Proper Operation
Learn how your appliance is supposed to operate so you can determine if it is malfunctioning.

  • Visit our sponsor for parts:

Drive Motor Thermal Protector

The drive motor turns the blower and the drum. Overload protection is provided by a thermal protector embedded in the motor windings. The thermal protector is actually a thermostat in series with both the run and start windings. If the motor temperature exceeds a preset level or draws excessive current, the protector will open and motor will simply stop. There is nothing you can do to reset the switch except wait for the motor to cool down. You should allow about 30 to 45 minutes for cool-down to take place. The dryer will not start by itself when the protector resets. If the dryer starts again after it cooled off and you pushed the start button, it was overheating prior to the shutdown.

Likely causes include worn drum bearings coupled with too many clothes in the dryer, the motor run winding that is beginning to short out, 'tight' motor bearings or possibly the motor air vent ports plugged with lint, restricting air movement through the motor.

Worn drum bearing surfaces next to the door, at the rear of the drum and in the rollers at the rear and underneath the drum will make noise when they are failing. The most likely cause of motor overheating is a dying motor. The run winding insulation can break down and cause the windings to short out. Eventually the motor current goes up along with the temperature in the windings. Resistive heat causes the resistance in the windings to go up further which generates more heat for the same motor current. This all leads to a spiraling motor heating problem until the internal thermal overload switch trips. A motor whose windings are shorting out will signal its plight when it starts up. If you hear a 60 cycle buzzing sound when the motor starts, it may be slowly dying.

If your dryer is stopping before it is finished drying and nothing happens when you push the start button, wait 30 minutes to an hour and try to start it again. If it restarts after a cool-down with the buzzing sound, you are a candidate for replacing the motor. The procedure for replacing the motor is as follows:

Replacing the Dryer Motor

  2. If you have a lower access panel, remove it by pulling the top towards you and lifting it off the two lower support brackets.
  3. Remove the lint filter and the two screws that were under it.
  4. Pull the dryer away from the wall.
  5. (Figure 1) Get a putty knife and slide it in between the top and the cabinet about 2.5" in from each corner to release the clips holding the top down. Push in and pull up on the knife to release the clips. Don't use a screwdriver for this step or you will damage the dryer finish.
  6. (Figure 2) Get a 5/16" nutdriver and lift the top up. You can rest the top on your head for this step. Reach in and remove the wires from the door switch. Mark them if there a three wires. Remove the clip holding the door switch wires. Replace the clip after removing the wires. Remove the two 5/16" sheet metal screws inside and near the top on both sides of the front panel.
  7. (Figure 3) Now pull the top of the front panel towards you until the drum drops out of the front bearing. Lift the front panel clear of the two clips at the two lower corners. Lower the top.
  8. (Figure 4) Lay down on the floor in front of the dryer and grasp the idler pulley in your left hand. Push the idler pulley back to the right and slip the belt off the motor pulley with your right hand. Remove the idler pulley by lifting it out of its mounting slot ( you may have to move it slightly to the right).
  9. (Figure 5) Leave the belt on the drum. Grasp the drum and work it out of the cabinet. Slide it through the rounded cutouts in cabinet side panels. You may want to put on a pair of gloves for this step to keep from cutting up your hands on the sharp edges. Set the drum aside.
  10. Mark the wires leading to the motor and remove them from the start switch terminals on the front of the motor. You don't have to remove the wires coming to the start switch from inside the motor.
  11. (Figure 6) If you have a dryer that is less than 5 or 6 years old, you may have a connector on the motor that disconnects all the wires at once. Remove this connector as shown:
  12. Place an open-end wrench on the square shouldered portion of the blower on the rear motor shaft. Slide another open-end wrench onto the pulley and turn it CLOCKWISE to loosen the blower. The fan is screwed onto the motor shaft with a left-hand tread.
  13. Spin the shaft clockwise until the blower wheel is free. Leave it resting in the blower housing.
  14. (Figure 7) Find the largest flat blade screwdriver that you have and position the end into the curved end of the front motor mount clamp. Push down and pry out to release the clamp. Repeat this step for the rear clamp. A nutdriver works OK too but requires more strength. Remove the green ground wire from the motor and lift the motor out of the mounting cradle.
  15. Most new motors nowadays come with a new belt pulley but if your motor doesn't, loosen the set screw holding the original pulley on the shaft and slide the pulley off the shaft of the old motor.
  16. Put the old pulley on the new motor if it didn't come with one.
  17. Place the threaded end of the motor shaft into the blower wheel and start the threads by hand. Turn the shaft COUNTERCLOCKWISE. Position the motor in the mounting cradle. Hook one side of the rear motor mount clamp and push the other side down over the cradle hook using a large screwdriver or a nutdriver. Repeat for the front clamp.
  18. Replace the motor wires or snap on the connector if you have one. Inspect the drum rollers and replace them if you see any signs of bearing wear.
  19. (Figure 8) Position the drum back onto the rear rollers. Check the condition of the idler pulley bearing. If you see any sign of excessive wear, replace the idler assembly. Slide the foot of the idler pulley spring into its slot and push it down to secure it. Check the belt to insure that the grooves are to the inside and the belt is not twisted. Loop the belt through the slot under the idler pulley, swing the pulley to the right and loop the belt around the motor pulley. Release the idler pulley. Check to see if the belt is lined up perpendicular to the shaft so that the belt won't jump off the pulley when you start the dryer.
  20. Lift the top (hold it on your head again), position the front panel on the two lower 5/16" screws, replace the door switch wires and retainer clip, lift the front of the drum onto the front bearings and replace the two 5/16" screws securing the front panel to the cabinet. Lower the cabinet top and lock it down. Replace the lower access panel if you had one. Replace the lint filter chute screws and slide the filter back in. Plug the dryer in and check for proper operation.

Figure 1 (Return)

Clip LocationPutty Knife

Figure 2 (Return)

Remove wires from door switch

Figure 3 (Return)

Dryer Drum

Figure 4 (Return)

Belt off

Figure 5 (Return)

Motor Connector Off

Figure 6 (Return)

Loosen Blower

Figure 7 (Return)

Motor Clamps 1 ~ OR ~ Motor Clamps 2

Figure 8 (Return)

Motor and Idler pulley assembly