15 April 2012

They Just Don't Make Them

The old dryer churns away in the laundry room, it usually needs two cycles these days to complete a drying job. It would most likely regain its full efficiency if I were to pull the ductwork apart and clean everything out of it.

The washer and dryer were bought soon after we purchased the Refuge, seven years gone now, the most time I have spent in one place in more than 25 years. They are cheap versions of a brand name that is made in great quantities in a factory overseas, bought more for their price in a time when we thought they should be adequate for the three of us for a few years.

From two adults and one child, three or four loads a week, they have gone to as high as six adults and four children and twenty or more loads a week. I replaced the mixing valve on the washer a couple of times, but since the water filter went in I haven't even had to do that. Not bad for a cheap set of appliances we only expected to have last for 3 or 4 years.

My dearly departed Rampage served me well for ten years and over 200,000 miles, that from a disposable vehicle that was barely expected to make ten years and 100K in it's lifetime. It was a cheaply made Dodge Omni variant built during a time where Detroit's cars were generally regarded as junk straight off of the assembly line. Between the Omni and the much-maligned K-car they brought Dodge back from the brink of insolvency in the late 70's and early 80's. Not bad for throwaway cars.

It was almost 20 years old when I bought it and it had over 100K on the clock then. By the time it went on to its final resting place in the boneyard it was almost 30 years old and had over 300K on it. I let it go because, heartsick over loosing a wife and having had more than enough with fixing TDP, I didn't feel like tracking down the persistent vacuum leak that was causing its carberator problems. I wish I had kept it now, it would have made a great Lemons car if nothing else.

I hear it all the time, how "they just don't make things like they used to" when we talk about cars, or railroad locomotives, or washing machines, or the myriad of other labor-saving devices that we use on a day to day basis. I've always thought that such talk was rubbish, that the machines we so casually dispose of these days are junked not because they have reached the end of their service lives, but because there is something newer and shinier, or more up-to-date, or trendy to replace it. We don't have throwaway machines as much as we have a throwaway society.

I guess that makes me an odd duck, driving a shiny new Mustang automobile but preferring wooden stocks on my WW1 and WW2 firearms. My old Chevy pickup waits patiently in the back yard for its restoration work to get started, and my old Harley sits in the shed waiting less patiently for the same. Maybe one day when I'm not the answer to so many peoples problems I'll have the time, cash and room to get them done. They each gave good service, and if restored would continue to do so.

They wait until then. They never failed me, I hope that I will not fail them.


Matt said...

Great post, Larry

agirlandhergun said...

Such a good post.

I have never really fixed anything. If something breaks I have always just ran out and replaced it. I have never appreciated the importance of knowing how to do things for myself.

Larry said...

Thanks Matt.

AGirl, so many things are sealed with no replaceable components these days, and it's cheaper to replace than repair in most cases.

Thanks for dropping by!

Knitebane said...

Most modern electric dryers have two heating elements. If yours still gets hot but not hot enough to dry in one load you've likely lost one of them.

Depending on the dryer it's either a snap or a nightmare.

I replaced the elements in a GE and I had to completely disassemble the thing. The back came off to let you get to the screws so the front could come off so you could get to the screws to take the top off to get to the screws to remove the drum. Assemble in reverse order. Over 10 hours to complete for a $30 part. If I had called a repairman out of warranty the labor would have been more than the appliance was worth new.

My dad's Kenmore had a plate in the back just to change the elements. Took 10 minutes.

Go figure.

Larry said...

I might have lost an element for sure, I haven't checked that. Maybe I'll get a chance next weekend...

Thanks for dropping by Knitebane!

Aaron Burr said...

"my old Harley sits in the shed"

Let me take care of that for you. Then you'll have the money to fix the Chevy.

Or I'll take the Chevy off your hands if it's a sbw or a long bed between 59 and 65 and you can "fix' the scooter.

Or you could sell everything and go buy an old Piper Cub to fix up.

Easily the coolest yard ornament you could ever hope to find.

Larry said...

The Chevy is a '62 SWB stepside, I've had him since '89. If he never moves again he's been a good one.

The Harley is an '88 FXRS-Sp, she was a divorce present to myself.

If I had a Cub it would have to be a lawn ornament, otherwise I'd be tempted to get my flight ticket...

Thanks for dropping by Aaron!

Aaron Burr said...

"If he never moves again he's been a good one."

...*head thumps onto desk*....

Oy. Even though it's a step side I feel saddened. That poor truck was meant to be driven. It must be so lonely just sitting there watching stupid animals and punk kids saunter past it...with impunity!

On top of that another piece of Americana is going to waste in your shed. Don't you miss doing wheelies, scaring lil' old ladies and jumpin' over shark tanks?

Battery, plugs, filters, oil and tires and lets go riding man, nice weather is upon us.

Larry said...

Old Frank has many miles under his wheels, he has been halfway across the country several times and everywhere he's gone he has gone on his own four wheels, usually with a bed full, sometimes towing a trailer (scary, that, with drum brakes). Right now he is all in pieces with his cab at the welders. He is getting done a bit at a time as funds and time make themselves available.

Lucille waits less patiently, but then again she's always been impetuous. She needs a bit of everything, right now I'm struggling mightily to get her inner primary to separate from her transmission. I have big plans for her...once again, as time and funds make themselves available.

I have too many toys...

Thanks for dropping by!