Sunbeam 3035 Clothes Iron: Rusted Spring

Some weeks ago the Sunbeam clothes iron Mary uses for her quilting projects stopped retracting its cord and a few days ago the entire compartment holding the cord spool simply fell off:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - detached cord compartment
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – detached cord compartment

One plastic stud and two thin plastic tabs held the compartment onto the rest of the iron. How they lasted this long I do not know, but they are neither replaceable nor fixable.

When you see badly rusted screws in an electrical device, you know the story cannot end well:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - cord connections
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – cord connections

And, indeed, it hasn’t:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - retraction spring rust
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – retraction spring rust

This being a steam iron, it has a water tank that gets filled through an awkward port with a sliding cover. Mary is as conscientious a person as you’ll ever meet, but the occasional spill has certainly happened and it is painfully obvious the iron’s designers anticipated no such events.

The coil spring had rusted into a solid mass:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - spring rust - detail
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – spring rust – detail

I removed the spring, soaked it in Evapo-Rust for a few hours, then cleaned and oiled it:

Sunbeam 3035 Iron - relaxed spring
Sunbeam 3035 Iron – relaxed spring

Rewinding and reinstalling the spring showed it has lost its mojo and cannot retract more than a few feet of cord.

She’s in the middle of a quilting project and will replace the iron with whatever cheapnified piece of crap might be available these days. Similar irons have reviews reporting they begin spitting rust after a few months, which suggests the plastic tank or stainless steel hardware in this one have been cost-reduced with no regard for fitness-for-use.