Thread Number: 71480  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Problem with Belt Drive
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Post# 945875   6/29/2017 at 13:09 by 114jwh (Vancouver)        

Hey Everyone,

Wanted to see if I could get some opinions on a problem I'm having with my Inglis belt drive.

For the past couple weeks this noise has been happening during drain and spin only. No noise like this during agitation. I've attached a video below.

Although it sounds like an unbalanced load banging around, it isn't because it starts happening once the neutral drain begins and therefore the tub is stationary. As such, my thoughts point to the transmission since I believe the source of the noise is attributed to something abnormal happening when agitation is disengaged.

The only other symptoms I notice are a couple of drops of transmission oil every few months. I believe this is just due to the cork seal not quite sealing everything in and therefore nothing related to the noise. The transmission is clean otherwise and the drops of oil aren't cloudy.

If I stop the machine the noise continues until its down to about 1/2 its speed then stops as you can hear in the video.

Anybody encountered this before or have any ideas? I'm dreading the thought of pulling the transmission and opening it up once again.


Post# 945910 , Reply# 1   6/29/2017 at 18:32 by eddy1210 (Burnaby BC Canada)        

eddy1210's profile picture
Hi James, not sure but it could be pump related as agitation and spin are OK. Try that first. Will you be coming to the coast this summer?

Post# 945931 , Reply# 2   6/30/2017 at 00:51 by 114jwh (Vancouver)        

Hey Eddy!

Good to hear from you - I sent you an email!

My first thought was the pump too as it seems like that is a common issue with these. However the pump is still operating during agitation and it isn't making the noise during wash (or rinse), just neutral drain and spin so I assumed it must be something else. When I rebuilt the machine, maybe 4 years ago now, I did replace the original pump with a brand new one (aftermarket however). Just the same I'm going to take a closer look at it before I do anything.

Post# 945948 , Reply# 3   6/30/2017 at 03:13 by washdaddy (Baltimore)        

washdaddy's profile picture
you mentioned that this noise also happens during the neutral drain. My thought initially was that there was something caught between the inner and outer tub since it didn't occur during agitation. But if it happens while draining that eliminates that thought since the inner tub is stationery while draining. Hope you figure out what your problem is soon.

Post# 945966 , Reply# 4   6/30/2017 at 07:47 by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

It's almost like it has the same frequency as the transmissions pulley. How is the set screw on it?

Post# 945997 , Reply# 5   6/30/2017 at 10:25 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Interesting noise

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Good video, but it would be really helpful if you could post a video [ with sound ]that has the machine operating in agitation, then neutral drain, and then spin, by hearing the sound of the machine in these different phases I might be better able to guess what is causing the noise.

Post# 946155 , Reply# 6   7/1/2017 at 00:20 by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Interesting indeed

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I first read this thread and saw/heard the video last night, but was too tired to think up a reasonable response, then figured it was best to wait to see if John/Combo had anything to say. Seeing as he thinks its interesting too, and I had a bit more time to closely scrutinize the video, I think I may have an idea.

But first, yes, it would help to have some videos of the machine running in other cycle phases. But, from what we have now, I may be able to help narrow this issue down.

I noticed that the noise stops as soon as the belt stops rotating. The basket is still spinning as it coasts to a stop, but the noise stopped, so it seems to eliminate spin bearings or most basket drive issues, and focuses us on something in the drive system that turns when the belt is turning.

I don't know that any part of the pump is heavy enough to make that sort of "thick/heavy metal" knocking, so I am drawn to the transmission. If you look at the drive pulley, the knocks seem to occur when the drive pulley is in the same position, very rythmically.

I have used these machines all my life, and have never come across this noise, not yet anyway. What I have heard though from a number of mid-80s machines is an agitator gear-fork knock. This is usually very light and harmless I believe, but the fork, which is what raises and lowers the agitator gear onto the agitator shaft to activate or de-activate agitation, gets wear in it after many loads and moves enough at the extreme ends of the arc that you can hear it tick or knock in its post. It basically amplifies the sounds of the other nearby metal components just a bit. Your sound is similar. In the examples of what I've heard, the gearcase only makes these knocks when under light load --- a heavy load seems to keep the parts under enough tension that they don't knock.

This sound is too rapid though to be the gear fork, as it does not move this fast. What does move that fast though is the input drive shaft, on the other end of the drive pulley. It rotates really fast due to the motion provided by that wide drive pulley. It would not surprise me if we found out a couple teeth have broken on that input drive shaft, and there is enough play in the gearcase for the gear to rattle only when the gearcase is out of agitation and is essentially free-wheeling.

I may end up totally off base here, but that's a hunch at this point. If you put the machine back in spin, aim your ear toward the drive pulley side of the gearcase and see if you think the noise is coming out of there.

For your sake I hope not, as this is a rather invasive repair.


Post# 946162 , Reply# 7   7/1/2017 at 01:45 by 114jwh (Vancouver)        
Thanks for the hints guys!

I'm going to take another video but I think you guys are onto something. I also noticed that the noise very much seems to be in-sync with the rotation of the drive pulley almost at the same point during each rotation - when the set screw hits around the 8 o'clock mark looking at it from the top down.

After I took the video last night I played around with it a bit more. I tightened the belt a bit to see what would happen and it got worse. That pulley on the transmission has always been a bit noisy and has made that light shhhh noise since I got the machine but this is different. I removed the belt and did notice there was some up and down play on that pinion shaft but this is normal I believe. However, any noise from that shaft would certainly be amplified into the transmission and I think could correlate to the loud noise we are hearing, especially with the big pulley on top. I'm going to investigate some more and post what I find out this weekend.

As an aside, I was looking at a BD service manual and noticed this section I copied below. Mine is a old transmission with the eccentric adjustment. Is this the knocking you are referring to Gordon?

"To check the eccentric adjustment in the home, fill the washer with water and let it agitate. If, with the machine agitating under a full load of water, there is a knocking sound in the gearcase, the adjustment is too loose. If this occurs, readjust the eccentric stud until the knocking stops. Ease off the adjustment, as much as possible without permitting a knock. Then tighten the locking nut."

Post# 946167 , Reply# 8   7/1/2017 at 04:50 by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

Hmm... I wonder if there is play in the bearing on the input drive shaft? Have you taken the pulley off and given the shaft a wiggle?

Post# 946400 , Reply# 9   7/2/2017 at 18:37 by 114jwh (Vancouver)        
Cautiously Optimistic......

So I went at it today to see if I could spot anything before I started the task of taking things apart. I decided to pull off the drive pulley from the tranny and it was stuck good. Finally got it to pry off with a WD40 soak and noticed metal dust in the set screw hole.

Appears that set screw was perhaps not tight enough at some point in life and the point was completely worn off. As such it was not holding the pulley to the shaft tight enough. I had a new one in my parts stash and took a pic to show the difference. I put the old set screw back on and tightened it and could get the set screw to still move very slightly side to side within the set screw hole.

Since the point had worn off I believe when the pulley turned it banged against the side of the hole slightly. The noise was likely reverberating down the pinion shaft and into the transmission where it echoed and amplified it.

I replaced the set screw and put it back together and appears the noise is gone. You can see in the video below that the pulley is a bit off kilter and so I think it will need to be replaced at some point. I'm going to keep on the lookout for a replacement transmission but all appears to be good for now. Just did a wash and still no sign of the noise.

Thank you to everyone for your perspective and advice and taking the time to post. Really helped narrow it down so I appreciate it!


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Post# 946401 , Reply# 10   7/2/2017 at 18:43 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
IMO the transmission pulley is fine.  Seems many of them I've seen have a slight wobble like that.

Post# 946403 , Reply# 11   7/2/2017 at 18:57 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Good detective work, Gordon and James

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The transmission drive pulley should be replaced, WP used these aluminum pulleys back in the 50s and then went to a steel one with a pot-metal hub, both types of pulleys that had aluminum in them often failed eventually.


WP switched production to an all steel pulley in the 70s and I never saw another failure, I have lots of steel ones around if you want me to send one let me know.

Post# 946405 , Reply# 12   7/2/2017 at 19:14 by 114jwh (Vancouver)        

Thanks for the heads up John. I've seen a few different types of pulleys on transmissions and wondered why they were different (or assumed they were standard belt vs quiet belt). In particular, I've seen the aluminum open spoke type like mine and also many of the solid disc looking ones in pictures. So I take it the solid disc type are the later ones that don't have the problems?

Post# 946426 , Reply# 13   7/2/2017 at 20:36 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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The Aluminum spoked pulleys were not used on US machines after about 1963, they would not only come loose, but many would just break off the hub. Best ones were the steel pulleys with the steel nub.

Post# 946442 , Reply# 14   7/2/2017 at 22:07 by sears9000 (Pensacola, Florida.)        

I had a transmission pulley separate from it's own hub during a cycle. Yes that's the same tell tale noise mine did before it separated. This was on a 68 800 model with a steel pulley in it. I would replace that drive pulley as soon as possible if I were you, so you wont have a breakdown. I hope this helps.

Post# 946447 , Reply# 15   7/2/2017 at 22:26 by potatochips (Nova Scotia)        

John, my Canadian machine has a spoked pulley, narrow belt, from 1985. It feels like it's aluminum, what were the barrow belt pullies made of? And is it all spoked pulleys that are aluminum?

Post# 946512 , Reply# 16   7/3/2017 at 09:40 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

In the US the narrow belt transmission pulleys were cast iron at first and later had a steel hub with a Bakelite solid pulley, I never saw a problem with either type here.

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