. . . I am not a mechanic, a plumber, or an electrician... nor are my roommates. Thus, we will be getting a new washing machine, courtesy of Sears, for $519.67.
This afternoon my roommate Inocente told me that he had had a problem with the washing machine-- namely, that it quit on him after the wash cycle. We messed around with it and got it to empty the water (starting/stopping the cycles), then let it refill, only to watch it get to the same spot in the cycle, then emit a loud buzzing/humming noise for about 10 seconds, then quit. This time we couldn't get it to reinitialize and empty the water. The whole time, I was Googling what might be wrong ("Kenmore 80 washing machine buzzing noise", and "Kenmore 80 washing machine no spin cycle", etc.) The overwhelming internet consensus for this problem was the motor coupler, the part that evidently makes it spin. Said coupler is located on the bottom of the machine, beneath the drum (and remember, ours was now full of soapy water). However, these various internet sites also offered quick fix-it advice -- and said it was "fairly easy" to fix.
So, since my roommates are good with their hands, and since I can read a web site and translate instructions into spanish, we embarked on said quick-fix. After managing to disengage the "cabinet" (who knew washing machines have cabinets??!), snapping a few probably-important plastic pieces along the way, we got the cabinet off. Then we disengaged the pump & motor from the motor coupler and proceeded to Sears- with the intent to buy the replacement coupler for $25. Only when we got there, did the lady kindly inform us that Sears doesn't sell replacement parts for their equipment- only a warehouse in Chicago does, and they have to ship them.
Remember, burned in my mind were images of the cabinet, wiring, broken plastic pieces, a half-full washing drum, and all manner of questions regarding "if we ever do get the right part, will it solve the problem (no guarantee), and even if so, can we successfully reassemble the now fairly destroyed washer down in my basement?" So, with those thoughts fresh, I decided to buy a new one: Maytag, $427+tax, delivery, the all-important haul-away (does the old machine have to be in one piece? will Sears haul away pieces???!). Evidently I'm getting a BG&E rebate of $50 off my next electric bill, and b/c the machine was over $400, I qualify for free delivery (thus $79.99 back). Final total will be about $400... so for now we get to reuse our clothes until it gets delivered on Saturday.
Here are some pics of the disaster that became our basement.