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Website owner: 
Dave Harnish
CEO: Gracie (RIP 3-16)
Dave's Repair Service
1911 Heath Hill Rd
New Albany, PA 18833
Email:
drs@sosbbs.com


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The DRSNews
March 2004 

By Subscription Only
Published by Dave’s Repair Service, All Rights Reserved

In this issue:

1) DRSNews Back Issues are (Finally) Posted!
2) The No-Heat Gas Dryer
3) How to Convert a Gas Dryer to LP

1) Well, it’s taken longer than I expected, but I finally got the back issues of this little newsletter project posted on the website.

I'm also working as fast as time allows at posting ‘How to do it yourself’ articles, parts specials, manuals, and anything else that I think might be helpful to you ‘handy’ folks.

Stop by for a visit and have a look around when you get a chance. And please send me your suggestions. But please be kind (grin) – it’s still a pretty crude site, but I’m just getting started!   www.DavesRepair.com

The DRSNews Back issue index is finally available (to subscribers only), and the link will be included in every issue. Thanks for waiting for it!

2) We’ve talked a lot about Electric dryers that don’t heat, but have touched only briefly on the gas side of things, so I thought maybe we should take a run at the subject.

As with electric dryers, the fastest way to diagnose a ‘no heat’ gas dryer is to start at the heat source and work backwards.

And the gas version is simpler in one respect – you’re working with 120 volts, so there’s only one ‘leg’ of power to be concerned  with.

You will want to verify that there’s gas pressure available to the dryer, but that’s usually not too difficult.

Heating system diagnosis on newer models can be more of a  challenge, because many of them have front panels without the full-width bottom access panels that we took for granted for years. Most provide no easy way to look at the burner flame, although a few models still have a small observation port in front, with a removable cap.

Like the electric dryer heating element test, I check for voltage to the heat source - in this case, the gas valve ass’y, with the dryer running.  (On models that require front panel removal to watch the burner flame, I usually just run the drum belt off the pulley. You can even pull the drum to get it out of your way.)

Keep in mind, if you hear the valve ‘click’ when you start the dryer, you already know there’s power to the valve. (You have made sure the controls aren’t set to ‘air fluff’, or 'no heat', right? <grin>)

Most burner valve assemblies connect to power with a 3-wire plug, and that plug's an easy place to test for 120V. Meter test  pins can usually be inserted into the back side of this plug pretty easily. That third wire's just a ground, and if it doesn't happen to be green, you'll see that it connects to a metal part in the valve area. We want to look for voltage on the other two.

If there’s voltage to the valve but no burner ignition, you’ve quickly eliminated a whole bunch of electrical controls as the  problem – timer, t’stats, thermal fuse, etc, very quickly. You now know the problem lies in the valve/ignition system itself.

And proceeding from there isn't too tough.

Basically the ignition cycle is as follows: At dryer start, you should hear the valve click. 5 or 10 seconds later, you should see the ignitor start to glow a brilliant red. After it has heated for a few seconds, 15 or so, the flame sensor should open and cut power to it, and you’ll hear another valve 'click', the valve should open, and there’ll be gas flow and a nice blue flame.

Note: if you're testing this with the front panel and belt off, don't allow the flame to burn very long. Without the front panel in place there'll be no airflow through the burner, and the flame can warm things up more than we want. A few seconds of ignition is all you need to make sure everything's working OK, anyway.

Problems, from most common to the not-so-common:

If the valve clicks on dryer start the but ignitor doesn’t glow, the ignitor is probably open. These are very brittle, and a bad one is usually cracked (not always easy to see!) or broken. 

In fact, when handling a new one, be very careful with it. It's easy to break these, and it's even best not to touch them with your bare fingers.

If the ignitor glows, then the flame sensor turns it off, but there’s no flame, one of the coils is probably open.  These are much easier to test than the old 'K' valve coils, and can be replaced individually. But it’s better to replace them as a set. 

To test the coils with an ohmmeter, here are the resistance readings:

 M Gas Valve Coil Resistance

One of the least common failures is the flame sensor. This little switch is heated by the ignitor and flame through a little window.

It mounts to the side of the burner 'can', usually on the left, and is just a simple two-wire switch. When radiant heat warms it enough, it electrically opens and the burner ignites. The radiant heat from the flame then keeps it open, the flame heats the ignitor, which keeps its resistance low, and the gas keeps flowing.

If the ignitor glows but the gas never turns on, suspect this part.

If you're comfortable doing so, after the ignitor has glowed a few seconds, carefully pull off one of this sensor's wires, and you  should get ignition. That's a quick 'proof' of a bad flame sensor.

These are surprisingly reliable, though. I recently replaced my first one in about 3 years of full time service work!

3) Conversion to LP is pretty easy with this valve too, and is a  really common job here in the country. It's getting a little more  involved lately with some brands, because they're playing games with burner venturis and make you replace the burner tube. 

The conversion kits are more expensive, but the job's still not a big deal.

Basically, if you don't have to change the tube, it's only a matter of changing the burner orifice and replacing the brass regulator vent with a block-open pin. Orifices, pin, instructions, and labels to let everyone know it's been converted, are all supplied in the kits.

Here's a picture of the typical component layout on the 'M' valve burner assembly:

 

 

And let me know if you have any trouble locating a conversion kit for your dryer. I carry many of them in stock, and most of those I don't stock can be here 'next-day'.

*** 

Thanks again for allowing me into your inbox again this month. I really enjoy this project, and hope you benefit from it. 

Feel free to invite others to subscribe that you think might enjoy it.  

Also, if you have any topics you’d like to see discussed here or covered in an online article, let me know and I’ll do my best to oblige. The website is a resource I'm excited about, because it allows a lot more flexibility and depth than email.

Thanks for all your encouragement - I really appreciate it! May the Lord richly bless you & yours!

Sincerely,

Dave Harnish
Dave’s Repair Service
New Albany, PA
drs@sosbbs.com
www.DavesRepair.com
 

‘For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit...’  Isaiah 57:15

Appliance Help (and a lot of other stuff!) for the Handy:
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"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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