In 1985, we purchased a Maytag washer and dryer set.  Recently, the transmission in the washer dumped its oil out the bottom, making a royal mess all over the floor and all over the belts and pulleys on the bottom of the washer.  We actually cleaned the oil off the belts and pulleys and kept using it for a while; it kept right on working, although it was getting pretty noisy.

After shopping for a new washer and dryer for a while, we decided to fix the old washer instead!  A replacement transmission is readily available online (an orbital to replace the original helical).  In the course of rebuild, we discovered the washer brake was also in need of replacement, but that is also readily available online.  All told, the parts were considerably cheaper than a new Speed Queen -- the only decent washer we found on today's market -- and we weren't interested in any of the other cheap junk out there, including today's Maytags.  Our old dryer, which had been repaired a couple of times before -- new motor, new heating element -- was still working fine.

The Maytag / Whirlpool brake assembly is a clever contraption.  After disassembling my old one and figuring out how it works, I decided to post this page for others who might be curious.

The new brake assembly is part number 6-2011900:

New Maytag Whirlpool brake assy

New Maytag Whirlpool brake assy top

The old one was exactly the same except that it was held together with screws instead of having the edges crimped.

Old Maytag brake assy bottom

Old Maytag brake assy bottom with bearing

The brake assembly also serves as the bearing holder for the lower bearing supporting the transmission.  The ball bearing, shown in the photo above, is installed in the recess in the top of the brake assembly prior to the brake assembly being screwed into the tub support in the washer.

The brake assembly is spring-loaded, so a sticker is applied to the old one warning to be careful when disassembling.  With the new crimped model, disassembly isn't as tempting, but there is still a warning stamped into the sheet metal saying "Caution: Spring Loaded - Do Not Disassemble".  If you do choose to disassemble one, as I did, you will want to take precautions.  If you have a really big vise, you can remove 3 screws, clamp the assembly into the vise and then remove the remaining 5 screws.  Carefully open the vise, and the brake assembly will open up with it.  If you have a bunch of screws of the same thread only 2 inches longer, you can replace one screw at a time with the longer screws, and then back out all the screws progressively to gradually back the cover off.  It wouldn't be a bad idea to run a cord through the middle and around and tie it into a loop to prevent parts from flying around if anything goes wrong.  But perhaps the easiest and safest method would be to visit your local AutoZone and take advantage of their loaner tool program to borrow a spring compressor.  Insert the spring compressor through the middle and tighten it down, remove all the screws, then gradually release the spring compressor.  You might have to remove one or two screws before applying the spring compressor.

If you're looking to disassemble the crimped type brake assembly, I suppose the same ideas would apply except you have to carefully unfold or grind away the crimps to get it open.  To reassemble, I suspect you can just rotate the cover a few degrees to recrimp fresh metal.

Here's the exploded view of the brake assembly:

Maytag Whirlpool brake assy
          exploded view

From left to right, I'll call these parts the brake housing, spring seat, spring, brake disk, and brake cover with screws.  One screw didn't make it into the photo for some reason.  There was also a circular gasket for the bolt flange, but it was oil-soaked on mine (it's supposed to be dry!) and it came out in pieces, so I didn't include it in the photo.  Note that the brake disk has a brake lining bonded to the outer edge, and it slides against a surface in the cover.  The spring applies the brake, meaning the brake is normally engaged; when the motor turns the large pulley on the bottom of the transmission, it winds up a corkscrew shaft and presses the brake disk upward, disengaging it.  There's a ball bearing on the pulley itself allowing it to turn against the center of the brake disk without friction or galling.  As long as the motor is running, it keeps the brake disengaged and the wash tub spins.  As soon as the motor shuts off, the brake reengages to bring the wash tub to a prompt halt.

So far, simple enough.  Let's get to what's clever about this design.  The brake disk rotates with the washer drum; it is splined to the bottom end of the transmission.  The housing and cover are both stationary.  That means that somewhere between the disk, the spring, the spring cup, and the housing, something's gotta slip.  With the spring pushing these parts together, they will not want to slip.

If you'll look more closely at the opening where the bearing is installed, you'll see the center portion of the spring cup.

Maytag Whirlpool brake -
        bearing recess

Note that the spring cup sits higher than the bottom shelf of the bearing recess.  As a result, when you slip the bearing into this recess, it won't go down all the way; it runs into that spring cup and sits with part of the bearing still sticking out of the housing.  As you thread the brake assembly into the tub support on the washer, the bearing will contact the surface in the recess in the tub support.  As you continue to tighten the brake assembly, the bearing will get pressed down into the brake assembly, pushing that spring seat along with it.  This will lift the spring seat completely off the inside of the brake housing.  So, when fully installed, the spring seat is only in contact with the inner race of the transmission support bearing.  Since that inner race rotates with the drum, that means the brake disk, spring, spring seat, and inner race of the bearing are all rotating together.  Hence, there should be no friction or wear between them.

I recommend carefully cleaning the threads on the brake assembly and the tub support, and then applying anti-seize compound (available at auto parts stores) to the threads prior to installing this brake assembly.  When installing, the brake assembly should spin freely in the threads for several turns.  Then you should be able to feel the point where the ball bearing makes contact with the tub support, and further tightening is compressing the spring inside the brake assembly.  Then after some more turning, you should clearly feel the threading come to a hard stop when the ball bearing hits the bottom of the recess in the brake housing.  It's a good idea to get it pretty tight, but that's nowhere near as important as making sure it's actually threaded on all the way!  It is imperative that the threads not be bound up or jammed prior to the brake assembly being screwed all the way in.

By the way, I didn't buy the fancy tool number 038315.  I was able to get the old brake housing off using a hammer and a drift on the four lugs on the back side.  When reinstalling, I just gave it a few taps to make sure it was snug.  It's the little locking tab, installed with a small bolt, that really ensures it stays put.

Now let's talk about what was wrong with my brake assembly.  The spring cup looked like this:

Damaged Maytag brake assembly

Maytag washer brake damaged spring seat

It's worn very badly indeed, as you can see.  It's as though the spring seat has been grinding hard against the inner race of the ball bearing.  Thing is, these parts are supposed to be rotating together, so there shouldn't be any wear at all.  What could cause relative motion and wear?

One possibility might be a seized bearing.  If the bearing locked up, the washer tub could keep right on turning by the shaft of the transmission spinning inside the inner race of the bearing -- it's not splined like the brake is, it's just a slip fit.  Thing is, though, my bearing seems just fine -- in fact, I reinstalled it.

Another possibility is that something has jammed the spring seat, preventing it from rotating with the brake disk.  A chunk of dirt getting in there might have fouled it; I didn't notice any such chunks during disassembly, but since everything was covered with oil I was preoccupied with minimizing the mess.  It's not obvious how any chunks would get in there, unless they were accidentally dropped in during the original build.

Or, perhaps it wasn't installed correctly; if the brake hadn't been screwed in properly, the spring seat wouldn't have been fully lifted off the inside of the housing, and dragging against the housing might cause it to start fretting against the bearing inner race.  This problem would compound itself, as the wear shown in the picture would reduce the lift of the spring seat and cause it to drag even more.  In the photo above of the seat itself, there's a worn spot at the upper left where the seat has been rubbing against the inside of the housing, which would seem to support this hypothesis -- but, on the other hand, that could be a result of the damage rather than the cause.
  The brake certainly seemed to be screwed on tight; I had to do a reasonable amount of pounding to get it loose.

So, what actually caused this damage?  I have no idea.  I only know that it's toast, a new brake is called for.  If I could buy the spring seat separately (79-cent part!) I could rebuild the brake assembly good as new, but I didn't find individual parts of this brake assembly online.

It might have been possible to rebuild and reuse this brake assembly by milling or grinding that worn area of the spring seat flat and parallel, reassembling the brake package, and then reinstalling it with a spacer between the spring seat and the bearing.  The spacer would need to have the same ID and OD as the inner race of the bearing, and it'd need to be roughly the same thickness as the wear and milling had removed from the spring seat since new.  Suitable spacers are available commercially, possibly locally at hardware or bearing stores or Grainger, or you could just fab one out of shim stock.  You'll need to have the transmission (or a dummy shaft) in place while screwing the brake assembly into the tub support in order to hold the spacer centered.

I do wonder if this brake damage was the cause of the noise the machine was making.  Yeah, the oil had drained out of the transmission, but those gears are encased in an aluminum housing and are probably still fairly well-lubricated by a film of oil on the surfaces of the parts.  I wouldn't expect the transmission to be making much noise.  With this spring seat dragging, though, I'd expect it to make all sorts of racket, and that racket would resonate through the spring and the brake housing.