Fixing your Whirlpool dryer timer

For probably close to a year now, our dryer has failed to shut off on its own. We discovered this one night in the wee hours when laundry that had been started before bedtime was still going hours later. Ever since then, we’ve just been very careful about shutting the dryer off manually. This has no doubt cost us lots of energy, as if you forget for an hour to turn it off, you continue to consume gas that winds up adding up to a $350 January power bill. Finally, prompted by my friend Dave’s repair of his washing machine, I googled around a bit and diagnosed the problem as a bad timer. If you start a timed drying cycle and the timer dial doesn’t ever move, chances are that your timer is busted.

My dryer is a Whirlpool model LER5620KQ1, and I was able to find schematics and an online distributor whom i ultimately didn’t patronize because I wasn’t confident the transaction would be secure. When I called the number listed on the site, I got the wholesaler that drop ships parts to the distributor, and I wound up buying from them. I placed the order yesterday morning, and the part arrived (with standard shipping) today shortly after lunch (I think they shipped from Alabama, and I gather there must be a direct route from some UPS hub there to one in Knoxville). This evening, I installed the part, and I now have a dryer that stops when it’s supposed to.

The install was easy but would have been much easier with a hex nut screwdriver. First, you take six or sevens small hex screws out of a panel on the back of the dryer (not terribly efficient when you have to use a pair of pliers to do it because you don’t have a wrench small enough) and remove the panel. Then you pull the timer knob off the front and remove a screw that anchors the timer in from the front. Next you remove two screws anchoring the timer in from behind. Then you look at the seven or eight colored wires and start to go look for some paper to draw a diagram on when you notice that conveniently taped to the horizontal surface inside the back of the washer is a little sheet of schematics that includes a diagram of how the timer wires should connect. I had a little trouble pulling the wires off of the timer because I was afraid I’d break them with brute force, but ultimately I just had to be a little less ginger with the connectors. Once I got the wires off, it was a quick matter of attaching them to the new timer and reversing the disassembly process. It took me 20 – 30 minutes  start to finish but would have taken five minutes had I had the hex screwdriver and not been afraid to give the wires a good firm pull to disconnect.

The part costs around $60 (plus shipping) and would have cost about the same (minus shipping but plus 9.25% sales tax) from a local shop that was out of my way and would have required me to miss work to drive to during their business hours.

It’s been a Mr. Fixit kind of week for me, as last weekend I installed a new faucet in our half bath, replaced air filters throughout the house, replaced the water filter in our fridge, and purchased materials to insulate our hot water heater in a continuing battle against the high cost of not living a miserable cold existence. I now hear a smoke detector chirping at me as if to remind me that if I don’t divert some attention its way, my existence may wind up very warm indeed.

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