Level of DifficultyA Bit Difficult
Time to do repair1- 2 hours
Age of ApplianceMore than 10 years
I told my wife, "it's working fine. Let's just wait until it breaks, and I'll fix it." She said the noise is intolerable and if I didn't fix it, she'd "call someone to come and look at it."
The forums all suggested that noise during operation is due to worn out components that are involved with turning the tumbler. So I ordered a bunch of parts from Partselect.com and set to work. I replaced the belt, the belt idler wheel, and both of the tumbler support wheels.
I reinstalled the tumbler, plugged the dryer in, and started it up. Damn, the same noise as before. Wait! The tumbler isn't turning. In my haste to see if the noise was gone, I'd forgotten to rethread the belt. Analysis: noise unchanged but tumbler not rotating. Conclusion: the hateful noise has nothing to do with any of the components involved in turning the tumbler.
Looking and listening more closely, I determined that the noise was coming from the blower, the plastic squirrel-cage like assembly attached to the other end of the motor shaft. It seems to be rattling on the shaft, causing the noise. I remove it, clean off a couple decades of matted-on lint, and reinstall it. No change.
I do not have a replacement blower, so I remove the blower from the shaft, clean up the shaft with alcohol, then put a piece of plastic electrical tape part way around the shaft, effectively increasing its OD by a few thousandths of an inch. I reinstall the blower, put everything back together again, and start it up. No noise -- nothing but a low purring hum! Good enough for me, for as long as it lasts. When my improvised patch fails, I'll order a new blower and install that.
It's good that I was so stupid as to forget to reinstall the belt before I started the dryer the first time. Since the noise was still there, I was forced to re-examine my assumption that the noise was being caused by a worn-out tumbler-turning component. If i HAD installed the belt the first time, I'm sure I would have continued with the incorrect assumption that the noise problem was related to the tumbler.
My time and money weren't wasted, I don't think. The various wheels and the belt were over 16 years old and due for replacement anyhow.