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I have a Kenmore gas Dryer model #11072812101, it is not heating/drying most of the time, sometimes I can hear the burner ignite but not all the time. Can I fix this myself or should I buy a new dryer?

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The choice is yours. Spend several hundred dollars for a new appliance. Or, spend about $22 for a new igniter. The burner assembly on your dryer has an electric igniter that ignites the gas. The intermittent operation of your burner tells me that the igniter probably has become weak with age and is no longer functioning properly. The part number is 279311 and can be purchased at pcappliancerepair.com.

The way the ignition system on your dryer is supposed to work is like this:

1. Press the start button.
2. The igniter on the burner assembly begins to glow.
3. Once the igniter reaches the required current potential, the gas safety valve opens.
4. Gas is introduced into the manifold and you have ignition.

NOTE: It can take roughly 30 – 90 seconds from the time you press start to the time it takes for the gas to ignite.

This is a built in safety feature that prevents free flowing gas from entering the dryer cabinet without ignition. Such a situation could lead to an explosion.

There are two basic types of igniters:

Carborundum (Cylindrical in shape) – needs to produce 2.5 to 3.0 ampsI have a Kenmore gas Dryer model #11072812101, it - 2.gif for the gas safety valve to work.
Norton (Rectangular in shape) – needs to produce 3.2 to 3.7 amps for the gas safety valve to work.

I believe your dryer takes the Norton type igniter. In addition, just because an igniter glows, does not mean it is good. Igniters will wear out with age and the current potential will decrease to the point where it no longer will open the gas safety valve.

Now...another cause of poor heating quality and longer dry times is poorly istalled, kinked, or clogged dryer exhaust ventilation ducting. If you have not checked the dryer ducting from where it exits the dryer to the point where it leaves your home, now may be a good time to do so. A dryer needs proper ventilation in order to dry efficiently.

You can easily replace the igniter by performing the following steps:

1. UNPLUG the dryer and remove the lint screen.
2. With the lint screen removed, locate and remove the two screws and lift the top panel.
3. Unplug the door switch connector plug and any ground wire that may be installed on the casing.
4. Locate the two screws that hold the front panel in place. There should be one screw on each side in the cabinet interior.
5. With the door shut, lean against the front panel and remove the two screws that hold it in place. Once the screws are removed, grasp the front panel at the top center and lift straight up to remove.

You should now have complete access to the dryer interior. You may want to remove the dryer drum if you canot fully access the igniter. If so, release the belt tension on the drum by taking the small idler pulley on the cabinet floor and pulling the wheel to the right. While the tension is released, remove the belt from the drive motor pulley. Leave the belt wrapped around the drum and lift the entire drum with it to remove from the cabinet. You now have full access to the burner assembly to replace the igniter. All you should have to do is disconnect the connector plug and a couple of mounting screws.

Once you have the igniter installed, you need to re-install the drum and belt by following these steps:

1. With the belt still looped around the dryer drum (grooved side facing the drum - try to line the belt up with the wear marks already on the drum from the belt) lift the drum with the belt and insert the back rim of the drum onto the support rollers in the rear of the dryer first.

2. With the drum resting on the rollers, slowly turn the drum clockwise until the rollers seat into the rear drum groove. You should feel the drum drop into place once it seats correctly.

3. Hold the drum in place (you can do this by resting it against your shoulder so you have both hands free) and make sure the idler pulley is correctly installed in the cabinet floor. With the tensioner in your left hand, insert the clip end of the idler pulley into the grooves on the dryer bottom casing with the idler wheel pointing to your left. (The grooves are directly in front of the drive motor.)

4. While holding the tensioner in place, insert the belt UNDER the wheel with your right hand and pull it up and over the drive motor pulley.

If this does not explain it well enough, you can also verify by going to repairclinic.com. Click on the Repair Help link and look for the "Dryer Belt Diagrams" link under the Special Features section on the next page. Look for Whirlpool and refer to diagram H.

Once you have the belt installed, re-install the dryer front panel by holding it as you did previously. Line up the holes on the inside bottom edge of the front panel with the small mounting cleats on the front edge of the side panels. This can be done by yourself, but an assist may make it easier. Once you have the front panel in place, lean against it to hold it in place and install the mounting screws. NOTE: Don't forget to reconnect the grounding wire and door switch connector plug. Without the door switch connected, the dryer will not run. Lower the top panel back in place and reinstall the two screws.

NOTE: Placing a piece of duct tape over the dryer vent chute will help safeguard against dropping anything down in the blower fan assembly. If you drop any screws down the chute, you will need to remove the dryer back panel to retrieve them.

I know this is rather lengthy, so take your time and read thoroughly. This is not a difficult repair at all. If you still have questions, please let me know. I hope you find this helpful.

Posted on Sep 08, 2009

  • Jeff Rockwell
    Jeff Rockwell Sep 08, 2009

    NOTE: For clarification, your Kenmore dryer is manufactured by Whirlpool.

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