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We recently purchased a home that had the washer and dryer left behind. The washer is a GE and in good condition. We were told by the previous owners that the washer worked fine, but we tested it with a couple loads of rags to be sure.

It seemed alright so we did two loads of our laundry and on the second load it wouldn't drain. We kept getting a warning buzz and blinking lights. Code read clogged drainage hose so we took it apart and sure enough it was all jammed up....with ROCKS.

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They looked almost like small pieces of concrete that had been soaked for a while. Many of them looked like they had originally been formed into a square grid. There were about 30 pieces total.

I cleaned the lines and put everything back together. So far the test loads have been running fine.

My questions are...

  1. Are there any parts in a washing machine that would splinter into rocks/stones when breaking but still allow the washer to work?
  2. Is there something else I should be checking or am I correct in assuming the previous owners children may have had rocks in their packets when their cloths were washed?
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  • Could it have been some type of kitty litter? I don't know of any parts in a washer that would be like you described.
    – JACK
    Apr 23, 2020 at 21:09
  • Definitely not cat litter, it's some kind of solid concrete material. Sharp broken edges and definitely purposefully shaped.
    – Jessica
    Apr 23, 2020 at 21:12
  • how large are the squares?
    – Ack
    Apr 23, 2020 at 21:16
  • Various sizes, some were dime size, some as large as a quarter. Ran six loads after pulling out all of the rocks and got the same issue. I had to pull it apart again and found one more about the size of a quarter but more oval than square. Just ran four more loads and had to do an extra spin on the load but no error happened this time.
    – Jessica
    Apr 25, 2020 at 0:37
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    You purchased Fred Flintstones old house with the top of the line General Electrock washing machine. Looks like granite to me.
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 25, 2020 at 2:10

4 Answers 4

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The drum seal is deteriorating and breaking off. Remove the agitator (look up how for your model) and you will see the piece below it is crumbling and made of these same deposits.

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  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. Nov 8, 2020 at 17:56
  • What would a drum seal be made of that looks and feels like common granite? Why would it be made of "deposits"? I don't understand this answer. More supporting information is needed.
    – isherwood
    Jan 28 at 17:34
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Washing machines do have concrete in them - it is used as a mass to reduce vibration (not going into the maths involved...) but those lumps of concrete are fixed to the outside of the drum and are not in contact with the washing cycle water at any time.

So, assume that the kids had been playing with rocks... I would check the filter and pump after the next cycle and again after a couple more as bits could still be working their way down.

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The material is probably Zinc. The drum mount is made from zinc, it is part of the built in obsolescence in these machines, it slowly disintegrates over time. It can look like gray stones in the washer or drain filter. It will eventually break and the drum will wobble or stop spinning. It is expensive to replace. Front load washers are the worst, stay away from them.

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  • +1 So far, all front-load manufacturers have refused to acknowledge this defect, or to sell the drum mount (aka hub brace) as a separate part. Jan 28 at 8:29
  • I tend to disregard claims of planned obsolescence without evidence, which are basically conspiracy theories without merit. The part could be failing, but it's an absurd risk for a company to do that deliberately.
    – isherwood
    Jan 28 at 17:37
  • The manufacturers want to sell products. The appliances of the 1970s-80s were bad for business, they lasted too long - about 25 years or more. Now they last about 10 years. The drum mount (spider) is made from zinc. Zinc is referred to as being a sacrificial metal , google zinc anode and look down the list until you find an explanation. So instead of installing an actual zinc anode in the washer that would be a good thing, they make a crucial mechanical part out of this easily corroded sacrificial metal that lasts just long enough - about 10 years.People, accept that and figure it's normal.
    – John
    Jan 29 at 4:27
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    People may not realize that this part is in the wash water on the outside of the inner wash tub, you just can't see it. Google - washing machine spider failure, now at the top select images. Look at the pictures.
    – John
    Jan 29 at 4:53
  • This is almost certainly the problem I'm seeing with our washer after googling for spider failures as John suggested in comments.
    – KenB
    Jun 6 at 16:06
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This is the inner tub hub brace breaking up; pull the agitator out and you will see it.

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    This has potential. Can you elaborate a bit more and possible show a diagram?
    – JACK
    Nov 12, 2020 at 19:27
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    Gotta wonder, though, how parts of the tub brace might end up going down the drain.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 12, 2020 at 22:05

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