Thread Number: 27545
A Frigidaire Unimatic Only A Fool Would Love
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Post# 422613   3/14/2010 at 23:29 (4,949 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Hey Gang -

Earlier this weekend I posted some teaser videos of the '56 Unimatic in operation. Mostly the intent of the teasers were to test editing capabilities in iMovie, as well as uploading qualities on YouTube. I'm not really happy with either and have decided that I'll need to upgrade if I want the editing capabilities I'd like + content restrictions on TY are a pain (Final Cut Express + HD camera, here I come!).

Lately I've been remembering the fact that I have a right brain and felt a video was the best way to exercise it.

Also, I finally found some time to get the pump seal issue corrected this past week, and was able to shoot some film this afternoon and edit this evening before dinner.

Some of the differences between this video and previous ones I've created were lighting changes and different camera techniques. I used a tripod resting on some boxes and a step ladder to get the height I needed. I already see where filming during the day time caused issues of my shadow on the washer lid as well as the spin vibrations resonating through the camera due to the step stool legs rubbing against the washer base - otherwise, I'm happy with the results.

If you cannot hear audio, please let me know. I'll need to publish a new version without the soundtrack I included. I'll post photos of the transmission rebuild tomorrow.

The weekend at the Spa was a total blast! A huge thanks goes out to Greg, Robert, and Nate for a enjoyable weekend, even though it happened back in 2008....


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Post# 422614 , Reply# 1   3/14/2010 at 23:44 (4,949 days old) by A440 ()        

Great Video and Awesome Rebuild!
Thanks for posting!

Post# 422618 , Reply# 2   3/14/2010 at 23:54 (4,949 days old) by Volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        

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Another Unimatic brought back,

Post# 422670 , Reply# 3   3/15/2010 at 08:40 (4,949 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Great job, Ben! It's a beautiful machine--the 56's had an elegantly understated console.

Post# 422701 , Reply# 4   3/15/2010 at 11:17 (4,948 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        
Hats off!

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For your restoration! What a great job, that machine is almost silent!

I have a soft spot for the 1956 Unimatic. When I just had gotten internet in 1997 I searched for older American washers. The first picture I found was a picture of a 1956 Frigidaire set in pink that was donated by the owners to a museum in Kansas. I thought those machines were pretty cool!

Post# 422727 , Reply# 5   3/15/2010 at 13:45 (4,948 days old) by thomasortega (El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Porciúncula)        

Wonderful machine and excellent restoration.

I wish I could find a torque spring like yours and also water and oil bellows.

Post# 422728 , Reply# 6   3/15/2010 at 13:51 (4,948 days old) by rickr (.)        

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YAY!! Another Frigidaire "back on the road" Congratulations!!

Beautiful machine Ben! The 1956 is a great looking machine.

Post# 422731 , Reply# 7   3/15/2010 at 14:25 (4,948 days old) by aaronfitzy (Pennsylvania)        
very cool....

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I really liked that video. The different camera angles kept it very interesting! Not that a Uni needs help!


Post# 422761 , Reply# 8   3/15/2010 at 16:14 (4,948 days old) by westingman123 ()        

Ben, now that is cinema! And the star of the show, well, she's quite a beauty. Super-fantastic work.

Post# 422771 , Reply# 9   3/15/2010 at 16:53 (4,948 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Very nice Video and of course a wonderful machine

jetcone's profile picture
Great rescue there Ben!

Robert turned me onto Premiere for editting so its on its way to my door so I can chop down the vid I made of the new Speed Queen. Lets compare features when we get familiar with our new software!

Post# 422773 , Reply# 10   3/15/2010 at 17:21 (4,948 days old) by christfr (st louis mo)        

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woderful job there mr ben awesome.. were very proud of you for sure..

Post# 422782 , Reply# 11   3/15/2010 at 18:16 (4,948 days old) by Gyrafoam (Wytheville, VA)        


Post# 422785 , Reply# 12   3/15/2010 at 18:22 (4,948 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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how do you guys get the video to show up in here?...rather than the link to YouTube

Post# 422786 , Reply# 13   3/15/2010 at 18:26 (4,948 days old) by autowasherfreak ()        

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! Great job on the restoration.

Post# 422787 , Reply# 14   3/15/2010 at 18:32 (4,948 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Outstanding job Ben. Glad somebody wanted her. This was Frigidaire's first lighted control panel of any sort on a washer.

Post# 422790 , Reply# 15   3/15/2010 at 18:39 (4,948 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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Wow, that was fun!

Another Uni brought back from the dead.

Post# 422803 , Reply# 16   3/15/2010 at 19:33 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Thanks again guys - I appreciate the feedback on the video. We can only improve if we first try a change.

This is the first time that YT has come out and said they noticed I used someone's music after the initial upload, but then asked if it was okay to include ads. Normally I pick oddball material or non-copyright stuff - but I felt that Melody Gardot's song fit the mood perfectly.

I'll include a few a photos of the machine that haven't been posted before - mostly the pump repair and after. The original thread from when the machine came home in 2008 is linked below.

First up - the ONLY screw on the entire machine that gave me a fit. It was graciously given a name, but I cannot repeat it on the forum. Here we have the pump plate pending removal once the $%^&* screw head was removed. Even a liberal amount of heat wouldn't budge it.


Post# 422804 , Reply# 17   3/15/2010 at 19:34 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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In all the years of working on automobiles and washing machines, you'd think I would have learned the wondrous benefits of an exact-o-knife! There is always a first for everything.

Post# 422805 , Reply# 18   3/15/2010 at 19:36 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Pump impeller with new seal

"So Greg, do the little holes go up, or down? The book doesn't say anything about that..."

My first attempt of getting the seal to work failed. The second attempt included adding a bead of RTV under the seal, inside the impeller. Thanks for the tip Greg!

Post# 422806 , Reply# 19   3/15/2010 at 19:37 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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New seal on the housing side. Notice it was just getting warn in from the first go round.

Post# 422807 , Reply# 20   3/15/2010 at 19:39 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Fel-Pro gasket material from Advanced Auto. SUPER COOL STUFF - would highly recommend.

Post# 422809 , Reply# 21   3/15/2010 at 19:40 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Getting the pump impeller screw tight (okay, maybe I'm taking the impeller off in this photo)! Make sure to use some thread locker (blue stuff, NOT red)

Post# 422810 , Reply# 22   3/15/2010 at 19:41 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Fancy that new gasket! Would you believe that a hole punch was the perfect size for the screw holes?

Post# 422811 , Reply# 23   3/15/2010 at 19:42 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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A clean snubber is a happy snubber!

Post# 422812 , Reply# 24   3/15/2010 at 19:42 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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The WO-65 gives up the throne...

Post# 422814 , Reply# 25   3/15/2010 at 19:43 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Was able to get the bottom kick-panel bezel to secure to the cabinet.

Post# 422815 , Reply# 26   3/15/2010 at 19:44 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
I *heart* lighted controls.

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Post# 422816 , Reply# 27   3/15/2010 at 19:44 (4,948 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Final photo of the gallery shoot Sunday afternoon!

Thanks again guy - hope you enjoy.


Post# 422819 , Reply# 28   3/15/2010 at 19:58 (4,948 days old) by redcarpetdrew (Fairfield, CA)        

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Looking good, Ben. Thanks for re-enforcing what I've heard about how older Frigidaires can be a 'challenge' to work on. It really looks good! Your reward for all the hard work!

Glad to see that you kicked that good for nothing WO-65 out and left that fantastic MAH3000AWW where she belonged... (Ducks and runs...)


Post# 422835 , Reply# 29   3/15/2010 at 21:16 (4,948 days old) by magic clean ()        

this is a wonderful restoration. Congrats! One thing that always amazes and intrigues me with the Unimatic is the drive motor behavior. What I'm referring to is that when the mechanism shifts into spin, it sounds (and appears by the dimming of the timer dial light) that during the initial spin-off acceleration of the tubful of water that drive motor is under a very heavy load for nearly 22 seconds (I mentally counted how long it took for the timer dial lamp to return to its normal intensity). I'm thinking any other washer would have the centrifugal switch jumping in and out of the start winding and/or throwing a circuit breaker or blowing fuses during a prolonged acceleration such as this.

That said, all Frigidaire solid tub machines have that very muscular-masculine spin start up, but the Unimatic is special in that regard IMO.

Post# 422837 , Reply# 30   3/15/2010 at 21:20 (4,948 days old) by joelippard (Hickory)        
What a Great Job

joelippard's profile picture
you did in restoring that machine. It certainly is a looker! I hope she gives you many more years of trouble free service. Nothing is like a Frigidaire!

Post# 422902 , Reply# 31   3/16/2010 at 07:12 (4,948 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Thanks for the Video Ben.

Fantastic Job as always... And you pick out the Best Music for your Videos. Eddie

Post# 422933 , Reply# 32   3/16/2010 at 11:15 (4,947 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
So elegant, so beautiful! Thank You.

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Looking at the tiny fingers on the leaking 1140 rpm pump makes me think of the fire hose we'd need if the Uni pumps had the big impeller blades other machines have--a six second monster gush!

The close-up photo of the control panel reveals its stunning beauty. Have you ever rested your head on your hands, and looking forward, seen your reflection in the chrome/bronze darts? There's a veritable mirror, there, on the '56.

The love song to the machine was so stirring I almost blushed. What a nice touch!

I have a question: During the pause before the rinse, I hear a pump chugging. Would you identify it?

"I'm fixing a hole where the rain comes in...Keeps my mind from wonderin'.... where it will go oh..." The Beatles.

A hole in the tub and you didn't walk away. Amazing!

Post# 422944 , Reply# 33   3/16/2010 at 12:19 (4,947 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Andy - considering I try and use the Neptune as the daily driver and keep the miles down on the collectables, it will stay put. It is actually one of the better washers in the basement....

Leslie - good to see your post. GM certainly got something right with the Delco motor. I don't think we'll see such beefy electrical engineering ever again.

Mikey - the pump on this particular Unimatic is slower than others I've seen, more than likey from the missing fingers. The noise you heard during rinse was the pump retireving the left overs from the spin, as well as the overflow from the rinse water. Also, I love me some Melody Gardot. Wonderful female Jazz performer, and she's easy on the eyes too! ;)

Thanks again everyone,


Post# 422946 , Reply# 34   3/16/2010 at 12:25 (4,947 days old) by joelippard (Hickory)        
I'm curious

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How did you fix the hole in the tub?

Post# 422947 , Reply# 35   3/16/2010 at 12:27 (4,947 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
How did you fix the hole in the tub?

swestoyz's profile picture
Plumbers epoxy, with a coat of JB Weld over the hole on the inside and out. Unfortunately the mix of JB turned out brown instead of grey, so I need to re-do it for esthetics. Otherwise, it is a liquid tight seal.


Post# 422952 , Reply# 36   3/16/2010 at 12:47 (4,947 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Even more curious

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Between the wash spin and the rinse fill, as in all Unimatics, there is a pause, when everything is off, except the hum of the timer motor; but in your video, there is a distinct pump chug, chug, chugging like that of a conventional Tag or an early 90s DD WP. (Was your Maytag on?) Please take another listen, when you get a sec. Hey, you'll be able to hear Melody crooning again.

Of course Ben, I could be hearing things. ;->

Post# 422954 , Reply# 37   3/16/2010 at 12:54 (4,947 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        
Oh, that noise!

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It is the timer motor/escapement. Quite the noisy little bugger. I need to swap it out with another two speed timer escapement to get the whisper quiet opperation that we all have come to know and love from Frigidaire :D


Post# 422980 , Reply# 38   3/16/2010 at 14:38 (4,947 days old) by tlee618 ()        
What Fun!!

Another great job Ben!! That machine is just beautiful and I bet that it didn't run one bit better the day it left the factory than it does today. Thanks so much for taking the time to do the great video!!


Post# 422999 , Reply# 39   3/16/2010 at 16:09 (4,947 days old) by mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
"Oh, that noise!"

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Intriguing. My '56 has a replacement timer, a Murray, I believe, with one minute advancements rather than the usual 40 second clickers, and it is quite loud, for a timer. Will be interesting to hear what it sounds like on film, once I get the suds hose here and connected, and the cameras start rolling. Maybe just like yours.

Thank you.

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