How NOT To Sell A Washing Machine

In these modern times, more and more people are turning to online auction websites to buy and sell goods. You can sell even the crappiest items for more than you would ever expect, and that’s why I decided to test it out to sell my old washing machine.

I turned to New Zealand’s top online trading site TradeMe to sell my old Fisher & Paykel Frigidaire ECS Autowasher EW50, hoping to get maybe $50 despite its flaws. However, part of selling something online is writing up an honest description of the item, and this sometimes requires some in-depth examination. Now I am quite an honest person, and don’t think I could live with myself if I lied or covered up my washing machines issues before selling it for more than I think it’s worth, so I decided to give a full tell-all history of my relationship with my trusty top-loader.

Here are the results of my thorough inspection of my washing machine and perhaps, the reasons why I failed to sell it in seven days.

Fisher & Paykel Frigidaire ECS Autowasher EW50

  • ECS system
  • 5 preprogrammed wash cycles plus user flexibility
  • Wool Board approved wool cycle
  • 3 water levels
  • 4 agitator wash actions: Programmed to suit chosen wash cycle
  • 3 spin speeds: 1000, 800, and 480 rpm
  • Detergent dispensing system
  • Automatic fabric softener dispenser
  • Self-cleaning lint disposal system
  • Soft touch controls
  • Stainless-steel wash bowl
  • 5kg capacity

What we’re dealing with here is a Fisher & Paykel ECS Autowasher EW50, very kitch, and probably around 20 years old. As stated in its name, this is an autowasher, as opposed to a manual washer. I’m not sure what a manual washer is exactly, but I guess it’s the name given to people who take their clothes down to the river to scrub them clean. As you can imagine, when Fisher & Paykel released the Autowasher, all the manual washers in the village were thrilled.

This washing machine still has very readable instructions stuck onto the underside of the lid. Also under the lid is a sticker that is too worn to be read, which was probably either a small treasure map, which somebody felt needed to be kept secret, or the model information. The serial number information is on a sticker at the rear of the washing machine, conveniently stuck upside-down. Also on this sticker is patent information. It would seem that Fisher & Paykel really felt they were onto something with this device.

Now I’m going to be honest about this washing machine. I will not claim that it opens wormholes in the space-time continuum, and I will admit that it has some issues.

Firstly, sometimes when it reaches its spin cycle, it just stops and beeps. This is fixed simply by switching it off and on again.

Next, it can be pretty loud when it’s on its spin cycle. Maybe you’re the person to fix this.

Lastly, the rubber waste water hose is a little worn from being bent, and can drip water every now and then. This could be fixed by replacing the hose, or probably even with a little Kiwi ingenuity and duct tape.


This washing machine has done the trick for me for over a year and a half, and could be the one for you. Just in case you’re not sold, I will make things easier for you by listing the pros and cons.

-Washes clothes AUTOMATICALLY
-Has character
-It still goes

-Whiney beeping every now and then, when it needs to be restarted
-Spin cycle brings on bad temper
-Rubber waste hose is worn and drips sometimes


I will now give you a more detailed rundown of the washing machine’s background history, so you can get a better idea of who this washing machine really is, so everything is out in the open. Sort of like the way you’d probably want to know if the person you’re dating has done time in prison. Not that my washing machine isn’t dateable, for the exceptionally lonely. She’s a bit heavy though. But I can tell you now that she’s never been to prison.


When I realised I was moving into a place without whiteware, I called up Motherbear and she stepped forward to offer me her old washing machine. I figured it was around 20 years old, but it was still working, so I took it into my new home. It was a golden summer day in January, 2009.

There were two things about the washing machine’s maintenance mentioned on delivery to my place. First, no matter what happened, I was never to feed her after midnight. This was easy, because I could just argue that the rule was unclear. I mean, what is ‘after midnight’? Even 10pm could be considered after the previous night’s midnight. What a stupid rule. Anyway, the second rule was that if she started beeping and didn’t stop, I switch her off, then back on again, advance her cycle to where she left off, and press start.

I soon realised this washer was quite needy in this regard. Quite often, just before her spin cycle begins, she just stops and begins beeping endlessly, like she’s whining. So I press her buttons, and she’s fine again.

However, a few weeks into our relationship, I noticed things were rocky. During her spin cycle, the washer was louder and more violent than I remembered her when we were kids. Once her spin cycle had started, she sounded like she was revving up like a rocket about to blast off, and she banged as if there was something thrashing about inside her, trying to escape. However, living with her for a while, I realised that I could shut the door on her when she was being like this, and it wasn’t so bad. We decided to stay together for the convenience.

During our entire relationship, she’s had two breakdowns. One day, I realised she was being particularly quiet. I went over to check her out, and noticed she had just stopped without draining. Panic set in, and I started bailing her out with a large plastic cup I got free from the local cinema. Once she was empty, I tipped her on her side, and decided it was time to operate. I’m no plumber, but I grabbed some tools and took to her like a pro. Pretty soon I was holding her pump mechanism in my hand, and I noticed the little fan bit wouldn’t turn. I removed a bit of wound up lint, and then found that I could spin the fan with my finger more smoothly now. I reinstalled the pump, woke her up, and she was working again.

As it turned out, this little fan that needed a bit of help is actually accessible though a little access hole in the bottom, so I didn’t need to remove it. When she broke down again around a year later, I found that all I needed to do was tip her up a bit, and manually fondle her fan a bit to get her going again. Nonetheless, rookie plumbing and all, I walked away feeling richer for the experience, and figured it would look good on my CV.

One other thing I’ve noticed over our time together is that every now and then I’d notice a tiny little puddle underneath her. Because her rubber waste water tube is a bit worn from being bent too sharply, sometimes the hose leaks at the bend, and she has a little accident. It’s no big deal, though, and could probably be fixed with duct tape or replacing the hose.


As it happens, I am now in possession of a younger, slimmer model, and I’ve always considered myself a one-washing-machine kind of guy, so this old one has to go. She’s always done me well, and she’s eager to please.

This could be the washing machine for you. Or your washing machine museum, if you have one.


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