9 of 11 people found this instruction helpful
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time to do repair: More than 2 hours
Tools: Screw drivers
Customer: Jon from Salem, OR
The drum wasn't rotating very well, and it made grinding noises
In retrospect, this repair was not diffcult, but it took a long time because I could not find any directions or advice on the internet. The first puzzle was getting inside. The back panel comes off very easily with removal of a handful of panel screws. This exposes the motor, belts, drive pulleys, etc., and while I could rotate the drum by hand, I could not diagnose the grinding noise or why it turned with difficulty.
To go further, I had to remove the cabinet, which is easy - once you know what to do. Take out three screws along each side, near the bottom (of course, don't lose or mix up these screws with the ones from the back panel). You'll also have to detach four colored wires from the motor - the connectors are color coded, so there shouldn't be a mix up when you reattach them later. There are also two wires (B & W) that connect to the back of the drum that nneed to be detached - I marked B and W on the metal with a sharpie so as to remember which goes where. I didn't bother to check, but they must be the wires that connect to the door-open switch. After that, the whole cabinet (sides, front panel and door, top and control panel as one unit) can be tilted forward and lifted off to be set aside.
It turns out the grinding was from all the crap that fell through the gap at the front edge of the drum over the years - handfuls of paper clips, hair clips, wadded wrappers, earrings and $3.60 in change.
It mostly landed in the flange, or sheet metal shield, surrounding the coil heating element, which encircles the front of the drum ("Halo of Heat"). I cleaned all the lint and crud off the heater flange, and from the whole cabinet. Be very careful not to break the heating coil wire or the ceramic insulatots that hold itin a circle - they are somewhat fragile. If you ever need to replace the heating coil element, this is how you get there. It's a fairly simple matter of threading the new wire could through the ceramic insulators and making the obvious electrical connections at either end.
But my issues were still with the frame and exposed drum, belts etc. The drum is suspended from bearings at the back; nothing holds it at the front. There are two belts. One runs from a small pulley on an idler wheel (tensioned by a spring) to a large pulley on the back of the drum. The other is the motor belt, which is the longer of the two, that runs from the motor shaft to a small pulley on the back of the drum (inside the large pulley mentioned above), then over to the large pulley portion of the idler wheel (inside the small pulley mentioned above).
I wondered if any of the bearings on any of the parts was going bad, so I took off the belts. I don't remember which belt should come off first to make it any easier, but you'll manage either way Pull the idler wheel to slightly loosen a little tension on the belts and rotate one belt off a small pulley, then the other one. If you're new to this, take a picture, or make a sketch where the belts go - don't trust yourself to remember it later.
The idler wheel is attached to a bar that slides in a bit of a track or bracket. By lifting the wheel (stretching the spring) and moving it to the R side just a little, the bar can drop down the track and take all the tension off the spring. The spring is hooked into the cabinet at the biottom, and fits on the idler wheel shaft at the top, so you can take it off with no problem. Once you do that, you can pull the idler wheel/pulleys right off toward you. I took the bar out of the bracket and washed it off and polished it with steel wool to get rid of rust. similarly, I cleaned the frame bracket it slides in. I lubricated both parts with a litte petro jelly before reassembling. All the parts were covered with lint, and I took the time to clean everything off, especially the motor. We're talking forty years' worth.
I also went inside the drum and took out the lint filter and a plastic guard, and used a little brush and a vacuum to clean out the caked