Monday, September 14, 2015

Our East Coast Wrap-Up

Posted from Red Bay, AL

The plan when we left Arizona way back in April was to make a swing up the eastern side of the United States to visit family and friends.

I'm happy to say that we accomplished our goal and had a great time catching up with old co-workers and family.

We were in Florida for almost 8 weeks during the hottest time of the summer.  Definitely not ideal, but we survived. We first met up with a past co-worker of mine John Potter and his wife Maryann. They now live just north of Clermont, FL in a beautiful 55+ community.  It was great seeing the two of you again.  John has taken up the sport of pickleball, so of course I "forced" myself to play (many times, too).

Next we traveled down to the Cape Coral area and met up with George and Ellen Motley.  I worked with both of these folks pre-retirement up in Virginia.  They have since retired to this area of Florida and live in a beautiful waterfront home with access to the Gulf of Mexico.   This is a picture of us enjoying dinner one evening down in Ft. Myers Beach.

Ironically, Karen's brother and his family were vacationing in Florida while we were on the Gulf side. We were able to meet for dinner one evening before they had to return to Virginia.  Fortunately, we were able to visit again later in the summer when we got to Virginia.

Are you beginning to see the common "theme" of meeting around eating places in this blog?  Seems like it works that way with RVing friends as well.

We left Florida in early August and began a slow northward drive up the east coast.  We stopped for a few days in Myrtle Beach, SC to again visit with some past co-workers. It seems as though many guys I worked with have moved to either Florida or the Myrtle Beach, SC area.  Here we are at yet another restaurant with Joe and Dale Scalici and Rob and Cathy Forker.  Some great "stories" were shared around the table on this evening.

We finally got back to the Northern Virginia area in early September to visit with several of Karen's past co-workers, and finally our families.  Karen was very happy to meet up with friends Ana Zuniga and Jennie Moore.  We were all able to get together for lunch one afternoon up in Burke, VA. Ana's husband Lucho and Jennie's boyfriend Phil joined us and it made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

Another "fun" group we were able to re-unite with was from our pre-Fulltiming days.  We belonged to a local Good Sam chapter when we lived in Virginia named the Redwing Sams. We went on many camping outings with these folks when we lived in Virginia. Shared many a good time then, and certainly shared some great conversation at this restaurant up in Springfield, VA.

We finally got a chance to meet up with family after all of these "eating out" adventures with old friends.  Both of Karen's parents have had a lot of physical obstacles during the past couple of years. This was one of the first times they had been able to get out and go to a restaurant for some time.  We jointly celebrated their 57th and our 31st anniversaries together.

Lastly, but certainly not least, we got a chance to visit with my Mom and brother while in Manassas, VA.  As unbelievable as it seems, we failed to take a picture of all of us together.  Nevertheless, it was great seeing you Mom and Jeff.

Well, that pretty much sums up our summer.  We are now in Red Bay, AL having a couple of small things done on the motorhome before heading back west for our winter in Casa Grande, AZ again. No time schedule to really keep between now and then, but we should be back in Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort again by mid-October.  Let the pickleballing begin!

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Whirlpool Washer Repair

Posted from Thousand Trails, Gloucester, VA

Have you ever finished a repair job and were just so happy with yourself for being able to diagnose the problem AND fix it as well!  Well, this is exactly what happened to us recently when we pulled into the Thousand Trails in Gloucester, VA.

UP FRONT WARNING!  If you don't have a washer in your rig or aren't really interested in ever trying to fix one,  please stop now and bail out.  This blog post isn't for you!

We arrived last Thursday and Karen decided to do a load of laundry. Normally, when she closes the door and turns the load selector dial to a setting, several lights on the front panel illuminate and a countdown timer begins.  Today, NOTHING!!!!!   Not good.  Karen is none too happy.

We have a stacked Whirlpool washer and dryer positioned in the passenger side rear corner of our 2010 Tiffin Phaeton motorhome.  The washer model is #WFC7500V.  This washer has been in use in Tiffin motorhomes since around 2008 or 2009.  I'm not sure when they began using some other brands, but probably around 2011 or 2012.

Looking in from access panel
If you've ever tried to do anything with the washer and dryer in place, you know that access is very much unlike a sticks and bricks situation.  There is an access panel to the rear of our washer-dryer through a hole in the side of the rear closet.  It measures 4 1/2 x 22 inches and is basically big enough to turn the hot and cold water valves on and off, unplug the electrical plugs, and "maybe" replace the hot and cold water hoses.  I said maybe because I haven't tried that one yet.

Getting back to the washer problem, I checked the routine sources of the problem first.  Plugged a light into the receptacle to make sure that we were getting power up to that point.  Power was good.

Now I'm stumped.  It's time to go to the forum to see if anyone else has had a similar problem.  Several discussions about "other" problems, but nothing like the one we are experiencing. Remember, we have power to the washer, but seemingly no power is reaching any of the controls. I finally located a Whirlpool service manual online for this particular machine. Since several people have already asked for the service manual, I'm including a link to it here in my drop box account. (There's no need to have a drop box account for this.  When the splash screen on drop box opens, just click "X" and the manual will load.)

The more I dug into the problem, the more it sounded like an inoperative Central Control Unit (CCU) on the front of the washer.  Great!  I began pricing these online and they run anywhere from $200-$400 depending on whether it was a re-burbished or a new unit. I started checking the price of a brand new washer since this one is 5 years old.  Home Depot sells the same model for $689.  I'm beginning to not feel too good about the impending decision yet to be made.

I must give credit here to Bill (BillR22) on the Tiffin Forum as his correspondence with me indicated that he had a similar problem.  (He has a 2010 Tiffin Phaeton, as well).  He opened up his washer and found that some wires had come loose (presumably while bouncing down the roads).  I now had HOPE!

On with the repair.  (I can hear the readers saying it's about time).

These washers weigh about 170 pounds and are very hard to move around the way that they have been installed in the cabinet.  The height of the bottom of the cabinet shelf to the bedroom floor is about 14 inches and we also have an engine "hump" to deal with in this area.

To remove the washer from the cabinet I had to first remove the bi-fold doors.  Not hard, just three screws.  Remove the two bi-fold door latches on the left side of the opening, then remove a wooden spacer at the bottom of the washer.  Pretty easy so far.

The next task was to figure out how to build up a support shelf to pull the washer out of the cabinet.  I knew that if I ever got it down to bedroom floor level that I'd probably never get it back into the cabinet again.  A trip over to the TT maintenance shop and I returned with several cinder blocks and bricks.  These just happened to be the almost correct height.

I placed two pieces of 24" x 24" (1/2" thick each) on top of the block and bricks to make a temporary shelf.

Broken screw in washer
Ok, I'm ready to begin pulling the washer out.  It's not budging!  If you go back to Picture #1 in this blog you'll see that Tiffin placed two pieces of wood as a stop on the rear of the washer and dryer shelf.  Well, they had actually screwed thru the wooden stop block right into the metal washer cabinet.  After I finished cussing, I began to pry the wooden block to free the screw and the screw eventually broke.

Because the washer has four rubber feet on each corner which I needed to lift up over the front edge of the surrounding wooden cabinet, I used a strap to assist.  Karen pulled while I tipped the front upward to clear the cabinet, then I used the strap to move the washer totally out of the enclosure.  Fortunately, the water hoses were long enough that there was no need to disconnect them.

Here's a picture of the washer totally removed from the cabinet and sitting (quite nicely, I might add) on my temporary shelf.

Any access to the front control panels and circuit boards begins with the removal of three screws on the top rear edge of the washer. (The three nut drivers are positioned just to show the location of the screws.)

Once the screws are removed, grasp the top cover on each side of the washer and slide it backwards toward the rear of the washer. The top cover can then be removed.

The power cord enters the washer on the top right corner (when viewed from the front) and is attached to an AC line filter. EUREKA!!!  There's the problem!!!

As you can see in this picture, one of the wires is totally disconnected, and the other is just about to fall off of the terminal.

I love it when a repair is this easy.  I just re-connected the black and white push-on tabs and secured them with several turns of electrical tape.  Hopefully, they will stay in place much longer.

All that's left to do was to re-install the washer top cover and move the washer back into its' position in the cabinet.  (Oh, yes, I tested the washer before doing any of this. Worked perfectly again.)

The "beast" is a bit tougher pushing back into the cabinet, but we succeeded.

Believe me when I say that we were two happy people on the day of this repair.  I envisioned a trip by a appliance repair man at least.  Then, when all else failed either a replacement of that aforementioned CCU board, or worst case scenario, the replacement of the entire washer.

We had a working washer again and saved several hundred dollars in a service visit. Looking back, I see that this is a pretty long post, but hopefully it will assist someone else in at least removing their washing machine from the cabinet should the need arise.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!