August 1, 2014

How to replace a dryer idler pulley

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dryer idler pulley

This DIY dryer repair guide explains how to replace a dryer idler pulley. The spring-loaded idler pulley keeps the belt tight so the belt can grip and rotate the drum during the drying cycle. A worn or damaged idler pulley squeals or squeaks when the dryer is running. Because typical machine oils collect dust, lubricating the idler pulley only makes the problem worse. If the idler pulley makes noise when the dryer is running, replace it with the manufacturer-approved dryer part.

The video below shows an electric dryer, but the repair process is the same for gas. Follow these steps to replace the idler pulley 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
Vacuum cleaner or shop vac
work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
90 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
90 minutes or less
Replacing an idler pulley in a dryer

This video explains how to replace the idler pulley 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.

    PHOTO: Remove the lint screen.

    PHOTO: Remove the lint screen.

    PHOTO: Remove the lint screen housing screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the lint screen housing screws.

    PHOTO: Release the panel locking clips.

    PHOTO: Release the panel locking clips.

    PHOTO: Lift the top panel.

    PHOTO: 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.

    PHOTO: Disconnect the wire harness for the door switch.

    PHOTO: Disconnect the wire harness for the door switch.

    PHOTO: Remove the front panel mounting screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the front panel mounting screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the front panel.

    PHOTO: Remove the front panel.

  4. 04.

    Remove the idler pulley

    Take a digital picture of the configuration of the drive belt on the idler pulley and the motor pulley so you can install it correctly.

    Lift the front of the drum to access the drive motor and idler pulley.

    Push the idler pulley to the right to release tension on the drive belt.

    Release the drive belt from the drive motor pulley and pull it out of the idler pulley.

    Pull the idler pulley out of the bracket in the base of the dryer.

    PHOTO: Release the drive belt.

    PHOTO: Release the drive belt.

    PHOTO: Remove the idler pulley from the dryer.

    PHOTO: Remove the idler pulley from the dryer.

  5. 05.

    Install the new idler pulley

    Install the idler pulley in the bracket at the base of the dryer and thread the drive belt through the new idler pulley.

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

    Tip: While the cabinet is open, vacuum dust and lint from inside the dryer cabinet.
  6. 06.

    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.

  7. 07.

    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.

  8. 08.

    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: lack of electrical power, bad power cord, wiring failure, bad control board, blown thermal fuse, bad door switch
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: 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
Main causes: clogged exhaust system, heating system failure, deposits on moisture sensor, control system failure

Repair guides common to all dryers

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

How to install a thermal cut-off fuse kit in an electric dryer

The thermal cut-off fuse shuts off the heat if the dryer overheats when the high-limit thermostat fails. Install a thermal cut-off fuse kit to replace both parts.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to install a thermal cut-off fuse kit in a gas dryer

The thermal cut-off fuse shuts off the heat if the dryer overheats when the high-limit thermostat fails. The thermal cut-off fuse kit includes both parts.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
August 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dryer door switch

The dryer won't start if the door switch isn't working correctly. You can install a replacement dryer door switch in less than half an hour, following these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all dryers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your dryer.

August 4, 2020

Dryer not drying clothes? Could be fabric softener!

By Sears PartsDirect staff

If your dryer isn't drying clothes, it could be the lint screen is clogged with fabric softener. See how to wash the lint filter to get your dryer drying again.

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By Sears PartsDirect staff

This easy-to-follow advice helps your dryer run efficiently, so you spend less on energy and your clothes dry faster.

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How to repair broken or damaged wires video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

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