Help - Weak Agitation on Topload Washer

The patient is a Whirlpool top loader, circa 1989. I've had no problems with it in the past; it has been a solid performer.
Recently the agitation is clearly reduced from its normal behavior. The normal setting will agitate the clothes, but less vigorously than before. The delicate setting barely jostles the clothing. And I don't know about the permapress setting; I never use it.
While it is agitating a load, I can easily twist the center post with the agitation vanes in either direction with minimal resistance.
A little bit of internet investigation leads to discussions of the "dawgs". (Gotta love yet another instance of colorful terminology in washer lingo!) But before I start tearing into the machine, it certainly can't hurt to ask the experts here if that's a likely failure point, or whether I should start with a different assumption.
Thanks for any advice.
Art
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Mine wore out as you described. A easy fix once you do it. The parts are inexpensive.
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Arthur Shapiro wrote:

Mine had a mechanical relay (affecting mechanical action, not electrical action) adjacent to the motor that controlled motor speed. Often the relay would get knocked off kilter, causing the motor to run at low speeds only. Fought that problem for 2 years, then junked the damn thing.
Bob

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On Mon, 10 Jul 2006 02:30:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Arthur Shapiro) wrote:

Loose belt (assuming there is a belt. I think I'm getting OldTimer's Disease.) I'm using the same belt since 1979, but there's only one of me, and I don't do much laundry.

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In our case, the Whirlpool washer (built '01) would spin only if the tub was empty. At first I didn't think it spun at all, but when the tech came to look at it he put it into the spin cycle with an empty tub and it started to spin! When he applied pressure with his hand to the top ring, it stopped. Something was slipping. Dunno if it was a belt or a gear, but it was quiet.
He ended up replacing the transmission. Good thing we had bought the extra 4 year warranty :-)
Arthur Shapiro wrote:

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