(OT?) Washing machine on it way out?

My 3 year-old, pretty much top of the range Bosch (at the time at least) washing machine started making loud noises when running. They are particualrly loud during the phase immediatelly before the final spin - I assume it is called something like "balancing the load" or similar. It is basically when it spin very slowly from side to side for a short while. It also makes quite a noise during final spin.
Any idea what is going on?
I really cannot see myself opening the thing to try and fix it myself, but are washing machines in general worth fixing in terms of value for money?
PS: the machine has had a hard life so far with two young children in the house - probably an average of at least one wash a day since it was bought.
Thanks a lot for any advice.
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JoeJoe wrote:

There are a few possibilities. The balancing system comprises of some heavy weights, springs and dampers. If any one of those bits has come off, it will do odd things

It could be something completely obvious like a detached spring. Worth a look...

Check your warranty details. A lot of high end Bosch / Siemens appliances come with 5, 8 or even 10 year warranties.
My Siemens washer has a 10 year warranty and my dryer a 5 year one.
Steve
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JoeJoe wrote:

Wash children in the bath. Safer :-)
...
When running early into the program are similar speeds reached, and has the noise become worse than beforehand.
Is it possible that this noise is coming from a pump. Is the filter blocked?
--
Adrian C

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JoeJoe wrote:

Er., a washing machine is for washing things in, not *being* washed, you know ;-)

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Possible drum bearing failure? Open the door and pull the drum up from leading edge, if excessive movement maybe the bearing has failed? I know my Hotpoint currently has this fault and we are looking to replace.
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slider wrote:

That's what I thought, when I was told the symptoms remotely by my son. Ordered new machine, as I couldn't get near it for ages, and everything else that had come with that flat had died.
When I did get there there was a 2p inside one of the agitator thingies in the drum. I was not happy.
Andy
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see if thre drum moves sideways relative to the tub, if so its a drum bearing or spider failure. If not its a suspension problem. Either can be fixed.
NT
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Before writing off any bearing, take a careful look if there are any bra wires or similar in the drum which I have now to cause similar noises!
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