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You are absolutely correct. Replacing the felt seals will definitely solve the problem and you have to look forward to replacing the same in another 4 years. The seals are sold as pair as you need to replace both but they are cheap and easy to replace. The only hard part is getting to the seals as you need to get the top and the front panels then the drum itself to get to the rear seal.
I would suggest replacing the front drum bearing. Sounds like the gap is now excessive, obviously allowing clothes to get caught up in there. Drum must be removed from the dryer to do this. Good luck, hope this helps.
Apparently a common problem with 4-5 year old Kenmore and Whirlpool dryers. The paint is rubbed off the back panel by the felt seal attached to the rotating drum. The bare metal gets rusty from the damp clothes. The rust is rubbed off by the felt seal. The entire felt seal will turn brown. The stains are transfered to the clothes. The rust stains can generally be removed by additional cleaning.
I'm going to replace the felt seal on the drum, clean the rust off the back panel and see how long it lasts. Seal w/ adhesive is $30-40.
Some have suggested painting the back panel, but i don't think fresh paint is going to last long. The original paint was probably electrostatically applied and maybe baked on.
ck rear (or front if it has one)drum seals they tend to develop rust stains over time the rust comes off on clothes leaving brown streaks ..seals will need to be replaced although you may try a bleach and water solution first drum will need to be removed to replace seals
It could be rust stains coming from the tub of the dryer during the drying cycle. The only concern is that rust stains are usually brown streaks on the clothes. I'd check the to make sure there are no rust stains on the tub, check the seal of the door to make sure its still in good condition. The last possibilty could be a good cleaning of the dryer (removing lint from the lint screen compartment and the tub of the dryer).
A schematic of your dryer can be found on www3.sears.com and should show how to get into your lint screen compartment and your tub.
The 417 dryers have two seals on the front panel, the top seal has drum glides which wear down over time. Because the drum rests on those glides, when it wears down it leaves a gap between the drum and the seal, clothes will drag in that gap and come out with rust and/or seal adhesive stains. Try replacing the top and lower seals, this works most of the time...sometimes though, if left unattended long enough, the lack of support from the front glides causes too much strain on the rear drum bearing, and even after replacing the seals clothes may still catch, although the brown spotting will stop for awhile. You can feel the gap if you run your hand along the inside of the drum at the seal point.