Whirlpool Dryer Rubbing Noise

Model #LEW0050PQ3, this small 24 inch electric dryer had started to make a rubbing sound while in use. The noise seemed to come and go while in use, but was definitely getting worse with time. Due to it’s location inside a closet, and stacked on top of the washer, it was difficult to determine the source of the noise, so professional help was brought in, which happened to be me.

It is not uncommon for a dryer to make noise, simply due to the mechanical nature of their design, and the environment they work within. Tumbling a heavy load of damp clothes through varying temperatures all while drawing in large quantities of dust filled air can really put a strain on anything mechanical. But the nice thing is, most are relatively easy to work on, and if you pay attention to the noise it is making, the source can usually be found rather quickly.

To do this, I usually suggest listening to the frequency of the noise to help locate the source. A noise that repeats very quickly will be associated with something small like an idler roller, support rollers, and support bearings. Noises the repeat more slowly, such as with each drum rotation, will have some association with the drum itself. With this information and getting your ears into the search, locating which one of the dryer parts has failed, is as simple as paying attention.

Now it’s not always that easy, especially if your dryer is stacked and located in a closet, but the process works the same, it just requires more preparation. With this dryer, I started a test cycle and after the running for about 5 minuets, a distinct slow rubbing sound could be heard from the back of the dryer. It’s sometimes easier to tell location if you put your ear on the dryer much like a stethoscope. The noise repeated with every drum rotation, giving me enough information to figure this dryer needed a new rear seal.

Most dryer drums will use a felt or felt/rubber type seal to help with airflow, and to prevent clothing items from becoming stuck between the drum and the edge of the dryer. This dryer uses a seal that is rubber to create the seal with the rear panel, and uses a felt portion that rides against the back of the drum. It works very well, until something changes, or it simply fails from age and temperature.

With the dryer down on the floor where I could work on it, I removed the rear panel to get to the mechanical parts of this dryer. The drum is attached in the back, and rides on a nylon glide which must be removed first or the panel will not come off. Once I had the panel pulled away, I could see in the lower corner how the felt was compressed exposing the rubber behind it. By rotating the drum, I found the exact spot that was contacting the seal and it looked as if the metal in drum had been pushed out just enough to apply more pressure to the seal. Something as simple as drying shoes without other clothes could cause this kind of damage.

The repair was to simply pop the drum back into its original shape, and to replace the rear seal. A little cleaning here and there to remove excess lint, and then put it all back together. Once the dryer was back on top of the washer, a test load was started, but now the only sounds from the dryer were those we are familiar with.

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