Mod #84: Combination Washer and Dryer

Mod #84: Combination Washer and Dryer

Submitted on: 07/15/09

     Category: interior, plumbing
Mod Rating: 12345

(51 ratings)

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Mod Description:

This mod comes to us courtesy of RV.net senior member professor95, otherwise known as Randy Agee, and is copyright with all rights reserved.

Modifications to recreational vehicles are often made for one of three purposes;

  • to correct a problem related to original manufacturing
  • to create a personal convenience
  • or to enhance the overall safety of the vehicle

Many modifications are simple accessory add-ons that require few or no permanent modifications to the RV. Others, of course, require cutting, fastening, welding or electrical changes associated with the device or appliance being added.

The following modification falls into the category of simple add-ons to create a personal convenience. Please, do be aware that simple is not necessarily a synonym for inexpensive. The combination washer/dryer mod described in the following paragraphs can cost well over $1,000.

Mod Difficulty:

We are currently comfortably situated in a RV resort-campground off the coast of North Carolina overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Our itinerary calls for us to be here for at least two full weeks. Being away from home on a long term basis creates a need for washing clothes, sheets and towels somewhere other than back home.

Our RV is a 2009 Cedar Creek fifth wheel trailer. The trailer came equipped with a closet prepped for a washer/dryer.

We’ve never had a washer/dryer in any of our RVs and as such I pretty much considered them to be rather non-essential appliances that were too small to be effective and too large for the available storage space. Still, having a cabinet prepped with a dedicated electrical outlet, hot and cold water and a drain created an intrigue that I could not resist.

Last winter I did a little on-line research on the combo washer/dryers available that would fit into the cabinet. The Splendite appeared to be the combo of choice, but the $1,000 cost plus a high shipping charges made a W/D combo less attractive as an addition to the Cedar Creek.

By chance I ran across a gently used Malber WD1000 on Craig’s list. The price was extremely fair and the owner was only about two hours away. After exchanging a few e-mails and phone call, arrangements were made for my purchase and pick-up the next day.

The owner and his son rolled the unit out of their garage and lifted it into the back of my truck. This was greatly appreciated since I had recently pulled some muscles in my lower back and had no desire to aggravate them again by lifting such an appliance. Little did I know how heavy this appliance really was – but I was destined to find out it was no lightweight.

Back home I devised a plan to get the W/D into the RVs entrance door using a set of aluminum loading ramps, a two wheel dolly and a strong rope circled around my butt to pull it up the ramps. Once inside the RV the next task was to pull it up the stairs (without the ramps) to the intended closet in the bedroom. That was when I discovered that this thing was extremely heavy. As I was trying to negotiate the thing up the three steps leading into the bedroom I had a view of the lower inside of the cabinet (see photo). There was a massive block of concrete hanging from the back of the drum! Well, the concrete would explain the high shipping charge associated with ordering a unit from a retail vendor and the strain I was experiencing. Obviously there was a purpose for the concrete, which turned out to be a counterbalance for the 1,000 RPM spin cycle which occurs just before the washer switches into dry mode.

The Malber is made in Italy. There is an office in New York that can provide parts and service support. It is an extremely well built appliance designed for years of trouble free service. I am sure that since the Italians can build exotic Ferrari sports cars, they should definitely be able to design and build a top quality washer/dryer combo. While trying to get the unit in place, I managed to put my knee through the plastic window-like porthole in the front loading door. A call to the New York office provided a replacement part via Priority Mail for just $10 in two days.

The hook-up was simple. Nothing more was needed than to put the drain tube into the provided RV drain, attach the water lines and plug it in.

I threw a few dirty shop towels and a pair of old work jeans into the washer, added the detergent and gave it a test run. It worked perfectly and all of the items came out as clean as they do in the regular washer that I use in my basement workshop You see, the wife doesn’t want me to wash my greasy shop rags and work clothes in “her” washer upstairs – thus we have two washing machines in our house – a true “his” and “hers” situation.

Here are some specifics on the Malber WD1000 washer/dryer combo. Other makes and models should be similar.

First, it is a front loader. As such it uses very little water and detergent. The recommended amount of detergent is 1 ounce. Thus, if you are using a he (high efficiency) detergent formulated for a front loader, you will get a lot of washes from a standard size bottle.

Malber’s instructions for the machine indicate that the maximum wash load size should not exceed 10 pounds. Actually, 10 pounds of dirty laundry is significant. We can easily wash a full set of queen size sheets and pillow cases in one load. Most of the time our maximum wash load is in the 5 to 7 pound range. This seems to provide a better wash and a more efficient drying cycle.

The key to using this washer is to NOT allow your laundry to stack up. We will wash and dry our beach towels one day, the sheets the next and the bath towels the following day. After that we throw in several days of underwear and then our shorts and shirts. We could do it all in one day, but it is easier to load the machine, push START and then head out to the beach. When we get back the laundry is clean and dry.

The dryer part is a real novelty. There is no outside vent as with a conventional dryer. In order to dry wet clothes in the WD1000, moisture remaining after the high speed spin cycle is heated to the point that the water remaining in them turns to steam. Then, the steam is passed through a condensing coil filled with cold water. The cold water in the condenser lowers the temperature of the steam to the point that it returns to water. Finally, the entire cycle of water is pumped down the drain. This cooling cycle is repeated several times during the dry cycle so that cold water remains in the condensing coils. Apparently this is controlled by an internal thermostat as I have noted more frequent water exchanges with the warmer “cold” water at the beach. So, in summary of this part, the dryer uses cold water to dry clothes! I consider this an extremely neat system.

We have literally fallen in love with this appliance. Unlike some reviews we have read that suggest that RV size washer/dryer combos are too small to be effective, we have found the capacity of this unit more than adequate. Having the W/D combo has totally eliminated time spent waiting in a Laundromat – which gives us more time at the beach. While the RV park owner might prefer that we not have the unit, the provided electrical hookup gives us hot water and power for the dryer portion at no additional cost. No more bag of Laundromat quarters! We can also reduce the amount of extra clothing, sheets and towels we carry. In a RV, space is valuable.

It is easy to over dry articles in the machine. Clothes that are over dryed come out very wrinkled. The trick is to learn how much time different articles require and remove them from the dryer while there is still a hint of dampness. A few minutes laid out on the bed or placed on a clothes hanger finishes the drying and gives a virtually wrinkle free result.

The only down side of the W/D I can think of is the added weight. In our case it adds about 200 pounds to the 5th wheel pin. Of course, we lost the storage space the W/D cabinet afforded – but we have worked around that without difficulty since we have an extremely long and deep closet adjacent to the W/D.

Our evaluation of this appliance is that it is an extremely welcome modification that saves us a considerable amount of time. It creates an enjoyable convenience that we really appreciate. If the majority of our camping was limited to just weekends, the value of the W/D combo would be diminished considerably. Its real value becomes apparent on extended camping trips where full hookups are available.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Splendide WD2100XC White Vented Washer/Dryer Combo

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1 Comments For This Mod

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  1. Gary

    I bought a 99 Cardinal 5th wheel, the previous owner had bought and installed a Splendide Comb-o-matic 6000 (LWD 1054 M). Previous owner claimed he never got around to using it, and didn’t know if it worked (some people apparently think everyone they meet are idiots). Washer function works fine, but when I try to dry clothes water comes flooding out of the top and bottom of the unit. Any ideas on what the problem might be?

    Unit gets hot and spins, and I know it uses water to dry clothes via condensation, but other than that, I’m lost

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