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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
I truly seek the Holy Grail-- which as far as I can tell must be some special tool. Not THAT kind of tool, you testosterone freak. I am trying to clean my cooktop, and the burners have those elevated grills that the pots sit on. Under them are those black rubber seal-rings and they are the devil to get back on. Help! Is there some trick?
There's always a trick! And it all starts with your model number, which you conspicuously omitted. No brand, either. But, I'll use my psychotic powers to divine the brand and model number. Ok, here goes...dayyam, it didn't work. Guess I'll need you to tell me that stuff after all.
Folks, if you want me to help you with appliance problems, which I'm happy to do, my virile and bountiful diagnostic powers are rendered impotent and flaccid without a valid model number. And, please, before you give me a model number that turns out to be gobbledy-gook, follow these guidelines for reading and reporting model numbers. Mucho Domos!
Saturday, March 27, 2004
The rare and exquisite Cacapee bird once flourished throughout all New England. The name, Cacapee, is an Iroquois word meaning, "beautiful feathers." Its long, brightly colored tail plume was highly prized for fashionable head wear. The wing feathers of the Cacapee were commonly used as "tonsil ticklers" in the vomitoriums which were hubs of social activity in New England during the Colonial period. Because of these popular uses of its feathers, the Cacapee bird was hunted to near-extinction. In fact, this exquisite bird was thought to be extinct...until now.
During one of his recent bird-watching missions, the Samurai spotted one of the last remaining Cacapee birds on the entire planet. The bird was spotted in a forest abutting Lake Sunapee, near the Samurai's home town of New London, New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the camera was damaged in a shower mishap, so no image is available. However, the audio recording survived. Here, now, is the only recording in existence of the Cacapee bird's mating call (patent-pending, all rights reserved, void where prohibited). Let's listen:
Friday, March 26, 2004
You've probably heard of the mystical and infernal Google Page Rank. As you can see, I've been beating my head against the wall trying to make sense out of Google's Page Rank. Some months, Fixitnow.com will have a Page Rank of 6/10; other months, it's down to 4/10. I dunno--I only keep adding content to this website and almost all of it is about appliance repair (with some goofy stuff thrown in just to keep it interesting).
Google keeps its forumula for Page Rank a secret. But they do say that the Page Rank of a website is strongly influenced by other sites that link to it. So, if you like this website and you have a website of your own, then how 'bout we help each other out by trading links? That seems to be the most reliable way for both of us to boost our Page Ranks.
To trade links, just add your website link to my links page. The link to your website will show up instantly and automatically on my links page. Then, add a link to Fixitnow.com to your website. Sometime, when I get around to it, I'll review your website to verify that our content is compatible and that my link is on your site. Welcome aboard, sailor!
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
I have a Whirlpool gas dryer and my problem is this:
You have a case of what we professional appliantologists call Ventitis Restricticus. That's the academic Latin name for the diagnosis of your dryer problem. Actually, it's not a problem with the dryer at all--it's a bad vent. Specifically, the airflow through the vent is restricted by any number of factors: overly long, kinks, crimps, clogs, too many 90º turns, and yada-yada and so-forth and like that-there. Don't believe me? Ok, here's a quick and easy way to prove it: completely disconnect the vent hose from the back of the dryer and fire up the dryer. After observing the dryer heat up normally and averting your eyes at my brilliance, refer to The Ultimate Dryer Venting Guide to surgically correct the Ventitis Restricticus. Hail, Caesar!
Monday, March 22, 2004
At some point during the life of your dryer, you're gonna need to open it up to do some surgery. Here are basic disassembly procedures for the most common dryer brands and models. And, Hoss, a genuine manufacturer's repair manual can be a valuable accomplice in your dryer repair odyssey. Come git you some.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Don't wanna spend much money?
Suspicious of greedy repairmen?
Call Monkey Boy Appliance Repair!
Appliance broken but you don't want to hire one of those over-priced, greedy repairmen just to replace a simple part? Then don't! Put your wallet at ease by calling for a genuine parts-changing monkey from Monkey Boy Appliance Repair.
At Monkey Boy, we absolutely guarantee that you'll never get one of those greedy, overpriced humans...because we don't have any! All Monkey Boy parts changers are imported directly from the deepest jungles of Africa and then genetically tested to ensure that they are 100% genuine simians, free of any traces of human genetic material.
Then, we put all our verified, 100%-pure monkeys through a proprietary 30-minute training program on changing appliance parts using, not one, but three different hammers! And some of our fully-trained monkeys may even be housebroken, too!
Just think, you could have your appliance fixed right now by a fully-trained and possibly-housebroken Monkey Boy parts-changing monkey. And, best of all, Monkey Boy Appliance Repair caters to special customers just like you so you know our prices are cheap, cheap, cheap!
If you have a broken appliance, don't just call the first human bubba you find in the Yellow Pages. Call Monkey Boy! Monkey Boy parts changers are here lounging around, eating bananas and scratching themselves while awaiting your call so, please...
Call Monkey Boy now!
Because you deserve the very cheapest appliance repair.
Disclaimer: Proven effective in laboratory experiments. Not responsible for bites or scratches inflicted on occupants at the home. Keep away from pets and small children. Monkeys may suddenly fling feces or spontaneously masturbate without provocation. Avoid contact with skin. Don't quote me on that. Don't quote me on anything. Other restrictions may apply. No warranty, express or implied, regarding the efficacy of the repair or the quality of the workmanship. Hey, genius, if you want a technician to figure out the problem and actually repair your appliance, go hire a human. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.
Your appliance is broken and your repair quest has brought you to Fixitnow.com. Your knees wobble and your bowels rumble as you contemplate doing the repair yourself. Since he is omniscient (and he knows it), the Samurai hears your question before you even ask it: "What am I in for if I decide to do this repair myself?"
Introducing Samurai's User-friendly Difficulty Scale (SUDS). Created just for Fixitnow.com Grasshoppers, the Samurai has developed a proprietary scale for rating the difficulty of appliance repairs. SUDS is based on the universally-understood six-pack: the more difficult a repair task is, the more suds it takes to get through it. So now, when I'm helping you do a repair, either in the Appliantology Group or in Live Help, I can quantify the difficulty of the repair task that lies before you using a scale we can all understand: SUDS. Simple. Intuitive. Fermented. That's the Samurai Way.
After you complete your repair using the myriad resources at Fixitnow.com or the Appliantology Group, you can return the favor and help the Samurai maintain his own supply of suds by giving to the United Samurai Beer Fund. Cheers!
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Tired of wading through pages of technical gobbledy-gook trying to figure out what's wrong with your appliance? Ahh, grasshopper, unfurrow that brow and unbunch those panties because The Samurai School of Appliantology is now accepting new students. The Samurai personally guides his grasshoppers through the diagnosis and repair of all their major home appliances. As an enrolled student, you, too, would have unlimited access to the Samurai via phone, online chat, and email on any major appliance problems that you may encounter in your home. Annual tuition for enrollment in The Samurai School of Appliantology is $49. Enrolled students also get these two important benefits:
If you'd rather not enroll in the School, the Samurai is pleased to consult with you on an issue-by-issue basis. For $29, the Samurai will help you solve a single appliance problem. I can talk you through most repairs on the phone but we'll use any combination of phone, fax, email, and online chat--whatever it takes to help you understand the problem and how to fix it. That's one flat rate no matter how long it takes to complete the repair. I guarantee we can diagnose and solve your problem or I'll refund your money.
For more information about Live Help at The Samurai School of Appliantology, come hither.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
I have a Maytag Neptune MLE2000AYW stack W/D. It runs fine until the spin cycle then justs agitates in both directions it never goes into spin. Any suggestions? All door switches have good continuity.
I battled one of these beasts not long ago. Exact same problem. Read all about it in this war story.
Monday, March 15, 2004
my very old model whirlpool does not heat up and the element is fine. what else could be the problem and how do I fix it?
Since you refer to an element, and absent any other information about your dryer, I'm going to clairvoyantly assume that you have an electric dryer.
Before you even open the dryer, use your voltmeter to measure for 240v at the dryer wall outlet. You can't just look at it and think it's fine (I actually get people telling me that!) And just because the dryer motor runs, this doesn't mean you're getting 240v at the outlet, either. The motors runs on 120v but the heating elements require 240v and a common problem is for one leg, L1 or L2, of the 240v supply to open. If you're not getting 240v at the dryer outlet, you'll never get the elements to heat up. Plain n' simple. Whether you have a four-prong outlet or a three-prong outlet, you gotta check the voltage at the outlet with a meter!
Ok, so you checked the voltage at the outlet and you actually measured 240v on your meter. Now, and only now, we turn our keen, laser-like attention inside the dryer. Let's look at an example wiring diagram for an electric dryer. This one happens to be for a Whirlpool/Kenmore electric dryer and is probably very similar to yours. In the diagram, the heating element is shown in the lower right hand side. L1 and L2 are drawn on the either side of the diagram. The heating element connects to L1 and L2 through several different components. L1 connects to the heating element through the timer, a thermal cutoff, the operating thermostat, and the hi-limit thermostat. The heating element then connects to L2 through the motor centrifugal switch. All it takes is for any one of these components to fail open and this would prevent the heating element from receiving the needed 240v to get hot. Again, even though the example diagram is for a Whirlpool/Kenmore electric dryer, this is a typical configuration for any electric dryer.
Although any one of these components can kill the voltage to the heating element, there are a couple that tend to fail more commonly and can be easily checked. A quick and easy test to do is to measure the continuity of the thermal cutoff, the operating thermostat, and the hi-limit thermostat. Do this with the dryer unplugged and your meter set on the Rx1 scale. Disconnect at least one wire from the component being tested to isolate it from the rest of the circuit. If you find one that's open, replace it and problem solved!
While you're checking the continuity of these things, check the wiring for burnt or loose connections--this is another common cause for no-heat in electric dryers. If all those check out, then that leaves the the timer and the motor centrifugal switch.
Easiest way to test the timer is to run the dryer and measure for 120v out of the timer pin that powers the heating element circuit--in our example, it's pin R. Measure for this voltage by setting your meter to the 150vac scale and placing one probe on timer pin R and the other on any metal point on the dryer frame. Oh, I know what you're asking, "But if the heating element needs 240v, why are we only measuring for 120v at the timer?" The heating element gets its 240v in two halves: 120v from L1 and 120v from L2. We're only looking for the L1 half at the timer so we're looking for 120v.
Finally, if the timer voltage checks good, then that only leaves the motor centrifugal switch which, if you've made it this far in your checks, you can safely assume is bad. Since the centrifugal switch is an integral part of the motor, this means you have to buy a new motor. A manufacturer's repair manual and an AllenBar take a lot of the frustration out of this job. And, of course, the Samurai is always available to personally guide you through your repair in Live Help.
Ok, go fix your dryer!
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Fixitnow.com offers a complete line of appliance parts for all brands and models through our parts partner, RepairClinic. We could have partnered with any number of other appliance parts retailers on the web, but we chose RepairClinic. You won't find a more complete selection of appliance parts, better customer service, or a more lenient return policy anywhere else. By clicking through to RepairClinic using the links below or anywhere else at Fixitnow.com, a small percentage of your purchase goes to supporting this website without costing you one penny more for the parts you order. So, if you're going to order appliance parts anyway, please use the links on this website to ensure that the Samurai will continue to be here to help you fix your appliances. Domo.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
I have a maytag gas dryer, it is heating up but the tumbler is not turning, what can the problem be?
This can only be one thing: broken belt. Here's your three-step prescription to dryer wellness:
hose from dishwasher to garbage disposal:
This is a classic case of what we professionals call Drain Portus Gooktivitis. That's a little Latin lingo. Oh yeah, we professional Appliantologists know how to throw around lots of fancy words like that while on the job so we can impress the customer with our vast and esoteric wisdom. But, hey, that's why we make the Big Money.
LAst nite my stove arc'd and popped a breaker. I checked it out and it appeared that I needed to replace the receptacle for the 8" burner. I replaced it today, and now the burner indicator lite will not stay off. The burners all appear to be working and I am not seeing any other problems.
Congratulations on replacing the burner receptacle yourself! The problem with the burner indicator is that one of your surface burner infinite switches is burned out--probably the same one that connects to the burner receptacle that you replaced. This page explains how to check out the infinite switch.
All your other friends are joining, why haven't you?
Gregory & Kara Miller wrote:
I love the advice on the website, but wonder if you also have any free advice for hot water heaters? Mine suddenly seems to run out of water too quickly.
At the bottom of your hot water heater, you'll see a drain valve with a standard garden hose fitting. Connect a garden hose to the valve as shown here and open it all the way to flush all the accumulated scale and crap out of the tank. Leave it open until the water runs clear then close it. Wait one hour and then go take a long, hot shower. Ahhh!
Saturday, March 06, 2004
The two most frequent questions I hear while on an appliance service call are 1) "How much is a new one?" and 2) "How long should appliances last?" I've already discussed the first question in the linked article and this pearl of appliance wisdom will answer the second one.
The notion that an appliance has a definite life-span after which it should be hauled off to the landfill is one that the savvy marketing departments of the appliance manufacturers have carefully implanted into that muck between our ears. One of the ways they do this is by talking about appliance life expectancy. Appliance manufacturers would have you believe that you should replace an appliance after a pre-determined number of years, regardless of brand, maintenance or myriad other life-extending factors. And they're counting on the fact that most people are so inept at critical thinking that they never see this notion for the marketing tripe that it is.
But not so with you, intrepid grasshopper, for the Samurai shall reveal the truth unto thee. And the truth shall set you free.
Closer scrutiny of the phrase appliance life expectancy reveals a delicious ambiguity which the manufactures hope you'll never take the time to fully examine. The first concept to master is that anything can be repaired--it's just a matter of cost. Cost can be measured in Federal Reserve Notes (mistakenly referred to as "Dollars") and it can be measured in hassle, time, and aggravation, collectively referred to as "aggra-dollars." The very question, "How long should an appliance last?" seems to ignore the reality that appliances are composed of thousands of different electrical and mechanical parts made at different factories all over the world and slapped together in a Mexican sweat shop. Appliance life expectancy--if there really is such a thing--is the collective life expectancy of all these different parts. Appliances don't die. An internal part breaks. And most of time, broken parts can be replaced cost-effectively. Given this, does it even make sense to ask, "How long should an appliance last?"
The correct model for appliance longevity is the appliance half-life for a particular type of appliance. Appliance half-life is defined as the number of years after which it would not be cost-effective to repair half of the appliances in the group. For example, if the half-life of all dryers is 13 years, this means that in a group of 10 dryers, all 13-years old, it would be cost-effective to repair only five of them. The other five would be too badly deteriorated from abuse, poor quality, heavy use...whatever, to cost-effectively repair them. I have repaired dozens of 25-year old Whirlpool dryers that only needed minor repairs. I've also seen 10-year old Whirlpool dryers that were so far gone and would have needed such extensive repairs that I recommended the customer buy a new one. By the way, I've also seen 4-year old GE dryers that were ready for the trash heap the day they were built.
The table below lists the appliance half-life of various types of major appliances. I adapted the data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) table of appliance life expectancies. As a Grand Master of Appliantology, I immediately saw through the deception of such a designation. And now, through the miracle of the internet, you can benefit from my keen insight and understand the real meaning of appliance half-life.
How to use this table. Suppose you have a 15-year old side-by-side refrigerator that breaks. You look up side-by-side fridges and see the half-life is 14 years. You correctly conclude that since your fridge is just past the half-life age, that you have a slightly less than 50% probability of making a successful repair. Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions about whether or not to repair it (with personal guidance from yours so very truly, of course) or to buy a new one. Suppose, on the other hand, that your side-by-side fridge was just 10 years old. In this case, the chances for a successful repair are much higher than 50% and you can proceed with the repair, confident in a happy outcome.
Source: The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)
Friday, March 05, 2004
Johnnie Dew wrote:
I have a kenmore direct drive washer and it doesn't spin. I changed the motor coupler and brakes and clutch with still nix on spin. It fills,it agitates and drains but it will not spin? Help!!!
Here comes Johnnie Dew,
changing parts without a clue.
Replace the lid switch.
Konichiwa, grasshopper. While pondering your dilemma, I peered deeply into my steaming cup of green tea and perceived the solution to your problem. Now, snatch the pebbles from my hand and restore harmony to your washer.
And now, for your reading pleasure, I direct your attention to Spam Poetry. Kristin writes poetry using only the subject lines from the hundreds of pieces of SPAM she gets every day. Spam Poetry is the perfect literary companion to Appliance Haikus.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
One gauge of a website's success is when hacks and feebs start spoofing your site. "Spoofing" is when some semi-literate, pimply-faced, pencil-necked geeks send out spam fraudulently representing themselves as an established website with which they have no relationship whatsoever. Happens all the time to the big boys like Pay Pal and Yahoo. Well, I guess Fixitnow.com has finally made the Big Time...or at least big enough to get on some punk's radar screen. I received this email today:
Dear user, the management of Fixitnow.com mailing system wants to let you know that,
If you get this same email, or something similar, purporting to be from Fixitnow.com and asking you to open the attached ZIP file, please report it to your email provider or ISP and then delete it. Do not open the ZIP file--it's a worm. It is not from Fixitnow.com, it's from scum-sucking losers in Malaysia or some other third-world pisshole.
More fun facts to know and tell. If you get an email from Fixitnow.com, it'll be from me, not "The Management." How lame is that? I mean, does anyone in Ameedica really sign their emails, "The Management." Second, there ain't no "Management" at Fixitnow.com--there's just me, Samurai Appliance Repair Man, and Mrs. Samurai. Period. Further, I would never have any reason to send along an attachment called "info.zip." Finally, Fixitnow.com is a do-it-yourself appliance repair website. My expertise and interest is in helping you fix your major home appliances--I couldn't care less about viruses in your email and I sure as hell wouldn't waste my time sending you email about it.
Y'know, you'd think the internet has been around long enough that people would know better than to just dutifully open attachments "'cuz the email said to." But, I guess there are enough ignoramuses out there to keep the virus breeders and worm farmers in bidness. Now read and learn the Samurai's Cardinal Rule for Email Safety: never open an attachment from anyone, even people you know, unless: 1) you've asked for the file and are expecting it and 2) you scan it with an up-to-date virus scanner before opening it. Good web-based email providers, like Yahoo Mail (my personal favorite), have built-in virus scanning and automatically scan all incoming email and attachments prior to downloading. The internet is a big, mean, dirty neighborhood--lock n' load before you surf.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Awwite, all you grasshoppers, go git you a brewski and gather 'round. It's time for another one of weird ol' Uncle Samurai's war stories.
A while back, one stormy, wintry day, I got a call on a Maytag Neptune stack laundry, complaint was that the washer wouldn't spin. So, I saddled up my not-so-trusty Ford service van and rode on out into the frozen tundra to fix it.
When I got there, I verified the complaint--sho nuff, no spin. So I go through all the basic checks that you do on these machines for these types of complaints: make sure the washer's pumping out (if it ain't, it'll never spin), check the door switches and the balance sensing circuit. All checked out ok.
Now, as an astute practitioner of the repairing arts and being in the know about these things, I turned my keen, laser-like attention on the machine control board. I pulled that sucker out which, in the stack Neptune, is located upstairs in the dryer compartment, and feasted my Vulcan squinties upon it. My trained and bifocaled eyeballs were looking for any signs of the infamous burnt R11, a problem more common with these Neptunes than ticks on a hound dog. Not seeing anything unusual with R11, I was getting ready to tuck the machine control board back in when my calibrated eyeballs noticed something off-color about R43. I took a closer look and, sho nuff, it was as toasted as the Samurai on a Saturday night.
Now this was a head scratcher. See, R11 is in the spin cycle circuit and that's why it tends to burn up when there's a spin problem. But R43 is in the end-of-cycle signal circuit--ain't got nothin' to do with spin. I was confronted with what we professional appliantologists call a "connundrum." That's one o' them fancy words you learn after you been in the trade a while. Oh, they's a whole bunch of other words like that, but I can't remember 'em right now on account o' I'm too busy writing this sto-ree. Speaking of which...
Well, this was one o' them problems where I had to use what they call on CSI "dee-ductive reasoning." Oh yeah, the Samurai is fully qualified to perform all types of reasoning. For ezzample, I'm real good at coming up with reasons why Mrs. Samurai awwta go into town to git me some more beer. Anyway, what it boiled down to was that if everything else checks out ok and you see a problem on a particular component, like the machine control board, then you can dee-duce that the machine control board is bad. And so I done dee-duced it.
Now, one other thang to keep in mind. They's been so many problems with the door latch mechanism causing the machine control board to fail that it's just SOP for me that whenever I replace a Neptune machine control board, I always replace the door latch assembly at the same time--whether it needs it or not. If you don't, you stand a real good chance of burning up a brand new, mondo-expensive machine control board in short order.
Everyone loves a story with a happy ending, and this story has one, too: replacing the machine control board and the door latch assembly fixed the washer and the customer was happy...with me. They're very perturbed with Maytag, however, and will be joining that class action lawsuit.
These days, seems everyone wants a moral to the story. Well, I don't wanna dissapert y'all so this story has one, too. When working on these Neptunes, understand that the engineers were smokin' crack when they designed the electronics on this thing. Anything that goes wrong on the Neptune, from a door switch to a water valve, fries the machine control board, sometimes in peculiar and unexpected ways. Watch for it.
Awwite, story time's over. Now come git you some parts and go fix that washer.
I am your gracious host, Samurai Appliance Repair Man.
Hey! There are over 3,000 pages of free appliance repair help at this website! Use the site search box below to quickly find ezzzzacly what you need to Fix It Now!
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