Fixing the bava dryer

I have a 1983 Whirlpool dryer (the LE5790XM model to be precise) that came with my new house. I’m partial to anything that came of age in the 80s given that’s when I came of age, so when it broke I decided to try and save it. Having never worked on a major appliance before I put it off for a while, forcing the family to hang dry everything. But I’d heard dryers were pretty simple to work on. After scouring forums on the web I was pretty sure I had to replace the rear felt seal on the dryer given all the diagnoses I read online of the sounds my dryer was making.

So I did a search for Whirlpool and rear felt seal and up came the following video from on YouTube.

After watching this I was pretty sure this was the easiest of jobs. And as an aside think about how much better this video is in terms of teaching me than any textual document could be. I wish some folks on the NMC list-serve would think a bit about all the things video does offer us that text can’t—texts undying position of ongoing privilege is a condition of academia (and tradition)—not the world at large.

Once I opened the dryer to check everything out I realized I had let the bad felt seal go too long and the rollers that spin the dryer were also shot. And, as it turns out, had a video for that too:

So, I ordered a new rear felt seal and new rollers for about $60 and spent an hour or so yesterday fixing my dryer. And you know what—it works!! And I have the video to prove it 😉

Finally, take a look at the links above to the’s replacement pieces. Not only do they include all the parts and details about them, but each one is accompanied by a YouTube video showing you how to install them. You better believe I bought my parts from, what a cool service, and what a boon for repairing your stuff using the web as a resource. This post may seem divorced from my edtech stuf, but for me it is at the heart of it. This is more than video learning, this is video learning through context and a particular need—how do we do that online at instituions? Do we? Well, repairclinic has got it figured out, and I can attest their model works.

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11 Responses to Fixing the bava dryer

  1. Andrea_R says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t tie this in with unschooling. 😉 (for you, not the kids)

  2. Reverend says:


    You are absolutely right, and that is what it is. Unschooling myself from the dependence on convenience culture, and the idea that I would have to be “schooled” as a trained technician to do the simplest of tasks. The compartmentalization of our culture has become crippling to our sense of ability. That is the legacy of school 🙂

    How’s that? 🙂

  3. Meg says:

    DIY, haters!

    Now, if we can get the content and voices of video and podcasts textually searchable, that would be really powerful. Right now we just hope that people tag appropriately.

  4. peter naegele says: has some very good tech tutorials… Mark Mothersbough on music.

    And least we forget “you suck at photoshop”:

  5. Alan Levine says:

    You know Jim I give you high fives for conquering the machine and relying solely on your hands and the net for guidance. This is where DIY shines, as it has done for me countless times fixing my bike or learning how to make mashed potatoes.



    While the content and form here has some lessons for educators, I am finding a canyon sized gap to extend it to everything education or unschooling. It is part of ot, but the thing for me is…

    This was really effective because you knew exactly what the “I” (it) was you needed to learn to D. If you have that “I” then you have the motivation and you will seek the way. But there is so much in education where you dont know what you should know- is there every an emergency situation where you will say, “Eureka! I need to learn macro economics” or “I need to know 1800th century English poetry right now!”

    DIY is easy when the need is there, but what is going to help one get motivated to learn about something they are not even thinking about?

  6. Jon Udell says:

    I had a similar experience with an HP printer six years ago:

    It was a revelation, and forever changed my view of how we can use online video.

    In the realm of historic home maintenance and repair, John Leeke is showing the way:

    I especially love how this kind of downloadable just-in-time learning was imagined in the Matrix:

  7. Reverend says:


    I don’t necessarily disagree entirely, and I think my frame here is really about the power of video, but also about the idea of how interests are framed for us. This example probably pushes more towards a way of thinking about our disposable culture than education. That said, I have to think people get interested in poetry, novels, and something that may be a “non-emergency” notion of learning that isn’t necessarily packaged through a classroom. This is not to say I have issues with classroom experiences all told, I mean I do teach on occasion—and still see the value of that—-but even that experience is struggling with its own reason for being right now. And the reason you point out, exposing folks to knew ways of seeing and reading the world is no small thing, and should be first and foremost. But those ways may not necessarily depend on education as much as they once did with these new means of publishing, they may depend on us…sharing. You know what I mean? Or am I crazy here?

  8. Reverend says:

    It’s funny you should comment on this post, I was talking this afternoon to Antonella, my special lady friend, about bigger projects—and one that came up is your pellet stove project:

    This particularly appealed to here Peak oil sensibility—though I’m not sure I can do it but it’s worth a shot. I can see why people get into it, and like we were talking about today, once you go down this road it changes so much of how you look at things. I have a much different relationship to that hunk of metal in the basement than I did a month ago, and what’s more is that I didn’t simply replace it with another piece of metal. I don;t know, it is cool to thing my dryer is 27 years old, and may give us 27 more. Why shouldn’t it?

    And that Matrix post is right on, 2003? Really? You are Old Gold all the way 😉

  9. Alan Levine says:

    @Jim- I know exactly what you mean, and f*** no you are not crazy.

    However, I never used the word “classroom”. I just am trying to suss out what is going to drive people to learn things they may not have a reflex interest in. DIY will not go far IMHO without a lot of thought of internal motivations.

    For me, I get a lot of this via my informal network (exposure to new readings, music, art, repair methods…..).

  10. Reverend says:


    Yeah, there still has to be something. And institutions will still very much play a role. I agree with the sussing, and I guess these experiments right now are to try and make sense of this. And actually come together around ideas and creating. I have been torn by these very issues for years and find myself oscillating back and forth in my idea of what we are doing in higher ed, and how we have kind of ossified that process. I guess that urge for some new examples is simply a matter of course, but I’d hate to become that useful idiot at the same time.

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