

Post# 303634 , Reply# 59   9/14/2008 at 19:45 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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"Hum, both bellows came off and were in fine shape. Where is that tub nut wrench at again? Well isn't that convenient I find it right in the tub."

Tap, tap, tap away.


Post# 303635 , Reply# 60   9/14/2008 at 19:45 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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"Well geez that was easy. It just came right out!"

Post# 303636 , Reply# 61   9/14/2008 at 19:46 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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First inspection of the hole. Good thing that I caught it now, before that other rust spot became a hole as well!

Post# 303637 , Reply# 62   9/14/2008 at 19:48 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Good gawd this is NASTY! I can only imagine what this would have smelled like after a few washes. YUCK!

Post# 303639 , Reply# 63   9/14/2008 at 19:49 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

swestoyz's profile picture
Those Phillips #3 screws sure look to be in good shape...

Post# 303640 , Reply# 64   9/14/2008 at 19:50 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Hey, where did the mechanism go?

Post# 303642 , Reply# 65   9/14/2008 at 19:52 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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So about 20 minutes later, I had the mechanism pulled out of the machine. It should have been MUCH more difficult (those screws should have been rusted to bits, but the nasty hard mineral deposits nicely preserved them), but for some reason, everything went smoothly.



Post# 303643 , Reply# 66   9/14/2008 at 19:52 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Motor model tag. Does the serial tag "A-56" mean January of 1956?

Post# 303645 , Reply# 67   9/14/2008 at 19:56 (5,372 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

swestoyz's profile picture
Yesterday I removed the mechanism nut and seal - and soaked the mechanism support. It is pristine and should last quite a few more years. Yay for 1140 RPM's!!

The bench testing went well, and certainly will need a new clutch spring. I took some video so if anyone wants me to post the video of the bench testing, let me know.

Well gang, this is as far as I am going to take it for now. Once the restoration begins, I'll start a new thread (give it a few weeks/months).

Be careful with those spells - you might just get stung! OUCH!

Ben



Post# 303754 , Reply# 68   9/15/2008 at 13:23 (5,371 days old) by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        
Ben,

pdub's profile picture
Fantastic machine and great pictures. You make it all look so easy!

Thanks for all the time you put into taking the pictures and posting this.

Best of luck with the torque spring.

Patrick


Post# 303759 , Reply# 69   9/15/2008 at 13:41 (5,371 days old) by tuthill ()        

Wow Ben, you already got the mechanism out! I don't think it will be too hard for you to find a torque spring ;)

Post# 303850 , Reply# 70   9/15/2008 at 19:38 (5,371 days old) by drmitch ()        

Beautiful machine, I hope it turns out ok!

Post# 303907 , Reply# 71   9/15/2008 at 22:44 (5,371 days old) by rickr (.)        

rickr's profile picture
Damn!! You got that out of there in no time Ben! If my 57 needs service, I will know who to call. <:

I hate a dirty tub, so I am with you on that. Also hate stinky washers! I will not put a machine into service at my house without cleaning the outer tub out. Lord knows what may be molding in there.....

Thanks for the cool pixs! You will have that up in running in no time. Just remember to close your eyes when you cross your arms and nod for that torque spring. <:



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