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Dryer Repair, Replace the Worn or Broken Belt: Do It Yourself Appliance Repair Made Easy

Updated on June 29, 2011

Dryer Lint Filter

Lint Filter Cover on top of Dryer
Lint Filter Cover on top of Dryer
Lint Filter on the top of dryer.
Lint Filter on the top of dryer.

Identify Dryer, Open Top

Follow all safety precautions.  Whirlpool and the products made by this manufacturer include Kenmore (Kenmore model numbers begin with 110.) , Roper, Estate, Kirkland, and Kitchen Aid washer and dryers. I was surprised myself at how many of the laundry appliances are made by Whirlpool.

You can always spot a Whirlpool dryer, they all have a lint filter through the top of the dryer on the right side near the timer. So no matter what it says on the product label, if it has this signature filter through the top of the dryer, it is a Whirlpool.

The first step in accessing the inside of the dryer is to remove the filter, and then stuff a small hand towel in the hole. Remove the screws and set them aside with the Lint Filter. Be careful with the filter, those babies are expensive, like 30 bucks.

Open the top of the Dryer

Now that you have removed the two screws, you are ready to open the top of the dryer.   Position the dryer with the back about 12-15 inches from a wall.   When you open the dryer case you will be able to lean it against the wall.  Use your putty knife to open the dryer by placing it between the top of the dryer and the case about 2 to 4 inches in from the side and depressing the clip on each side.   This clip is either a plastic clip or a metal clip which is spring activated.  Sometimes they can be a little buggy and especially the plastic clips won't release the top even when depressed.  You can help the situation by pushing the top from the back toward the front and lifting at the same time.  Once both clips are released, lift the lid and lean it against the wall.

Whew! That wasn't so bad.

Inside of the Dryer Case

Inside top of dryer
Inside top of dryer
Inside top of dryer Door Switch
Inside top of dryer Door Switch
On bottom Front of Dryer See the Clip
On bottom Front of Dryer See the Clip

Locate the Nut and Door Switch

In these three photos are the items that have to be located and then manipulated. In the first photo see the drum and wires going to the door switch. In the second photo see the nut and door switch up close.  Three steps to follow

  1. The nut is a 5/16 inch nut and needs to be removed. There is another nut to remove on the other side of the dryer, remove that one, too.Remove these with caution, you don't want to lose them and when they are removed it loosens the front from the dryer. Slightly move the front away from the right side of the dryer and locate the door switch, unplug the wires going to the switch, there will be two or three. Don't worry about which terminals the wires connect to, it will only go one way. This is just an on/off switch.

  2. Remove the front of the dryer from the case. The drum will fall a few inches as it rides on the door panel.  This is part of the bearing system.

  3. Notice in the third photo that there is a clip on the bottom front of the case, the front of the dryer is held on through the use of this clip. To remove the front of the dryer from the case, lift on the front of the dryer and it will disengage from the front of the case. Set it aside.

Idler and Drum

Drum with idler attached.
Drum with idler attached.
Drum removed, idler and drum supports (rollers).
Drum removed, idler and drum supports (rollers).
Drum Support (roller).
Drum Support (roller).

Access to the belt

  1. If the belt is not broken, you must release it from the idler arm before the drum can be removed.
  2. Locate the idler arm, you need to go down low, a flashlight might be helpful at this point.  Looking at the dryer from below on the right side, you will see the idler arm with the belt looped over a motor pulley.   Before you remove the belt, carefully study the configuration and observe how the belt is looped.
  3. If the belt is broken, you should be able to raise the drum by holding front and back and remove it from the dryer.

  4. You now have access to the components.

  5. The idler arm has a pulley that needs to be cleaned (use WD40 or similar) and oiled (Turbine oil must be used) before installing a new belt.

Idler Arm

Idler Arm
Idler Arm

Locate the Idler Arm

Here is a photo of the Idler Arm.  Notice that it sits in a set of slots in the bottom of the dryer, surprisingly it is not attached to the dryer  (some later models may have a hold down screw).  I just sits in the two slots.   Notice that it is located in the slots closest to the motor, but more importantly, the idler arm pulley must match up with the motor pulley. 

  1. The new belt will come in a package with instructions on how to thread the idler arm. This part is confusing so study the drawing and be patient. The basic idea is that the belt goes through the idler arm and then is hooked to the motor pulley.

  2. Use my photo of the Idler installed to help. 
  3. Reverse the process, replace the front panel, plug in the door switch, replace the nut holding the front, lower the lid, replace the screws on the lint blower housing hold down, Replace the lint filter.
  4. Laugh! Celebrate! You just saved a bunch of money!
  5. Laugh like this.....HA! HA HA!   And run around the house chortling and singing:  "I did it!  I did it!"


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    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      DT turbine oil is heavier than 3 in 1 and is designed for high temperature. It does not gum up. It is the same as pneumatics oil and is high grade. You will find it available at most hardware stores and all appliance repair shops.

    • profile image

      DT 7 years ago

      what is turbine oil and why this as opposed to say 3in1 or similar household oil. thanks

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 8 years ago from Michigan

      I wish I had seen this the last time I did this. This hub would have saved me time and a lot of work. Very well done!

    • BJBenson profile image

      BJBenson 8 years ago from USA