Leaking Washing Machine Drum

Quick version:
The drum of my washer/dryer is leaking around the aperture where the heating element goes, due to some corrosion round the slot. I've tired boss white, silicone sealant and doing it up really, really tight to no good effect.
Is there anything else I should try ?
Longer version:
I've had an Ariston washer dryer for about 12 years. It's been reliable apart from the heating elements which tend to last about 3-4 years (so I'm on my fourth at the moment). Luckily it's just some generic one so I've been able to get them fairly cheaply from the local washing-machine parts shop.
The element slots into an aperture at the lower rear of the (steel) outer drum. It's fixed in place by tightening a screw which pulls up a plate to compress a thick rubber seal which then expands to grip the edge of the drum. Sorry if that's a bit long winded but it's one of those difficult to describe things that is obvious when you see it in front of you.
The problem is that the slot has corroded over the years so the rubber grommet isn't sealing. I've been able to seal it previously with boss white but this time it's no go. I've tried silcone sealant as well with no better result.
Repairing the slot would be very difficult - I'd probably have to cut out the whole area and weld in a larger patch with the original sized hole cut in it. This isn't really feasible, the slot is down at the very edge of the drum and any patch would conflict with the motor bracket and the various level sensors. To do a proper repair would involve stripping the whole thing down to get the drum out which looks a nightmare.
So it looks as if the best option would be to use something to plug the leak. As I've said, boss white and silicone sealant don't seem to be holding, so is there anything else I should be trying ? Can you get bars-leaks for washing machines ? I really don't want to throw it away because a few grams of metal have gone AWOL.
Cheers,
Phil Young
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Phil Young wrote:

I expect the silicone is sticking to the rust and that the rust itself being porous, is allowing water to seep through. I expect also that you are using standard silicone which releases acetic acid (vinegar smell?) which will further exacerbate the rust corrosion.
You could try killing the rust with jenolite or similar phosphoric acid based stuff, allow to dry and then paint with multiple layers of cellulose over a zinc or epoxy based primer. Once this is really hardened, refit the element with electronic grade silicone (no acetic acid from this type). Don't bolt up really tight for a day to allow the silicone to form a seal before you squeeze it all out. The next day, finally tighten.
Make sure every trace of water is removed before you start.
As an alternative to the paint treatment, after the jenolite stage, annoint the surfaces with full strength araldite (not the rapid stuff !!) to seal over the rust and well onto the enamel. If it is cold and the surface won't smooth nicely, warm GENTLY with a hair dryer. Don't go too mad with the heat otherwise is will all run away. Leave 24 hours plus before using silcone to refit the element as above.
hth
Bob
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On Sun, 05 Oct 2003 11:19:40 +0100, Bob Minchin

Good point about the rust, that's just the sort of obvious thing I was missing. The silicone sealer isn't the 'vinegar' sort (as far as I can see or smell) it's from a tube of RS stuff left over from work. Very thick, very sticky, looks almost like heatsink compound.

That might work. The slot should be big enough to get an inspection mirror in, so I could even check and paint the interior edge.

Good point, I've been blowing into it with a fan heater.

This might be plan 'B', I'd be worried about hearing a 'crack' just as I decide to nip the nut up a tiny bit more.......

Thanks, that was just the sort of thing I was looking for.
Cheers,
Phil Young
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I was given a tube of marine-quality silicone sealant. It's a world away from the silicone sealants in the sheds.
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wrote:

Have a look at wwwrs.com for sealant, you want one that DOES not release actic acid when curing, most DO!!
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On Sun, 5 Oct 2003 12:01:54 +0100, "James Salisbury"

Thanks, that's what I'm using (more by luck than by judgement). Probably inadequate surface prep. though.
Cheers,
Phil Young
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Best to use somethign other than silicon. Polyurethane (Sikaflex) is used extensively below the waterline on boats. Silicon isn't suitable for continuous immersion.
Ones commonly recommended in uk.rec.sailign are:
Adflex: available from builder's merchants in black, white or brown. Sikaflex: Chandlers, wide range of colours Arc-Loyal: MS-polymer, slower curing good underwater. Polysulphide: cheap available at B&Q used for underwater joints (e.g. keel to hull) no idea if it is any good at all for washing machines. Nail and Seal' by EvoStick: MS polymer, cheapest available at 3.99 from some B&Q stores.
Be careful if buying the Evo-Stick product they make many sealants with similar names, and some are either silicon or acrylic neither of shich is suitable.
--
Mathematicians, please don't drink and derive.

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On Sun, 5 Oct 2003 12:27:15 +0100, snipped-for-privacy@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth) wrote:

Thanks for that, all good info for the future.
However, looking more closely, I think the silicone was more or less working, but the drum has begun to rust through around the spot-welds that attach the motor bracket. These are just under the element (very small gap) and it looks as if 10 years of accumulated limescale and gunk under the heater have kept the area wet.
I'll probably try getting the drum out for a laugh in any case, it might be possible to weld on a repair section.
Anyway, working through that slot has given me a greater appreciation of gynaecologists, so it's not a completely wasted effort. I think I'll try and decorate the hall through the letterbox next.
Thanks,
Phil Young
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Hehe. What strikes me is to use car body filler products.
Regards, NT
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Once the drum itself becomes corroded, then I'm afraid it is to the knackers yard with it. These drums are to flimsy to weld and once corroded are very difficult to make a proper seal around the rusted bits.
The only suggestion I can make, is for you to make two metal plates that will take the heater and allow you to sandwich the drum around it, between them with some rubber solution sealant.
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On Mon, 06 Oct 2003 21:46:42 GMT, "BigWallop"

Further investigation showed that the outer drum had rusted through all around the two backets that hold the motor, to the extent that I could push my finger through once I was actually looking in that area.
I briefly considered trying to get the inner drum out to give access so I could plate over the inside of the outer drum, but with my welding I'd probably have ended up with more holes than when I started.
So I bought a new one instead, what a wimp......
Cheers,
Phil Young
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wrote:

Best way to go. And if you know any appliance engineers that would tackle trying to repair an outer drum, then you've found someone who's only been in the job for week and doesn't know any better. As for the rest of us, we're all wimps to.
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