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I have a top-loading Maytag washing machine that is making a brief "rubber on plastic" whining noise during the agitation phase of a laundry load and when the wash cycle completes. Just in case it would be useful, the model is a Maytag Performa PAV3360AWW.

When I run the washing machine with no laundry (just water in the drum):

  • No sound at all, everything sounds good during all cycles: agitation, rinse, spin
  • No "screeching" brake sound at the end of the spin cycle

With laundry:

  • During the agitation phase, the washer drum seems to be moving counter-clockwise by about a half-inch or less (but visibly moving!) when the sound is being made. Sometimes it goes for seconds without making the sound, and the drum seems to stay in place the entire time. However, when the sound does occur, the drum is moving counterclockwise by a small amount. My guess is that the drum is slipping when it should be in place???
  • At the end of the final spin cycle, it sounds like "screeching" car brakes when the drum finally comes to a stop

Any suggestions for troubleshooting and diagnosing the issue? Is there a specific part I should look at?

  • Can you describe the noise during the agitate phase? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 12 '15 at 4:59
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    It sounds like rubber sliding against plastic. It sounds like a whine, but just lasts a second. It is quite a sound though, if I close the laundry room closet door you can still hear it in the adjacent room. – Dr. Watson Dec 19 '15 at 20:08
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    How old is the washer? Has it always made the noise, or did it suddenly start making it, or gradually (over many months)? – wallyk Dec 20 '15 at 1:33
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Two main things worth checking come to mind. The first is that the counter-balance weights are properly secured to the outside of the drum. Sometimes these loosen up and make all sorts of weird and wonderful noises.

The second is that the bearings have failed. The screeching noise you mentioned would make this more likely. If the bearings have failed it is a very significant and costly repair - often the solution is to just replace the machine.

Either way I would recommend removing the top and front panel of the machine and running it to see if you can visually identify any problems.

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I would suggest checking the drive belt for issues first, before you start troubleshooting a bearing problem -- your machine uses plastic pulleys, which if the belt is slipping on them instead of getting traction during the agitate cycle (back and forth), would explain the issues with the agitate cycle. (It'd also explain why it only happens under load, too -- the empty drum is easier for the drive system to handle.)

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I have previously seen the suspensions springs/bands for a top load washer break due to severe out of balance condition. After one of these bands breaks the tub does not have equal force going around to keep it centered and it can wack against the side opposite of the missing spring.

Your model Maytag looks to have both a suspension spring and a spring holder which are movable, thus could have broken or fallen off. The tub I believe has six mounting points and it could be any combination of these.

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