Recently, my Kenmore dryer, model 110.96291100, stopped producing heat. After researching the issue at sites like this, I believed that I could attempt to diagnose the problem and replace the faulty part.
With my new continuity detector (GB model GCT-3304 – the kind with one alligator clip, one probe, and a simple light) and the dryer opened with the drum removed, I was ready to begin.
From my research, I have learned the usual culprits for a no-heat dryer. I tested the thermal fuse, the kind that is encased in white plastic, about an inch-long, and located on the blower housing. It was good (light bulb was bright). I tested a thermostat that was on the heater element housing. It was good as well.
My first question--- when I tested the heating element by placing one alligator clip on one contact, and the probe on the other, the bulb did light, but it was very, very dim. From what I have read, a 220-volt heating element usually has about 11 ohms resistance. As I only have the continuity detector, I can not determine the resistance. My question is this--- a bad heating element would have infinite resistance, indicating a break in the element somewhere. This means a bad heating element would not make the light on my continuity detector illuminate at all, correct? So although concerned that the light only illuminated dimly, the element is ok? I have read that there are made with an alloy that conducts, but resists current, resulting in them heating up. Thus, the dimness of the bulb is just indicating good resistance, and should be of no concern. Am I right?
Assuming I am, then I believe I found my bad part. Further back from the thermostat on the heating element housing was another part I removed and tested. It has no continuity. Entering the part number (3389946), I learned that it is also called thermal fuse, although some sites listed it as a thermal cut-off. I assume it is normal to have two fuses, one near the blower housing (the little white one I already checked), and one near the heating element? As I said, assuming the dim bulb when testing my heating element is of no worry, then this thermal fuse or cut-off is my bad part, because it has no continuity.
However, all the sellers of this part bundle it with the thermostat as well. So, question – when I order and receive the thermal fuse / thermostat kit, should I go ahead and replace both, even though the thermostat’s continuity was fine? And finally, this thermal fuse is attached to a metal plate with screw holes for mounting to the heating element housing. From the pictures at the parts sellers, although the part looks essentially the same, the metal plated they are attached to do not necessary look like mine. Are part numbers standardized in such a way that all the screw holes are to spec and should line up with the ones on my heater element housing, providing I order the exact same part number as I am replacing?
Thanks in advance to anyone who offers to answer my questions. I know this post was long, but I just wanted to be thorough in explaining my problem and my thinking on it. This is the first time I’ve attempted this type of repair, and I think I see the end in sight, once my few nagging questions are answered.