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Old 03-29-2014, 05:20 PM   #1
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I need to vent!


Hi;
I am really frustrated, and need to vent - so please bear with me - you may learn something useful from this:

I have a Kenmore (Frigidaire) gas dryer, about 10yrs old. It started making a really loud 60Hz hum which causes the entire dryer to vibrate - once the dryer warms up. The noise is almost unbearable, but it's in the basement, so we could still run it.

I started troubleshooting and finally decided that the problem was the motor. What else could make such a loud 60Hz noise?
My thinking was that there was a bad winding in the motor, which presented when it heated a bit due to the gas flame coming on.
I had also measured the current and found it to be 6A. Checking the motor spec, I read 4.8A. So I figured that the motor was drawing too much current due to the bad winding.

What bothered me was that the motor would still run - at what appeared to be normal speed, despite the loud noise.
I did consider other parts, including the plastic blower assembly, but pretty much dismissed the blower because it is made of plastic and is very light, so I couldn't imagine that it could make such a racket.
I also checked the mounting bracket, and all the metal parts in the dryer to make sure nothing was loose or broken, and did not find anything.
I had also disconnected the belt, and run the dryer with only the motor and blower running. It still got noisy when the heat came on.

I had to do something, so I took a shot at the motor, and ordered a used one on Ebay for about $50 (1/3 the price of bran-new). I also ordered a new belt - because I had seen some wear on it.

After I had already ordered the motor, I found that the 6A current reading was including the igniter, and the motor was actually drawing only about 4A with no load in the dryer.
This got me worried that the motor wasn't the problem after all, but there was nothing I could do. It was already shipped.

So, today the motor arrives, and I install it. Sure enough - same noise once the dryer heats up.
So now I'm looking very carefully at the blower. At first I don't see anything, but after having removed the fan when I replaced the motor, I found that it (the fan) had a crack where the motor shaft screws on.
I actually noticed this when I attempted to remove the fan again, but my 7/8 socket would no longer fit the nut - which is plastic, and an integral part of the blade. I was totally stumped for a moment, but then I saw the crack. The nut itself had cracked, so it was no longer 7/8 across the flats.

I did some research and found that I cannot replace only the blade in this particular blower, so I had to order a new blower assembly from Amazon.
I found it for $50 with free shipping.
Now I'm hoping that if I find I don't still need the motor I bought on Ebay, I can sell it to someone else who does, and not waste the $48 I paid for it.

I didn't feel very comfortable when I ordered the motor, but I had to do something, and I bet on the motor because it seemed the most likely cause.
I can also attribute this mistake to my inexperience with this kind of repair.
I guess I should be happy that, even if I have to eat the $48 motor, at least I didn't buy a bran new one for $150 (which I would not have been able to return as new once it had been installed), and with the $50 for the new blower - which will definitely fix the problem - I will have a working dryer for a lot less than it would have cost to buy a new one.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the igniter will burn out soon - and it's more than $100 - but again - still much cheaper than a new dryer (which I priced at $500-$800 at Sears.com)

I know that I am being too hard on myself. It's only an appliance, and it's not a whole lot of cash. It's also a very easy repair to do. It's just that I am disappointed that I did not see the broken blower in the first place.

So the lesson from this is that sometimes an appliance problem will turn out to be the less likely source, but we must often use the process of elimination to resolve it. After all, don't doctors do this all the time? Run this test - run that test. I've read about cases where even surgery is performed, only to find that the problem was something completely different.

Such is life.

Now I retire to a software project. I love it because it's only code - no parts to replace - no money involved (it's a personal project). Not that I will say I haven't ever been utterly frustrated when something in my code doesn't work.

FW

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Old 03-29-2014, 05:27 PM   #2
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You fixed it for less than a repairman even with the mess up and you learned something. That is a good fix to me.

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:19 PM   #3
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You fixed it for less than a repairman even with the mess up and you learned something. That is a good fix to me.
Thanks for the affirmation. I wonder whether a repairman would have replaced both the motor and the blower - or, more likely told us that we need a new dryer.
Sears charges $80 just to show up, but usually offer to take that off the cost of a new machine.

FW
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:29 PM   #4
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Very good analogy. I often tell people that doctors are basically mechanics, but don't have the luxury of fault codes like today's modern appliances. Don't feel so bad about spending the money- my wife just spent $2400 on a branD new, top-of-the-line washer and dryer simply because she didn't like the old ones. I tried to talk her into the one-step-lower model, for a savings of $600, but "they aren't available in the colour she wants", lol.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:03 PM   #5
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I hope while you have the dryer case open, you gave everything a good cleaning.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:21 PM   #6
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Don't feel bad. I had a loud squealing and rattling noise coming out of my maytag fas dryer. So I take it apart and notice one of the support wheels for the drum was wore out along with the shaft it rode on. Also notice my plastic fan cage was cracked all the way around the metal insert and was free spinning. So I go to the old fashioned local parts store and buy a pair of rollers, one bracket that has the shaft on it, and the plastic squirrel cage.
So I go home minus $76 and proceed to replace the parts. After getting everything back together, I discover the main problem causing the squealing was the motor. New motor was $128. When I called the family owned appliance store where I've dealt with for about 22 years, he told me my dryer was ten years old. I didn't want to put any more money into it and ended up buying a new speed queen gas dryer for $591. Brought it home, hooked it up in about ten minutes, and everything's quiet again. I was pissed because I wasted most of the day messing with old one. Had I remembered it was ten years old at the beginning, I would have just went and got another one.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by hvac benny View Post
Very good analogy. I often tell people that doctors are basically mechanics, but don't have the luxury of fault codes like today's modern appliances. Don't feel so bad about spending the money- my wife just spent $2400 on a branD new, top-of-the-line washer and dryer simply because she didn't like the old ones. I tried to talk her into the one-step-lower model, for a savings of $600, but "they aren't available in the colour she wants", lol.
I wish we had the luxury of replacing appliances just because we didn't like the old ones. Apparently, a lot of people do that, and so there are lots of used (and still 100% functional) parts available on Ebay.
My dryer is probably 10yrs old, but cash is tight, and I'm a fairly good DIY'er, so it gets fixed. Dryer is much easier than the washer I repaired a couple months ago <g>

FW
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gmaint View Post
I hope while you have the dryer case open, you gave everything a good cleaning.
Yup - that was the very first thing I did. I cleaned out a lot of lint. Used the shopvac for the job - or I would have filled up more than one vacuum bag.
I hear a lot of fire calls on my scanner for dryer "fires". More smoke than anything else.
Lase year, I cleaned out the vent pipe. It was full of lint. We had noticed that the clothes were taking longer and longer to dry. I guess we're lucky we didn't have a fire.
So now, everything will get cleaned out once a year.

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Old 03-30-2014, 10:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
Don't feel bad. I had a loud squealing and rattling noise coming out of my maytag fas dryer. So I take it apart and notice one of the support wheels for the drum was wore out along with the shaft it rode on. Also notice my plastic fan cage was cracked all the way around the metal insert and was free spinning. So I go to the old fashioned local parts store and buy a pair of rollers, one bracket that has the shaft on it, and the plastic squirrel cage.
So I go home minus $76 and proceed to replace the parts. After getting everything back together, I discover the main problem causing the squealing was the motor. New motor was $128. When I called the family owned appliance store where I've dealt with for about 22 years, he told me my dryer was ten years old. I didn't want to put any more money into it and ended up buying a new speed queen gas dryer for $591. Brought it home, hooked it up in about ten minutes, and everything's quiet again. I was pissed because I wasted most of the day messing with old one. Had I remembered it was ten years old at the beginning, I would have just went and got another one.
Mike Hawkins
Did you try to sell the parts on Ebay?
I guess DIY is a trial and error business. I'm not sure that the pros don't have this sort of experience as well.

Live and learn. When we stop learning - we die.

FW
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:49 AM   #10
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I will put the parts up on ebay. I don't think I will ever use them, and they are the parts that do wear out so I know someone could use them.
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Old 04-13-2014, 03:36 PM   #11
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Ya did good on the attempt.
I had kept a washing machine going with many repairs for darn near 25 years until the bushing in the motor went, then bought a new larger machine. As for my electric dryer, I could tell you stories about it to include a temporary splice in the heating element with a home made split bolt to routinely cleaning and lubrication the belt tension pulley. That machine is close to 30 years old. Maybe next one will be a gas dryer.
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Old 04-13-2014, 03:56 PM   #12
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Make ya feel better... we all F'up every ounce in a while....

Blew a belt on my 10 hoarse snowblower several weeks ago.......
old snowblower.. no parts list available.

So I dismantled it to get to the belts (drive and blade). Had to get my gear pullers to pop drive shaft pulley, had to retap pulleys set screws and get new ones. (All this in the freezing cold.)

The two belts both work off what I call an idler clutch, that a cable presses the slack out of the belt and powers the drive and blades.

Brought back 4 sets of belts as could not tell size fit of broken belt.

Thought I found the correct belt with slack in it for the clutch being in non-drive/didengaged..... reassembled that SOB.... and ....

I chooze the wrong belts.... to tight with clutch disengaged.... blade and drive always engaged.....

Back to square one.....

AND we are currently, RIGHT NOW, getting 10 inches of spring heavy snow...

So KEKB.... you're not the Lone Ranger.... if it makes ya feel better.

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Old 04-13-2014, 05:09 PM   #13
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shhh ,shhh, you guys are talking too loud. Our elect dryer might hear you. It's dried clothes for a family of 5 since 1977 when kids may change clothes 3 times / day and it had to have an upper limit switch replaced about 5 years ago.

Hold it down please.

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