How To: Repair Your Squealing Dryer

How To: Repair Your Squealing Dryer

Does your dryer sound like the alien screaming in ‘Independence Day’? You know the scene I’m talking about. Where the alien has Data (Brent Spiner) in the glass operating room, and it starts screaming at Bill Pullman causing him to get a migraine? Well, before you go and spend a fortune on a technician, or buy a new dryer, I’d like to explain how to repair it yourself for a fraction of the cost.

The Squeal

Warning: If you have dogs, they may not like this video!

That is not a sound I enjoyed listening to every time I did laundry. I also didn’t want the dryer to start on fire. The first thing I did was check if it was still under warranty, but unfortunately it was not. I’ve heard that having a technician come in to repair appliances usually gets very expensive. I didn’t want to spend that kind of money so I decided to repair it myself. It’s not as hard as you think.

There are a few different components that will cause similar sounds. The rollers, which will cost you about $13.00 each (there are four of them). The idler pulley, which will cost about $25.00, and the dryer belt, which costs about $20.00. I decided to purchase the complete kit that included each item, and replace them all. It ended up costing me less at $51.00 after shipping and taxes. Pricing may be different depending on your model. Here is what you’ll need.

Note: I am not a certified technician, nor do I claim to be a professional of any kind. If you are uncomfortable attempting this repair on your own, contact a qualified professional for help. Do not proceed until you are confident that you can complete the task and clearly understand all the steps. See Disclaimer

The Tools

  • 1/4″ Nut Driver (or socket and ratchet)
  • 5/16″ Nut Driver (or socket and ratchet)
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Mini Flat-head Screwdriver
  • Heat Resistant Grease
  • Refreshing Beverage

Depending on the make and model of your dryer, the tools may vary. This repair was done on a Maytag front load electric dryer, model #YMEDZ400TQ2. You can usually find your model number on the inside of the dryer door. Only purchase replacement parts that fit your make and model. After a quick google search, I found my parts breakdown here.

Set aside about two or three hours to complete this job. It could take you less, but I was thorough and took my time. I also disassembled more than I may have needed to because I wanted easy access and better visibility.

Step 1: Prep

Clear the area around your dryer so you have space to work. Unplug the dryer from the outlet and carefully pull the dryer to disconnect it from the vent.

Step 2: Remove Top Panel

There should be two or three screws to remove, located at the back. Tilt the panel up and slide it towards the rear to release it from the front flange.

3 screws at back

top of dryer with panel removed

Step 3: Remove Front Control Console

There is a clip on each end of the console located at the back, which can be seen from inside the dryer. Start at the right hand clip by pressing it towards the outside of the dryer to release it.

view of side clip

Gently pull and twist upward on the console to release it from hidden clips at the top. You should be able to hear it release. Repeat for the left side.

front control panel

Disconnect the wiring from the control board on the inside of the dryer and safely set aside the console.

control panel wiring

Step 4: Remove Toe Panel

Remove the toe panel at the front of the dryer by unscrewing the bolts located at either end.

unscrew toe panel

remove toe panel

Step 5: Remove Front Panel

Open the dryer door and remove the two screws attached to the lint screen housing.

screws for lint housing

There will be four screws and two clips holding on the front panel. Remove the screws and gently pull panel to release the bottom clips. Don’t pull too far off because there will be wiring attached to the panel.

Front panel

Carefully unplug the wiring attached to the front panel. You may need to use a mini flat-head screwdriver to release the wiring plug.

Front panel wiring

front panel wiring plug

Step 6: Remove Lint Duct

Remove the lint duct located at the bottom front of the dryer by unscrewing the three bolts holding it in place.

lint duct

Make sure the lint screen is removed and pull the lint duct down and out. Be careful not to get caught on the lint screen housing.

lint duct removal

Step 7: Remove Front Bulkhead

Remove the front bulkhead by unscrewing the four bolts located at each corner of the bulkhead.

front bulkhead

Take note of the wiring before pulling the bulkhead off too far.

front bulkhead removed

If you flip the bulkhead over, you can see the front drum rollers that will be replaced. Unplug the wiring, and set aside the bulkhead for later.

front bulkhead rollers

Step 8: Remove Back Panel

Remove the terminal block cover to access the ground wire.

terminal cover

Remove the ground wire screwed into the back panel and unplug the main power wiring from the control board, located above the drum.

main power and ground

Unscrew the control board bracket.

control board bracket

There will be a clip holding the dryer exhaust in place which will need to be removed next.

exhaust clip

Finish removing the back panel by taking out all the necessary screws, both at the top and the back of the panel.

Step 9: Remove Drum

Now that the back panel is removed we have clear access to the belt pulley. Release the belt tension by pushing the idler bracket down towards the right and unhook the belt. Careful not to let go of the idler bracket as it is spring loaded.

idler pulley

To remove the drum we will need to remove the front console bracket. There will be four screws holding this in place. Two at the top corners, and one at either side of the front face.

console bracket

Lift the drum using the belt and remove it through the front of the dryer.

lifting drum

Take note of the belt location on the drum and replace with the new belt. Mine had visible markings left by the old belt.

belt markings on drum

Step 10: Remove Rollers and Idler Pulley

Now that the drum is removed, you should have lots of room to work on the rollers and pulley.

view inside dryer

Using needle nose pliers, remove the front retaining ring and then remove the roller.

roller and retaining ring

There is a second retaining ring located on the shaft behind the roller. Remove the retaining ring and repeat the steps for all four rollers.

back retaining ring

Remove the retaining ring holding the idler pulley in place.

pulley retainer

Take off the idler pulley and the washer that sits behind it.

As you can see from the pictures there is a lot of dust and stray lint everywhere. I would suggest vacuuming the area and all of the dryers components, but be careful not to catch a wire or accidentally suck up a screw you need for reassembly.

vacuum area

You are now on the home stretch, so take a break and have a cold beer! This step is optional of course, but for me it’s a necessary one. I’m actually surprised I didn’t start with it. In fact it reminded me that I didn’t even have music playing. Why am I not listening to music right now!? Let’s turn that on and continue.

mmmm beer

Step 11: Replace Rollers and Idler Pulley

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I decided to purchase the full replacement kit instead of troubleshooting each piece. This of course is up to you whether you want to do the same, or just buy the replacement for the defective part individually. While I was taking the dryer apart I did spin each item to see if I could recreate the squealing. What I found the culprit to be was the idler pulley. I also noticed black rubbery dust around the idler assembly that was most likely from the belt slipping on the pulley. You can find the replacement kit here.

Replacement kit

First put the inner retaining ring on each of the four roller shafts and snap them into the grooves. Next, get your heat resistant grease and apply it to the shafts.

inner retaining ring and grease

Put the new rollers on the shafts and lock them into place using the outer retaining rings.

roller on shaft and retaining ring

The same process should be taken for the idler pulley. Put the washer on first, then lock the pulley in place with the retaining ring. Remember to grease the shaft.

pulley washer and retaining ring

Double check your work to make sure all retaining rings are snapped into place and to make sure each roller and the pulley spins freely.

Step 12: Reassembly

The dryer is now ready to be reassembled. Lift the drum back inside the dryer making sure it is seated correctly on the rear bulkhead and rollers.

lift in drum

Reassemble the front bulkhead next, and again make sure the drum sits correctly on the rollers and bulkhead.

reassemble front bulkhead

Before continuing, spin the drum to ensure it spins freely. Also look to see that the drum seals are not pinched or twisted out of place. These are the carpet looking seals on each end of the drum. If everything appears to be good, put the belt back on the pulley, remembering to have the new belt located in the same position as the old, on the drum.

Continue to reassemble the dryer following the steps provided above in reverse order.

The Results

Well, that sounds a lot better now. Thanks for reading and hopefully this was a helpful and easy to follow tutorial. Please check out my other “How To” blogs and leave a comment below. If you would like me to write a blog on how to fix your broken junk, send me an email and I might be able to help.


Jeremy Steckly
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