Grease leaking from under Cabrio

lulundaveMarch 3, 2009


Well our Cabrio Agi is almost 2 years old. The warranty is completed. Now we have noticed a black grease that is leaking from underneath the wash tub onto the floor.

Could this be the transmission?

Is this worth fixing?

It is quite an expensive machine $800.00 approx.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


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Good news! Your Cabrio actually doesn't have a transmission, so you won't have to pay to replace it. It uses an electronic motor that's directly connected to the wash tub without any intermediate gears.

As for your black grease, that's a little more perplexing. The only thing I can think of is maybe one of the suspension parts is leaking. If it is, it might still be okay, and if it's not, replacing it won't be nearly as expensive as replacing a transmission.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 6:05PM
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washer man,
That is good news. We will investigate further and post back.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 6:30PM
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So we propped up the washer and had a look. On the bottom of the tub is a plastic circular piece that is divided into triangular sections. In each section there is a hole. The black grease is coming out of these holes. The entire bottom of the washer has been sprayed with this grease as the tub spins.It also has dripped onto the floor.

What in the world could this be?
My husband says it is thick oil - not grease - to be exact.

Any help would be very appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 8:17PM
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The circular piece is the main drive motor for agitation and spin. Far as I'm aware, the only grease or oil involved is in the bearings, which shouldn't be enough to create a substantial spray like that unless a water leak is involved. Could be the main tub seal is leaking, which is about the only way water/grease/oil could get into the motor housing.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 8:43PM
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Dadoes is right. It's likely that your main seal is leaking, and if this is the case, it's also likely that the main shaft bearings have been damaged as well. Unfortunately however, this will require a new outer wash tub.

There is one other possibility. Grease is used between the steel plates that bolt the motor stator to the outer washer tub, and it's possible that this is what you are seeing. Grease is used so that the motor stator can actually float back and forth, which minimizes noise transmission. If your husband is handy with tools, the motor rotor is fairly easy to remove with just an allen key wrench, and then he'll be able to see what's going on.

Whatever you do though, please make absolutely sure that he unplugs the washer first. This is extremenly important, because the motor is driven with very high voltage, and not unpluging it would be extremely dangerous.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 9:22PM
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The rotor magnets are also VERY strong. Keep it clear from attracting small screws and bits of metallic debris.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 10:29PM
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washer man and dadoes,
Thanks for giving us an idea of where to start. My husband is very handy and refuses to call in a repair guy. He is hoping to investigate soon as we will probably need to order replacement parts and it could take several days to get them.

Does this seem premature for the seal to be leaking? The machine is going to be 2 years old in April.

In your opinions is it even worth fixing this? In this economic time about all we could afford to replace this with is a BOL top loader (349.00 or so). I would be ok with a BOL top loader and I could live with it lasting only a few years. But the Cabrio was $800.00 plus and only lasted 1 1/2 years.

Thanks for your rapid replies.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 2:56PM
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I'd say at least investigate the situation before making a decision on the repair. I doubt the entire tub would have to be replaced unless it's somehow at fault contributing to the leak. The center seal should be a separate part.

You can find a service manual at Look under Technical Reference, Technical Library, Job Aids, Laundry Products.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 3:50PM
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It's true. The seal is a seperate part. Unfortunately however, the Cabrio is designed like Fisher & Paykel washers in that the main bearings come as part of the outer wash tub, so if the seal is bad, and the bad seal has caused the bearings to fail, then the only way to replace the bearings is to replace the tub.

One good thing is that the Cabrio is pretty simple, so it's easy to work on if that's what your husband wants to do. Like I said before though, make sure he unplugs it first.

One other thought. I definitely think that the seal should last more than two years, so if it's a problem I'd give Whirlpool a call and complain about it. Sometimes if there's an obvious manufacturing defect, even if it's out of warranty, a manufacturer will still help a customer out. I don't know if Whirlpool has ever done this though.

One last question if I may. Does the washer make a grinding noise when it's spinning that it didn't make when it was new? If yes, then your seal and bearings are shot. If not, then it's highly likely that your bearings and seal are fine.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 9:27PM
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The F&P parts list I have shows the bearings as separate part numbers from the tub (SearsParts lists them as well), and a "bearing replacement" tool kit is illustrated in the service manual.

However, looking up one of the Cabrio models at SearsParts, the bearings and seal are not shown separately in the diagram, and the parts listing has an item "tub and shaft assembly" which I assume includes the bearings, seal, and drive shaft.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 11:17PM
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washer man and dadoes,

The machine does not make any new sounds, no grinding, nothing.

The only reason I even noticed it was because a drop of grease splattered out past the bottom of the washer and landed on the unfinished concrete floor. This is what led me to get a flashlight and actually look under the washer. The splatters of grease were not an oily type residue, it was dried on the bottom of the washer. To clean it off I needed to use vinegar and water in a spray and a clean cloth. This has lead us to think that it may have been going on for quite some time.

So, who knows what is going on or how long it has been going on. We shall do an exploratory on Sunday and post pictures.

We did call Whirlpool twice and we got the same drill both times. Your warranty is up....would you like to schedule service. Only $81.00 for the first hour and $19.00 for each additional 15 minutes!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 2:50PM
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Well we have given this some thought and now we don't know what to do.
My hubby took the washer apart and it is also leaking water. So it is what you guys said it was.

The problem is the part is $250 plus tax here in Canada and it will take a week or so to have it shipped in.

After talking to various appliance parts dealers/servicers we are leery about fixing it. They say these machines are hard to work on and that there may be more wrong than what we believe it to be.

This week at our local furniture store they have a recession buster special a Maytag Centennial with a stainless steel wash tub for $399.00. Do we bite the bullet and just go get a new one? It will be painful to bring the Cabrio to the dump....

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 12:28PM
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If it was me I'd fix it. $250 is still cheaper than $400. However, if you need to have a service call to get it fixed, it'll probably cost quite a bit more so if your husband isn't willing to fix it himself then it will probably make more sense to get the Maytag.

As far as being leery about more stuff that's wrong, you would be replacing the outer wash tub, the bearings, the main shaft seal, and the main drive shaft. I don't think there's anything else that could be leaking.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 8:32PM
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lulundave sent these pics to me for posting on their behalf.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 12:28AM
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Interesting ...

From what I see here I'm not so sure that I can see any evidence that the seal has gone. The reason I say this is that what we are looking at is the lower bearing, not the upper bearing, and it's the upper bearing that would go if the seal is bad.

The upper bearing is vented with a hole that's drilled in the side of the aluminum casting, so if the seal is leaking, water would leak out of this hole down onto the spinning motor, and then all over the rest of the washer. This hole should be clearly visible at the bottom of the ribs around the hub in the last picture. Would it be possible to get a picture of it?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Thanks washer man for all your input. Definitely leaking at the upper seal.

I'll try to add a picture.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:40AM
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I tried to add the picture not a link.

One more try.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:46AM
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Yup, that's a leaking main seal all right.

It's a shame because when the seal goes it takes out the bearings and the drive shaft all at the same time. That's probably why Whirlpool sells the wash tub, the bearings, the seal, and the drive shaft all as a single replacement part, because they want service technicians to replace everything all at the same time to make sure that the repair is good.

This is actually very surprising for a three old washer because the main seal is a critical component, and manufacturers will usually over design it in an attempt to avoid flooding people's homes, because they pay out millions of dollars a year in flood claims.

I'm guessing that the problem didn't start with the actual seal. I'm guessing that it was installed incorrectly at the factory, because if it wasn't properly seated it could possibly start to leak like this in a fairly short time. One way to check for this is to take the inner wash basket out and check the positioning of the seal in the bottom of the outer wash tub. If it's crooked in any way, then it's a manufacturing defect.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 8:37PM
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The washer will only be 2 years old, May 16th.

The appliance store called and the replacement tub and shaft assembly is in. We're going to pick it up today.

My husband probably won't start the install until Saturday. I think, I mean I know it's going to take him the better part of a day to replace it.

Thanks again for everybody's help in diagnosis.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 8:45AM
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It won't take that long to replace, he already has half the machine apart. You can disassemble the whole machine in about 20 minutes. I would say an hour or two at most, as these machines are fairly simple.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 4:54PM
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A few hints before your husband starts.

Obviously the washer absolutely has to be unplugged. This is essential.

The two metal plates that sandwich the motor stator in the center hub area have a graphite like grease on them. Don't wipe this grease off. It's intended to allow the motor stator slip when the motor supplies torque. The actual motor torque is transmitted through the plastic ribs that connect to the center hub in the tub. These ribs are more flexible than a solidly bolted connection so the motor can't transmit sharp shock loads into the shaft bearings, and then into the basket where it would create noise that's amplififed by the inner wash tub. Because of this the bolts that attach the motor stator to the tub should be nice and snug, but not so tight that the stator is locked up tight. You don't have to worry about them working loose because the bolts are thread forming and they are squeezed into place when threads are formed in the aluminum bearing housing.

Take extra special care when installing the RPS motor sensor. It needs to be snapped in properly to avoid F code errors.

Don't forget the Gray motor shield. This is needed to prevent a fire hazzard if the motor connections corrode.

The grey motor shield has small rubber spacers that keep it from rattling against the bottom of the outer wash tub. Don't leave them out.

Make sure that the wiring harness is properly routed with all the proper tie downs, and that it's not pulled tight anywhere. If the wire harness get pulled, or is allowed to flap when the washer spins, the wire strands inside could fatigue and break, causing more F error codes.

Make sure that the suspension assemblies are properly attached the outer wash tub, and to the gussets in the corner frame of the cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 4:31PM
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I was surprised at how quick the repair went 1 1/2 hours.

Unfortunately, it still doesn't work!!! We now have the F51 code. We removed and re-installed the RPS - it eliminated the code, ran for a few minutes and then showed the code again. There is no other position that the RPS can be clipped into.
Everything is nice and tight. The wash tub freely turns.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 6:33PM
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My understanding is that the F51 error code is caused by the RPS sensor that's snapped into the motor stator. The first thing to make sure of is that the connector is properly snapped in. It sounds like you did this, but I suggest checking it again, because I believe there are three snaps in all have to be snapped in, and it's possible that one of the got dislodged when you reinstalled the motor. Fortunately the motor isn't terribly hard to remove, so this shouldn't take long.

The next thing to consider is whether any of the water and grease that leaked from the seal got splashed onto any of the connections. I suggest cleaning the wire connectors and terminals with rubbing alcohol to make sure. Try wiggling the connections too to make sure that the connections are good.

Thirdly, inspect the RPS carefully to make sure the circuit board is properly seated inside its plastic housing. This circuit board has special magnetic sensors that have to be properly aligned with the magnets in the motor rotor.

And finally, carefully inspect the surface of the motor rotor magnets for any small pieces of metal that might have gotten stuck to it. These magnets are very powerful, and it's very easy for them pick up metallic debris when you remove the motor rotor.

Lastly, make absolutely sure that you unplug the washer first before doing any of the aforementioned work.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 12:24AM
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After several tries at removing the RPS, cleaning off the 3 connections, putting the RPS on. We finally have a working machine!!!! Did 3 loads last night and have another 5 to do today.

What we did notice after repair is how smooth sounding the washer is. We had forgotten that it made the jet sound whenever the wash tub spins. We had just become accustomed to the way it used to sound and had forgotten how it should sound.

My husband is quite proud and I am happy that we saved hundreds of dollars repairing or buying new.

Happy Spring Break in our household now! Let the kids get dirty, play outside..........finally.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 7:00AM
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Congratulations! with all the work you've done, you pretty much have a new washer. What did you find when you removed the inner wash tub to expose the main seal? Was it installed incorrectly?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:00PM
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Thanks for all who helped diagnose the problem. The repair was straight forward except the whole washer has to come apart. I really had some looks from the wife when she saw the empty frame laying in the floor.

When I inspected the shaft seal on the old tub, I found it was hard and discolored. It also had a slightly loose fit to the shaft itself. The upper bearing would hardly spin and was full of rusty water/ grease.

The lower nut on the shaft (above the rotor and stator assembly) was found to be very loose. Only finger tight. At first I thought that if it was tightened it would help the upper seal, but I don't think this is true. But I do think that the looseness of the nut may have contributed to vibration in the shaft and bearings allowing water to pass the seal. I'm not positive on the cause of failure though.

I also found that if you install the Rotor Position Sensor and allow the machine to perform the automatic diagnostics check prior to doing anything else, this includes turning the machine on, it will "find itself" and clear the F-51 error code.

Here's some pics. The shaft is the only place in the entire tub where there was build up of ??? on it. Don't know what it is.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:16AM
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Hmmm, interesting. I think the circular lines on the sleave that's on top of the bearing are where the lips of the seal run, and since these lines are perfectly circular, I don't think the seal was installed crooked.

Also, I'm not seeing any evidence of leaking past these lines either, so this suggests that leaking between the seal and the shaft wasn't a problem.

The next most possible leakage path is between the seal and the outer wash tub. Is there any evidence of leakage in the sidewall of the hole in the outer wash tub?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 9:08PM
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Seems possible to get at least partial reimbursement from the manufacturer due to the early failure. Even though it is not under warranty, these machines are presumably built to last longer than 2 years, and this is a major failure. I'd be pursuing that, and you might be surprised that you do receive some compensation, especially with the pictures and descriptive text that you have. No reason that they shouldn't pay for the required part after only 2 years of use.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 4:05PM
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How hard was it to get the shaft out of the tub? I have the bearings and seal and I will be attempting to replace them before I buy a new tub.. any info on the shaft assembly would be great.. can you get the shaft out from the top or do you need to disassemble the entire washer?
thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Bret, Where did you purchase the bearings and seal? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 9:24PM
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the tub on the cabrios, don"t they have a longer warranty on the tub? i have the same problem , with grease and noise,need to have a lawsuit against whirlpool. this is not right.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 7:51PM
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Could someone tell me where I can get the drive shaft and seals for a Cabrio wtw6400sw2? Or do I need to buy the entire outer tub to get all these parts?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Part numbers are below ... but not all Cabrio models can take the replacement kit, some may still require the outer tub instead. Check with parts sources to confirm compatibility. There are many online sources.

Tub Seal & Bearing Kit (includes drive shaft) = Part Number W10435302

Bearing & Seal Installer Tool = Part Number W10447783

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 12:33PM
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lulundave: my washing machine is having the exact same issue. Is the washer still working or did the same thing happen again with the new tub?

Has anyone used the bearing replacement kit? Did the repair last or did the seal go again? Has anyone used the bearing kit and installed it without the tool?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 4:04PM
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We used and the price was under 70 dollars. We ordered a shaft kit (we called them and they knew exactly what we needed) and we also did not need the special tool. It was pretty easy to do and once we got over being scared it was even easier. We used a How to ....and worked our way through it. If you have any one with a little experience (or no fear) of mechanical work it will be less than a 3 hour job...from tear out to put in. The part only took a day or two to get here.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 10:38PM
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I seem to have a similar problem. Initially started with a rattling noise during spin cycles. Then one day the machine stopped working - moved hoses around & must of dislodged something stuck in the hoses... no more noise but now noticing gunky grease splatter for the first time under the washer. Neither I nor my husband are handy enough to fix it but trying to discern whether it'd be a $250 (entire tub) or $70 (seal & bearing kit) part... Does the $70 kit repair models WTW6700TW1??
Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:14PM
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I have the same thing happening on a Cabrio 6400, question about tub replacement or just the bearing/seal kit? How do you know if you model can take just the seal kit?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 3:38PM
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I'm having the same problem on my Whirlpool Cabrio WTW7300XW2. Attached is the image of the bottom of the washing machine. It is now very loud during the spin cycle. I assume the bearings are bad. Do I have to buy the whole tub replacement kit? Please help.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2014 at 11:22PM
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Whirlpool has a bearing/seal/driveshaft kit P/N W10435302 now in lieu of full outer tub replacement.

The job calls for a special bearing installer tool P/N W10447783. I don't know if it can be done without the tool.

The bearing/shaft kit + the tool typically runs $180-ish depending on the source. totals $125.47 with shipping being only $6.99 per order.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2014 at 10:18AM
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I replaced the outer tub assembly. Upon trying the washer, I got an F50 code. I do not think this is good. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thank you very much,


    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Per the service doc I have for older models dating to 2006, F50 indicates stalled drive motor (RPS not sensing movement). W as 8th character in your model number indicates 2009 model year. I don't know if the error codes changed on later models, probably not for the same drive system.

Confirm that the basket is not physically jammed. Could be a disconnected or broken wire, bad RPS, bad controller board, or bad drive motor.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2014 at 9:22PM
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