Introduction: How to Fix a Squeaky Dryer
Second Prize in the
Fix & Repair Contest
Kenmore Stackable Washer/Dryer
Model Year: 1998
Parts: Service Kit (Belt, Pulley/Bearing, Felt, Hitch Bearing Assembly, Grease, Glue, New Hardware). The service package comes with everything you'll need.
Cost: $58 after tax
Time to complete project: approx 3 hours.
I'm sure I could have done this faster, but this was my first time working on an appliance so I wanted to be meticulous. Also, I spent extra time taking plenty of pictures for this Instructable. So a more realistic time to complete this project would be 1.5 - 2.0 hours, depending on your skills. There are a couple points where you'll need an extra pair of hands, but just for a quick moment.
- Crescent Wrench
- 100 grit sand paper
- Impact Driver (optional)
This was the first time I've fixed an appliance so I was a little nervous getting into it, but honestly, if you have any "handy man" skills whatsoever, this will be a pretty easy project.
Step 1: Finding the Problem
See if you can identify where the squeaking sound is coming from. If you look behind the unit and see something like this, then you probably need to replace the main Hitch bearing. Look closely at the picture and you'll see little metal filings building up on that lip. This is a sure sign there's some significant wear going on.
Step 2: Getting Parts
Different make, and models may have their labels located in a different spot, but on the inside of the dryer door is pretty standard for this type of unit. You'll need the make and model# to get the parts you'll need.
I called a local appliance supply company and got everything I needed for $58 out the door. I could have saved a few dollars and just bought the bearing, but if you're already tearing it down, you'd be stupid to reuse old wearable parts. Besides, $58 for a complete service repair is nothing!
Step 3: Repair Prep
1st thing you should do for ANY repair: UNPLUG IT!! This reduces that chance of you getting hurt, but also to preventing any kind of short from happening and causing more damage you'll have to fix. So just do it.
Have a system of keeping track of all the screws and where they come from. Many of the screws are the same but there are a few that have very specific places they need to be used.
Make sure you have plenty of working space. You'll be pulling parts off while working around the front side as well as the back, so make sure you have the area cleared out for easy access to both.
Step 4: Remove the Front Lower Panels
Begin by removing the screws shown in the pictures:
- The first panel has only 1 screw on each side.
- The second panel has 6 screws.
- Finally, the control panel has 3 on each side.
There's no need to remove any of the knobs.
Step 5: Remove the Dryer Door Panel
On this step you can remove the door off its hinges since it tends to get in the way. But you don't have to.
Just remove the 2 screws from the bottom and the 4 from the top and the panel will slide right off.
This front panel supports the front end of the drum, but the drum should stay in place.
Step 6: Removing the Drum
Before you remove the drum, you need to remove the belt from the pulley and motor.
To do this you'll need to remove the small panel from the back side. The pulley is spring loaded so simply push it back and unwrap the belt, keeping in mind how it was set up for when you're putting it back together.
Once the belt is off, you can removed the 3 center screws from the inside of the drum. After you've done this the drum should fall right out.
You'll notice in the back of the dryer a round disk that the drum was mounted to. This is the Hitch bearing since it looks just like a tow hitch It just lifts up and pulls out.
The socket in which it resets can be removed by loosening the 2 bolts shown in the picture.
Step 7: Clean Everything Out
While you have it all torn apart, you might as well get a vacuum and clean out as much lint as possible. If you have an air compressor to blow it out, even better!!
Step 8: Putting Things Back Together
When replacing the seat that the Hitch bearing rests in, ask for a person to help you hold the small metal plate in place (located on the back side of the dryer). Bolts go on the inside so unless you have ridiculously long arms this would be a real challenge!
The little metal ball bearing needs to make contact with this plate in order to create a ground for the drum. Otherwise there will be an excessive buildup of static electricity. This ball bearing goes behind the plastic seat for the hitch bearing.
Once you've replaced this bearing, load it up with the High Temp grease provided in the service kit. Insert the hitch part of the assembly and rotate it while applying plenty of grease. Rotating will help work the grease into all of the groves.
Step 9: Replacing the Felt Around the Front Door Panel
On this inside of the front door panel there is a 3/4 in thick felt rim. There are 2 separate pieces. RIP OFF ONLY ONE AT A TIME. Doing only one at a time allows you to get them aligned properly. They come off pretty easily but leave a hard glue residue that will need to be sanded smooth. With you 100 grit sand paper, smooth this off nicely. It doesn't need to be perfect, just good enough to make a solid contact surface. Apply the High Temp glue provided in the kit liberally to the metal surface, wait about 30 - 60 seconds for it to become tacky and put on the new felt. Hold in position till dry (3-5 mins).
Repeat this process with the second felt replacement.
Step 10: Replacing the Drum
This part was a little tricky alone, but still manageable. It would help to have an extra set of hands if possible.
Wrap the belt around the drum. Hold the drum up back in position with one hand and reattach using the replacement screws (from the kit).
Actually, you might even be able to bolt on the hitch part to the drum before placing it into the unit. I don't know... I did it the hard way! What can I say, I'm a Rookie!
Step 11: Replace Front Door Panel
This is probably the BIGGEST tip I can give you right here!!
When placing the door panel on it can get pretty awkward, with the door flapping back and forth, trying to seat the drum and sinking in the screws... not easy!
Tips & Tricks:
Align the screws on the top of the panel and just start a couple of them. You want the panel held in place but still movable to properly seat the front end of the drum. Once properly positioned, finish putting in all the screws.
I juggled with this part for 15 mins before finally doing it the right way. So this will save you a lot of frustration!!
From here on out you simply replace all the panels the same way you took them off.
Don't forget to re-seat the belt! But once you have it all back together, it should be good as new!
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