PLEASE let us save you a service call and probably a couple hundred bucks (we have no idea how much a service call actually is, but we imagine it’s a couple hundred bucks).
Some time in the future the day will come when you put clothes in your dryer, set the timer, push the button, and… nothing. Well, not nothing. Everything will work except the dryer drum won’t turn. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that 99-times-out-of-100 your dryer drive/drum belt is snapped. I know this because last weekend it happened to me and with ZERO prior knowledge I decided to tackle the repair myself. Why not, There can’t be THAT many parts to a dryer. With some common sense I figured it should be easy.
I swear you can change it in 15 minutes.
OK, it MIGHT take 30 minutes, but that’s only if you are very anal and careful and don’t have a helper. You only need a helper for like 5 minutes but it really helps. Here’s what you do and what you’ll need.
Tools you need:
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Flat-head screwdriver
- 5/16″ socket or driver
- A helper, ( if you don’t have a helper you need a plastic pint cup or something that size)
- A washcloth or pair of underpants or something to catch loose screws.
Step 0: Unplug the dryer.
Hopefully this is common sense but I figured I better cover my butt and say it.
Step 1: Get a replacement dryer drum belt.
Check your dryer model number (on a sticker inside the dryer door) and call around and find an appliance place that has your belt. I swear there’s a Sears/Home Depot/home improvement store conspiracy around service calls and dryer drum belt availability because locally it was hard to find one. I bet like 85% of dryers use this belt, but make sure you check.
Step 2: Remove lint trap screws
Open the little door on top where the lint trap slides in. Inside there are 2 of 4 screws you have to remove to get at the belt. This is where you need the screwdriver and the underpants. The underpants or washcloth are to stick in the lint trap hole so when you remove the 2 screws you don’t accidentally drop one down into the lint trap black hole. Trust me, you should stick something in there. you think you won’t drop one but you could, and then you’re removing the whole back of the dryer and that’s what will turn this into an hour-long job and another post.
Step 3: Pop the top
Now you use your flat-head screwdriver to pop the top of the dryer off. There are two clips holding the top down. Carefully work the screwdriver in each side and work it in until you can get your fingers in and pull up til the top pops. It might feel like you’re pulling too hard but you’re not. Tip the top back and let it rest on the wall. Don’t let it be supported but just the hinges cause those babies are weak and might snap off and the whole top will fall and rip wires out and all that.
Step 4: Loosen the front of the dryer.
Now get your 5/16″ driver bit and remove one screw from each top side. A socket won’t really work, you need a hand screwdriver 5/16″ bit to make this way easier.
Step 5: Unplug the kill switch.
You don’t HAVE to do this. You can still swing the door clear without undoing this plug, but it’s easy enough to unplug this and get the door right out of the way so you don’t bash your head on it.
Step 6: Prepare for taking the door off.
Now is when you get your helper to come to the basement. The dryer drum (the thing that holds the clothes) is not attached to anything. It’s pinched between the front of the dryer and the back of the dryer and rides on a leather piece and a couple wheels. When you pull the front off of the dryer the drum will fall on your toe. Your helper will just hold up the front of the drum while you do your thing with the belt so it doesn’t fall on your toe (or head). If you don’t have a helper get your plastic cup or paint can ready. Put it somewhere a little behind where you’re standing near your feet so you can slide it in once the front of the machine starts to come off.
Let’s break this down. The front of the dryer is held on by a clip on each side. Its not really a clip, more like a little hook it sits on. You’ll want to barely remove one side and just observe what the drum wants to do (fall on your toe).
The tricky part.
Now find the busted old belt and get it out of there.
Step 7: Put the new belt on.
Drape your belt over the drum and work it toward the center line of the drum. You’ll see where the old belt was. Now you have to lift up slightly on the drum and move it past your chosen method of support.
Now lay down and look underneath to the right. That’s where the drive motor is and where the belt connects to the drive motor. The piece I’m holding up in the photo is the belt tensioner. It will have flown off when the old belt snapped so this is how it fits back in. It won’t stay here by itself, it needs the belt to keep it in place.
Push the belt under the tensioner wheel and onto the drive pulley. The package of the belt will also show you the belt feed instructions.
And that’s it.
Step 8: Put it back together.
- Put front back on.
- Put in the two 5/16: screws in the inner front of machine
- Reattach kill switch plug
- Lower top down and push down to snap it back onto clips
- Screw in the 2 lint trap screws.
The only tricky part about this is making the drum get back into the hole in the front and ride properly on the wheels it rests on in the back. Once you’ve got that close, put the two 5/16″ screws back into the inside front top to hold the front on.
THEN drop one of the screws and take the front back off and make your helper reach their arm into the back of the dryer and get your screw.
Back to the drum. Make sure the felt strip in the rear isn’t folded under. Rotate the drum by hand slowly and use your fingers or a putty knife or screwdriver to work the felt liner out as it rotates.
Step 9: Test
Here’s a live test I shot after the change. SPOILER ALERT! It works.
And here’s what the inside of your dryer PROBABLY looks like.
This is the inside of the dryer with the drum removed and sitting off to the side.