Washing machine leaking oil

We have an RCA WRW4600S (aka "GE"), that my wife bought in 1995 when she was in college ("it was the cheapest I could find at the time" she says).
We've discovered it's leaking oil. It was "klunking" this evening when one of the kids ran it (like someone had left something metal in the clothes). It washed them just fine, but it got my attention. At first I thought it was detergent spilled on the floor by one of the kids. But once I got down there, well, it's not detergent.
The motor looks electric. I googled on it, my best-guess is that it's transmission oil that it's leaking.
I snapped a few pictures:
<URL: http://www.lottadot.com/galleria.pl?op=viewintro&idt
So, my questions:
1. Do you think it's the transmission leaking the oil? 2. How much do you think it'd cost to repair? 3. I'd love to DIY, but I'm a newbie as far as washers are concerned (I've done starters and misc easy parts on cars).
I read quite a few previous posts, via groups.google. Some seem to recommend that replacing the transmission isn't a DIY'er job, others say go for it. I'm not sure if that represents the difference in the models between manufacturers, or other aspects of each particular thread. I was having a hard time gauging if they accurately represent my situation or not.
I guess I'd also love to hear feedback on whether or not, because of it's age, it's even worth repairing, with respect to cost/value? I haven't ever had the joy of looking at washers at Lowe's/Home Depot, so I've no clue what they're priced at... yet :)
Thanks, Shane
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I'm a DIY'er and replaced the transmission in my belt-driven Kenmore a few years back. It was a fairly easy job.
The replacement part (from a generic appliance repair-part place) came with instructions that were easy to follow. The whole job took less than an hour.
In fact, it took more time to get the part and return the old one (there was a casting deposit) than it did to install the new part.
So - if you are handy - go for it!
It is likely to be the transmission but you should be able to tell for sure by putting clean paper under it to determine where the oil is coming from.
Having said all this, if it is a cheap washer, a new cheap washer is only a few hundred bucks...
John

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If the transmission is leaking, your best bet is to get a new washing machine. Des

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shane wrote:

Definitely, seen it plenty of times on these. Some seepage is normal as the machine gets older, but it wil eventually die.

If you call someone to repair it, more than the cost of a new washer. If you do it yourself, parts will cost you about $250 plus shipping. (Word of warning if you decide to DIY - there are two different transmissions for these, 14 pound and 18 pound, and they are not interchangable. You will need the full model and serial number, which is usually found on the lower left hand side of the cabinet, to ensure that you get the correct one).

Replacing one of these transmissions is RELATIVELY easy, but I'd recommend buying the repair manual if you're a first-timer at it. Add another $15 to the above. (Now at $265 plus shipping...see where I'm going here?)

Personal opinion - not economic to repair. You can buy a basic Whirlpool built direct drive machine for little more than what the parts to fix yours will cost. Your machine has a steel tub (no longer available as a replacement part), which will rust through around the top (if it hasn't already done so) - I was a laundry tech for Sears, and saw both the rust and the leaking oil on these machines plenty of times. Difference was, the "powers that be" were stupid enough to sell maintenance contracts on them, so we were stuck with replacing transmissions and/or replacing the machine when the rust got so bad that there wasn't any decent metal left to patch up. Do yourself a favour and get another old GE out of circulation.
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Hi,
As MM and others mentioned, transmission oil leak.

That is part of the full model#.
You can see some of these transmissions from below... http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?a-1appliance+tSwkBf+getransmission.html
*Some* of the oil on the floor leaks can be repaired with new bottom oil seal, sometimes the transmission is too badly damaged from the oil slowly leaking out.
http://www.applianceaid.com/ge-os-wash.html#trans

Changing the transmission is a fairly easy job on these, sometimes getting the agitator off is the hardest part, watch for any rusting on the outer tank!! If any rust spots are ready to let go = new washer time.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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Based on personal experience I'd suggest getting a new washing machine. The cost to replace the clothing that could be damaged (destroyed) from leaking oil is not insignificant at all. When the transmission fails in an 8 year old washer other failures are not far behind. Get her a new washer.
RB
shane wrote:

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That is only part of a model but I only found 2 similar (WRW4600SALWW, WRW4600SBLWW) and they both use the same transmission # WH38X53
http://ng.appliance411.com/data.php?a1=getransmission.html

That is a very common failure on that design of washer and there isn't any other place large quantities of oil can leak from (if you or someone else didn't squirt it inside the machine).
BTW. GE washer transmission oil (on that product era anyway) should fluoresce when under ultraviolet (black) light. If you've got one handy, you can test a sample.

Probably not worthwhile unless you can do it yourself. Depending on where you live, $250+ ?

That washer design is probably the easiest to change the transmission on. You can read about servicing that washer design at the following link:
http://tinyurl.com/2namn
But a service/repair manual is also available for that washer design if you'd like to keep one by your side as you're going the job:
http://ng.appliance411.com/data.php?a1=gehotrcaspec.html
If the rest of the machine is in decent shape (ie. not rusting, clutch on the motor isn't noisey/grinding) and you can do it yourself, it might be worth while to fix it. That old style GE washer design is much better IMO than their later model.
JMO
Dan O. - Appliance411.com http://ng.Appliance411.com/?ref411=Hotpoint+washer
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Dan O. wrote:

Dan, just FYI, when I worked at Sears, we started to get the replacement transmissions for these from a company called Rebuilts Unlimited of Kansas City - apparently, GE no longer supplies them as a replacement part (at least that's what I was told!). As you're probably aware, they haven't supplied the outer tub for several years.
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Hi MM,
We could still get rebuilt GE trannys from DASA... http://www.dasa.ca/shop/catalog/default.php ....up here.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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GE still supplies them but they are rebuilt. Whether they do the rebuilding them self or farms it out I don't know. There are other companies which do anyway... and likely will for years yet. Those models will likely be around for a lot longer than GE's later washer design with plastic tubs (not that there's anything necessarily wrong with plastic tubs perse).
JMO
Dan O. - Appliance411.com http://ng.Appliance411.com/?ref411=+GE+washer
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