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Dave's Repair Service
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How to Repair Squeaking Whirlpool or Kenmore 29" (wide) Dryers

If your dryer squeaks, squeals, rumbles or roars, and it's one of the great 29 inch (wide) models built by Whirlpool (Whirlpool, Kenmore,  Kitchenaid, Roper, and Estate brands), here's how to quiet it down and get a lot more life out of it. (If it's a 29", you pull the lint filter up through the top of the dryer to remove it).

It's not a difficult job to do. You'll need a standard #2 Phillips screwdriver, a 5/16" socket or nut driver, a small pocket-sized 'straight' (regular) screwdriver and some sewing machine oil or other good grade of approx 30 weight oil (Please, No WD-40!). A putty knife is handy too, if you have one, and you'll definitely want to have a vacuum cleaner handy for the lint.

The best time to do this job is when the squeak first starts. If you wait very long, you'll probably end up needing a drum roller and/or idler, and then it's probably just better to buy one of the low priced repair kits. These kits have been a really inexpensive way to buy a set of drum rollers, new belt, idler, and hardware, all in one package. You come away with a nicely overhauled dryer that will give many more years of service after you've done this.

Just unplug the dryer or turn off its circuit breaker, pull out the lint filter, and remove the 2 Phillips screws under it. Then pull forward on the top of the cabinet and its front will unhook, allowing you to pivot it up and back. Tip it all the way up to vertical and lean it back against the wall. 

Note: some of these dryers have a separate bottom panel. If this describes yours, you may be able to lube the idler by removing just this panel to get to the idler (Push on the retaining clips with a putty knife to remove this panel). I highly recommend that you pull the drum, though. You'll end up doing a much more thorough job of both cleaning and lubrication. I'll assume from this point on that yours has only one front panel, extending from the top all the way to the floor.

Inside the front panel, near the top, you'll see two screws that have 5/16" hex heads, that take a socket or nut driver. These hold the front panel on.

Remove these and unplug the door switch wires. Tip the cabinet front forward while holding up on the drum, and the front panel lifts off retainer hooks on the bottom. Set it aside, carefully letting the drum just hang there, supported by belt tension.

Looking in the right side under the drum, you'll see the motor, and the little idler wheel that the belt loops around. That wheel's bearing usually causes the squeaking, and its shaft is where you'll want to put a couple drops of oil. If you're not feeling adventurous or don't have much time, just oil the front bearing that you can reach without taking out the drum. If you can also get some onto the back side this way, great (I always just pull the drum out - easier to get to everything). Just 2 or 3 drops on each side will do it.

At this point, you can put it back together and see if it still squeaks. If it does, you'll want to pull the drum and go the rest of the way. I highly recommend you do that, even if it runs quiet, so you can lube the rear drum rollers and vacuum it all out.

Just push the idler up a bit to take its spring tension off the belt, and roll the belt off the motor pulley, supporting the drum a bit. (I use my knee - takes longer to type it than to do it!). Then the drum just lifts off the rear rollers and out the front. You'll see the rubber-rimmed rollers mounted to the rear bulkhead. Just a drop or two of oil on the front and back sides of each roller's bearing will keep them humming along nicely for years. With the drum out, it's easy to vacuum all that (flammable) lint out of the machine, paying especially close attention to the lint in and around the motor. 

That's pretty much it. To reattach the belt ( I really have to think about this - do it without even looking any more <grin>), put the idler into its slot in the base, and hold a little pressure on it (again, I support the drum with my left knee while doing this - helps if you've spent a few years with Ringling Bros as a contortionist!) and feed a loop of the belt through the little rectangular hole under the idler roller. Feed that loop around the motor pulley, rolling it onto the pulley.

Rotate the drum slowly counterclockwise (to the left if you have a
digital clock <g>) making sure the belt lines up on the drum so as not to pop back off the idler (the grooved side of the belt goes against the drum).

While holding the drum's front up in place, drop the front panel back onto its bottom supports and lean it back into place. Plug the door switch back in, run those two screws back into the front panel, and the worst is done!

I like to slowly rotate the drum (CCW) before lowering the 'hood', to make sure the belt's properly tracking around it, and that the rear felt seal isn't caught on the inside.

If all turns freely, drop the top, replace those two Phillips screws (be careful not to drop them down the lint filter duct!), power it back up, and all should be smooth and quiet.

Oh, and the last - and most important - step is to reach back and give your back a pat - you just saved nearly $100!

Again, if you should need a repair kit, here's the one yours uses:

WPL 4392065 kit 

PS - Here's the repair kit for the 27" (wide) version of these dryers. A bit more expensive because this design uses drum support rollers front and rear, it's still the most economical way to buy these parts.

If you have any questions on any of the above, please don't hesitate to contact me

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