Dryers have a lot of moving parts, and there are a lot of different ways they can break. But if the fan is damaged and not making noise, or there’s little circulation in the drum and the clothes stay damp, there’s usually only one possible cause: a damaged blower wheel. Order a replacement part and follow these steps to remove the old wheel and install the new part.
Whirlpool-brand major appliances don’t always come under the main name brand of ‘Whirlpool,’ and sometimes the parts can be cross-applied regardless of the specific brand and model. Look for part number 33002797 or B0053Y2WWW when repairing the following dryer brands: Admiral, Amana, Jenn-Air, Kenmore, KitchenAid, Magic Chef, Maytag, Norge, Roper, Sears, and Whirlpool.
1. Unplug the dryer.
Whenever you’re replacing a part in a major appliance, it’s important to remove the power source before you get started. During the course of this part replacement, you will be dismantling the machine and disconnecting wires, so unplugging the dryer or flipping the circuit breaker is essential for everyone’s safety.
2. Remove the door and panels.
Open the door. On the right side, you will see two hinges. Loosen both screws, and then pull up on the door to release the hinges. At this point, the door should pull completely free, so set it aside. Then unscrew the door clasps on the left side of the door opening and set them aside.
Remove the lower front panel by pulling the top of the front panel free so it swings on the bottom clasps. Once the front panel is at an angle, lift it up from the mounting brackets. Set it aside.
Remove the top panel: Loosen the screws holding brackets in place on each of the front corners. Once the screw is removed, you can push the bracket up out of its frame and remove the piece. Once the two bracket, one on each front corner, are removed, you can lift up the top panel on a back hinge.
Disconnect the wire harness connected to the light socket. Because each wire configuration has a different size, you don’t have to mark them or remember the orientation. However, with most wire harnesses and complex parts, it’s a good idea to take a picture for easy reinstallation.
Remove the remainder of the front panel by removing the four screws around the perimeter of the dryer drum. Unscrew the parts holding the front panel flush against the machine, not the nearby screws in the cutouts. Once the panel is loose, set it to the side without stretching or tugging the attached wires.
The attached wires lead to the moisture sensors, and they can now be disconnected. Use a flathead screwdriver to depress the locking tabs holding the two wires in place. This time, take a picture so you orient the wires correctly during reinstallation.
Take out the two screws holding the dryer’s bulkhead in place. These are the screws in the metal cutouts that you avoid earlier. As you’re loosening the second screw, hold the part so it doesn’t fall. Pull it out at a straight angle and set it aside.
3. Remove the drum.
Before the drum can pull free, you need to loosen the belt from the pulleys. Reach behind the blower wheel to the back of the machine and push the idler pulley to the left. This reduces tension on the belt so you can pull the belt free and let it hang loosely around the drum.
Use the top of the belt as a handle to pick up the drum and carefully lift it out the side of the machine. Set aside the drum.
4. Access the blower wheel.
The blower wheel is in the front left corner and you should be able to see the part. The first step to removing the part is removing the front cover. Look for the screw holding the cover in place against the machine and remove them. Next, remove all the screws along the edge of the cover that holds it to the blower.
Once the cover is loose, carefully move it to the side inside the dryer. The right side is connected to several wires, and you shouldn’t have to disconnect them.
In order to remove the blower wheel, you have to hold it firmly in place. The motor behind the blower wheel is what makes it spin. So you have to reach behind the motor (located behind the dryer wheel) and hold the motor pulley in place with a socket wrench. It’s a bit like untightening the nuts when you’re changing a tire: you need tension on the central axle as you loosen other parts.
Once the motor pulley is held in position, loosen the central bolt holding the blower wheel in place. Because this is the same piece as the motor pulley, you need to turn it clockwise to loosen it. Once it’s free enough to hand loosen, spin the wheel free and set it aside.
5. Install the new blower wheel.
Retighten your grip on the motor pulley. Then tighten the blower wheel in place by hand spinning it counterclockwise and then use a socket wrench to tighten it slightly.
Carefully put the cover back in position and start replacing the screws. Just like when you’re replacing a tire, start by putting the screws back on opposite sides of the cover and then in as much of a star pattern as you can. This ensures that the cover is correctly in place and won’t pinch anything.
Once the cover is on, retighten the bolt to the base of the machine.
6. Reassemble the machine.
During this step, you’re going to work backward to put all of the parts back into position.
Start with the dryer drum. Use the belt to guide the drum back into position in the machine. Then work the loose length of the belt back over the pulleys by pulling the idler pulley to the left. From your position at the front of the machine facing in, the pulley should go down along the right side of the white idler pulley and then abruptly go left around the far edge of the smaller pulley before it turns back to the right and around the drum. Doublecheck that there’s tension, no twists and that the belt is groove-side down on the drum.
Reinsert the bulkhead by slipping it through the drum and around the blower wheel cover. It should fit in place without being tight. You might need to lift the drum slightly to align all of the parts. Once it’s in place, push it against the dryer’s frame and screw it into position with the two corner screws.
Reconnect the moisture sensors, using your picture to align the colors and the light wire. Most machines have a small interior panel along the side of the machine for the light’s wires. Run them through the gap so there is no risk of friction during the machines use.
7. Reassemble the panels.
Put the front panel around the drum and bulkhead. Line it up with the holes along the perimeter and retighten the screws. Make sure none of the wires are pinched or stretched.
Next, lower the top panel and make sure the front clasps click into position. Hook the brackets around the front corners of the top panel and slip the brackets flush against the front of the edge of the machine. Retighten the screws.
Then snap the lower front panel into position. Hook it into the bottom clasps and then push the top edge against the machine.
8. Reinstall the door.
Reattach the clasps and screws to the left side of the front panel. Then pick up the door and insert the hinges into position. Hold the door while you tighten the hinge screws so the weight doesn’t bend the hinge metal.
Like with every repair job, start the machine’s cycle to make sure everything was reinstalled properly and the machine can function. If you have time, put a hand towel in the dryer and let it run long enough to test for hot air circulation.
For more dryer repair procedures and how to troubleshoot other major appliances, go to Fred’s Appliance Service here.
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