Kenmore Heavy Duty model 60 problem

We have a Kenmore washing machine that recently developed a problem. The load was out of balance a bit, and instead of shutting down (isn't that how it's supposed to work?) it started banging violently and I had to run in there and open the lid to stop it.. since then, it's worked ok, but has developed a unhealthy whirring sound whenever it's spinning. The agitation works ok (and sounds normal), and it still spins.. but it sounds like the motor is really struggling and something in there is not matching up properly, kind of like a pair of gears that aren't aligned right or something. I don't know a damn thing about washing machines, so am at a loss on what to look for. I gather this machine is direct drive and that there aren't any belts to worry about.
Basically, I'm wondering if this is a motor/transmission issue, and if it's worth digging into at this point... if the repair bill is likely to be high, I'll just retire it and pick up a new one.
THanks!
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Not sure about the Kenmore 60... is this one of the old GE built ones? I had a family member who had one and it appeared to be just like my GE.
At any rate... if it is, I had a GE Heavy Duty that would go off balance and one time it did this so violently that it produced sounds just like the tranny was bad. I went out in search of a used one and a guy told me that on top of the motor there was a clutch with brake shoes in it and that a bearing had given up. I didn't buy the story and the Mrs kept using it until I could find a new tranny or washer until one day it started to stink and scream amd when I looked at the top of the motor there sure enough was a large upside down brake/clutch drum... only running it that way had shook the parts lose and they went bad, too. I found another motor (with the smaller drum for one speed) and slapped it in there with a nice tight new belt and re-leveled the machine and it is doing great as the second 'heavy soiled' machine down there. Sure wish I'd have listened at the bearing concept as that would have been $7 for the part as opposed to paying someone $35 for a used motor (they're getting harder to come by around here now).
Like I said... I don't know your machine or sound, so one of the pros would be better to answer, but here's a note:
When I asked the one guy about a tranny he said 'you haven't told any regular repair men that, have you? They'll be happy to come tell you they put in a new tranny when it's only this 7 dollar bearing!' Heh.
But, really... I just feel my way along and someone with actual pro experience would be best to answer.

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Hi,
Re: 'whirring' sound while washer's running: if your machine is a direct drive, this is often caused by something caught in the pump, and in about 50% of the cases I see, it can be removed pretty easily. Motor and tranny problems are pretty rare on these. The coupler (has replaced the belt) can make this type of noise, but it usualy happens in both ag and spin.
One of the most common pieces of pump debris, amazingly, is a stray bra underwire. These work their way through the basket holes and down the tub outlet hose, into the pump.
I could be a lot more helpful if I had your model number, but getting to a direct drive's pump's pretty easy.
Here are instructions for replacing the pump; they'll help you access it, step by step: http://www.DavesRepair.com/DIYhelp/DIY3363394.htm
Pull the pump off the motor (snap off two clips, leave the hoses attached) and run the machine while holding it out of the way (bypass the lid switch plug with a piece of wire or alligator clip jumper). If it runs quietly with the pump off the motor, first hold a shop-vac hose to the drain hose end and run it for about 30 seconds to clear the water from the tank, pump, and hoses. Then pull the hoses off the pump and look into the pump ports. You'll usually the debris, and it can often be removed with a long-nose pliers or hemostat.
Don't continue to run it while it's making this noise, though. Depending on the type of debris, it'll wear a circular hole right through the pump, usually on the front side, and then you'll def. have to replace the pump (but they're not too expensive...), and all that water won't do your floor any favors, either.
If it's a direct drive, don't be in a hurry to replace it. 'Best washer on the market for the money right now...
Hope that's of some help.
God bless,
Dave Harnish Dave's Repair Service New Albany, PA www.DavesRepair.com snipped-for-privacy@sosbbs.com 570-363-2404
Free home appliance tips from a 32-year pro repair technician! Get your monthly email newsletter here: (Back issues now posted too!) www.DavesRepair.com
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