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Dave Harnish
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Dave's Repair Service
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How to Replace Your Whirlpool-built
29 inch (wide) Dryer’s Belt

(Excerpted from The DRSNews, June 2006)

I talk to a lot of folks with broken dryer belts, and the Whirlpool/Kenmore 29 inch (wide) dryer is by far the most common machine out there these days. This one’s quickly identified by its lint filter, which pulls up through the top of the cabinet. These are also sold under the Kitchenaid, Roper, Maytag, and Estate brand names.

(Note: belt replacement on the 27” wide version of these dryers is quite a bit different. I hope to go over that in a later article, but I do have a very inexpensive ‘basic service manual’ available for immediate download that covers it, too)

To get yours apart for a clean/lube (recommended at least every 2 years), belt replacement, or just for fun <grin>, first remove the two screws under the lint filter (careful here - don’t drop them down the lint filter housing, where they get into the fan!)

Then insert a putty knife in the gap between cabinet top and cab in front, and push back to release the retainer clips on each side. The top will lift, and you can swing it up and back, out of your way. Often you don't need the putty knife, but can just pull forward on the cabinet top and the clips will unhook.

If yours has a separate bottom panel, remove it by either pulling on its top edge or using a putty knife to push the retainers, and swing it down. Then it'll lift off its bottom hooks.

Roll the belt off the motor pulley and idler (note how the belt runs through the hole under the idler pulley and the idler hooks into the base). Unhook the door springs and set them aside.  Keep an eye on the door - it'll want to fall down on your head at this point!

Loosen the two 5/16" screws that the bottom of the front panel rests on. Then remove two screws from the inside that hold the front panel on, tip it forward, mark the door switch wire locations with a magic marker, and pull them off. Then lift the front panel off and set it aside. (Note: if yours is a newer model with a one piece front panel, just remove the two screws and lift the panel off its bottom clips.

Once the front panel's off, the drum will lift up and come right out the front.

Vacuum it out well and oil the rear drum rollers or replace them if their bearings are really worn and noisy, and also oil the idler pulley bearing (use a good grade of oil, sewing machine oil, ‘3 in 1’, etc - no WD-40, please!) - and put her back together.

The routing of the belt around the idler pulley can be tricky on these the first time you do it, because it’s hard to picture. Loop the belt around the drum with the grooved side against the drum.  Then, with the drum in place, install the idler into its slots in the dryer base. Slip a loop of the belt through the rectangular hole under the idler and roll the loop onto the motor pulley. It helps to have a helper holding the drum, but after you do this once or twice, you can hold the drum with your left knee while reaching back and doing this.

Whirlpool Dryer Belt Routing

The job’s a lot easier on older models with the separate bottom panel, because the panel holds the drum up for you. But I’m told these kinds of contortions are actually healthy, stretching out muscles that otherwise get little use. And who knows, Ringling Brothers may one day have an opening for this kind of work, so it pays to be prepared <grin>.

Anyway, double-check that there's good strong airflow out the back before reconnecting the vent, then connect it and run it on 'fluff' with no heat, and go outside and double-check that the airflow outside is also good and strong. It's easy to kink the vent duct when you push it back, and this step will make sure all's well in the airflow department.

Part number 4392065 is a nice money-saving repair kit for these machines, and includes not only a new belt, but also an idler, both drum rollers, and the necessary hardware. This kit is the most economical way to purchase these parts, and I'm really glad to see Whirlpool put the kits together. Costs much less than buying these parts individually, like we did before these were available. 


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