August 1, 2014

How to replace a dryer drive motor

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dryer drive motor

This DIY dryer repair guide explains how to replace a dryer drive motor. The drive motor turns the belt that rotates the dryer drum. It also rotates the blower fan wheel to circulate air through the dryer drum. If the drive motor fails, the drum or blower wheel might struggle to rotate, or the drum may not turn at all. Replace a failed drive motor with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

The video below shows a gas dryer, but the repair is the same for electric. These directions work for replacing the drive motor in Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, Roper, Crosley and Estate dryers with a lint screen housing located in the top cabinet panel.

Quick links
Tools required
Nut driver set
Phillips screwdriver
Putty knife
Slot screwdriver
Vacuum cleaner or shop vac
Wrench set - SAE
Adjustable wrenches
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
90 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
90 minutes or less
Replacing a drive motor in a dryer

This video explains how to replace the drive motor in a dryer.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the power

    Unplug the dryer. If it's a gas dryer, shut off the gas.

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

  2. 02.

    Raise the cabinet top

    Pull the lint screen out of the housing in the top panel of the dryer.

    Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the 2 screws that secure the lint screen housing to the top panel. To release the clips that lock the top of the dryer in place, push a putty knife under the lid near the left and right edges of the front of the dryer.

    Lift the top and prop it securely against the wall behind the dryer.

    Remove the lint screen.

    Remove the lint screen.

    Remove the lint screen housing screws.

    Remove the lint screen housing screws.

    Release the panel locking clips.

    Release the panel locking clips.

    Lift the top panel.

    Lift the top panel.

  3. 03.

    Remove the front panel

    Use a slot screwdriver to release the locking tab on the wire harness plug for the door switch. Disconnect the wire harness. Use a 5/16-inch nut driver to remove the front panel mounting screws from the inside of the cabinet.

    Pull the front panel forward slightly, and then lift and unhook it from the 2 bottom hangers.

    Pull the front panel off of the dryer and set it aside.

    Disconnect the wire harness for the door switch.

    Disconnect the wire harness for the door switch.

    Remove the front panel mounting screws.

    Remove the front panel mounting screws.

    Remove the front panel.

    Remove the front panel.

  4. 04.

    Remove the drum

    Note the configuration of the belt on the idler pulley and the motor pulley before removing it—take a digital picture of it so you know how to reinstall it.

    Push the idler pulley to the right to release tension on the drive belt. Pull the drive belt off of the idler pulley and the motor pulley.

    Pull the drum out of the dryer and set it aside.

    Tip: Use the drive belt that you just released from the pulleys to lift the drum up and out of the dryer cabinet.
    Release the drive belt.

    Release the drive belt.

    Remove the drum.

    Remove the drum.

  5. 05.

    Remove the motor clamps

    Use a slot screwdriver to pry out and release the mounting clamps on the front and rear sides of the drive motor. Remove the clamps and set them aside.

    Release the motor clamps.

    Release the motor clamps.

    Remove the motor clamps.

    Remove the motor clamps.

  6. 06.

    Loosen the blower wheel

    Place a 13/16-inch wrench or adjustable wrench on the back of the blower wheel that's behind the drive motor.

    Place a 7/16-inch wrench or adjustable wrench on the flat portion of the drive shaft at the front of the motor.

    Rotate the drive motor shaft clockwise (the blower wheel is reverse threaded) while holding the blower wheel stationary to loosen it.

    Loosen the blower wheel.

    Loosen the blower wheel.

  7. 07.

    Remove the back panel

    Lower the top panel and move the dryer forward so that you can remove the back panel.

    Remove the screws from the back panel, then remove the back panel from the dryer and set it aside.

    Remove the back panel screws.

    Remove the back panel screws.

    Remove the back panel from the dryer.

    Remove the back panel from the dryer.

  8. 08.

    Remove the blower wheel

    Remove the mounting screws from the air duct. Pull the air duct off and set it aside.

    Spin the blower wheel clockwise to remove it from the drive motor shaft. If the motor shaft turns with the blower wheel, hold the motor shaft stationary.

    Remove the air duct mounting screws.

    Remove the air duct mounting screws.

    Remove the air duct.

    Remove the air duct.

    Remove the blower wheel.

    Remove the blower wheel.

  9. 09.

    Remove the motor

    Use a slot screwdriver to release the locking tab. Pull the wire harness out of the plug on the motor. Pull out the drive motor.

    Release the motor harness locking tab.

    Release the motor harness locking tab.

    Remove the wires from the drive motor.

    Remove the wires from the drive motor.

    Remove the drive motor from the dryer.

    Remove the drive motor from the dryer.

  10. 10.

    Install the new motor

    Put the new motor into place and make sure the locator tab on the new motor is properly inserted into the slot on the front mounting bracket.

    Line up the wire harness plug in front of the connector on the motor. Push it down and into place, making sure the locking tab engages.

    Tip: While the cabinet is open, vacuum the dust and lint from inside the dryer cabinet.
    Engage the motor locator tab with the mounting bracket slot.

    Engage the motor locator tab with the mounting bracket slot.

  11. 11.

    Reinstall the blower wheel

    Thread the blower wheel back onto the motor shaft. Spin it counterclockwise to tighten it. Then use the wrenches to tighten the blower wheel on the motor shaft.

    To avoid overtightening the blower wheel, turn the wrenches until they stop and then apply moderate force to tighten the blower wheel on the shaft.

    Position the front and rear mounting clamps on the motor and snap them into place on the mounting bracket.

    Push the air duct into place and line up the mounting screw holes. Insert the mounting screws and tighten them firmly.

  12. 12.

    Reattach the back panel

    Position the back panel on the back of the dryer.

    Line up the mounting screw holes, insert the mounting screws and tighten them firmly.

  13. 13.

    Reinstall the drum

    Lift the top panel and prop it securely against the back wall.

    Place the rear of the drum on top of the support roller that's on the rear panel inside the dryer cabinet. Lift the front of the drum to access the drive motor and idler pulley.

    Referring to the digital picture of the configuration, thread the drive belt through the idler pulley.

    Push the idler pulley to the right and loop the drive belt over the motor pulley.

  14. 14.

    Reinstall the front panel

    Position the front panel on the hangers at the bottom of the cabinet.

    Line up the mounting holes and reinstall the screws in the top of the front panel to secure it to the dryer cabinet.

    Plug the wire harness back into the plug on the door switch. Make sure the locking tab engages properly.

  15. 15.

    Reassemble the top panel

    Lower the top panel and snap it into place.

    Reinstall the screws in the lint duct housing and reinstall the lint screen.

  16. 16.

    Restore power to the dryer

    Plug the dryer into the wall outlet. If it's a gas dryer, turn on the gas supply to the dryer.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all dryers

Choose a symptom to see related dryer repairs.

Main causes: door switch failure, lack of power, broken belt, blown thermal fuse, bad drive motor, control system failure
Main causes: clogged exhaust system, heating system failure, deposits on moisture sensor, control system failure
Main causes: bad drum support roller, damaged idler pulley, broken blower fan blade, worn drum glide bearing, bad drive motor
Main causes: bad gas valve coils, broken heating element, tripped safety thermostat or fuse, bad operating thermostat, control failure
Main causes: bad timer or electronic control board, door switch failure
Main causes: lack of electrical power, bad power cord, wiring failure, bad control board, blown thermal fuse, bad door switch
Main causes: clogged exhaust vent, bad motor relay, loose dryer door catch, bad door switch, control system failure, faulty drive motor
Main causes: damaged door strike, worn door catch

Repair guides common to all dryers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dryer.

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