My kenmore dryer (model 11086880100) stopped heating. My hours of research lead me to believe that I should test the thermal fuse, heating element, hi limit thermostat and thermal cut off. Ended up buying this kit on Amazon since I don't own a multimeter. It came with most of the parts that I need.
Here is a picture of the back of my dryer with a few notes I made. It looks like there are 2 hi low thermostats installed on the heating element case.
Obviously, this dryer is very old and I bought it second-hand. I was VERY surprised to see that the thermal fuse was bypassed. I'm not 100% sure if the blue and black wires are normally used to connect to the thermal fuse or not. Every picture I have seen illustrates 2 blue wires, which sounds close enough. But why leave it like that since it presents a potential liability? Thankfully, nothing has happened in the 8 years I've owned the dryer.
My solution so far
So far, I replaced the heating element and replaced L290-40f (top position) with L290-80f. Turned on the dryer for 30 seconds and it produced VERY hot air, so mission accomplished. I assume the heating element was bad and I may not have had to replace the hi low thermostat.
But shouldn't that be where the thermal cut off is connected instead? I'm just going off how it was originally setup when I took off the back panel. I haven't been able to find a wiring diagram, but I did find a parts reference diagram that helps a bit on the Sears website. If I'm reading it correctly, it does show that 1 hi low thermostat should be on the bottom and a thermal cut off on the top.
The dryer has been working forever, but I'm concerned about safety now that I know how it was connected inside. I'd prefer not to burn down my new house lol.
The way I understand things is the cycling thermostat monitors the temperature, via the heating element. If it gets too hot then the thermal fuse shuts off the dryer to prevent a fire. My heating element (see picture above) is controlled by a wire that comes from the cycling thermostat and another one from somewhere else. There's a jumper from the heating element prong (way at the bottom) to the lower hi low thermostat. That thermostat also helps to protect the dryer from overheating and if it's too hot the thermal cut off fuse terminates power to reduce the risk of fire.
I don't even know if the wires are connected the correct way. Does it really matter since the dryer is now heating? Why did they have to be all red lol.
Do I really need to solder on new clamps to the 2 wires (black/dark blue and light blue) or can I crimp the 2 extra red wires that came with the orange caps I have left over from the Amazon kit I haven't used? The red one are probably double the thickness give or take. Are they even the correct wires that should be connected to the thermal fuse? You know what they say about assumptions.
I thought the heating element is supposed to have 1 hi low thermostat (on the bottom) and a thermal cut off switch (on the top)? What am I missing here?
Why are there 2 hi low thermostats? What purpose does that serve? Redundancy perhaps?
Does it matter where/how the red wires are connected?
Why is there a jumper cable from the heating element power thingamajig at the bottom to the lower hi low thermostat on the heating element case?
Am I correct that the person who worked on this unit years ago screwed up the heating element parts? So I shouldn't install another hi low thermostat (on the top) as I've done, and instead I should replace that with the fuse?
The new heating element wasn't an exact fit, and unfortunately the 2 hooks to keep it in place broke when I jammed it in the case. As such, I had to take one of them and place it on top of the heating element power connector plate (??) and screw that in place to the case, so the coils don't touch the case. Is that wise or should I see about possibly removing the old coils and replacing them with the new ones. The original heating element is solid and a perfect fit. New one is definitely lower quality.
Is there anything that I'm missing. I'd really appreciate some answers. This is all new to me.
Thank you for your time and consideration.