Thread Number: 82285  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
1962 WDA-62 Restoration ......
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Post# 1062772   3/9/2020 at 21:40 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        


Back in 2017 I started a search for the model Frigidaire washer that my grandmother had all the years that I was growing up. She bought it new in 1962 and it lasted till 1987.

You know how it goes, you don't miss something until its gone. Well for the last 33 years I thought of that washing machine and I really wanted one to relive those old memories. In 2017 I found 2 of these machines and both were in poor condition. For the better part of 2+ years now I have been restoring them into one really nice machine. As usual with all my restoration projects, I wanted to restore this machine to as nearly new as possible, as close to like I had walked into the showroom in 1962 and zapped it back to 2020.

As most of you know, I'm the guy who started this quest but had no way of getting fresh rubber agitator parts for this machine. If I couldn't have fresh rubber parts for this machine then I wasn't even going to start this project because the money shot is what counts the most, right?!

So I started making my own. The cap, the lint and circulator rings and then the energy ring. I then got the wild hair to make molds for all the Frigidaire agitator rubber parts for machines from 1947 thru 1962, which I did. But that was a big side track from the WDA-62 restoration, however I have slowly gotten back on track.

Another part that was in terrible shape was the clear plastic timer knob. I ended up making a mold for that part as well and reproduced it to perfection.

The only other part that was a big road block to this project was the control panel background applique. The original was silk-screened over 2 pieces of brushed aluminum and even I had no way of reproducing that! Silk screening?? No one does that anymore in this digital age. BUT ..... I went on a search to find a way to have this background reproduced .... and I found it. The funny thing, I found a company who can do this and they were only 20 miles north of me.

This thread will be an ongoing post of pictures that show this restoration. I continually took pictures as I made progress but gathering them and posting them here will be a process in itself.     Enjoy!

To start off the first 3 pics are of the control panel applique that I had made. The trick is to take the old panel and scan it on a flat bed scanner. This took a bit of work to scan each panel in 2 sections and then join them back together in Photoshop. Once you have the entire panel, next fix all the defects and color correct the old paint. The panel I had to work from spent a few years in direct sunlight and had darkened. But an easy thing to fix in Photoshop.

The first 2 pics show the original panel on the bottom and the new panel on top. The panel on top, I reused the brushed aluminum pieces from the 2nd donor machine and applied the new "printed" appliques that I had made. These printed appliques are an industrial process and even come with a 20 year warranty and are UV tolerant. This process is mostly used for outdoor signage and is waterproof as well! Sorry for the photo quality. The pics don't do these justice. The overhead lighting sucked.

Pic 3 is the applique as received from the printer for the matching dryer (DCA-62).  The dryer is in the queue for restoration once the washer is done! Pic 4 shows contrast of the new vs the damaged original paint.


Bud - Atlanta

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This post was last edited 03/09/2020 at 23:24

Post# 1062774 , Reply# 1   3/9/2020 at 21:46 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
As for the timer knob ......

here is a peek at the reproduction. Original on the left, new on the right.

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Post# 1062776 , Reply# 2   3/9/2020 at 21:50 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Original machine as received ......

However the better of the 2 that I obtained in 2017. The poor baby!

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Post# 1062777 , Reply# 3   3/9/2020 at 21:52 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Cabinet Paint .....

Single stage automotive urethane. I love shooting this paint. It is really forgiving ..... so long as the outside temp is under 85 degrees.


One note. Harbor freight sells castor wheels that fit perfectly into the adjustment feet holes. Makes for easy rolling around the shop.

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Post# 1062778 , Reply# 4   3/9/2020 at 22:01 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
A bit of sandblasting in the blast tank .......

Cross brace and back access door powder coated .... and ready for assembly.  Can you see how retentive I am? The inside cabinet paint just as nice as the outside. lol


The only part I sent out for cleaning was the outer tub. Had it sand blasted. I then used KDS Rust Stop and gave the tub a coat inside and out. 

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This post was last edited 03/09/2020 at 22:44
Post# 1062781 , Reply# 5   3/9/2020 at 22:14 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Some disassembly pics .....

Impact driver on the tub bolts seems to always be necessary. And the bolts that hold the transmission in no longer resemble hex heads! (last pic) 

As you can see, I had one white and one turquoise machine to work with.

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This post was last edited 03/09/2020 at 23:27
Post# 1062783 , Reply# 6   3/9/2020 at 22:22 (1,447 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Transmission and motor rebuilt .....

and ready to be installed. New motor bearing packings and saturated with fresh oil. Motor cleaned out with chlorinated solvent and a heavy coat of clear acrylic lacquer to the windings.  Also my first time experimenting with (type 2) cad plating. That is the silver plating on the U shaped trans mount and the pump mounting plate on the motor base.


I have a full set of pics that I'll post to a separate thread on the trans rebuild. I've done 4 of these multimatics so far and will put a tutorial together showing some tricks and tips I came up with. Also the cross reference part numbers for replacement parts that I have found for NLA parts.

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This post was last edited 03/09/2020 at 23:29
Post# 1062789 , Reply# 7   3/9/2020 at 23:04 (1,446 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Top and Lid ......

Sent out for new porcelain refinishing. Arrow shows a spot completely rusted thru and fixed like new. Jeff at IPE did a great job!

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Post# 1062792 , Reply# 8   3/9/2020 at 23:19 (1,446 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Going back together .....

Transmission going back into outer tub. All new stainless steel hardware above and below the waterline.  Inner tub hub bead blasted and its threads reworked using stainless heli-coils. Never have to worry about removing the inner tub again. No chance of dissimilar metals corroding again like alum/steel does over time. 

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Post# 1062807 , Reply# 9   3/10/2020 at 02:06 (1,446 days old) by d-jones (Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Area))        
Excellent work so far!!!

d-jones's profile picture
I especially like all the attention to detail. Very few restorations are taken to this level. My parents had a similar washer when I was growing up, but it was gone when I came home from the Army. I'll have to check in on this thread and see how it turns out.

Post# 1062812 , Reply# 10   3/10/2020 at 05:36 (1,446 days old) by Easyspindry (Winston-Salem, NC)        
Your work . . .

. . . is phenomenal!!!!   Thank you for sharing this.  Frigidaire was the best ever.


It appears that your work is the best ever also.


Jerry Gay

Post# 1062814 , Reply# 11   3/10/2020 at 06:25 (1,446 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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WOW !!!!!!

Post# 1062847 , Reply# 12   3/10/2020 at 14:02 (1,446 days old) by Hippiedoll ( arizona )        
There is...

hippiedoll's profile picture
No shortage of words of praise, to describe the work you do for these vintage GM Frigidaire washers! Showroom new is exactly what you are accomplishing with you Frigidaire pair! I'll be coming back to this thread to catch up on your progress. Everything you've shared in these pictures looks BEAUTIFUL!

Your talent, focus, and skills are just amazing Bud! I enjoy reading your threads and I'm always shocked at the great work you do, you always impress!
I can't wait to see your Frigidaire set when they are completed!

Thank you for taking the time to post & share the pictures of your progress.
Much love & respect

Post# 1062858 , Reply# 13   3/10/2020 at 15:20 (1,446 days old) by hobbyapocalypse (Northeast Pennsylvania)        
Wow how beautiful that is!

hobbyapocalypse's profile picture
What is the gold color plating on the transmission?

Post# 1062863 , Reply# 14   3/10/2020 at 16:38 (1,446 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
The trans housing ....

originally had a type 1 cadmium plating. It has a golden appearance when applied to steel. Most GM automobile power brake boosters in the 60's and 70's had this plating and comes across as a bright gold.

The transmission housing however is made of a pot metal and for whatever reason the manufacturer decided to cadmium plate it. The plating comes across as a dull silvery gold when applied to this kind of metal. On areas that still looked new, I simply found a paint that closely matched and painted the transmission.

Post# 1062874 , Reply# 15   3/10/2020 at 20:26 (1,446 days old) by joelippard (Hickory)        

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Work on this level is most definitely to be applauded!  Thank you for sharing this here!

Post# 1062875 , Reply# 16   3/10/2020 at 20:32 (1,446 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Best in Show!

This is amazing, love it all.

Post# 1062876 , Reply# 17   3/10/2020 at 21:06 (1,446 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Wow!  I wish I had the knowledge and skill set to do a restoration with that level of detail!  I look forward to seeing the finished product!

Post# 1062989 , Reply# 18   3/12/2020 at 14:38 (1,444 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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If this were a car show you'd be wining best in class. Concourse restoration at it's finest! Even the detail on the motor is stunning. Did you also plate the springs, too?

Aren't those hex head cap screws for the mechanism support so much fun to remove when they get this bad? *eye roll*

Would love to hear what your trick was on getting the right belt tension.


Post# 1063009 , Reply# 19   3/12/2020 at 20:16 (1,444 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Hi Ben .....

to answer your question about the belt tension:

reply #5 of this old thread .....

A bit long winded but thorough. Jeez, I wrote all that?

As for the springs, I had some yellow chromate plating solution left over from a Rochester Quadrajet restoration I did a few years ago. Here is the solution I'm talking about:

Post# 1063381 , Reply# 20   3/16/2020 at 07:41 (1,440 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Little bit further .......

Almost done!

Got the control panel background mounted and the new timer knob installed. The only part I had to send out for chrome plating was the center piece to the timer knob. In a previous picture you can see how badly pitted it was. If we ever get a sunny day (supposed to rain till Sunday. ..ugh), I'll roll it outside and get some high quality photos. The basement lighting is not photo friendly and tends to distort colors, as below.

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Post# 1063384 , Reply# 21   3/16/2020 at 08:01 (1,440 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
You have done

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an Amazing job Bud! My first Frigidaire was a 1963! What a job! Gotta see that in person someday!! Factory Fresh !!!   Can't wait for the Video!! Smarty Pants to change the mechanism bearings thats just how these units failed and blew the motor! A lot of stress on those bearings.

Post# 1063386 , Reply# 22   3/16/2020 at 08:38 (1,440 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Almost forgot about the ......

belt pulley bearings. Found sealed replacement bearings for the NLA bearings and swapped those out after blasting and re-plating the pulleys. You don't need a shop press to do this but easier if you have access to one.



New pump seal and some plating work for the pump parts as well.


Bud - Atlanta



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Post# 1063409 , Reply# 23   3/16/2020 at 12:32 (1,440 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Envious of folks who have skills to do a restoration of this caliber.

Post# 1063424 , Reply# 24   3/16/2020 at 16:21 (1,440 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Wow I love the whole thing!

jetcone's profile picture

This machine is gonna hum!!!


Post# 1063426 , Reply# 25   3/16/2020 at 17:05 (1,440 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

How did you transfer the old cycle markings from the old knob to the new one?

Post# 1063430 , Reply# 26   3/16/2020 at 17:51 (1,440 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Hi Tom ....

The knob is a 2 piece design. The inner portion has the markings and was in really good condition. No fading. The outer portion took the brunt of the weather.

When you pull the knob out, the inner part will engage and spins with the outer to set the cycle. Push the knob in and the outer simply freewheels .... and starts the timer.

Post# 1063441 , Reply# 27   3/16/2020 at 20:56 (1,440 days old) by vacman1961 (North Babylon, New York)        

OMG, what a beautiful and thorough restoration, great job.

Post# 1063527 , Reply# 28   3/17/2020 at 11:52 (1,439 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Bud, I somehow had missed your original post about the belts. If AW supported categorical stickies I'd motion to make the Multimatic belt post one of the first honorary posts!

Wow; again top notch work. The fact that you even plated the pulleys speaks volumes on your attention to detail. A shame GM didn't spend the extra few bucks on sealed bearings on those, it would have saved many a washer back in the day.


This post was last edited 03/17/2020 at 13:24
Post# 1063532 , Reply# 29   3/17/2020 at 12:33 (1,439 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
I agree ......

bearing manufacturing has changed a lot since then. The bearing itself hasn't changed much but the seals and synthetic grease that doesn't absorb water has. I've learned the hard way to substitute synthetic grease wherever possible because all petroleum based grease loves to latch onto water and literally sucks humidity out of the air.

I once rebuilt a transaxle on a 58 vw beetle that had 200k+ miles on it and was absolutely astounded at the ball bearings that they used. The bearings were in near perfect shape and just a hint of wear. Their longevity was attributed to great metallurgy and never coming into contact with water and of course proper lubrication. Just shows how long a bearing can last if it has the proper environment and correct sizing for the job.

As for these pulley bearings, they would have lasted if there had been a water tight seal. But back then the manufacturer called them "dust shields" and it did little to keep water out or the grease in. I've encountered 6 sets (12) of these pulleys now, and every one of them was lacking grease and rusted. Made for some pretty crunchy sounding bearings. One of them completely locked up and burnt the belt in two.

Post# 1063599 , Reply# 30   3/17/2020 at 20:42 (1,439 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
The easy way .....

to add the transmission oil. Notice how small the oil port is in the trans to get the oil thru. The tubing barely fits.


Ebay sells these 1 liter "kangaroo feeding bags" (I didn't name it!) that are identical to any IV bag you see at the hospital. However these have a large mouth and plug at the top that allows you to add any liquid. Three of them are like $6 and when you add the required 26 ozs of oil to it, it reads exactly 800 mL on the side markings.  It comes with about 4' of tubing but you will only need about a foot. Get you a quart of 30 weight non-detergent and you are good to go.  Hang the bag as shown and let gravity do the work.  I sped the process up a bit by adding some rubber bands around to help force the oil out. Easy peasy and no mess.

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Post# 1063660 , Reply# 31   3/18/2020 at 09:37 (1,438 days old) by jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Bud this is what I use

jetcone's profile picture

to great success!!   Royal Purple, it is a little $$ but when Im restoring a machine like my Charcoal Frigidaire I want the best. I just saw this is a synthetic too! I never knew there was a difference in moisture retention in grease! Good lesson thanks!!


Post# 1063668 , Reply# 32   3/18/2020 at 10:22 (1,438 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
I should clarify .....

the term grease I used in my previous reply. Older petroleum based grease and oil had a tendency but very miniscule, hydroscopic effect. Older grease technology added different ingredients to make them more sticky so as to stay in place on faster moving mechanisms. One of those ingredients was soap. Soap based grease was a mainstay used in high speed gears and bearings assemblies. Over time it was notorious to absorb moisture because of these additives. Modern day grease now contains non hydroscopic additives in petroleum based lubricants. And full synthetic had replaced petroleum altogether.

Post# 1063747 , Reply# 33   3/19/2020 at 01:48 (1,437 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I just love looking at this type of restoration.  I wish I had a good garage or workshop where I could do more myself.  Amazing.  Too bad ALL those old machines couldn't have been collected and reworked one by one and re-used.

Post# 1064306 , Reply# 34   3/23/2020 at 13:21 (1,433 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Couple of more items .....

added to the restoration ...... in between all the other honey-do list.


I recreated 3 of the paper labels that were on the exterior of the WDA-62 when shipped from the factory.  Two of them were on the back of the machine, and one on the power cord.


And again it is dark and rainy, making the basement lighting non-conducive for photography.  But here is a sneak peek with lousy pictures.  Like I said before, on a sunny day I'll take the finished product outside and get some HD photos to post.

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Post# 1064309 , Reply# 35   3/23/2020 at 13:28 (1,433 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
One neat tip ....

if you ever feel the need to clean and make the 3-prongs on the power cord look like new, shiny brass can once again be had by soaking the prongs in "Lime-A-Way". It took about 30 minutes and the end result takes the dark oxidation completely off. Once satisfied with the results, soak the plug in water to neutralize the cleaner.

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Post# 1064343 , Reply# 36   3/23/2020 at 17:23 (1,433 days old) by Hippiedoll ( arizona )        

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You get down to every little detail. It's gonna be just like stepping back in time, buying this Frigidaire WDA-62 washer brand new, and bringing it back with you to the present day!
This is too cool!
I love it!

You're doing what many of us wish we could do with things from back in the day (toys, cars, vacuums, washers, etc.)!

Keep up the GREAT work Bud!

Post# 1064670 , Reply# 37   3/26/2020 at 08:38 (1,430 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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Bud - the labels look great! Can't say many of the plug labels have showed up over the years, so it's pretty great you were able to re-create one. Are you planning on slathering glue over the cabinet labels, or leave them pristine white?


Post# 1064684 , Reply# 38   3/26/2020 at 11:19 (1,430 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
LOL ......

I was wondering if anyone was going to ask that! So I had to guess at the glue they originally used and went with some of the kids glue paste that I remembered from grade school. Walmart had it for a dollar!

And yes, I smeared it on with a 1" brush around the perimeter. Maybe in 20 years it will start to charge colors and turn that familiar tan ..... just like the original.

And I got lucky. One of the old machines had most of a power cord tag still in place used as the reference for the new one.

Bud - Atlanta

Post# 1065332 , Reply# 39   3/31/2020 at 13:43 (1,425 days old) by Losangeles (Muscle Shoals, AL 35661)        
1962 WDA Restoration

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I just got through reading sfh074 Bud (Atlanta) post about his restoration of the 1962 WDA. I saw this machine before it had anything done to it. Now it seems that there has been a miracle in Bud's Garage. The pics he has posted are nothing short of amazing. His attention to the tiniest detail is worthy of the spyglass award. I know Bud's work personally. He took my 1963 Imperial's transmission apart, pick out all the broken and chewed up parts, replaced the parts needed, then in a case or two actually made the parts needed. His love and dedication to the restoration of vintage washers and dryers has no bounds. He is truly blessed to have such to have such a talents for appliance restoration.

Post# 1065333 , Reply# 40   3/31/2020 at 14:09 (1,425 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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I have never seen a restoration like this. Your level of detail is stunning. A joy to see your pictures. Thank you for posting!

Post# 1080798 , Reply# 41   7/12/2020 at 18:57 (1,322 days old) by sfh074 ( )        
Lid bumpers ..... the crowning touch!


The very last, but not the least item I needed to complete this restoration were original lid bumpers. Well looky looky! 


I went round and round looking for these at the usual places like Grainger, McMaster, etc .... but nothing even close. Stuff that would maybe work, and all only in black. Not the light gray that they originally came as.  And if you know anything about me, I couldn't have that.


So in the usual self fashion, I did a copy cat.  I added a thread over in Shoppers Square if anyone would like a set of these.


Bud - Atlanta

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Post# 1080802 , Reply# 42   7/12/2020 at 19:16 (1,322 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Bud, I am at a loss for words of praise and reverence to this task at hand. But I am humbled and in awe of your accomplishment. Bob

Post# 1080852 , Reply# 43   7/13/2020 at 09:08 (1,321 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Now that

Is the way to restore a washer!!

Post# 1101571 , Reply# 44   12/21/2020 at 22:06 (1,159 days old) by peterh770 (Marietta, GA)        

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Excellent work, Bud!

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