Should I have degreased the washing machine?

My washing machine has been acting up lately—it’s been making a clunking noise and has been agitating and rinse-spinning sluggishly. At the completion of the cycle, the clothes were still soaking wet. I removed the bottom of the unit and saw that it was just a loose drive belt and gear plate. I adjusted and tightened both and half an hour later the unit was working perfectly. However, there was thick, black grease covering the entire bottom of the unit and the entire drive assembly. I cleaned it all off as best I could, almost completely removing it from the belt, the portion of the clutch that the belt goes around, and the plate. It occurred to me later that perhaps I shouldn’t have done that—that maybe it was put there deliberately to relieve friction on the belt and prevent it from slipping on the hub. Did I make a major mistake? Should I go back in there and put some on? I left most of the screws off just in case I had to do just that.

I was going to say that you probably have a seal out in the gearbox and possibly a bad bearing as well, but you mentioned a gear plate. I haven’t seen the insides of many washing machines, but I’ve never seen a washer where the drive gears were exposed. Could you post a picture, or maybe the make and model?

It’s not really a gear plate; that was just a brain fart on my part. It’s the plate that the other end of the belt goes around, and which is attached to drum.

The unit’s working like a charm now; it hasn’t been this quiet in years. I just want to know if that grease was incidental, or actually served a valuable purpose.

Rubber V belts do not get greased.

So I actually did the right thing, then? The grease on the drive assembly and on the interior floor of the washer was simply an incidental contaminant that came out of the motor?