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I was poking around in the back of my Inglis washing machine and notice this plastic piece jutting out. It was pretty firm, with the steel back panel plate wedged into the plastic piece's sockets.

I twisted the plastic so that the back panel plate was released, but when I twist it back, it's simply not as tight as before. I'm worried I broke something

Did I? And anyway, what is this piece?

twist plastic in back of washing machine

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  • It is the thread that holds the washing machine, that is known as the milky way, in balance. Now that you have undone it, the milky way will bounce around the floor of the universe with an unbalanced load. – Alaska Man Jul 13 '20 at 17:58
  • Is any part of that comment serious ? – CodyBugstein Jul 13 '20 at 22:59
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Without opening it up, it's hard to say for sure, but from here my crystal ball says...

It's the mount point for some internal plastic piece.

Since you didn't indicate that it felt like something broke as you were playing with that piece, it's not likely that you've broken anything. Since you say it doesn't fit as tightly as it did before, it might make more noise now as something is allowed more movement than it is supposed to have.

I'd suggest that you use your favorite internet search engine to search for "Inglis <model number> parts diagram" to find the parts diagram for your particular washer. Once you've found it, you'll be able to look through the drawings to see what piece connects to the back of the cabinet, and you'll know how critical it is.

You seem to indicate that it took some force to pop the metal cabinet out of the plastic piece, it will probably take a similar amount of force to get it back in. Maybe, by looking at the drawings, you'll be able to figure out how to jimmy it so it will fit snugly back into place. Of course, if it's not making any additional/unusual noises when it runs, it might not be that critical that you get it firmly attached, but since the manufacturer seemed to think that it was important to attach it here, it would be recommended to see if you can get it snugged back into place.

Take this as a learning lesson - don't go fiddling with bits of machinery just because! The parts diagrams to just about everything are available somewhere online - if you're curious, search for that first. Of course, if you like fixing stuff, fiddle away!

Additional Pro-Tip™: That little white plastic piece to the left of and above your arrow holds some other plastic internal bit in place. Unless you're feeling like tearing down your washer to fit it back in place, don't try pushing that clip back through the metal - it's there for a reason.

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  • Right. From the looks of it that tab needs to be horizontal when properly installed. – isherwood Jul 13 '20 at 15:59

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