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I have a Kenmore/Whirlpool dryer that a week ago stopped working. The motor and timing would work, but there was no heat produced. I disassembled the entire dryer and vacuumed and brushed every nook and cranny of lint.

I order several an entire set of thermostats, including a heating element. When I opened the back of the dryer, I noticed one of the leads to the running thermostat was burned off and the thermostat was charred and deformed. I tested the thermostat for continuity and it read OK. I respliced the wire and still no heat. I tested all the other thermostats and heater coils, including the motor switch and they all passed. I even went as far as testing the timer, which was also OK. I had a hard time believing the molten thermostat was defective when everything I read said that if it has continuity, then it should work.

Finally, I gave in and replaced only the charred thermostat and it worked. A few days later, the dryer stopped working again, Same problem. I open the dryer and retested all the thermostats and heater. Everything was OK. I also tested the leads at the main circuit breaker and the leads to the dryer.

Figuring at least one of the other thermostats has a false positive, I replaced them all, including the main fuse. It worked again and I thought I conquered the problem. Today, I did a load and found my clothes still damp. I turned on the dryer waited a few seconds and again, no heat.

The obvious question is, what can be possibly be wrong? I never replaced the heating coils, but there was no need to. The only thing I could remotely see wrong was some fine soot on the heating element wires on one side. Could this be a hot spot? I was also puzzled by how the dryer thermostats never read bad. Yes, I did disconnect one of the leads. Obviously, the troubleshooting steps are wrong.

I am at my wits end and a new dryer is out of the question. This dryer worked well for at least two decades and I am determind to solve this problem.

EDIT

I opened the dryer and tested all of the thermostats and one of the new ones installed above the coils failed. It had no continuity. I replaced it and now it works. What could be causing the thermostats to fail? I should also add that the ducts are totally clean and unobstructed.

My guess is that the replacement parts are of shoddy quality. They were very cheap compared to the ones at Sears. $18 for all thermostats and a fuse versus $29 for just the one that was bad. I am worried that that there may be an electrical problem, venting problem (no changes) or the coil is overheating.

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Clean the built up lint from your vent duct, and also from inside the dryer - from duct connection in the back, to the lint screen.

I bet they are packed.. dryers need to breathe to heat up the air inside, otherwise, the only things heating up are wires and electronics, eventually your house too. Plugged dryer vents cause house fires. Clean the coils in your fridge and freezers as well.

  • I forgot to mention it, but I had practically dismantled the dryer and throughly scrubbed the insides of all lint and vacuumed everything. – user148298 Sep 2 '16 at 14:38
  • @user148298 - Right, but did you clean the dryer vent duct that typically spans from the dryer to the outside of the house? – user56530 Sep 2 '16 at 14:58
  • LOL! That was the easy part. The duct is only 2 feet long and was clean and unobstructed. – user148298 Sep 2 '16 at 15:00
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So if venting isn't an issue, there are only a few possibilities. Your problem is either air movement, or electrical.

It sounds to be like you're building up too much heat and/or have a damaged/worn out motor. It's been a long time a nice I've operated on a dryer, but if the hot air from the coils isn't being pulled into the tumbler then you'll start getting sensor faults. Also, a motor which is too worn out will leak black or rust colored powder (which is usually magnet or conductor dust).

As a final point, a damaged motor can cause huge voltage and amperage flux. This could (depending on thermostat design) cause them to become fused and not trip when they should which will, in turn, cause overheating and further damage.

At this point I'd definitely recommend inspecting the motors and make sure that everything is spinning properly. Mainly make sure that any motors rotate quietly and smoothly. Otherwise you probably have shot bearings which will again cause voltage and amperage fluctuation in a bad way. Although usually bad motor bearings will cause a fuse to blow... so it's probably a fully failed motor.

Additionally If your dryer has seen 20+ years of use, I would expect that it needs more than just some fuses and thermostats to be replaced.

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One of the new thermostats I purchased turned out to be defective. I discovered it by shorting each one and testing the dryer for heat. Apparently, testing for continuity isn't adequate as it gave me a false reading. I have since replaced it with the original one I kept as a spare. All works fine and my clothes are none dry.

Continuity testing thermostats are inconclusive, but are a good starting point. If you still have no heat and all roads lead to the thermostats then try bypassing each one until you find the culprit.

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