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When it comes to appliance companies, GE is one of the best. They’re often an industry leader in innovation, new technology, and advancement. However, no matter how good GE’s appliances are, they’re never immune to issues. One of the most common issues that GE runs into is with their dryer belts tearing, fraying, or giving out.
If you have a GE dryer with a broken belt that needs to be replaced, you’ve come to the right place. As we said before, replacing your GE dryer belt is pretty tricky and in-depth, but it’s something you can do on your own to save money.
However, if you run into issues during the replacement, never be afraid to contact an appliance repair professional and have them perform the replacement.
Bottom Line Up Front:
While replacing a GE dryer belt is challenging work, it’s very doable if you have the right tools and know-how. You’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver, a willing helper, and the instructions in this article. To replace a GE dryer belt, you need to disassemble portions of the dryer to access the drum. Next, you’ll have to remove the belt from around the drum and install a new one.
What is the Dryer Belt’s Job?
Simply put, the job of the dryer belt is to spin the dryer drum in a circular motion, which in turn rotates your clothing. Without the dryer belt, the drum couldn’t spin, and your dryer would be unable to do its job. The belt works by wrapping around the dryer drum and gets looped into a pulley system. When the pulley applies tension to the belt, it forces it to spin, which in turn, spins the drum.
The dryer belt is a very small and seemingly insignificant component of your dryer. However, without it, your dryer is good for nothing and will essentially become a large paperweight because it won’t be able to do its job of drying your clothing.
How to Tell if Your Dryer Belt is Broken
Although it might seem like an obvious problem, it isn’t always apparent when your dryer belt is broken. Depending on your GE dryer type, there’s a chance that your dryer will still operate, but it won’t dry your clothing. Here are a few of the best ways to tell if your GE dryer belt is broken, damaged, or loose.
The Dryer Fails to Start
Newer GE dryers often have a built-in failsafe where the dryer won’t start if the belt is broken or torn. However, older dryers don’t always have this feature, so take note of the other signs of a broken belt. Additionally, there are several reasons why your dryer might not be starting. You’ll have to go through a process of elimination to determine that the belt is the problem.
The Dryer Stops Prematurely
It’s also possible that your dryer belt rips in mid-sequence, causing it to stop prematurely. Once again, however, not all dryers have this built-in failsafe. Additionally, there are a number of possible reasons that your dryer stops mid-cycle, and you’ll have to go through a process of elimination to determine the real issue.
The Dryer is Making Noises
In most cases, your GE dryer belt won’t break or tear without forewarning. For example, the dryer belt will typically loosen before it breaks completely. If you hear rattling and banging noises coming from your dryer or even see the dryer visibly moving, there’s a good chance that the dryer belt is loose, providing wiggle room for the drum to move around.
Because the drum can move around inside the dryer shell, it causes it to move. It will also cause a loud, banging noise depending on how much wiggle room it has. If your dryer is doing this, a broken dryer belt is soon to come.
The Dryer Drum Won’t Turn
If the dryer belt is broken, the drum will be unable to turn. The belt is the sole component that helps the drum spin, which means that if it’s broken, there’s nothing to rotate it.
How to Replace Your GE Dryer Belt
Now that you know better what the dryer belt does and how to tell if it’s giving out, let’s walk through how to replace it.
Kill Power to the Dryer
The first thing you should always do when performing any repairs on your GE dryer is kill the power. If you have an electric dryer, you can either unplug it or go to your breaker box and flip the circuit breaker switch. If you have a gas dryer, you should both unplug it from the wall and turn the knob on the gas valve sideways to the OFF position.
Even gas dryers, while getting their source of heat from propane or natural gas, have electrical components and need electricity to operate. Once you have killed power to the dryer, try turning it on to ensure it isn’t working.
Move the Dryer Forward
Next, you’ll have to move the dryer forward and away from the wall to perform the repairs. It’s handy if you have your dryer on furniture gliders to make for easy movement. Otherwise, you should enlist a second person’s help to lift the dryer and move it forward. Sliding it can scratch your floor and lead to even more extensive repairs.
Remove the Rear Screws
The control panel is located at the top and back of the dryer and is the portion that holds all the knobs that control the dryer settings. The panel is connected to the back of the dryer by a series of screws. You’ll have to loosen these screws and remove them so you can detach the control panel from the back of the dryer.
Remove Screws Inside the Door Frame
Next, open the dryer door to access the screws inside its frame. There should be several screws that connect the dryer door to the lid of the dryer, and they attach from below. Once you have the screws loosened, wait to remove the dryer lid altogether until you perform the next step.
Unhook the Control Panel Tabs
The screws you loosen on the back of the control panel will release the upper part of the panel. However, the bottom of the panel has four tabs that insert into the dryer lid. Carefully wiggle the control panel tabs loose and lift the panel away from the top of the dryer.
Remove the Top of the Dryer
With the panel detached, you’re ready to remove the lid from on top of the dryer. Simply wiggle the cover until it frees up from the edges of the dryer. You may also have to lift the control panel slightly to pull the lid away from beneath it. Be careful when doing this because the dryer lid’s edges are incredibly sharp and can cut you.
Remove the Front Panel
With the dryer lid removed, you now have access to the screws holding the dryer’s front panel. Loosen the screws, which attach from the inside of the panel to the sides of the dryer. There should be several screws on either side of the dryer that you’ll have to loosen.
Once the screws are loosened, you can move the upper part of the front panel away from the dryer. There are several tabs on the bottom of the front panel that inserts into the dryer’s body, similar to how the control panel is attached. Wiggle the front panel so the tabs loosen, and you can pull the panel away from the dryer.
Loosen the Dryer Belt if It’s Still Intact
Loosening the dryer belt is the second-hardest step in the replacement process next to installing the new belt. In most cases, the dryer belt will be either fully or partially intact. If that’s the case with your dryer, here’s how to loosen it.
- To relieve pressure, reach underneath the drum to the idler pulley at the bottom of the dryer.
- Consult your GE owner’s manual to find the exact location of the idler pulley, as it can be in the front, middle, or back of the dryer.
- Pull the idler pulley to the right to release tension.
- Pulling the idler pulley to the right will loosen the belt enough for you to disconnect it from the pulley.
- Once the belt is loose from the pulley, you can unwind it from around the motor shaft.
- With the belt loosened from the pulley and motor shaft, you can unwrap it from around the drum.
You can also cut the belt if you cannot locate the idler pulley to release tension. However, cutting the belt isn’t always easy because of how tightly it’s wrapped around the drum. Additionally, you’ll still have to locate the idler pulley to install the new belt unless you plan on completely removing the drum from within the dryer.
Install the New Belt
You’re ready to install the new belt with the dryer belt removed. This is the most challenging step in the process, but you shouldn’t have a problem if you take your time and read these instructions.
- To get started, make sure that the rib side of the belt is facing down so it can grip the surface of the drum.
- Untangle the belt and wrap it around the outside of the drum in the same spot where the old one was.
- Next comes the challenging part – looping the belt around the pulley and motor shaft.
- The belt should wrap around these components in a zig-zag formation.
- First, press the belt firmly against the top and left side of the idler pulley.
- You’ll have to pull the idler pulley to the left once again to release tension.
- With the tension released and holding the belt against the idler pulley, wrap the other end of the belt around the motor shaft.
- Once you release the idler pulley and restore tension, the belt should be around the top of the idler pulley and the bottom of the motor shaft.
As we said before, you may have difficulty finding the idler pulley and motor shaft. If necessary, you can remove other components to gain easier access. Remember, however, that you’ll need to put everything back together that you take apart. The method that we’re recommending in this article is the least invasive and reasonably easiest way to replace your dryer belt.
Rotate the Drum to Help With Alignment
The belt must be perfectly situated around the entire length of the drum, with the ribbed part of the belt sitting against the drum. You should also ensure that the belt is perfectly aligned with the idler pulley and motor shaft. Continue to manually spin the dryer drum until it’s lined up all the way around.
Reinsert the Front Panel Into the Dryer Drum
Once the belt is installed, it’s time to reassemble the dryer in the same order you disassembled. Start with the front panel and work your way backward from there. The slots on the front panel should align with the slats at the bottom of the dryer. Then you can reinsert the screws into the inner sides of the panel to hold it in place.
Once correctly aligned, the dryer’s drum should be lined up with the opening on the front panel. You can check this alignment by opening the dryer door and looking where the door lines up with the drum.
Reassemble the Dryer
To continue your reassembly, the next step should be reinstalling the top of the dryer. Line up the slots on the dryer top with the spaces in the frame and push them into place. The dryer top should sit neatly in place on top of the frame of the dryer, just as it does during regular operation. You can then reinsert the screws that attach the dryer’s front panel to the top.
Open and shut the door several times to ensure everything is aligned correctly.
With the top of the dryer properly installed, you’re ready to reinstall the control panel. Start by lining the tabs on the panel up with the slots on the top of the dryer. With the control panel in place, you can reinsert the screws that attach the back of the dryer to the control panel.
By now, you should have the dryer fully reassembled, and you can perform a test run.
Restore Power to Your Dryer and Perform a Test Run
If you have an electric dryer, plug the cord back into the wall outlet. If you flipped the circuit breaker to the OFF position, go back to your panel box and flip it back to the ON position. If you have a gas dryer, plug the cord back into the outlet and turn the gas valve back to the ON position to resume the gas flow.
You can turn the dryer on when everything is hooked up correctly and perform a test run. As the drum spins within the dryer, you shouldn’t hear any rattling, bumping, or thumping.
How to Know if Your Dryer is Working Again
If you can perform several test runs with your dryer, have the belt spinning, and your clothing dried, your dryer is working correctly. You also shouldn’t be able to hear excessive rattling or noise while the dryer operates. If you do, it indicates that the belt isn’t tight enough, and you’ll have to increase the tension. However, if you put the belt back together exactly as you took it apart, you should be good to go.
Potential Dangers When Replacing the GE Dryer Belt
Throughout your work, you should be aware of several potential dangers you’ll run into.
The most significant risk you’ll have is that of potential electrocution. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you should KILL power to the appliance by unplugging it, flipping the breaker, and terminating the gas flow. You should also try turning your dryer on and off before you start working on it. If it doesn’t turn off, no matter what you do, you’re good to go.
Crushing Your Toes
Several of the components you’ll be working with are surprisingly heavy. The first thing to watch out for is the front panel. When you detach it and lift it away, there’s a chance that you’ll drop it on your toes. The second danger is the drum itself. If, for some reason, the drum loosens and detaches from the dryer, there’s a chance that it will drop on your toes.
Dryer drums are very heavy, and though they shouldn’t come loose, there’s always a chance that they will. This is where it’s handy to have a second person with you so they can help save you if the drum comes loose.
In addition to heavy components, many of the pieces you’ll be moving around have sharp edges. You can either wear gloves or work very slowly to avoid cutting yourself.
If you watch out for these three dangers, you should be able to replace your GE dryer belt with little difficulty and no injuries.
Question: What size belt does a GE dryer use?
Answer: Most GE dryers use dryer belts that are 87 inches long and 1/4 of an inch wide. However, you should always check your owner’s manual to see the recommended specs for your specific dryer. You can also check the dryer belt that you’re replacing, as there’s a chance it will have measurements written somewhere on the surface.
Question: Are there different types of dryer belts?
Answer: It’s important to note that dryer belts aren’t universal. Different brands will have different belts, so choosing one of the same brand is essential. It’s also important to choose one that’s the same length and width as the original.
Question: Which way does the dryer belt go on?
Answer: The ribbed side of the dryer belt should always sit against the surface of the dryer belt. The belts’ ribs help grip the drum and rotate it when the motor shaft activates.
GE Dryer Belt Replacement: Final Thoughts
Replacing your own dryer belt is one of the best ways to save money on your appliances. Having a professional do the job for you is expensive, and you must work around their schedule. However, by simply reading our article and having the right tools on hand, you can easily replace your dryer belt in an hour or two.
In addition to saving money, performing your own replacements is also very rewarding. There’s no better feeling than performing a test run of your dryer after the replacement is complete and having everything work just as it should. By adhering to our guide and being patient, you’ll have your dryer up and working again in no time.