, this front load washer started shaking violently during the spin cycle resulting in lots of noise and movement from the washer. Having owned this machine for a few years now, the customer was quite aware of the normal vibrations created during the high speeds of the spin cycle, but this was well beyond anything they had seen before. Small loads could still be washed using a slower spin speed, but anything large using high speed spin was generating to much movement. Thinking the next step was going to be an expensive failure, service was ordered up right away.
Owners of front load washers are well aware of the noise and vibration created when these units jump into the high speed spin portion of the wash cycle. It is a fact that unless your front loader is set firmly on concrete and leveled to perfection, the force of a heavy wash load spinning in excess of 1000rpm will create a bit of vibration and noise. This energy is usually transferred to the homes flooring often creating a noticeable amount of movement by anything that isn't bolted down. A firm footing is your best defence against to much movement, because the energy must be absorbed or dissipated by something.
Normally when presented with a call of this sort, I ready my 'front loader on weak floor' speech to explain why this new washer shakes so much compared to their old top load washer. But the customer was well aware of the normal operating conditions having used this washer for a few years now. So it was time to dig into this unit and see what could be making all the racket.
With the front access panel removed to allow for a good view of the lower mechanical portion of this unit, the likely reason for this excess noise could be plainly seen. The left front shock absorber had broken free from it's connection point at the tub leaving the remaining three to do all the work. The shocks are used to dampen the energy during the spin cycle, and spread it out to the four corners of the cabinet. They do not support any weight as that is carried by two springs on the upper half of the unit. On rare occasions, these shocks can break (as demonstrated here), but they are more likely to fail internally and begin to leak oil which will be seen on the lower shaft. When one or more fails, the result is often an increase in vibration, or rather uncoordinated movements of the tub during the wash cycle. The solution is to replace the broken shock.
On this washer, I removed the remaining portion of the broken shock and inspected the remaining three for any noticeable damage. Each shock is keyed on each end and held in place with a simple quarter turn of the ends. There are little tabs that lock each end which prevents it from coming loose in use. The remaining shocks looked to be in good shape so I installed a new shock in the left front position and turned it until both ends locked in place. With a stable platform underneath, this washer returned to it's normal level of vibration.