10 November 2008

See one, Do one, ...

...Teach one?

Even if more of my photos had come out (damn P&S was mistakenly set to M instead of auto), I'd still recommend seeing this done in person before trying it. Think of this more as auxiliary tips if you decide to give it a try. E.g., having a cohort around for that first attempt is handy.

It's generally my habit to watch repair guys at work to gain insight into how to fix things myself the next time. About seven years ago, my dryer stopped working. I was surprised when I saw how relatively simple the inner mechanics were: the drum that you put your clothes into is surrounded by a belt placed over a drive motor and pulley. My belt had broken so he replaced it and that was that... until this weekend.

Mom complained of a sound her dryer was making, so I offered to take a look. I remembered that the repairman had pulled off the top first, and it looked like hers would do the same. I opened the dryer door and on the top of the door frame found two screws which I removed. top screwThen I popped the top off and looked inside. [If you're going to do anything to the interior, you should unplug the dryer or flip its circuit breaker off. In fact, it'd be a good idea to this before popping the top.]

The belt wasn't broken but it did look dry which might've been causing it to slip. Dad mulled over whether to have it fixed professionally or to buy a new one while I tried to remember what the next step was.

Then I noticed two screws that seemed to attach the front to the left and right sides:
left screw right screw

Dad decided to pick up a replacement belt locally and let me give it a shot.

I removed the 2 screws I'd found and the front came loose. However, there were three wires running to the left side of the front piece that I didn't recall. (I highly recommend letting less than 7 years elapse between seeing one and doing one.) Removing them would not be simple and reattaching them would require soldering. That's when I remember I only needed to swing the front out of the way while leaving the wires attached.

We couldn't see much inside the dryer and there was still a low front panel in the way. Do not take all the myriad screws out of this low front panel as you will discover you can't remove it anyway. Instead, only remove the two left-most screws that are holding the left side panel of the dryer from it. There was also another screw near the top dryer controls that also connected to the left panel. Remove that.

It's worth noting that this whole process will be A THOUSAND TIMES EASIER if you have easy access to the left side (as you're facing the controls) of your dryer. We couldn't pull this one forward because doing so would probably break the ventilation duct extending from the back.

Around this time, I remembered that the repair guy had angled my machine to the right so he could access the left side. I had a laundry room/storage space in those days which allowed for that maneuver as opposed to the laundry closet my parents have.

Anyway, I was able to pop the left panel open a little bit which gave us enough room to see the pulley and reach an arm in.

Although, we'd looked at diagrams of the machine online as well as threading patterns for the belt, it turned out they were all drawn backwards to how we were viewing it and didn't really represent our machine though they said they did. Dad pulled the belt off the idler pulley so we could remove the drum, but once he'd taken that step, it was impossible to see what the threading pattern had been.

Instead, I recommend drawing a diagram of what you feel the belt doing with regards to the idler pulley and drive motor as well as its relation to the drum before you remove the belt.

Once you slide the belt off the back of the drum, it just lifts forward and out. This is a good time for vacuuming up any lint deposits within.

Check the parts for obvious signs of wear. If you find none (other than the belt), make sure the rod the idler pulley is on has plenty of grease.

Make sure you understand how the belt goes back on, and then loop the new belt over the drum. Grooved side of the belt goes down. Slide the drum back into place, it fits into a notch on the back. Then thread the belt. Without full access to the left side of the dryer, this is challenging. My left arm wasn't strong enough, and it took my Dad a while to get.

Once the belt is threaded, or you think it is, lift up on the drum a little bit and rotate it. There are fins on the lower front of the drive motor that should rotate if it's threaded correctly. Once you're sure you've got it, replace the screws that attach the left panel. The front panel only has two screws but there are notches which must line up correctly for it to pop in place. Once it has, put the screws back.

The top similarly has tabs and notches which must align. Line up the holes at the back by the controls first, then lower. You will need to pull forward slightly so it won't catch. Then as the panel gets closer to horizontal, you need to give it a shove towards the back before it will click in place. (If you're having trouble, look at the top panel from the side as you lower it. You'll be able to see what it's hanging up on.)

Then replace the screws that extend from the door frame to the top, turn the power back on, and check your handy work.

In my case, so far, so good. The dryer works and isn't making the weird sound anymore, so I'm well chuffed.

A year ago on TTaT: The Man of Mixed Signals


  1. Damn. You're a home-repair Goddess! In my wildest dreams, I wouldn't ever attempt to do anything like what you did to that dryer.

    Hell, I don't even dare mess with my Blogspot template, by fear of losing my entire blog!

  2. Thanks, Elisabeth! I wouldn't have tried it if I hadn't seen it done before.

    As for Blogspot, just save a copy of your template before you play with it and you should be fine. I actually miss the old Blogger though as I found it easier to adjust small things than in the widget-laden code it has now.

  3. Also, of course, back up your posts so you can't lose them.

    Here are some basic backup tips I wrote up a couple years ago.

  4. Hey, thanks for the advice and tips. I may dare do something with my template later on, whenever I have time (probably not until this summer break, that's for sure!). I'd love to have a cool banner.

  5. elisabeth: You're welcome. Once you have an image, putting a banner in is pretty straightforward.