Monthly Archives: December 2003

Mailbag: Slow Water Flow into a Washer, Part I

Craig Raper wrote:

I have a Kenmore washer, model 110.28972891. I read your page about washer water problems. My washer is about 4 years old and we just replaced the pump due to a few small leaks in it. Also a while back the fabric softener dispenser was leaking and it got replaced. We also replaced the hoses recently and after replacing the hoses I could not get much of any cold water flowing. In your write up on this problem you mentioned the inlet screen. I know where the mixing valve is and the solenoid attached to it. How do I get to the inlet screen? I don’t see them at the end of the tubes that the water hoses hook up to, and there are none on the hoses themselves (not on the original ones either). From what I can see on the parts blow-up diagram, there are two solenoids on this valve.

Thanks for any help you can give.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

You have fought bravely and honorably in this mortal combat with your washer, Grasshopper. And now, the Samurai is here to help you deliver le coup de grace.

The protective screen on your inlet valve is clogged with sediment and probably looks something like this. The recommended practice in this case is to replace the whole valve. Sometimes, you can clean the screen using a Dremel tool with a wire brush attachment or a toothbrush. But, whatever you do, avoid the Cute Plumber’s Trick where you simply remove the screen altogether and then return the valve to normal service. It’s called a protective screen for a reason: to protect the valve from sediment and pipe scale and prevent it from getting stuck open. Let this haiku from the Samurai Scrolls of Appliantology be your victorious katana in this, your Hour of Appliance Repair Misogi:

the bamboo reveals all

Cold water dribbles
lifeless into the washer.
Replace inlet valve.

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As long as you’re poking around back there with the water hoses off the valve, now’s a good time to get rid of those cheesy black rubber hoses which can (and do!) fail without warning, like this one, and install steel-braided hoses–it’s the cheapest flood insurance you can buy!

Oh, I know, you’re saying, "Enlighten me further in the ways of washer flood prevention, oh Ancient Ameliorator of Aging Appliances." Ahh, Grasshopper, the Samurai heard your petition for wisdom before you even knew enough to ask. Come, read the Sacred Samurai Scriptures on preventing washer floods.

Samurai On the Air

Be sure to listen to Morning Liftoff on WNTK 99.7 FM tomorrow morning, Tuesday, 12/30/2003, starting just after the 8:30 ET break. The Samurai will be live and on the air for as long as the G-Team can stand it. So, if you tune in after 8:31, you’ll probably miss it. If you’re local to the WNTK listening area (and you know who you are) then tune in on your radio. For you Grasshoppers not blessed with living here in the Upper Valley Region of NH and VT, you can tune in with your web browsers here.

The Samurai Gets Airborne is now a time/weather sponsor on WNTK, 1020 AM and 99.7 FM, a major radio station based in New London, NH, that broadcasts to the Upper Valley Region of New Hampshire and Vermont. And through their webcast, WNTK is carrying the Samurai’s message of appliance repair hope to grasshoppers all over the globe.

WNTK is also the home of the stellar Morning Liftoff program with George Russell, Pete Merrigan, and Hilary Cogen. George, who sounds like the love child of Rod Stewart and Fran Drescher, is the charismatic host of the show and is deftly assisted by his crackerjack co-hosts, Pete and Hilary. Together, they are the G-Team. From 6am to 10am every weekday morning, they’re spinning tunes, slapping shtick, and flapping their gums about current events. If you’re tired of wiping your ears on the Anus in the Morning show, check out Morning Liftoff. It’s an enema for your ears…or something like that. Tune in and checkout what’s happening in the Samurai’s ‘hood.

Yes! The Samurai and Mr. Appliance are Working Christmas Day!

Cooking your Christmas turkey and your range dies? Never fear, Samurai Appliance Repair Man is here!
From his world-wide headquarters here in beautiful and genteel New London, New Hampshire, the Samurai will come into your home via phone, fax, email, and online chat to help you fix your range, refrigerator, or any other major appliance that threatens to darken your holiday cheer. The Samurai can help you fix it now in a Live Appliance Repair Help Session.

If you live in the New London, NH, area, call Mr. Appliance anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for fast, expert appliance repair service on any of your major appliances. Any brand. Any problem. Anytime. Including Christmas Day!

Just in Time for Christmas: Live Appliance Repair Help Gift Certificates!

Christmas is just two days away and many of you still haven’t figured out what to get for that kind-of special someone. Many of you fixit dudes and dudettes have emailed me with much weeping and gnashing of teeth about your dilemma, turning to the Samurai to offer the solution, as I have so many times before. Rest easy, my ruffled grasshoppers and unflutter your delicate wings flapping in the winds of anxiety: the Samurai has heard your plaintive cries and once again dashes in to save your sorry butts.

Live Help Gift Certificate--buy yours today!  Click for larger view.Now, just in time for Christmas, the Samurai and are proud to offer Live Help Gift Certificates. Give that special but almost-forgotten someone a truly special gift, even more precious than anything you could buy from the jewelry department at the Wal-Mart. Yes, you can give the gift of live appliance repair help with the Samurai. You can be heroes, just for one day. With live appliance repair help, the Samurai will help them get that stove or refrigerator or any other major appliance fixed right now.

Single-repair gift certificates are only $25 and are good for live help on any major appliance problem. Got a handy guy or gal in your life and not sure what to get ’em? Instead of wasting money on another lame tool that they’ll never use, buy them a one-year subscription to live appliance repair help for only $45. The gift certificates never expire and make an impressive presentation in even the ugliest Christmas cards. This year, give the gift that says, “Get the damn thing fixed already, you bonehead!”

All gift certificate deliveries are guaranteed to arrive before Christmas so come git you one!

To purchase a single-repair live appliance repair help gift certificate for $25, click this button:

To purchase a gift certificate for a one-year subscription to live appliance repair help for $45, click this button:

all major credit cards accepted, eChecks, too!

For more information about live appliance repair help here at with the Samurai, click here.

Moostafa Returns!

Moostafa, the Ayatollah of Appliance RepairOur dear, dear friend, Moostafa, the Ayatollah of Appliance Repair, runs the world-renowned Moostafa’s Mecca of Appliance Repair. Several months ago, Moostafa’s tent was mistaken for a Taliban headquarters and was bombed by Ameedican, er, I mean, American troops. Since then, no one heard from Moostafa and we all feared the worst.

However, today I am delighted to announce that I have just received an email from Moostafa telling me that he and all 17 of his voluptuous wives escaped unharmed although, sadly, three of their milking yaks were killed. Despite this regrettable loss of livestock, we sing thanks and praise to Allah for preserving Moostafa and his harem. Moostafa is looking forward to getting back to work in his forum, helping you wage holy war on your insolent appliances. Come with me now and visit with the Ayatollah.

“But wait,” you say, “who is Moostafa and what makes him such an appliance guru?” Ok, fair question. I’ll tell you a little about him.

Moostafa comes to us from Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he powers his iMac off a camel dung and lime juice battery that he designed himself. It’s exactly that kind of Afghani know-how that makes Moostafa such a valuable appliance guru. So, come, kick off your sandals and gather ’round the carpet with the Ayatollah of Appliance Repair and learn to cast out the demons that plague your appliances.

Appliance Service Calls…Samurai Style

I’ve always had a bushy head of hair and I usually don’t bother trimming my beard. So, this is how I used to look when I’d go out for an appliance repair service call:

the samurai before the shearing

But then I started thinking maybe I was scaring my customers. I dunno, little things, like I go up to the house and knock on the door and they’d answer with a shotgun in their hands. So, I figgered I better git me a hair cut and now I look like this:

the samurai after the shearing

And would you believe that when I go out on appliance service calls, I still get people answering the door armed!? That’s what I love about this bidness–there’s just no telling what people will do!

Mailbag: Range Error Codes

Jeff wrote:

We have an F1 code on our Magic Chef Gas Range. We tried replacing the full ERC touchpad which was really expensive and found that was not the problem unless we got a faulty one?

In surfing the net we found a notation that recently in Maytag the F1 error could be due to a Oven Temperature Sensor that needs to be replaced. Have you heard of this before?

If you think this needs to be replaced is it difficult to do so, any tricks we need to know.

Appreciate your help. We waited 3 weeks for the last part and are trying to get this fixed before Christmas so we can cook our turkey.


The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Appliance manufacturers (praise be their holy names), in their infinite wisdom and mercy have determined that it is in our best interest that they carefully guard the meanings of their precious fault codes. And to make our joy complete, they even vary the codes from model to model! So, even though there are no standard fault codes, even within the same brand, Allah has revealed ALL appliance fault codes to me in a dream. Yea verily, God bless Allah!

I don’t know where you got the information on the sensor but F1 on Magic Chef ranges almost always means a bad membrane switch–that is, the touch pad that attaches to the clock/electronic range control (ERC) board. Many times, this is mistaken for a bad ERC. To prove that it’s the membrane switch at fault, cut power to the range and disconnect the ribbon strip that connects the touch pad to the ERC board. Then re-apply power to the range. If no fault code appears, then replace the membrane switch. Otherwise, if you still get a fault code, replace the ERC.

If it is the oven sensor, it’s easy enough to check. At room temperature, 70°F, the resistance of the most common sensors used today is 1000-1100 ohms. What this means is that if you pull those sensor wires to measure the sensor’s resistance and it reads slap-a$$ open, why, it don’t take a rocket scientist like myself to figger out that you got yourself a bad sensor! Wasn’t that easy?

Just for grins, I’ve included the table below to show you the sensor resistance reading at various temperatures. Viva la Resistance!

Oven Sensor Resistances
Temperature (°F) Resistance (ohms)
100 1143
200 1350
300 1553
350 1654
400 1753
500 1949


One of the Samurai’s winter hiking budrows emailed a while back expressing his appreciation for some of my audio posts. Let ’em tickle your ears, too.

Dave wrote:

You make my hear ache! Here it is a balmy 65 degrees in PA and I make the mistake of clicking on to the new and improved website and see SNOW! You suck! Then I hear your message from Mars, I’ve got mail jingle and the Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Your Flight stuff and find myself thinking that I just gotta bust on up and down a few with the Samurai and do some hiking. But……then I come across this Cacapee Bird call….. Whew! I ain’t goin’ no where cause you mest up!

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Update: Dave is making the trek up here to God’s Country next week to bust some snow in the White Mountains with the Samurai. Film at Eleven.

Mailbag: Dryer Stops when the Start Button is Released

Rudy wrote:

I have a kenmore dryer that is about 4 years old and the problem is when I press the start button the motor runs and it should stay on, but the minute I release the start button it shuts off. I checked the thermal fuse and got continuity. I Thank you for your help in this matter. Domo arigato.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Even Heat Control Board--click for larger viewIf your dryer is a Whirlpool/Kenmore, the culprit is this little boogar, the Even Heat Control Board. It’s located in your dryer’s control console, you’ll have to open it up to get to it. This parts breakdown of the control console will help you–it’s item 13.

Awwite, go fix your dryer.

Bird Watching Update: Rare Sighting of the Cacapee Bird

The rare and beautiful 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 documented the existence of 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:

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Mailbag: Kenmore (Frigidaire) Front Load Washer Noisy Spin

harry wrote:

have kenmore front loader,When it goes in to final spin knocks like crazy try to locate problem cant find any thing wrong,But as soon as final spin starts the load noise begins

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Although it’s labelled Kenmore, Frigidaire manufactures this machine. I’ve been seeing this problem on several service calls lately. Two common troublemakers can cause this problem, one minor and the other a muthah. Fortunately, the minor one is also the more common one. To check both, you’ll need to remove the back panel of the washer.

Drum drive pulley--click for larger viewFirst thing to check is the drive pulley. Work that sucker back and forth and make sure it’s on the shaft good n’ tight. If there’s any play at all, it’ll make a gawd-awful racket when the washer goes into spin. If you do find that it’s loose, then most likely the flat of the shaft has worn the flat on the aluminum pulley. Don’t screw around with trying to shim the pulley because that’s just a bandaid and you’ll just be living on borrowed time. Go ahead and git you a new pulley.

The other problem is more severe and you better to pray to the appliance gods that you don’t have it. This unhappy situation is caused by a leaking tub seal that rusted the tub bearing. You’ll know right away if this is your problem by the tell-tale rust streaks on the back of the tub. The genius engineers at Frigidaire made the tub bearing an integral part of the tub so to change the bearing, you have to replace the whole frikkin’ tub. It’s about a three hour job that requires almost $400 in parts. I nominate that Frigidaire engineer for the Dumbass of the Year award. Can I hear an amen?

Mailbag: Electric Dryer Runs but Doesn’t Heat

AL wrote:

I followed your instuctions and cleaned out the vent system. But my Kenmore 70 series dryer continues to run with no heat.
Do I just replace the heating element or do I replace the thermostat? I’ve yet to pick up A ohm meter, but I will today.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

For an electric dryer that runs but doesn’t heat, follow this repair roadmap:

  1. Flip the circuit breaker off and then back on. Electric dryers run on a two-pole, 240v breaker. A common problem is for one of the legs to break which cuts the 240v that the elements need to heat up but it still supplies the 120v for the motor. The result is that the dryer runs but doesn’t heat.
  2. If the breaker checks out, then it’s time to do some surgery. Unplug the dryer and open it up. Disassembly instructions are here for all common brands.
  3. Use your ohm meter to test the thermostats. All should show continuity.
  4. Measure the resistance of the heating element with your ohm meter. Normal readings are in the neighborhood of 30 ohms.
  5. In rare cases, the centrifugal switch in the motor can fail which breaks the power circuit for the heating elements. If this is the case, then the entire motor must be replaced since the centrifugal switch is built into the motor.

If you need more help, post your question in the repair forum at the Samurai School of Appliantology.

To learn more about your dryer, or to order parts, click here.

The Inner Sanctum of Appliance Repair

You got questions? We got answers in the the inner sanctum of appliance repair wisdom: the Appliantology Group. I know, you’re wondering what could the Appliantology Group possibly offer that isn’t already contained in the vast repository of appliance repair wisdom here at Two things: 1) hundreds of repair diagrams, photos, and illustrations for all your major appliances and 2) a repair forum where you can post your questions and get personalized help from Master Appliantologists. Admission to this inner sanctum of sublime appliance wisdom is free and painless. Join us.

In the Appliantology Group, we’re always fixin’ something good.

Mailbag: Repairing an Electric Coffee Percolator

Alicea wrote:

I have an old electric percolator and I think I fried something. I made the brilliant move of plugging it in with no water in it. And,left it like that for an hour. The electricity moves thru the cord fine, and into the pot. But, I can’t get it to do anything from there. There are no fuses. I’m not sure what else to check out. Thanks

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

12 Cup Stainless Steel Coffee PercolatorIf you really like percolated coffee, take this opportunity to “recycle” your broken, plug-in percolator and get a spiffy, stainless steel, stovetop percolator. Works with gas or electric stoves and you can even take it camping!

Nissan Stainless Steel Coffee PressWhen I’m not swilling a cold, frosty brewski, I’m slurping a mug of hot Green Mountain Breakfast Blend coffee, perfectly brewed in my Nissan coffee press. The coffee press brewing method is vastly superior to the percolating technique because there is no risk of scalding the brew causing undesirable oxidation of the fats which give properly brewed coffee its nose-tickling aroma and buttery texture. Try it once and you’ll never go back to percolated coffee.