On this Neptune machine, if the belt is removed, spin the large drive pulley by hand or spin the basket from the front and listen for a rasping noise as it turns. Most likely you have bad tub bearings and should consider replacing the machine. No doubt there are ways to repair these, but they are mostly cost-prohibitive.
On the other hand, if something got into the small electric pump inside the back panel, it could account for the noise, and is a simple and easy fix. The motor should not be run with the belt off, FYI.
You say you think you got it nailed, huh? What is your next course of action?