One of the key things about doing a successful repair job is covering all the angles. Sometimes this involves not only the actual failure, but determining what led up to it and how to ward off future repairs of this nature any time soon. Lately, I have noticed a slew of oily, no spin complaints resulting in replacing the basket drive assembly. When the seal at the top of the basket drive tube fails, water permeates the space between the tub and the clutch. In this space, there is a genreous glob of gray factory-installed grease to more or less permanently lube the tub bearings. When the top seal fails and water hits this grease, it gets spun out from inside the clutch disc, leaving a noticeable trail of oily stuff around the circumference of the cabinet a foot off the floor.
No one like to face the prospect of pulling the spin basket and drive block, dropping the transmission and replacing the spin tube, but in this case it must be done. The only catch is....why did it fail, and what can I do about preventing it?
From an engineers point of view, the top seal of the spin tube is designed to isolate the stainless steel agitator shaft from contact with surface water in the tub. Since the seal is relatively high from the bottom of the tub, there is really not much water pressure to act upon it, therefore it is not designed too sturdily. In fact, if the seal inside the agitator aind barrier under the cap is working as it should, no water would contact the drive tube seal at all, kept back by a wall of air trapped by good seals in the agitator cam assembly. When the agitator o-rings, and seals fail, the cycle begins...air that is supposed to be trapped under the agitator is suddenly released, causing water to start working on the seal. Other factors, such as turning the water level down can expedite the failure of these seals, since the weight of the load is concentrated on the agitatoer when the water level is reduced. My key advice here is "to hell with saving water, use the highest water level available for any size load". Take the knob off the control.
Now, back to the topic..since it can be deduced that a drive tube seal failure is the ultimate result of an agitator seal failure, it only makes sense to add the agitator repair kit to your list of things to do when changing a drive tube for a seal failure. Who wants a repeat episode any time soon?