How to repair a washing-machine tub (plastic, possibly PVC)

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by leejosepho, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    My wife found the head of a bolt in the drum of our washing machine a couple of days ago, and today I found its origin. The bolt-head had broken off from the hub holding the washer's drum to the center spindle, and that had allowed the drum to spin out-of-true and rub a hole in the outer tub.

    How would you repair this hole? The tub appears to be PVC. I have welded PVC with heat and a filler rod in the past, but that would be difficult to do down inside this tub, and I do not plan on pulling the tub from the machine in order to be able to turn it over.

    I mentioned epoxy to a local appliance repairman, but then he mentioned JB Weld (trademarked).

    What might anyone here have to suggest?

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    I think JBW is just an epoxy. If replacing the broken bolt has the cause of the problem cured, and the only remaining problem is to seal the hole, I would give the epoxy a shot.
  3. pipehacker

    pipehacker New Member

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    Location:
    Iowa
    Do you have enough clearance between the "dry" side of the tub and the "innards" of the washing machine to insert a very short stainless steel or plastic carriage or flush head screw or bolt into the hole? Or maybe insert a short bolt into the tub from the "dry" side and cap it with a cover to limit clothes tangling and finger smashing? If this would work and you used a heavy duty sealant it may be better than just epoxy, etc.
  4. Hardt

    Hardt Member

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    45
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Bondo might work, also. Besides auto body repair, I've used it on dry wood termite repair. Never tried it on pvc, however. It's strong stuff and sandable unlike epoxy.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    The first question I would ask myself is what will be damaged if sometime in the future the repair fails? The washer will fill and refill until someone notices it is leaking. If it's in the basement next to the sump pit, no big deal. If it's anywhere else, it could be costly.

    I see used wash machines all over for $100-$200 that might be just as good of an option.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Check with the manufacturer. Plastic tubs in washing machines and dishwashers often have a VERY extended warranty, just because they are so fragile.
  7. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    It is hard to get any Glue to stick strong to that type of Polymer.

    JB WaterWeld® may be worth a try as it can be formed and can fill a hole better than plain epoxy.
    It is also made to be under water.

    You would have better luck if you could put it on both sides, and cover a large area for better adhesion. (Rough it up with sandpaper before hand)

    It looks like a good size area is very thin near that whole.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  8. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    This machine sits on the slab at a corner of the house, and most of the leaking water had drained on out under a wall. However, I might try to find a pan to place underneath and then run a drain line on out in case this ever happens again.

    I will be off to the hardware store this morning, and I have been thinking the same kind of thing ... possibly an elevator bolt with an o-ring under its head, and then epoxy to help assure a tight seal. I suspect there is about 1/2" clearance between the fixed drum and the rotatable tub, and that clearance should remain consistent after I replace the broken hub bolt that had allowed the drum to run like a tilt-a-whirl ... but then whatever repair I make must still be able to stand against a hard uni-directional flow of water every time the drum spins.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I was afraid of that! I will do a bit of testing to see what might stick best, and I might try some of this 3M 5200: http://www.3m.com/product/information/Marine-Fast-Cure-5200-Adhesive-Sealant.html

    What you actually see there is material from the bottom of the drum, and then the hole appeared in the tub after the friction-welded spot broke apart. Since the drum has a thicker wall than the tub, the more-flexible tub lost no material in the incident (other than right at the hole).

    @hj: The warranty on this machine expired last month just before the dryer belt jumped its track ... and now this!
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    How about a make and model? The plastic tub could have a different warranty than the rest of the machine.
  11. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Frigidaire (Electrolux) Product No. GLET1031CSO
    Base Model No. GLET1031C

    My wife and I got it at some kind of sale at a box store in November of last year, and we did not purchase the extended warranty ... and as far as I can tell, this w/d combo unit is no longer in production.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    When I was in the Army, we often used a two-part compound designed for sealing gas tanks. It was waterproof, and chemical resistant to most things, and it stuck to anything. This is an industrial chemical, stunk horribly until it cured, but boy did it stick and seal things up! There may be a consumer version that is available, just never looked for it.
  13. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Give the name up !!!

    I want some...

    P.S. Normally if something works good , It is Not Available to a end user / consumer.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  14. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Here is where we ended up on this one. The closest I could get to an elevator bolt came from some bolts for flat-pack furniture. I had thought about a toilet-tank bolt and washer, but shied away from their overall height. The excess part of the thin faucet washer I used seems to indicate there is still some rubber under the bolt's head, and I carefully selected this particular "Gasket Dressing And Flange Sealant" after discovering all my others were too old to use anyway. To hopefully keep all of this from happening again, I replaced both hub bolts with some grade-8s and found the loosest spot on the spindle where the hub will be least-likely to slip.

    I will let you all know if I begin seeing blue specks in my underwear ...

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Very Good work.

    But them specks will most likely be Brown... LOL.
  16. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    I'll bet a iron on hot patch for a tire might have worked, then fiberglas mesh and jbweld over that roughed up area.

    Or a thin piece of metal and pop rivets, then epoxy.
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Crazy that you mention that BV, I was thinking the same thing.

    I just did not have the Balls to say it...
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