Step down from the soapbox, please

I know we are a little late to the hi efficiency front load washer party. Fashionably late we will say. And yeah, we had heard we needed to be prepared for the wash and spin, walk and dance of these funky machines.

Maybe you read recently of the C- tile job I did in my laundry room (trying to be a little less critical of myself), and going a little further back, you might have also read some of my rantings on grown men and instructions. But it ended up being a missed step in installation that resulted in our front load washer vibration.

Trying very hard to convert past regrets to knowledge (or something like that)

The first time we fired up our new Frigidaire Affinity washer — despite logic, I let it in, a little bit of despair. You see, after that first wash, it, the washing machine, ended up about 12 inches from its original location. My thought — maybe these machines really do require a perfectly level floor. The machine, at the time of install, was perfectly level, I assured it — the floor, on the other hand, was not.

Anyway, I fought those thoughts back, and I tried leveling it up again. My wife ran another load. This time, the machine, at approximately 20 minutes in, shook and shaked and vibrated the floor making its way back toward the wall and then out again. Me, with the fear of the DIY gods in me, went straight for the pedestal’s feet. I did my best to get them extended tight to the floor.

My efforts did do a little something. And with me as spotter that load actually finished. But what the f. . . . I told my wife I was going to have to look into it. And this really wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

The internet is community (or something like that)

Fortunately, this phenomenon, possessed washing machines, is well documented. And it didn’t take me long to find the solution that most individuals have chosen, with marginal success: Anti-vibration pads or mats (like these: http://www.gviinc.net/).

But on further reading, and having already re-visited the installation instructions, I found this — a well written lick that I choose now to re-post here:

. . . Having sold our older home, where we used the same trusty Kenmore top-loading washer for 25 years, I bought a very cool Frigidaire Affinity W/D front-loader set . . . .

I did not read instructions, because men don’t need to read instructions. Big yellow tags on the back of the washer? That’s for simpletons. And women. Us men just plow ahead, even 50 miles and 14 turns after we know darn well we’re lost. No map…maps are for wusses.

Shipping bolts. Meh. Stupid little detail, those four long bolts with either a big red or yellow bushing pointing them out, on the back of the machine. Mr. Blockhead did not remove those before using the machine. Mr. Blockhead complained about the insane noise and shivering dance the washer did every time it went into spin cycle. Mr. Blockhead cursed the name of
Frigidaire Affinity!!

(If yours is doing what ours was doing, your problem is just like it says on the huge yellow tag bolted to the back of the washer. You know the tag…the one you tore off when you were hooking up the H & C hoses and drain hose? The one you thought was just about some stupid safety warnings? Nope. That note told you to remove those four big, fat shipping bolts that hold the inner chassis in a fixed position so the vibration-isolating mounts don’t let the drum slam around during shipping.)

So. The problem is that some folks don’t read instructions. That problem can’t be cured with spacers, pads, or special floors. Wives: please understand, the front-loading washer industry is rife with complaints about this problem; most of the manufacturers have this terrible situation. It’s just endemic to the front-loader industry. The problem has no solution; it is apparently one of the impossible vexations of the universe. Men are from Mars.

Anyway, fellows: I love our new front-loading Frigidaire Affinity set; smooth as silk, and after I removed those four long shipping bolts in the back? Boy howdy, this thing is as quiet as a sleeping new-born mouse. Go in there when the wife’s asleep, and remove those bolts. Next day, tell her you figured out an intricate dynamic balancing formula, and made several fine adjustments and, by God, you finally fixed the thing. She’ll think you’re such a stud!

These words of wisdom can be attributed to someone, somewhere with a user name of “dmzuniga” (unfortunately this was/is the only comment he has left on this particular blog, and without a real name). He was dead on. I went home last night, and removed the shipping bolts. We ran a load of the girls’ clothes, and I swear, you could have placed a sleeping baby on top of it.

I am going to include the pics below as they applied . . . to me (hopefully they will help someone); and I will not resist, first, firing off a quick gripe at Frigidaire, and to all the technical writers around the world.

Sure, it was clearly in there, in the instructions, under the section Unpacking, right between items five and seven. And maybe on a yellow tag too. (Note to self :: read the yellow tags from now on.)  But come on, an experienced instructions reader skimmed right over it.  And I usually do depend more on the instructions — as you might have guessed.

I mean, if this text was online, I’d probably have to have it blinking. You see, those little bolts, and while seemingly minor, could have caused damage to the unit, other property, or, worse, even some bodily harm.

After all — I know it’d probably be too much to ask of a washer manufacturer to work in a fail-safe for these units.

This is one case, I am sorry, where there simply should have been more emphasis placed on the importance of this step.

Mad Props, I shout DMZUNIGA! Digression Done

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Now I am in no way suggesting that my issue is indicative of what everyone else is experiencing. Certainly, there are many causes for excessive vibration with these units. The vibration-retardation pads I highlighted above certainly seem to be a fairly acceptable solution especially when the problem is noise being generated from upper-story set-ups.

Here is the blog entry on which I discovered dmzuniga‘s post. I am certainly glad I didn’t have to take some of the measures suggested by others in this thread (almost worth the read in and of itself): http://www.houseblogs.net/community/account.php?u=3583 (bad link)