Model #WCVH6260F0WW, this front load washer would operate properly during the wash cycles, but when the unit entered the spin cycle and began to increase in RPM, the noise sounded more like a train passing by than a clothes washer and it had been getting progressively worse over time. The customer called a service company to see about getting the unit repaired, but the estimate they were given was for several hundred dollars, and they were told it needed a new bearing, a spin basket, and a couple hours of labor. Figuring they had little to loose, they called me for a second opinion, and fortunately, I was able to give them a little bit of good news.
Most front load (horizontal axis) washers utilise a rubber belt to transfer rotational drive from a motor shaft, to the shaft of the wash basket. At the end of the basket shaft will be a large metal pulley, which is secured tightly by a nut or bolt to help keep it in place.
Because of the weight of damp clothes, and the torque involved in rotating the spin basket, these pulleys are subjected to some significant forces during operation making it important to ensure they are secured properly to the basket, and there is no movement between the pulley and the shaft. Any looseness or play between the pulley and the shaft will usually result in the belt tracking away from the pulley center and falling off, or breaking.
I did some quick checks of the spin basket and found no movement up and down or side to side which tells me the shaft and rear bearing are still in contact with one another and they haven't damaged each other. My next check took me to the the back of the unit were after removing the rear panel, I did a quick inspection of the pulley and belt. The belt should be riding along the center of the pulley, and everything should be tight, but what I found was a loose lock nut which was allowing the pulley to wobble ever so slightly on the shaft. After tightening the nut, I was still able to move the pulley ever so slightly from side to side. Removing the nut from the shaft allowed me to see the center of the pulley and to get a look at the what was making the noise. If you look at the photo above (I know it isn't in focus, but the part I wanted to highlight is) you will see a gap between the side of the shaft and the upper portion of the pulley. There is a corresponding gap on the opposite side which leads me to believe that this nut had been loose for some time.
The reversing action of the washer and the forces applied to the pulley resulted in the basket shaft (which is made of a harder metal than the pulley) to wear away at the connection between the two. As the pulley was allowed to wobble on the shaft, it quickly became more loose and started to produce the loud noise during the spin cycle. Once I cleaned off the shaft and I installed a new drive pulley , this machine sounded like its old self.