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Washer Upgrade...from Splendide WDC 1024 to GE GFQ14 Review w/Pics


Bob Jones
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I bit the bullet the other day and upgraded my Splendide Washer. I had mixed feelings about it because I had grown very attached to the indestructible and well-made Splendide. It was a WDC 1024 aka the Comob-Matic 2000. I really liked that little machine and those older Splendides are so well built and easy to repair that I was reluctant to do it. They don't make them like that anymore and the newer Splendides are much cheaper built. 

Over the years I had put a new water pump gasket in it (due to serious leak), and taken out the air drying chamber to clean it several times. It dried very well, typically between 60 and 80 minutes for several pairs of jeans. LOTS of hot air. The other day though it started making a rattling noise during the dry cycle and taking the lid off showed that there was play in the heater fan motor that was allowing the plastic cooling fins to touch the mounting bolts. An easy fix, shimmed it up with some stainless steel washers and it was good to go again - likely for another 20 years! Such has been my experience with the Splendide. Thing is, the tub bearings are a bit noisy and needed to be replaced. This is not expensive, you can get the bearings at any auto parts store, I believe, but I was just not motivated to do it. Symptoms were that during high speed spin it would make a fair bit of bearing noise which kind of grated on me. I probably should have done it, my guess is new high-quality bearings would have been $30 or less, but motivation was lacking because I had been reading about the GE GFQ14

A VERY nice machine with a LOT more features, touch screen, LCD display, 5 soil levels, 5 spin speeds, 5 water temperature levels, it just goes on and on. Even it's own water heater and sanitize feature, tub clean feature, you name it, it's got it. Steam cleaning? Yup. Pre-soak? Yup. Dryer sensor? Yup. Even a WiFi option to link to an app on your phone !!! But the biggest thing is a much bigger tub compared to the Splendide. On the Splendide, two full sets of clothes was pretty much the proper amount. On this one, two sets of clothes is a very small load and not even worth doing. 

So I looked at the measurements and, what do you know, dimensionally, 100% identical except for the depth. It is a tiny bit deeper. But then I recalled that my cubby hole is actually the same amount deeper than it needed to be for the Splendide. So I order one in and had them drop it off on the kitchen tile floor and I did the rest. I had to remove the bracket that keeps the entrance door from swinging open in a wind but that was it. It fit fine through the door. 

What I had not even taken into consideration was the walk way between the kitchen wall and the fridge. It would *not* fit through the gap.....so....what to do? There was no way I was going to send it back. So I disassembled it and tried again. Close but no cigar. My neighbor was over watching and wondering....I then removed the fridge door...bingo! I got it into the bathroom area where I reassembled it and tried placing it in the box. In the end, it would not go far enough in. It seems, even though I measured the depth of the box, I had neglected to measure from the pipes at the rear to the front of the box. No matter, I rearranged some of the plumbing. Neighbor said if I took out the small board on the floor that it would fit. I rejected her idea out of hand. Parents said take the cabinet doors off. Turns out, they were both right. She fits well and it's one heck of a machine. Talk about modernization!! it also has a steam setting for removing stains. 

In the process of buying it the question came up, should I get extended warranty (beyond the one year) at a cost of about $250. I looked up all the parts prices for the machine and $250 will get you pretty much the most expensive pieces that could fail. As such, I passed on it. That leaves obtaining a service manual. Could not find one anywhere. But I did manage to find one....when I took it apart. Turns out, GE puts one in a ziplock bag on top of the detergent dispenser. What do you know, wiring diagram, ohms test levels, diagnostic mode, test modes, you name it, it's all there on one big sheet !!

Turns out, it does a LOT more then what the specs say. I haven't got the WiFi adapter for it yet but because it has computer controls I did install a surge suppressor between the wall outlet and the machine 🙂 Btw, a new washer pump is about $35 with the most expensive normal-replacement part being the fan assembly for the dryer. But when I had it apart I saw the nice German sticker on the fan from EB Pabst. I had used their German fans before and know firsthand that they make the best motors in the world......so there's that!

But at the end of the day, many techs won't work on a machine in-place in a motorhome but...judging from the reviews from people that did need service, the techs are useless anyway so it's better for me to service it myself. 

If you're wondering why the filter door is missing, I left it off. It was a cheesy design. But...this machine is different than the Splendide in that the filter is only there to catch coins and items, whereas with the Splendide, the filter is there to catch clothing debris (lint). So you only have to check this filter once a month because the pump is designed to digest the lint!

One nice optional feature is the ADA Riser & Drip Pan. It's pricey, at $150 USD but the washer sits on top of it and it has a built in drain hose. So if you drill a hole in the floor to the outside and route the hose down it, if the water pump leaks, or some other malady, the water will just drain right outside without damaging your motorhome. When the water pump gasket on the Splendide went south, it did not go all at once. It gradually leaked before it REALLY leaked meaning I never noticed....it soaked the motorhome really well and I had to dry the subfloor and then install a new piece of 3/4" plywood to fix it. Just sayin'.....

Lastly, if you have the WiFi option installed (about $50 USD) it is also supposed to check with GE for firmware upgrades. So it looks like it does OTA (Over The Air) software updates too if they bugfix the software or add new features etc. 

Here's some pics. Btw, I sold the Splendide for $400 to a nice couple with a tiny home. I was happy to see it go to good people because...it's such a great machine!

 

 

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Edited by Bob Jones
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  • Bob Jones changed the title to Washer Upgrade...from Splendide to GE - Pics -

On the right hand side of one of the pics you can see the door for my hot water tank. I turned it into a boiler a while back so it runs at 180f instead of the stock 120f. This gets me 30 minute showers, among other things, and the washer & toilet get straight 180f water for extra cleaning power. 

A thermostatic mixing valve is used for the rest of the unit (only toilet and washer get 180f) and this means the rest of the unit gets precisely 118f which is my desired shower temperature (the hot water temperature is automatic unit-wide). 

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Edited by Bob Jones
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  • Bob Jones changed the title to Washer Upgrade...from Splendide WDC 1024 to GE GFQ14 Review w/Pics

You nailed it. It's really quite surprising what some of the benefits are. I actually put a Green Goblin down the bowl after every black tank flush. Just being able to say that makes me smile 🤣 They are cheap and when I flush the black tank the toilet paper is, for all intents and purposes, dissolved. And I use regular Costco TP. The park I'm in has something like 200 or 250 units in it and it's on septic!! I smile every time I flush a Green Goblin knowing I'm doing my part !! 💩

31 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

Great job, Bob! I love seeing upgrades that really make sense. Thanks for sharing.

It was a bit of a long-winded post but I felt the washer was worth it. Both the old one and the new one. If someone is looking for one it could help them consider a lot of the things and even cause them to just repair their Splendide if they have one still. 

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I thought I would be replacing the Splendide belt or the entire unit this past winter because the drum stopped turning last fall when we were in New Hampshire Workamping at Totem Pole Park. Once I removed the unit form its cubby hole, the belt was fine however I found a loose wire that had fallen off the control board. Problem solved.

While I had it out, I replaced the vent hose with a new section as the old one was coated with lint plus I cleaned the lint filter too.

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I sure loved my Splendide. What a little workhorse. I take it yours is vented model? I am really surprised how serviceable mine was. Both the new one and the old one are excellent machines but the new one is much bigger and much more configurable. Full control over everything. But they are 22 years apart. The computer control of the new machine is a big bonus. Ah well, fun, fun, fun!

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Back in 2004 when we installed a W/D I passed up on the Splendide because it took 120vac and converted it to 12 VDC to run everything.  I felt that that conversion added more things to go wrong.  The brand we purchased, everything ran on 120 vac.  We full timed for 6 years.  We never had any problems with ours.  I do not remember the brand name.

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Bob,

What type of piping delivers the hot water to the toilet?  There have been issues with the Upinor PEX-A (expansion) with recirculation systems.

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PEX, I studied it at the time and I believe the max pressure at 180f was ~100 PSI or so. Well within the range the motorhome sees. I have an adjustable pressure regulator at the wet bay water inlet with a gage on it. I usually run it at 60 PSI but if the park had higher pressure I would make use of it. 

6 hours ago, pulsarjab said:

I am trying to figure out what you did to the hot water heater. Would you share the plumbing changes that were made?

Turning the Atwood water tank into a boiler is very simple and not expensive. In my case I used Inkbird computer controllers but this is not required. In reality, if you just change out the snap disks to 170 (normal cut out) & 180 (high temp safety cut out) you would have a 170f tank without any other mods. The Inkbird controllers allow me precise temperature control and then you can set the cut-in temperature as well. Because I use two I have that kind of control over gas and electric. 

I upgraded the heating element to 2000 watts. This was easy and cheap too. The wiring in my unit is good for 20 amps. This meant to upgrade the element all I had to do was install a 20 amp breaker in place of the 15 and the element. That alone maybe sufficient for people or just an easy first step. It adds 600 watts of heating power over stock and is noticeable. Bear in mind, I'm in Canada, where in the winter it's much colder. That alone was a big deal up here. If you're in a warmer area, that simple mod might be all you need. 

But for any higher than stock (120f) temperatures you HAVE to install a thermostatic mixing valve to prevent burns. In my case the tank runs at 180 and the mixing valve is set to my perfect shower temperature (I think it's 117?). There are a LOT of benefits to the mixing valve. It means you never have to set the hot water temperature by blending it with cold at any tap, bathroom, kitchen, whatever.

When you're in the shower, for instance, I used to have to always adjust the hot and cold during the shower to maintain the temp as the tank gets colder. This is no longer required. You never use the cold faucet any more at all. You just put it on full hot, wait for the lines to purge the cold water, and jump into the perfect temperature shower. Every time. It will maintain the perfect temperature for the entire shower until the tank gets too cold. Only then does the temp start to drop. When you run the tank as a boiler at 180f it means you get at least a 30 minute hot shower, start to finish, up here in Canada in the winter. When you raise the operating temperature of the tank it effectively makes the tank much larger meaning a LOT more hot water. 

If you were in Arizona or some other warmer place it would likely be never ending. But you never scald your hands anymore doing dishes. Full hot and it's automatically the perfect temperature, unit-wide every time. The only thing is that you still have to run the water a bit to purge the cold from the lines. That is still annoying and the only thing preventing it from being the perfect water system. 

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