If you have an old Whirlpool Or Kenmore Dryer that doesn’t work, it can be fixed. You can save a lot of money by fixing it yourself. Otherwise you could get a big repair bill, if someone comes to fix it. You will really save a lot if you don’t buy a new one. And guess what? When you get it running good, it will dry your clothes just as easily, and just as fast, and efficient as many of the new ones.
Now, first a safety tip: Be sure the dryer is unplugged from the power before you start working on it!
To make it easier to work on, unfasten the vent pipe from the back. This is usually a 4″ aluminum flexible pipe, which carries away the hot air and lint from the dryer when it is working. Now you need to determine what the problem was, or what the dryer wasn’t doing. Did it run okay, but not heat? Was it just blowing cold air and not drying the clothes. There are a few things that can cause this. Remove the metal back from the dryer. It is fastened on with several ¼” or 3/8″ screws. Look at the wires. Check each one, including those connected to the heat element, thermostats, etc. Take hold of the wires and make sure they are all okay. Use a flashlight or trouble light if necessary to see them. Sometimes there is one that has burned at the terminal, so is disconnected Wire Pull Tester. This can be easily repaired by cutting off the burned end, and putting a new fastener on the end of it.
If the wires are okay, then check the thermostats, the little round gadgets on the heat element. This can easily be done by disconnecting the wires from them, and using a continuity tester to see if current can flow through them. If there is an open circuit, replace it with a new one. If they are okay, check the heat element. Most dryers have heat elements with two terminals. Remove the wires and check the heat element with a continuity tester.
You can purchase a continuity tester at the store for about $15. You can even make a simple one by taking a flashlight battery, bulb, and some wire. Solder a piece of wire to the bottom of the battery, and another piece to the top of the battery. Solder one of the wires to the side of the bulb. It doesn’t matter which wire. Solder another wire to the tip of the bulb. Bare the ends of the two wires, which are left. Your tester is built! Check it by touching the two wires together. The bulb should light. So now just touch the two wires to the two heat element terminals, or the thermostat terminals. If the bulb lights up then the part is okay.
If the heat element is bad, purchase a new one and replace it. To take the old element out you will need to unfasten the top of the dryer and lift it up. This is done by pushing a putty knife in between the top and the cabinet in front, about 3″ from the side of the dryer on both sides. This releases the two fasteners that hold the front of the top down. At the same time push a flat screwdriver between the top and the cabinet in the middle of the front. If the fasteners were released you will be able to easily lift the front, and it can be pushed way back and rest it on a wall behind the dryer. If the top doesn’t lift easily try to find the release clips and push them back with the putty knife. On the top of the heat element is one screw. That is all that holds the heat element in. The bottom of it fits in a groove to hold it. Draw a picture of where the wires are connected to the heat element and the thermostat or thermostats. Then disconnect the wires from the heat element and thermostats on the side of the heater housing. Take out the one bolt at the top of the housing. Push the housing towards the back until it comes out of the slot it rests in. Then lift it out if the bottom slots and it can be easily removed from the bottom back of the dryer. Remove the one screw near the bottom of it and pull the heat element out of the housing. Put the new one in and fasten it with the screw. Reassemble the element and the dryer by refastening everything, including the wires, back, etc. Plug the dryer cord in and turn it on to make sure it heats.
If the thermostats, wires, and heat element are all okay then the trouble may be in one of the switches on the top of the cabinet or even the motor. It has a safety switch inside that connects to the heat element. This is to shut off the heat, if the motor quits, so the clothes won’t burn up.
If the dryer heats okay, but is just real noisy, replace the two bearing wheels that hold the drum up. Also replace the idler pulley on the belt. These can be reached from inside the bottom front of the dryer. If the motor runs but drum doesn’t turn, replace the belt. If the motor hums, but doesn’t run replace it. There are many other things that can go wrong with the dryer, but these are some of the main ones. Good luck! Be careful! Make sure it is unplugged before you work on it!