Clothes Dryer Repair
Stuff You Need to Know
How and Where to Buy Parts
How to Find Your Model Number
Clothes Dryer Brand Identification
Appliance companies, like most other major industries, have their share of takeovers, buyouts and cross-brand agreements. In some cases, the same machine design is marketed under several different brand names or model names.
Other manufacturers merged or bought other companies, and put out several different designs under the same brand name. The different designs are differentiated by being a different “model” or “series.”
Confusing the issue even more, some manufacturers “private label” their machines for large department stores. Such as Sears’ Kenmore and Montgomery Ward’s Signature machines.
Clothes Dryer Brands
Check the following list to determine if you have one of these “cross-branded” machines.
ADMIRAL: Maytag Herrin
CROSLEY: Maytag Herrin
HOTPOINT: General Electric
J.C. PENNEY: General Electric
MAGIC CHEF: Maytag Herrin
MONTGOMERY WARD: Maytag Performa or Frigidaire.
PENNCREST: General Electric
RCA: General Electric
SIGNATURE: Maytag Performa or Frigidaire
SPEED QUEEN: Amana
THE BIG FIVE
Following are the primary domestic manufacturers of the machines sold in the USA and Canada.
From the 50’s to the present, Whirlpool used essentially the same old, dependable, bullet-proof design. The cabinet on these machines is 29 inches wide. These are in chapter 3.
In mid 90’s, Whirlpool began manufacturing a 27″ model. Many of the parts are the same, but the drum is supported by 4 rollers rather than 2. 27″ models are disassembled differently from the 29″ models. They are covered in chapter 3a.
In the ’90’s, Whirlpool purchased KitchenAid. KitchenAid and Roper machines are Whirlpool designs.
In 2006, Whirlpool purchased Maytag.
Kenmore dryers are, and always have been, private-labelled “Whirlpool” dryers.
Until 1995, GE had made the same old fairly reliable design for 30 years. These machines were sold as GE, Hotpoint, and “private-labelled” as JC Penney and Penncrest brands.
In 1995, GE redesigned their dryers. They are disassembled and serviced slightly differently from the earlier machines. These machines were sold as GE, Hotpoint, and RCA machines.
Both the “old-style” and the newer GE machine designs are covered in this manual, in chapter 4.
In the (’70’s? & 80’s?) Westinghouse became White Consolidated Industries (WCI) and started buying up a whole bunch of different brands, including Frigidaire, Gibson,
Kelvinator, and others. WCI’s machines were sold under these original brand names, as well as Westinghouse and White-Westinghouse brands.
In the ’90’s, WCI was bought by Swedish giant Electrolux, who changed the company name back to the Frigidaire Home Products Company. They appear to have redesigned virtually their entire lineup.
They are still marketing products under Frigidaire and Gibson; if you look at the model number, it will start with a G or an F. However, the design is the same.
Some Montgomery Ward / Signature machines were manufactured by WCI, some by Norge (see Maytag.)
Same company as Speed Queen for awhile. Maytag has recently purchased Amana, but as of this writing, it has not shown up as substantial differences in their product line.
Maytag currently has two different dryers wearing the Maytag brand name.
Standard Maytag machines and Atlantis machines are covered in Chapter 5.
Maytag “Performa” machines (Chapter 5a) are the result of the purchase of the Norge and Crosley line (and design) by Maytag. Norge was the original designer of these machines. They are also known as Maytag “Herrin” machines in the parts houses. They have continued to manufacture these “Herrin” machines as Maytag “Performa” models and high-end Crosley brand machines, but they have gone through a LOT of evolution. Some of the older Montgomery Ward / Signature machines are Norge machines.
In 2006, Whirlpool purchased Maytag.
Clothes Dryer Parts Distributors
Before you start, find yourself a good appliance parts dealer. They can be your best friends! You can find them in the yellow pages under the following headings:
- APPLIANCES, HOUSEHOLD, MAJOR
- APPLIANCES, PARTS AND SUPPLIES
- CLOTHES DRYERS, DOMESTIC
- APPLIANCES, HOUSEHOLD, REPAIR AND SERVICE
Call a few of them and ask if they are a repair service, or if they sell clothes dryer parts, or both. Ask them if they offer free advice with the parts they sell. (Occasionally, stores that offer both parts and service will not want to give you advice.) Often the parts counter men are ex-technicians who got tired of the pressures of in-home service. They can be your best friends. However, you don’t want to badger them with TOO many questions, so know your basics before you start asking questions.
Some parts houses may offer service, too. Be careful! There may be a conflict of interest. They may try to talk you out of even trying to fix your own dryer. They’ll tell you it’s too complicated, then in the same breath “guide” you to their service department. Who are you gonna believe, me or them? Not all service and parts places are this way, however. If they genuinely try to help you fix it yourself, and you find that you’re unable to, they may be the best place to look for service.
When you go into the store, have ready the make, model and serial number from the nameplate of the dryer.
The metal nameplate is usually found in one of the places shown in figure B-1:
A) Along the bottom panel, on the left or right corner.
B) Inside the door.
C) Somewhere on the back of the dryer.
D) On the side or top of the console.
If all else fails, check the original papers that came with your dryer when it was new. They should contain the model number somewhere.
In any case, and especially if you have absolutely NO information about your dryer anywhere, make sure you bring your old part to the parts store with you. Sometimes they can match it up by looks or by part number.
Figure B-1: Clothes Dryer Nameplate Location
Repair & Safety Tips
1) Always de-energize (pull the plug or trip the breaker on) any dryer that you’re disassembling. If you need to re-energize the dryer to perform a test, make sure any bare wires or terminals are taped or insulated. Energize the unit only long enough to perform whatever test you’re performing, then disconnect the power again.
I want to impress upon you something really important. In electric dryers, you’re usually dealing with 220 volt circuits. DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY. I’ve been hit with 110 volts now and then. Anyone who works with electrical equipment has at one time or another. It’s unpleasant, but unless exposure is more than a second or so, the only harm it usually does is to tick you off pretty good.
However, 220 VOLTS CAN KNOCK YOU OFF YOUR FEET. IT CAN DO YOUR BODY SOME SERIOUS DAMAGE, VERY QUICKLY. DO NOT TEST LIVE 220 VOLT CIRCUITS. If you have a heart condition, epilepsy, or other potentially serious health conditions, well…hey, it’s just my opinion, but you shouldn’t be testing 220 volt circuits at all. It’s not worth dying for.
2) If the manual advocates replacing the part, REPLACE IT!! You might find, say, a solenoid that has jammed for no apparent reason. Sometimes you can clean it out and lubricate it, and get it going again. The key words here are apparent reason. There is a reason that it stopped. You can bet on it. And if you get it going and re-install it, you are running a very high risk that it will stop again. If that happens, you will have to start repairing your dryer all over again. It may only act up when it is hot, or it may be bent slightly…there are a hundred different “what if’s.” Very few of the parts mentioned in this book will cost you over ten or twenty dollars. Replace the part.
3) If you must lay the dryer over on its side, front or back, first make sure that you are not going to break anything off, such as a gas valve. Lay an old blanket on the floor to protect the floor and the finish of the dryer.
4) Always replace the green (ground) leads when you remove an electrical component. They’re there for a reason. And NEVER EVER remove the third (ground) prong in the main power plug!
5) When opening the clothes dryer cabinet or console, remember that the sheet metal parts are have very sharp edges. Wear gloves, and be careful not to cut your hands!
6) When testing for your power supply from a wall outlet, plug in a small appliance such as a shaver or blow dryer. If you’re not getting full power out of the outlet, you’ll know it right away.
7) If you have diagnosed a certain part to be bad, but you cannot figure out how to remove it, sometimes it helps to get the new part and examine it for mounting holes or other clues as to how it may be mounted.