How to Make a "Too Large" Washing Machine Fit Your Sailboat

Updated: Mar 6

Do yourself a favor and watch this video to both avoid and learn from our mistakes. What a nightmare!


ORDERING THE WRONG SIZED WASHING MACHINE

We bought an Insignia 1.6 Cu. Ft. washing machine based upon the measurements provided to us by a third party in St. Lucia, had it shipped to Sint Maarten from the US and they were incorrect so we faced a dilemma: Give the machine up or find a way to make it fit!





We were thrilled when we learned that with a good strategy and A LOT of effort, it was possible to get the washer into the forward head, but there would be a lot of heroics to do so.




REMOVING DOORS AND DOORWAY MOLDINGS

First, we had to remove the hallway molding, the door to the forward berth, the door and molding to the head. It took us a whole morning of using a razor blade, heat gun, and leveraging plank to finally clear the pathway.



CUTTING A DOORWAY AND CONNECTING TO THE HEAD'S PLUMBING

After all of this was done, a boater called Larry came to cut into our doorway, just enough to fit the washer through which was done quite easily. He then fixed the plumbing so the washer was directly fed water from our fresh water pump and the rinse cycle spit the water out the same fitting as the sink, straight into the ocean.



CONNECTING TO ELECTRICAL AND CAPPING SHOWER WATER LINES

After Larry finished his work, Terrell and his team ran wires to the head and installed an outlet for a direct plug in vs. an extension cord, making life so easy. After he finished, Brown came in and capped the lines to the shower so we didn't accidentally give the washer a wash-down.


GLUING ON THE DOOR MOLDINGS AND RECONNECTING THE DOORS

Final steps are reattaching the plastic door moldings with 3M 4200 Marine Adhesive because unlike 3M 5200, it can be removed in the future just in case we need to replace our new washer. To minimize future frustration, we used a drop or two every foot or so to facilitate removal.


UNEXPECTED DOWNSIDE OF OUR NEW WASHING MACHINE


It drives us crazy that product descriptions do not state water usage! The downside of this washer is that it uses 26 gallons of water to do a load of laundry. Granted, the load is quite large so potentially we would use the same amount with 2-3 smaller loads, but our water maker may have met its match. The upside is that our laundry is done quickly and without the need for a bucket and plunger. The manual labor saved on washing can be exerted in other areas of constant boat projects. Our Insignia 1.6 washing machine can be found at Best Buy at this link: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-1-6-cu-ft-5-cycle-top-loading-portable-washer-white/6253469.p?skuId=6253469&intl=nosplash


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