wiring problem with dryer

billynNovember 18, 2011

I have an old-faithful dryer(a Sears dryer) that has been repaired several times and continues working well. It now has a problem with the wiring to the heating element. The wire (only one, and the same one x3 now) chars and breaks off from the connector ~1/4 to 1/2" from the connector. The connectors are crimp on, spade type connnectors (all are the same and no others have this problem) When replaced everyhing works well for months then it recurs. The last time I thought that the wire may not have been a high temp wire so replaced it with a section of the wire I cut from the lead to the other connection to the element but it has since happened again. The thermostats all show no problems when tested. Could the heating element be the cause of this problem? Any suggestions?

Thanks for your holp.

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You may have a problem with the wall plug that is causing the drier cord plug to overheat. If a connection in the wall part of the plug (female end) is intermittent and causes sparking when the connection comes and goes (you may not notice a problem with the drier) it will overheat the plug. Hope this fixes your problem but be careful troubleshooting the wall plug....220 volts is nothing to experiment with!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:50PM
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Agree with johnorange. If you have questions like this about 220v, don't mess with it. Unless you, personally, have knowledge, experience, and competence, hire somebody who does.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 6:42PM
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Thanks for the info but it is the internal wiring that powers the heating element for the dryer that I am having problems with. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:16AM
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The heating element itself probably is not the cause but suggest you examine it to confirm it's not having a problem of some ilk. I've seen elements broken but with the ends touching enough to make it work, which can cause increased resistance. Also check all the wire connections in the machine, including the cord terminal block.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 10:16AM
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GW also has "electrical wiring" forum. Maybe mo/betta responses there.

You said: "The wire (only one, and the same one x3 now) chars and breaks off from the connector ~1/4 to 1/2" from the connector."

Charring = evidence of heat = evidence of resistance. Would seem to me to indicate restriction of current flow which is typically due to inadequate wire size or, more likely from your description, bad crimp/contact to the spade. From your description of the symptom happening at only this one spot, that's what it sounds like to me. Good, clean wire of proper size plus good clean spade plus competent crimp/contact should prevent this. If it doesn't, something else is going on.

Since you say this has happened three times, I would also be suspicious of the wire itself. Could be broken strands in there hidden by the insulation. Given your previous failures, perhaps replacing that entire strand in addition to verifying connection integrity would be a good idea.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Just a "guess" but if a connector isn't tight enough, when 220v current at 30 amps is applied, the connector will spark, and eventually burn up the wire feeding it. These clamp-on connectors usually have a spec that requires tightening down with a torque wrench or a type of tool that looks like pliars, but has a gauge so you know how much pressure you're applying. Some of these also have a hole for a long-ago misplaced bolt/nut assembly which then is used/applied under specific pressure via a torque wrench. I suspect your clamp-on connector is not being tightened enough to form the solid contact under vibration (motor running and the drum turning) and the electricity itself heating and cooling this connection all the time as it cycles on and off.

In most power panels today, the feeds from 220 breakers to the various appliances HAVE to be tightened with a measurable pressure tool to get the warranty to be valid. And the FEED wires where the power comes in from the pole or underground MUST BE INSTALLED WITH A TORQUE WRENCH for the same reason. Micro sparking can still destroy metal given a little time. You may be creating a mini-arc welder if this isn't tightened down right, and that "mini arc welder" is destroying the wire and the connector it's in.

Find a buddy who knows what he's doing with 220v power, and check your Sears online service specs to find out what kind of connector is required here and HOW it must be applied to prevent sparking/shorting if only on a microscopic level. The answers will be there. Just follow the instructions to the letter! Good LUCK! And for heaven's sake, be careful and disconnect everything at the breaker and the plug BEFORE you open this up and service it!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 11:43PM
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