I fixed my dryer! All by myself!

by Kristen on May 9, 2012 · 63 comments

in DIY, Fix-It!

Meet my dryer.

We’ve had it for about 12 years, I think. It’s not fancy, and it’s got its share of battle scars, but normally it works just fine.

A few years ago, it started making dreadful sounds, and it turned out that we needed to replace some parts…we ordered a dryer repair kit from Dave’s Repair and got it all fixed up.

Well, in the last month or so, the dryer started making some high-pitched squeaking/shrieking noises. It was the sort of pitch and volume that could give you a headache in very short order.

Now, I have to tell you that when appliances start having issues, I immediately think that the problem is terminal and I feel terrified about the prospect of taking apart the big, scary, white box.

I’m always all, “Oh, great. The issue is probably hugely complicated and we won’t be able to figure it out and we’ll have to buy a brand new one. AAAAHHHH!”.

But!

Mr. FG and I have fixed our washing machine (twice, even) and our dryer once, so I’m getting a wee bit better about the panicking.

(emphasis on the “wee”)

So, instead of hopping online and browsing new dryers, I sent an email to the ever-helpful Dave from Dave’s Repair, assuming I’d need to buy some new parts.

But no! He suggested that the problem was just a lack of lubrication on the rollers.

(You have to love a parts seller who doesn’t always suggest that you buy a new part.)

Mr. FG’s free time had been taken up with a lot of other projects, so I decided to give this a go on my own.

Using memory from the last dryer repair and a very helpful YouTube video, I took the dryer apart (I unplugged it first, of course.)

The inside of an appliance is never quite as complicated as I imagine it to be.

See those red and black rollers? I rotated them with my hand and sure enough, there was a quiet version of that familiar squeal (they weren’t moving very freely either.)

So I rummaged around and found some 3-in-1 oil, which Dave recommended.

I put a teensy bit on each roller shaft and rotated the wheels until they were moving smoothly.

While I had the dryer open, I also cleaned off all the visible lint from the interior of the dryer since lint build-up there isn’t safe.

Then I put it all back together and anxiously turned it on.

What did I hear?

Just a gentle hum.

No squeaking.

No squealing.

Oh yes!!!

To say I was pleased would be an understatement…I’m always so thrilled when I manage to conquer a project that is really intimidating to me.

Was this project worth it?

Well, it took me about an hour from start to finish and cost me nothing in terms of parts.

In fact, I found a quarter and a penny inside the dryer, so, you know, there’s $0.26 I didn’t know I had before.

I’m just estimating here, but I’d venture to guess that if I’d hired someone to do this job, it would have cost $50-$100.

If that’s true, I think this was definitely worth an hour of my time.

Not only did I save myself the repair cost, I also gained knowledge about my dryer and confidence in my ability to fix this type of thing. And that will probably help me to avoid repair costs in the future.

Plus, there’s the whole feeling-like-superwoman-because-I-fixed-an-appliance bit, which makes me lean towards thinking that DIY was the right choice. ;)

_________________________

Today’s 365 post: Coming in September

Joshua’s 365 post: Farmer Boy

Leave a Comment

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen D. May 9, 2012 at 7:09 am

We love Dave’s Repair. Per your suggestion, we were able to repair our dryer with a repair kit from him. I love his personal help in figuring out the problem.

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2 Teresa May 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

Way to go! I love the feeling of fixing something and saving money! Last summer my friend fixed her central air unit while her husband was in Iraq, while on the phone with a friend who works on them for a living!

It is amazing what you can do when you don’t want to spend the money to have someone else do it!

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3 Heather Stein May 9, 2012 at 7:30 am

That’s awesome! We have had our washer and dryer about 16 years now and I too fear that every time something is wrong that we will have to buy a new machine (ok so maybe sometimes I actually wish we would have to buy a new one. LOL) but DH has been able to fix them both several times each and they are still going. I have to know what that thing on the left is in that last picture. It resembles a little baby blender but obviously you don’t have a baby blender on your dryer! :)

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4 Marsha May 9, 2012 at 8:17 am

Heather, I believe that baby blender is a pencil sharpener. My husband has one like it for his class at school. ;)

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5 Heather Stein May 9, 2012 at 7:40 pm

HaHa! I have never seen one like that. Makes way more sense than baby blender!

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6 Kristen May 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Yep, it’s a pencil sharpener!

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7 Kathy May 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

Way to go! … you were blessed to have Dave tell you what the problem might be and how to solve it … but don’t you just love You-tube for showing you how to fix things … I am 60 yrs. old and I felt the same way when I fixed my daughter’s toilet … the computer can be used for good or it can be used for evil … but I just love having access to helpful info whenever you want it.
Keep sharing your homemaking tips … I have been passionate about homemaking for 40 years … so good to see that passion in you!

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8 EngineerMom May 9, 2012 at 8:30 am

I love the “big scary dryer” picture!

And yes, feeling like superwoman for fixing an appliance is totally worth the time investment. Reason number 1 why I think everyone, boys and girls, should take some basic classes on using tools, plus some volunteer time with Habitat to reinforce those lessons and instill confidence to use the tools! I loved my shop class in college because it took the mystery and scary factor out of using a lathe, a drill press, a CNC machine, a welding torch, and taught me how to sharpen drill bits, plus how to read drawings and think about manufacturing, which has really helped when I’m looking at something I want to disassemble. I have a pretty good idea of how it might be put together in the first place, which helps with taking it apart or deciding I can’t take it apart without breaking something critical.

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9 Thrifty Mom in Boise May 9, 2012 at 8:42 am

That is great! Way to go! Girl Power!!!

It alway feels so great when you tackle a monster project doesn’t it? Thanks for telling me about Dave’s Repair. Sounds like a great resource. I will file that info away for future use.

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10 Battra92 May 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

I’ll have to keep that site in mind! YouTube is great for learning how to fix things. :)

I’m hoping to tackle a few projects this weekend including fixing a leaky shower faucet.

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11 NMPatricia May 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

You go girl. I am proud of you. You are so inspiring!

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12 Kathy M May 9, 2012 at 9:08 am

Yay, Kristen. You always inspire me. Happy Wednesday!

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13 Kathy M May 9, 2012 at 9:08 am

Yay, Kristen. You always inspire me. Happy Wednesday!

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14 Margaret May 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

Good Stuff Kristen, you’re more than well able to!

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15 Dori May 9, 2012 at 9:25 am

Oh my gosh, you’re awesome!!!! I can only imagine how great that must feel to know that you fixed that big ol’ appliance all by yourself and didn’t even have to spend any cash. Dave’s Repair sounds like an incredible resource–am bookmarking his page right this very second.

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16 Katy Wolk-Stanley May 9, 2012 at 9:28 am

Who rocks?

You rock! :-)

Katy

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17 priskill May 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

I am SOOOO impressed! That is brilliant!

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18 Nancy from Mass May 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

I have that same dryer! I took it apart a few years ago to replace the belt and you’re right….taking a dryer apart isn’t as scary as it first seems!

Way to go!

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19 LisaFitz May 9, 2012 at 10:15 am

WTG! My 20 year old dryer started making a scary noise on Sunday. Will have to check out Dave, not in the position to replace the dryer just yet.

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20 Jennifer May 9, 2012 at 10:30 am

Having fixed my own dryer in the past (heating element) I know that super-hero feeling when you finish the project. I have no idea how much that would have cost me to hire out, but I know Sears wanted $90 just to come to our house and the part itself cost about $80. So maybe $250-$300 with labor? I’m glad in your case it was a simple fix; when things break at my house it’s always the most expensive problem!

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21 Aubrey May 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

BAM!

A few years ago I got this book called “Dare To Repair”. It’s just a list of common home repairs and how to do them, but somehow being written for a female audience it is much more clear to me than other books or tutorials. I love it.

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22 Susan@Emperorp May 9, 2012 at 11:25 am

Aubrey, Thanks for including the title of that book. I plan on checking it out.

Kirsten, you are amazing.
Amazing because you don’t let feeling intimidated stop you from trying.

Amazing because you figure out how to solve a problem first before throwing money at it.

Amazing because you share your adventures with us and thus inspire us to try.

Thanks :)

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23 alice May 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

Wow I’m impressed and proud of you! I tend to like to open up and try to fix things myself but I think I would have drawn the line at a really large appliance like the dryer. Now you’ve given me confidence to tackle those sorts of things on my own too!

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24 Libby May 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

I’ve never seen the inside of a dryer before and laughed when I saw the photo of Zoe (?) inside the drum!

The dryer really doesn’t look all that complicated and scary on the inside – I always think of appliances as mysterious metal boxes. Thank you for taking away some of my appliance anxiety too!

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25 Dianna @ practicing frugal May 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

Way to go Kristen!

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26 Juli May 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

Good for you!!! I could never fix my own dryer, I admire the fact that you were able to do it. How awesome. Hugs Juli

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27 Kayla May 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Great work Kristen! My husband just fixed the agitator on our washing machine so it’s still going strong. We purchased our washer and dryer from an elderly gentleman three years ago and they are probably 15+ years old. I’m surprised they’re still working but I’m glad we haven’t had to buy new ones yet! I’m using cloth diapers on my son so we wouldn’t be able to go long without a working washer.

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28 fiwa May 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

That is AWESOME! Well done, you!!!! Just having the guts to give it a try – and then you fixed it on top of it – that is impressive and inspiring.

By the way, you posted about Roku awhile back and I wanted to tell you that you inspired me to check into it. I am proud to say that I have canceled cable t.v., have a Roku box and a Netflix streaming account, and love it. I was able to save $20 a month, have a TON more programming to choose from, and had the satisfaction of canceling a cable service that has always irritated me. I never felt like I got much of anything out of the cable we had, especially for what it cost. It was so satisfying to answer the cable representative’s question about why we wanted to cancel our service with a pleasant, but firm “Because we want to.” :) :) :) Thank you!!!!!

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29 {Adventuresindinner} May 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

You are awesome! I’ll paint or put a nail in anything but big appliance scare me. Yay! for you!

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30 Ange May 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

You’ve inspired me to go tackle our washer. I know what the problem is but have been avoiding taking it apart.

Glad you fixed your dryer!

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31 Heather :) :) :) May 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Oh, LOVE this…so cool…and you really did save a boatload of money by doing the repair yourself :) :) Technically you “made money”…$0.26 cents worth :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :) :)

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32 Mary Stubblefield May 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

My dryer has stopped timing itself…it will just run and run and run if I don’t put a timer on to remind me to get my clothes out…this makes me want to try to fix it. I won’t call a repairman because the little inconvenience of having to set my own timer and not put a load in the dryer before we leave the house is SOO little compared to a repair bill! Thanks for the encouragement to try and fix it myself or with my DH!

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33 Mary Stubblefield May 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

My dryer has stopped timing itself…it will just run and run and run if I don’t put a timer on to remind me to get my clothes out…this makes me want to try to fix it. I won’t call a repairman because the little inconvenience of having to set my own timer and not put a load in the dryer before we leave the house is SOO little compared to a repair bill! Thanks for the encouragement to try and fix it myself or with my DH!

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34 Colleen May 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I am so glad you shared that! I have stopped using my dryer and been going to the laundry mat because it screams like a banshee and I am afraid the neighbors will call the police. I figured it was dead or dying…but I had thought about taking it apart and playing with it so I could learn something. I guess I might have to give that a try sometime soon!

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35 Kristen May 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I know! The screeching is just so terrible.

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36 Elaine in Ark May 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I had to fix the flapper in my toilet. I have a second bathroom, so it wasn’t an emergency. Therefore, I procrastinated about buying a new one for over a week. Then when I did get to the hardware store (not a big box), there were at least 8 different types! So I had to go home and look at the one that needs replacing. I went back to the store, pointed out one that looked like it, and the guy asked what size mine is. HUH??? I don’t know. Isn’t there a universal-one-size-fits-all toilet flapper? Yes, there is! And if you don’t need the round part, you can cut it off with a pair of scissors.

Ok, so I took it home and it sat for a week and a half on the counter in the master bathroom. I finally decided to fix that toilet, and I swear, it took me one minute. For real.

Yes, I do put off doing repairs and maintenance until absolutely necessary. Then I wonder why I waited!

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37 Yvonne May 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Yay for you! I always feel great when I tackle an issue like this myself…it’s like I beat the system.

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38 Holly @ My Plant Based Family May 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I thought so before but now I am convinced, YOU ARE SUPERWOMAN!
Good job! ;)

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39 Kristen May 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Not gonna lie…I did FEEL like superwoman when I got it all back together. ;)

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40 Ingrid May 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Congratulations, Kristen! You rock! Very inspiring.

My dryer is going on 34 and working fine, although I hang most of my clothes to dry. Once it got super hot and plenty of moisture formed at the door and I was all set to buy a new one, but the nice salesman at the store told me my vent was plugged, and once DH got that looked after, it’s been working well!

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41 Kristen May 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I hang quite a few of mine to dry, but I’ve decided I’m not patient enough to hang up things like underwear, socks, washcloths, and the like. All those little pieces!

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42 Megan May 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I just contacted Dave in regards to a very noisy washer. Cross your fingers he knows why (and it’s not an expensive fix).

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43 Kristen May 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

I hope he can help you! He is really knowledgeable. Did you give him your make and model number?

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44 Jo@simplybeingmum May 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

I concur – you are Superwoman! :-)

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45 Glory Lennon May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

Anyone ever tell you you’re just adorable? LOL. I have to say I too like that feeling of superwoman, so I know exactly what you mean. BTW, if a Sears repair person had come out it would have been more like $150-180 even with no parts used, so you making $0.26 and learning something is great!

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46 Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify May 11, 2012 at 9:51 am

I had to stop by to tell you that you are awesome. And the repair place near us charges $80 just to come and look at your appliance.

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47 Anna-Catherine May 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Thank you for sharing your success using Dave’s repair. I went down to my washer to remove a load this morning and the load was still sopping wet. The washer had not spun the load. I remembered seeing this post earlier in the week so I pulled it up and looked up Dave. I currently have an email in to him and am waiting to hear back. Thank you for posting your success. If you had not, I would be spending hours searching the internet or giving up and replacing my 15+ year old washer.

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48 Kristen May 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Yup, that’s precisely what happened to my washer…the lid switch remained depressed all the time, so it wouldn’t spin.

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49 Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths May 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Thats amazing. I put up a shelf in my house the other and I was very excited to show off my handy work.

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50 Samantha - Fluffyland Craft & Sewing Blog May 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I know exactly what you’re talking about – the intimidation of a “big” fix. Last semester I had a parking key card in my car, and it got jammed in the console coin tray. The only solution was to pop my entire console apart – and I was really worried of breaking some of those little plastic prongs, or taking back the aesthetic portion of my car interior without being able to get it back together.

I told a friend at work what I was doing, and her eyes widened. “That’s ambitious,” is what she told me. But her doubt gave me fuel – because I WANT to be ambitious! Ambitious is a good word!

I got the console apart, key card out, and then got the console back together again with only a small amount of grumbling and worry. I returned the keycard (which would’ve been $25 fee if it was lost) and had a working coin tray again.

And I still look back on that as a triumphant moment for me – so you’re definitely allowed to be proud of your dryer fix, forever!!

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51 Dryer Guy November 12, 2013 at 7:33 am

Good job! Your dryer is one worth keeping too. A lot of people are buying the newer fancy washer/dryer sets thinking they are saving money because they are high efficiency. The problem is many of the high efficiency appliances aren’t lasting as long as their older counterparts. The newer appliances also have more expensive parts. Keep your older appliances running as long as you can and save money while you are at it. :)

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52 Yvonne November 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm

As I sit here listening to the horrendous squeaky sound coming from my drying, I am happy to think I can possibly fix it. Thank you for the info!!!

now I will go find some earplugs for now…..

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53 Caroline December 1, 2013 at 11:28 am

Thank you SO much!! We were able to fix our squealing dryer with your help!

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54 Elya December 4, 2013 at 12:00 am

Oh, great! I’m going to try that on my drier. Thanks big time!

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55 Lisa December 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Thank you for this posting! I just fixed the horrible squealing sound my dryer has been making on & off following your post. I am now listening to the gentle hum of my dryer again & feeling like Superwoman as well!

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56 Beverly January 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

My daughter sent us the link to your very helpful (and entertaining) advice on how to fix a squealing dryer. Great job!! My daughter is learning to be a frugal girl too!!! Thank you!!

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57 julie February 26, 2014 at 10:15 am

Tried this now my dryer won’t spin. Belt is still on and in correct position – what did I do wrong?

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58 Kristen February 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

Ooh, I’m not sure I know! Are the wheels and rollers all in their correct positions?

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59 La Joy March 1, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Dear Frugal Girl,

Thank you for giving us the courage to take our dryer apart and pulling out the Big Chirping Birds inside!

Even tho our dryer is an Amana…and very different, we still felt more comfortable after seeing your site! We even found a very old, almost used up 1 in 3 oil as you recommended. Once the Birds were freed, we celebrated our success by jumping up and down with Glee!!

Blessings Beyond!!! La Joy & Dragan (my Sweet Heart)

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60 Kristen March 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Yay!! So, so glad yours is workin’ now.

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61 Karen Stuart May 15, 2014 at 12:01 am

Seriously can’t believe I got this post today! Our dryer is squeaking loudly, and I was dreading to spend big bucks for a repair or new one. I had this crazy idea of trying to do it myself, since my Mr. has become disabled and can’t do it. I seriously have more courage after your post. Thanks!

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62 Jennifer June 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Oh, this is great! I recently fixed my dryer by replacing the belt (also found the video on you tube, I love you tube!) And recently it started squeaking loudly. Now I know what the culprit may be! It seems to squeak more with more weight in it, so I think this is the issue. Thank you for posting this! Even though it was over 2 years ago ;)

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63 Larry July 23, 2014 at 2:13 am

I have a feeling it would have cost you more than $50-$100. It would have probably been more like $250.
Great post!

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