Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Plot Thickens

I got home late last night.

I had got to work late, but left even later on account of messing around with some stuff and losing track of time. On the commute home I tried to repair the Blog Script of Extreme Spiffiness, which over lunch I had enhanced to the point that it was now producing complete gibberish. This ate up the hour trip nicely, but provided no insight other than "improving stuff until it no longer works is not a good strategy, overall".

When I got home I found Eureka on the TV (one of my favourite shows) and the new agitator for the washing machine on the floor. I resolved to fit the part to the washing machine during the commercial break in the show. This plan would have worked splendidly (the part is a drop-in fit) if in fact the part supplied had been properly assembled. It had not.

When installed, the agitator was riding several inches too high on the spindle. I tried seating it more firmly, but all that did was cause the splined insert to grip the shaft so tightly that it was pulled out of the agitator when I tried to lift it off again.

The part proved to be a metal (not, as I had assumed yesterday, plastic) tube with splines machined on the inner face, mounted in a rubber moulding about an inch and a quarter in diameter and maybe two and a half inches in length. It was supposed to be tightly pressed into the end of the agitator, but wasn't.

So I was forced to improvise a press to refit the assembly into the agitator. The rubber had its own splining on the outer face, and the agitator some splines moulded into the inner end, presumably so the rubber would key to the agitator. It was out of finger-reach and a very tight fit of course, requiring the use of a piece of pipe, a dowel, a hardwood broomstick and a lump hammer to overcome. The whole thing was made more "fun" by the fact that all the available space was taken up by parts of Bil the Elder's fbleeping Mac computer, for which he still hasn't obtained the bloody power supply1 after over a month's dithering.

I finally had the fitting installed to within a fraction of an inch of where it should have been from the start and was able to fit the agitator, drop on the lint-filter basket that mounts on the agitator and set the machine for a test run just before Eureka ended.

I watched the water that was supposed to be recycled through the lint-filter splash off the side of it, and disassembled everything again for a second session with Mr Lump Hammer. This time everything worked like it should and I decamped for a cup of well-earned tea.

I had another look at the old agitator with the aid of a flashlight and discovered something interesting.

Once I had the new assembly in my hand I had revised my original diagnosis of stripped splines in favour of what I call my "worn-out rubber thingy" theory, but I could see by the light of Mr Maglite that the splines had indeed been stripped out of the original fitting.

I suspect the inner to be made of a softer metal than the steel shaft it mates to, probably some sort of bronze alloy. This mystery has really got the old investigative juices flowing and no mistake. Nothing will suffice but that I get a good look at all the bits involved close up. So stay tuned.

Agitator Autopsy immenent.

  1. Mr Stevie has nailed this one, I think. She says Bil the Elder is paralysed by the thought that he might make the wrong decision, and so cannot make any decision. Whatever the motive behind the lack of power supply procurement behaviour, it is a foolish policy when one contemplates my distain for this particular computer-shaped doorstop, my desperate need for the space it is taking up in my workshop and my easy access to Mr Lump Hammer, Destroyer of Fragile, Overpriced Yuppie Status Symbols

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