Thread Number: 81357  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
GE Combo Rebuilding
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Post# 1053877   12/10/2019 at 21:04 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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I started with a 1966 Avocado under counter model like I have had in my kitchen for the past 30+ years and a white 67 free standing model and one of the last a harvest gold 72 under counter model.

The goal is to have the white FS model for the museum and the 72 UC model will go to Sarah Purdue for her new mid-century kitchen she is planning and building.

I should have taken pictures before disassembly but here are some pictures of them dissembled, I promise some pictures of them assembled and working.

John L.

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Post# 1053881 , Reply# 1   12/10/2019 at 21:43 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

.... this is a washer and dryer in one?  I can't wait to see this come together.

Post# 1053883 , Reply# 2   12/10/2019 at 21:47 by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

Iím glad you found some time to work on these. Iíve never seen a combo in person. Looks kind of like a GE top loader turned on itís side.

Post# 1053888 , Reply# 3   12/10/2019 at 22:45 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
GE Combos

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The GE combos were one of the simplest and most rugged US combos built durning the 20 year rain of US combos, 1952-1972.


GE was the only US manufacture that sold most of their combos to builders for rental housing as well as making them part of their famous GE metal cabinet kitchens along with their other cool built in appliances.


The only parts of GEs regular FF washers that found they way into the combos was the same water pump that the very basic non FF washers used and the pump drive and of corse a high quality 1/3 HP GE motor, to wash&dry a full load in a GE combo this motor often had to run around 2 hours and they ran fairly cool and I never saw one fail. I also never saw one of the GE Calrod heating elements fail on one of these machines.


There were 12 almost totally different combos built in the US over this period of time, almost without exception all washed really well and did a superior job of removing lint and sand from clothing. The only one that tangled even slightly was the Easys with their slightly slanted tubs.


All dried really well and none ever went out of balance and required any additional attention from the user once started till the clothing came out clean and dry.


The only major shortcoming of many was poor water extraction and therefor higher energy consumption and water use for the water condensing electric models with condenser drying.


Overall they are very different and interesting laundry appliances as they all did the same thing but they all had to work around each others patents to do so.


John L.

Post# 1053940 , Reply# 4   12/11/2019 at 09:41 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        

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Thanks for sharing these photos! I feel like Iím in a rebuild frenzy! The interior looks remarkably good from what I can see. Not sure if rust was a major concern for these machines typically. I wouldnít even know where to begin on one of these but Iíve always admired them as well as the Kenmore combos. This will be a beautifully rebuilt machine when youíre all done!

Post# 1054005 , Reply# 5   12/11/2019 at 19:23 by surgilator_68 (Maryland)        
Our shop...

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Combo pieces n parts everywhere! We can hardly walk through the shop.

John, you forgot to mention all of the cool sounds that the GE combo makes.

Post# 1054023 , Reply# 6   12/11/2019 at 22:17 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Parts everywhere?

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Girl, please! You. Cant walk through there anyhow. 😜

Post# 1054033 , Reply# 7   12/12/2019 at 01:28 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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I love the color of that avocado green. And of course THE WINDOWED DOOR!
I can't wait to see the pictures & video of them put back together, up and running! You know so much about all the different machines, it's interesting to read what you've learned about the different machines!

Can't wait to see your progress on these GE combos!

Post# 1054038 , Reply# 8   12/12/2019 at 05:00 by chetlaham (United States)        
Wiring Diagram

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Would it be to much to ask for the wiring diagram and cycle chart for this machine?

Post# 1054041 , Reply# 9   12/12/2019 at 05:15 by mopar65 (Almont MI)        
Ge Combos

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It's nice to see you are starting to get some of Combos restored and sharing your progress with us all. It looks like it has vary little lint packing and rust. Keep up the good work John!

Post# 1054056 , Reply# 10   12/12/2019 at 09:12 by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
More work on the GE combo for Sarah

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Did some more cleaning up last night and sealed a few little rusty spots in the bottom of the outer tub with 3M marine sealant the stuff is wonderful.

Install the last new door boot we had, fits great ready for major reassembly maybe this evening and then testing.

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Post# 1054057 , Reply# 11   12/12/2019 at 09:22 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Good to see that coming together! Do you have a part number from 3M for that marine sealant? Looks very useful.

Post# 1054180 , Reply# 12   12/13/2019 at 11:04 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
We've used that stuff on many of our our boats...

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works well, 3M 5200 is the stuff you want!

Always wanted a GE combo, it makes so much sense to combine 2 big rotating drum machines into one, even if it increases complexity of repairs. I wish a US maker still made them, and would even seek out a vintage model were it not for the parts and knowledge situation.

Post# 1054190 , Reply# 13   12/13/2019 at 14:37 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Question- how these combos work? Did they spin at full speed?

Post# 1054192 , Reply# 14   12/13/2019 at 15:04 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Sadly, a number of combos had a fairly low spin speed.  I've got one of the early GE's (a 1956 model) and it only spins at 208 RPM.   

Post# 1054194 , Reply# 15   12/13/2019 at 15:59 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Suspected as much- I see no real suspension.

At what speed does it tumble?

Post# 1054196 , Reply# 16   12/13/2019 at 16:22 by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

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My Grandparents bought a new track home in 1956 that had a GE combo in the kitchen right next to the GE DW, both in Turquoise. They also had a GE built in cooktop and oven. All of the homes in this development had the same set up. Some even had the much coveted wall fridges.

Apparently, the new owners of these homes didnít like these combo machines at all, probably because they took so long to complete a load and also didnít spin the loads well enough. GE came in and removed the ďguts from all of these machines and left the front panels and controls in place, so there wouldnít be a blank space. They in turn gave each of these home owners a new GE FF washer and dryer set as replacements. My grandparents used this replacement set until 1965 when they downsized into a New Moon mobile home with a pop out.

Every time I went to visit their home I always had to take a look at this ďphantomĒ combo washing machine. I so wished that Iíd gotten a chance to see it in action, but it was replaced before I ever got a chance.


Post# 1054336 , Reply# 17   12/15/2019 at 08:01 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
GE Under-counter Combo

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Is up and working after a few problems, the old Water-pump leaked at the seal and main seal so we took a regular GE FF pump and removed the FF pump and used the cover off the original pump.


The timer also had a bad motor contact, I found a MTS rebuilt timer new in box and installed, however it was not indexed properly between the main cam switches and sub-interval cam switch so we had to use the escapement from the old timer and Jason and I got it to work.


Will put the pump back in later today and do more pictures and maybe Jason will even do a video or two of one of the best cleaning FL washers you have ever seen. This combo has 6. baffles and fills with over 5" of real hot or warm water [ there is no cold wash option ].


John L.

Post# 1054337 , Reply# 18   12/15/2019 at 08:17 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

John where / what do you use as replacement hose? Specifically that corrugated one.

Post# 1054338 , Reply# 19   12/15/2019 at 08:51 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
GE Under-counter Combo

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Hi Eugene, the original inlet and drain hoses were rubber with steel coils around the outside to keep them from kinking when the machine was installed in tight places.


On the green combo I installed a modern corrugated plastic drain hose when I rebuilt it 25 years ago which worked well.


I may transfer the outer springs onto new inlet hoses for the machine going to Sarah since this is an under-counter model.


John L.





Post# 1054396 , Reply# 20   12/15/2019 at 20:55 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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Can't wait to see the pictures & videos you mentioned above with all the splashy wash action!


Post# 1054416 , Reply# 21   12/16/2019 at 04:01 by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
GE Combo Restore

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Great work John & Jason, will be fab to see one in action, looks a simple but sturdy machine, good to see the canvas pump drive as used in the GE top loaders and our Hotpoints.

The calrod dryer elements at the top of drum, is the smaller one used as the booster to the large one for high heat fast drying ? or the other way around ?

Whats the capacity of the drum cylinder for a dry load John ?

Have you timed how long a dry load would take after spinning a wahload with a spin dryer / extractor first ?

Grest Restore, Mike

Post# 1054664 , Reply# 22   12/18/2019 at 10:54 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
GE Combo Restoration

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Hi Mick, Thanks for the encouragement.

The tub capacity is around 4.5 CF, the machine was rated for a 10# load of clothing.

There are two heaters, the larger one is 2800 watts and the smaller one 1200 W. If using the regular heavy dry both heaters are used for the first phase of drying, then the 2nd period only uses the 2800 W element, if you do a delicate dry load only the 2800 W element is used.

If you have set the machine to dry the clothing when starting out the heaters are also used during the 3 spin periods. And if you select a hot wash wash the three rinses are C-W-H, if you select a warm wash all 3 rinses are warm.

Here is a good sized load of heavy pull-overs and underwear that I put in this morning at 915am, it finished at 1115am.

Note this is on 208 volts so dry time is 25% longer.

You can see in the pictures of the combo we are rebuilding for the museum that Jason and I added a 2nd 1200W element to make up for lower voltage, with this element we should get just about 3900 watts of drying power.

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Post# 1054670 , Reply# 23   12/18/2019 at 14:35 by bradfordwhite (space coast)        

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"208 RPM" ?  That's a defo. disappointment.


I hope the new FL washers/dryers are improved.  The clothes coming out of a newer FL are often so dry it doesn't take long for them to dry.  Usually less than 25 minutes.


GE was always trying unique things.  We have to give them credit for that.  From wall hung frigs to under sink dws to Advantium ovens that cook with light.  

Post# 1054700 , Reply# 24   12/18/2019 at 18:25 by surgilator_68 (Maryland)        
John doing what he does best

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Post# 1054719 , Reply# 25   12/18/2019 at 21:40 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Thatís awesome

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I can hear him humming now

Post# 1054799 , Reply# 26   12/19/2019 at 13:22 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
Totally cool!

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Thanks millions for doing this machine for me! I love this thread and the details on progress. It looks large in your photos--it's 30" right? What's the deal with the 208 volts and 25% longer drying time? Is 208 service common? Am I right in thinking that 220 is the standard? And I love the pictures of you working in the tub--fun to put a face with the voice.

David, you can definitely see it in action and "play" with it when we get it installed!

Christina, the avocado is going to become turquoise. I sometimes think it's a bit sad to paint over an original finish because I know there's someone somewhere who would love it as is... and someone somewhere who has the color I'm looking for. I'll most likely be painting some of my textured impasto finish Geneva cabinets with a ridge filling primer to make them smooth which also saddens me. I'd love to find someone who is looking for the impasto finish to trade with as it is rarer than the smooth finish. And so it goes...


Post# 1054809 , Reply# 27   12/19/2019 at 14:26 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Sarah, I'm 99 percent certain the voltage there in rural Alabama is 120/240 single phase. VERY few single family homes have 208Y/120 service, but it is very common in larger business buildings that use 3 phase for equipment like air conditioning or industrial machinery. 208Y/120 may be available at your location if it is served by 3 phase lines, as some farms have large motor loads.

Post# 1054829 , Reply# 28   12/19/2019 at 16:12 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
2 phase

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I know we have two and not three phase, so that probably means we have 240. Would the 240 address the dryer performance/cycle time?


Post# 1054837 , Reply# 29   12/19/2019 at 17:03 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        

Sarah, I am 100% sure you have 120 / 240V single phase service at your place. It will be perfect for this machine.

Post# 1054878 , Reply# 30   12/20/2019 at 00:11 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Some multifamily buildings have 208/120V 3 ph power.Two apartment buildings I lived in used 208V.

Post# 1054959 , Reply# 31   12/20/2019 at 21:59 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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I'm sure your turquoise over avocado will turn out beautiful. I personally like the funky 70's colors myself. But I know avocado isn't a first choice for some.

I can't wait to see when Jon gets done with your GE combo and you've turned it turquoise. Be sure to keep us posted and of course share pictures & videos!

Post# 1054960 , Reply# 32   12/20/2019 at 22:07 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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I'm sure your turquoise over avocado will turn out beautiful. I personally like the funky 70's colors myself. But I know avocado isn't a first choice for some.

I can't wait to see when Jon gets done with your GE combo and you've turned it turquoise. Be sure to keep us posted and of course share pictures & videos!

Post# 1056141 , Reply# 33   1/1/2020 at 12:07 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Sarah, you almost certainly have 240V service. I'm not aware that Alabama Power ever put in 208V three phase in any single family residences.

Am I correct in assuming that on this combo, the one timer handles both wash and dry? And the other knob is a temperature selector?

Post# 1056156 , Reply# 34   1/1/2020 at 13:57 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> Christina, the avocado is going to become turquoise. I sometimes think it's a bit sad to paint over an original
>> finish because I know there's someone somewhere who would love it as is... and someone somewhere who
>> has the color I'm looking for.

Don't be too hard on yourself. The vast majority of the population doesn't care at all, and simply trashes/scraps major appliances of the "wrong" color when the trends change. You're doing it a favor by having it restored and put back into service, regardless of the color.

It's just like with antique cars. Sometimes a car rolls through at a show, and you can hear the critics in the crowd chattering "That's not the right color! 1943 should have been a darker shade of [whatever]"... Well sure, but you know what? Someone cared enough about that car 30-40 years ago to fix it up and paint it to suit them. And because of that "travesty", that car was loved enough to survive until today when it otherwise would have been crushed and melted into toasters and doorknobs before half of those complaining were even born!

Post# 1056191 , Reply# 35   1/1/2020 at 18:56 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
GE Combos

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The combos are both running well, the only thing left to do is rebuild the inlet valve in the white free-standing combo that is going to stay in the museum, I am also going to put in a heat relay to protect the motor centrifugal switch, timer heat contacts and dry thermostat.

Pictures of washing a few loads, these machines wash really well and even handle non HE detergents well.

Reply #33, Hi David, you are correct there is just one main timer and a dryness thermostat on the right, all drying is auto-dry and if set correctly it works well.

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Post# 1056200 , Reply# 36   1/1/2020 at 19:45 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Beautiful combos!

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That white machine is one I hope to find, in avocado of course! Those panels are so handsome. Awesome work, John (and Jason?)!

Post# 1056239 , Reply# 37   1/2/2020 at 02:06 by hippiedoll (tucson, arizona u.s.a.)        

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Thank you for sharing those pictures!
I LOVE the pictures showing the sudsy water through the windows! You know me, I likes the windows!

I'm so happy you got the combo restorations completed. They look AMAZING!
Can't wait to see some videos showing the splashy washing action!


Doing the happy-dance on this side of the computer.

Post# 1056733 , Reply# 38   1/6/2020 at 20:27 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Final Picture Of The Under Counter Combo

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As loaded in Tims †[ macboy91si's ]1993 Dodge 5 Sp six-cylinder magnum sport van.

John L.

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Post# 1056736 , Reply# 39   1/6/2020 at 21:15 by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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John, thank you for documenting the rebuild process. Great work!


Post# 1056737 , Reply# 40   1/6/2020 at 21:31 by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
One step closer!

And it safely made it to Alabama today, along with some other stuff as well!

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Post# 1057226 , Reply# 41   1/11/2020 at 07:08 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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All these wonderful, informative/educational photos of GE combo restorations and what sticks in my mind? The control dial on each showing an 8-minute maximum wash time, LOL!

Many of todayís machines with load-sensing protocols take nearly that long to complete the first fill.

As always, thanks for sharing your expertise of the process as well as the photographic documentation, John! I can barely operate a screwdriver, but do enjoy seeing what goes into keeping vintage machines alive and well.

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Post# 1057256 , Reply# 42   1/11/2020 at 12:43 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Any full videos on a Combo machine?

Post# 1057809 , Reply# 43   1/16/2020 at 16:43 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        

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I don't have the space ready to install the combo yet, and it's still at David's. I'm going over tomorrow with a plug and some dirty laundry. He's going to wire it up and let me play with it!

I'm still going to repaint it, but that avocado/harvest two tone is pretty dang cool!

Thanks, John, Tim, David--
and Paul, I'm on the fence about thanking you for introducing me to the appliance I didn't know existed but instantly knew I couldn't live without...


Post# 1057810 , Reply# 44   1/16/2020 at 16:45 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
The dangerous Imperial forum

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And, now, I'll be cruising the Imperial forum in addition to the Super. This could be trouble. I'm sure y'all will introduce me to a whole new world of must-have appliances.


Post# 1057908 , Reply# 45   1/17/2020 at 13:35 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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>> I'm still going to repaint it, but that avocado/harvest two tone is pretty dang cool!

It's a very natural and familiar color pairing if you're from a grain belt region!

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Post# 1058470 , Reply# 46   1/23/2020 at 00:29 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
And here we are

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I might not be looking my best in my grubby work clothes, but the combo is looking sharp! Hoping to give her a run on a warmer day.

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Post# 1058501 , Reply# 47   1/23/2020 at 09:29 by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        
Re: reply #42 - combo cycle video

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Here ya go!


Post# 1058544 , Reply# 48   1/23/2020 at 17:26 by chetlaham (United States)        

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I can't thank you enough!

Why no reversing? Either way, love it!

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