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On this washer the problem is the washer drum rear bearing is worn out, a common problem and often caused by not using the correct detergent for a front loader, detergent is very corrosive, so special types are used in front loads to prevent soap residue corroding the drum bearing. Once the bearing go out then the struts that cushion the drum during the spin quickly follow.
The drum sits on a shaft, just like the front wheel on a car. There are 2 bearings, one each side of the drum housing. Usually the inner bearing water seal fails and the bearings begin to rust, causing it to become noisy. Once the water is that far, its not long until the outer bearing goes. At some time in the process, you will begin to get a water leak from the rear of the drum that will get progressively worse.
You can change the bearings and I work with professionals who claim that they can have a drum out, bearings swapped and back in within 45 minutes. I've never got it down below an hour and a half on a machine I know well and you will need, if not SPECIAL tools, then a tool of some description to knock out the old bearings that are pressed into the drum. This is a job for the hardened DIY enthusiast and a pig of a job if you've never done it before.
Bearing sets cost (depending on the machine, the supplier and how many you buy) around £25 in the UK (About $40). Calling out a guy to do the job will easily quadruple that cost (He will probably come with a refurbished drum, swap it out and then take yours away to refurbish).
With this information, you now have to ask yourself if it's worth the effort on a machine that may be reaching end of life anyway.
Typically, the noise will get SCARY and the water leak annoying long before the machine actually fails to work. My advice would be take this as notice that your machine is about to go to the scrap yard in the sky and start looking for a replacement before it croaks on you at an inappropriate moment.
Drum bearings normally last a long time (10 years or more isnt unusual), but quite often drum bearing failure is caused by a faulty drum shaft seal allowing a small amount of water through and in to the bearings. The bearings then start to rust and this accelertes how quickly they deteriorate.
Replacing a drum bearing requires well above average DIY skills, so unless you feel you can do it, can get hold of a tech manual, and can find a supplier for the bearings, it's time to get a quote from an engineer.
Sounds like the seals have gone as did the ones on mine. It need a complete new spider frame and bearing set as the front bearing had collapsed and groved the bearing spindle. Open the door and try lifting the drum to see if there is any up/down movement.
If it is you have two options:
1 - Buy another washing machine
2 - DIY possible for about £30 with all the RIGHT TOOLS, £100 if doing it properly. And even with the right tools this will take you about 3 hours, probably more.
To replace the bearings you NEED to have:
1) The parts - The replacement bearing kit (£30) and hotpoint recommend a new spider (£65) as well.
2) A tool to push the drum shaft from the casing.
3) A tool to remove the beaings. It is possible to buy a new rear casing with the bearings already fitted for about £70.
4) Patience and a supply of tea!
1 - disconnect everything and I mean everything see number 2.
2 - remove the drum casing from the chasis
3 - take off the pulley wheel
4 - open the casing
5 - remove the drum from the casing. DO NOT USE A HAMMER as the shaft deforms very easily (good job I've a new "spider"!)
6 - fit new "spider" if using. Here is where you find the bolts are rusted completely solid from spider to drum and require drilling out.
7 - remove bearings from casing (hence the need for the bearing removal tool)
8 - fit new bearings and rebuild machine (hence the need for the bearing fitting tool)
However I stopped at number 7 due to not having the right tools and I have no idea how much the right tools cost.
Trust me, take option one! £100 is a third of a new machine!
Remove the back of the machine to expose the inner drum pulley. Need to know if this pulley is rotating and if there is any side to side play.
The noise you are discribing does sound like a rear bearing that is mounted in the external tub housing. Depending on the age of the machine, this bearing is NOT replacable. The outer tub must be replaced because the bearing is molded into the drum.