, this top load washer started leaking small amounts of water from under the cabinet during a wash cycle. Not enough to cause panic, but the water seemed to be mixed with oil or grease due to its dark coloration. Hoping to prevent any floor or clothing damage, the customer called for service to get this old faithful washer repaired.
The Whirlpool top load washer is not very prone to leaking due to a rather nice design that limits the places water can get to, along with a series of seals that frankly do their job well. Any water leaking from these unit can usually be located rather quickly once the cabinet is removed, and we get our eyes on the problem, because even small amounts of water tend to leave clues as to their source. If you look around for not only water, but the soap and dirt residue that is often left behind once the water evaporates, locating the problem can come quickly.
On this unit, I first noticed the inside of the cabinet had what appeared to be a dirt ring around the inside about 6 inches up from the bottom. Because of the pattern, this looked to be water that had been thrown out from the middle of the drive system as the unit went into the spin cycle. Further looking revealed the top of the gearbox was covered in oil, along with the clutch just above it. This pattern would often lead to a failed tub seal which is easy enough to replace, but in getting a bit deeper into the problem, the leak seemed to be from coming from a much less common area.
Tubs on these units have a hole in the bottom that the tub support shaft passes through and is sealed with a rubber gasket. This shaft is where the basket drive and gear case shafts pass before connecting to their respective components. Inside the shaft of the tub support is a series of seals and bearings to allow the other components to spin freely, but also prevent water from passing. If any of the units water seals begins to fail, they tend to exhibit different symptoms depending on where the water flows. A leak in the tub seal usually results in water running over the top of the metal plate which protects the top of the motor. While a leak in the tub support seals will usually allow water to run down the shaft and onto the top of the gearbox. Because I was seeing the later of the two, it was time to take this thing apart.
With the motor and gearbox removed, I could see very clearly that water had been here many times, and once the basket drive was slid out of the tub support shaft, the oily black water that came along told the story of a failed seal. Because the rest of the components on the unit were functioning properly, it looked like only the tub support needed to be worked on. To replace the seals and bearing, you can either replace the tub support as an assembly, or order just the bearing & seal kit and just replace the parts that had failed.
The customer opted for the lower cost option so I pulled the bearings from the tub support and installed the replacement parts per the included instructions. Reinstalled all the components so it looked like a washer again and started a cycle to verify there were no more leaks. With water in the tub and the unit washing away, it was still dry as a bone so I declared this repair a success. The customer again can use their trusty old machine and not worry about water leaking from the washer. At least not from that spot.