Before taking it apart, I found several youtube videos that indicated the issue was likely the spin bracket on the back of the drum.
I decided to find out…
Talking apart a modern washer is not an easy task; luckily the RepairClinc had some very good videos. :)
It appears that GE/Kenmore is very fond of #20 Torx screws; I would estimate that 90% of all the fasteners in this system are this type.
Finally I had access to see the back of the drum and the spinner arm. There was a bit of corrosion, and the arm was broken in two places:
This is the arm removed from the drum- giving a better view of the extent of the damage:
Additionally, the broken arm allowed the drum to oscillate around during spinning, damaging the front part of the tub housing:
It also made some deep groves in the rear tub housing:
The bearings seem to be intact, and I could re-use the tub rear housing- but there would always be the concern of the plastic giving out an a leak starting. (perhaps this could be fixed with silicone or a high-temperature glue gun?)
For some reason, Sears does not sell the spinner arm separate from the basket- even though it is secured by six #30 Torx screws. To repair the the washer, parts are going for:
|Outer Tub- Front|
|Outer Tub- Rear|
Essentially, I am looking at the price of a new washer to replace these three parts from sears.
I was able to find these parts for $789.23 from another website, but for $140 more, I could purchase a Samsung 4.5 cu ft washer (the old washer was 4.0 cu ft) washer with a ton of other features (Eco wash, steam wash cycles, direct drive motor and- wait for it- WiFi with a Android/iOS app) from Sears Factory outlet.
I did manage to find one website that sells the spinner bracket only for $100, but it looks like this is a salvage part and I don’t know how much I would trust (and they are out of stock).
In the end, I don’t think I will be inventing money in an 8+ year old washing machine. The drain motor is fairly new (this was replaced 2-3 years ago) but there could be issues with the drive motor, shock absorbers, spring,s etc. I did learn a good deal on tearing down a washer (and putting it mostly back together- sans the tub/basket) that will probably be useful with our next washer. :)
This is a view of the tub housing (with motor) sans the spinner arm and axle that goes through the bearings:
The bulk of the 245lbs of the washer are the basket, the bearings in the rear of the tub, the motor and the counter-weights. Without these parts removed, I was able to transport the washer downstairs by myself. I was a little surprised at the amount of concrete that is used in a washing machine (on the tub counter-weights):