- Year Repaired: Feb 2021 – Present
- Symptoms: Inner drum was off its axle and could be shifted side to side. This caused a lot of movement during the spin cycle.
- Cause: Broken “spider” drum attachment
- Outcome: Realigned shaft and attached everything back together with JB Weld
- Material Cost: $60
- Time: 6 hours
The initial thought was that the washing machine had bad bearings. The washer was disassembled so that the inner steel drum could be removed. Two people were needed to undo the nut attached to the shaft at the back.
Once the inner stainless steel drum was out, we could see that the 3 prong “spider” which attaches the shaft to the inner drum was cracked into 3 pieces due to corrosion from retained soap in the crevices. The spider was washed and a wire brush was used to further polish the metal around the cracked surfaces.
According to the GE website, the spider couldn’t be purchased separately from the drum, so a new part would be $300 before shipping and taxes.
I had a brief foray into trying to weld the parts back together using a propane torch and low temperature aluminum rods (399 deg C) but certain parts would not heat enough, and the parts that did heat up were too thin and weak that they just melted away. Also, I wasn’t sure if the pot metal was more aluminum or zinc which the latter gives off toxic fumes when melted. If I were to continue down this path, I would try something with MAPP gas like the MG9 Bernzomatic torch. There are some alloys for pot metal (Super alloy 1) but the ones I found would cost $150+ to acquire just to test.
I began to think about using an adhesive, and JBWeld looked the strongest by far with a torque of 200 inch pounds. The largest estimated torque I found for a washer was 50 inch pounds. See the following Youtube videos for some glue comparisons. (Continued below)
After using detergent to clean the parts I added JBWeld to all the cracked surfaces and even some between the spider and the steel drum. I would say adding some between the spider and drum was instrumental in reducing the force on the rest of the part.
After the glue set I put it inside the white outer drum and spun it. It was about 4mm off concentric. I had assumed when the parts were roughly lined back up it would be all aligned but it wasn’t. Since the 4mm error seemed too much for 1600rpm I cracked the glue, repositioned the spider and reglued. The amount of effort it took to crack the glue reassured me the glue would hold.
Feb 21, 2021 the drum was reinstalled and tested on the highest spin cycle and there was no vibration movement at all! I will post here if there is any future failure, or just send me a message asking if it is still going! The glue is resistant to water, corrosion, and chemicals, so there is very little chance it will wear down.