wife says they were always on the very bottom before
Its been my experience that the clothes will be on the side if spin cycle is working properly. Centrifigul force is what removes the water. Not sure I understand them being on the bottom before. Does the water seem to be pretty much out of them? Do the clothes dry quicker now?
No strange noises before the pauses? May have a motor or motor switch overheating and resetting. Of course, I guess it could also be bad timer contacts. May very well be burnt contacts.