fast help ~ changing 3 prong dryer pigtail to 4 prong

newhomebuilderAugust 5, 2007

Got a call from my son, who is off at college and is attempting to change a 3 pong dryer pigtail to a 4 prong. He has the wires in the correct position (black and red wires are on either side of the center white wire.) However, the grounding screw is stripped and he cannot unscrew it to attach the grounding wire. He also tried loosening the screw with pliers, to no avail!

Can he ground the wire to another (unused) screw on the back of the dryer? He is waiting for me to return with an answer, so I hope someone is on the board this afternoon.

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randy427

It may not conform to the UL certification of the dryer, but a good connection to any part of the chassis will do the job for a ground connection.
BTW, when wired for a 3-prong cord, neutral is connected to chassis ground on the dryer. This connection must be removed when installing a 4-prong cable.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 7:32PM
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DavidR

Best bet would be to drill & tap a new hole for a ground screw.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 7:46PM
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jim24

You can always JB Weld a crappy screwdriver in place to get the old screw out. Saves re-tapping the hole.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 8:20PM
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newhomebuilder

LOL I have no idea of half of what y'all are saying! Doesn't really matter, though. My son called me back and said that he tried to plug the 4 prong into the 4 prong outlet and it doesn't fit! No one told us that there are different sized 4 prong pigtails. My son is calling an electrician tomorrow.
Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:06PM
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cobraguy

Smart kid. Guess that's why he's in college!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:20AM
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mike13

Re: "BTW, when wired for a 3-prong cord, neutral is connected to chassis ground on the dryer. "

Ground is connected to chassis ground, there is no neutral.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 9:19AM
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mike13

My bad. Info above is wrong. I was thinking 240V service equipment.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 9:27AM
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newhomebuilder

My son called his landlord to get a recommendation for an electrician. The landlord came up to take a look at the dryer cord. She discovered that Home Depot sold my son's housemate a RANGE cord, instead of Dryer cord. Neither bothered to look at the package. LOL Guess that's why my son needs to go to college.

Anyway, my son will attempt to try a new pigtail, but will still have the problem of the grounding wire. Once again, will it be safe to ground the wire to another screw that doesn't seem to have any real function?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:32AM
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brickeyee

Another chassis screw would be acceptable if it is the same size or larger than the original screw, and a machine screw (NOT a self tapping sheet metal screw).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 9:08PM
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newhomebuilder

Great thanks!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 9:27PM
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newhomebuilder

Son got it all hooked up. Turned it on and used it, but says that it smelled like something was burning for awhile. Is this normal for a machine with new parts?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 9:39PM
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DavidR

THere may have been a bit of contamination on the heating element - oil or some other material.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 11:55PM
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newhomebuilder

Good thought!

The machines were reconditioned from a repair man that I have used for years.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 3:13PM
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