Brothers Scott and Willie speak the truth.
The direct drive trans tooling was getting very worn toward the end of its production. For financial reasons (the VMW was being developed and the LEAP/Design 2000 being phased out due to energy star requirements) the tooling was not brought back into spec. They continued to build trannys for current production and to stockpile service replacements.
To compound the noise issues, the sheet metal gauge on the cab "wrapper" was cost reduced and is much thinner. The base was also cost reduced. This translates into a noisier machine.
I agree most of these have some knock and I will let them go but some are so loud that I know if I sell it the machine a customer will be calling me back with a complaint of ."there is definitely something wrong", "get here and fix this" I have a machine here in my shop that's probably Last off the line and the knocking is quite loud. Looks like I'll have to set it aside and wait for an older washer that needs scrapping out for some other reason and use that tranny. Dontcha love progress!