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Why does a GE dryer coil keep failing?


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  • Why does a GE dryer coil keep failing?

    I have a GE dryer DCL333. First, the dryer would not start, so we replaced the thermo-limiter. Then it started, heated, ran a short time, and stopped, blowing the circuit breaker. After checking the breaker, and the plug, we restarted. Then it started and ran, but would not get hot enough. We realized the coil on the heating element had a break in it. We replaced the coil, and it started and ran hot. The only problem now was the timer control did not advance. We checked all the timer control connections, and the thermostat, and the vent. When we looked at the heating element again, the coil had been touching the element pan ever so slightly, so we readjusted it, and one wire connector to the thermostat seemed loose, so we tightened that. When we started the dryer again, it blew the circuit breaker again. This time, the coil had burned through again in the same spot, where it had been touching the pan slightly. Why does the coil keep burning out? Is it indicative of something else that is wrong? I do not want to keep buying an expensive part that keeps failing.

  • #2
    the new heating element is supplied as a tight nichrome wire coil. it is installed from one terminal through porcelain stand offs to the other terminal. you must be very careful with the element not to overly stretch it when you are threading it through the supports. as the coil heats up IT WILL SAG. Any contact with the shell will blow the breaker.


    • #3
      We were told this coil was the exact length it needed to be so we did not stretch it at all. Thought it was spaced evenly. Somehow it sagged and hit the element ( the first time it stopped) and after readjustment, the wire coil split in the same place as it was touching before and separated. The heat must have weakened it. The heat was still working at temp. We bent it up so it's not touching the element now. Should I replace it again?


      • #4
        Should I change out the thermostat on the element pan (assembly)?


        • #5
          if you think the thermostat is partly no good, it can't hurt. get a new coil and be very careful installing it. be VERY SURE of the part number when you seek the replacement. ask the supplier if there are any technical upgrades to this particular dryer.
          please go to this site:
          www dot repairclinic dot com and type in your model. look for heating element. what comes up is the whole assemby including the housing. evidently others have had problems so they supply the housing with the element because of obvious reasons.
          Last edited by HayZee518; 03-14-2011, 11:15 PM.


          • #6
            I was told by the part supplier that I needed this particular coil. I will confirm that this is indeed correct with General Electric this morning. It is made by Electrolux, part #5300622034. I paid $47 for this coil, (but $15 less than what Sears wanted for it!) which is considerably more than all the other coils I was looking at online that were in the $10 range. It is disappointing that an expensive part like this would fail immediately, but it was user error.

            The thermostat on the pan seems to check out fine with my multimeter. What should be the correct range for that? I hate to keep buying parts if I end up frying the whole thing and have to buy new!

            Thanks for your response, it is much appreciated, as I am a novice! But I am learning. It is a great thing!


            • #7
              GE wants $178. for an entire heating housing assembly- they do not want to sell just the coil to fit the pan, so I could not get a part number for the coil. Maybe there have been problems with replacing just the coil on their system? The thermostat is not included in that price, that they are selling for an additional $49. What a rip off.


              • #8
                GE dryer DCL333
                That model number is incomplete. There should be another 4-5 letters and numbers after that.

                We replaced the coil... When we looked at the heating element again, the coil had been touching the element pan ever so slightly
                The element being metal will expand as it heats. It needs to be taught in the housing insulators or when it expends it can sag and could come into contact with the housing, creating a short circuit.

                The problem now was the timer control did not advance.
                Some 'auto' or 'permanent press' settings run power for the timer through the heater circuit. A problem with the heater could affect advancing of the timer on those settings but not on a 'timed' setting.

                one wire connector to the thermostat seemed loose, so we tightened that.
                Was there any signs of discoloration, arcing or burning on the terminal the connector was attached to or on the wire terminal itself? If so, the component with the terminal and the wire connector might need to be replaced not just tightened.

                GE wants $178. for an entire heating housing assembly
                I looked up a model DCL333EA0AA dryer. It was made for GE by Frigidaire (aka Electrolux). You can see the GE and Frigidaire equivalents for that heater assembly at the following links:

                LINK > GE DCL333EA0AA Dryer Heater Housing Adm.

                LINK > Frigidaire equivalent Heater Housing Adm.

                If the replacement coil can't be installed properly so it doesn't sag, the whole heater assembly might need to be replaced.


                Dan O.
                The Appliance Information Site



                • #9
                  Hello Dan,

                  The total GE dryer model # is DCL333EAOWW.

                  I will double check the thermostat connectors but did not see anything discolored before. The thermostat tested ok with the multimeter, at R200 is in the 5 range. Does that reading sound right?

                  QUestion- can the coil be fixed by sottering? Do I need to spend another $47?

                  I purchased the Electrolux through a local supplier, thought the price sounded good, but will look at your suggestions!



                  • #10
                    Scrap This Dryer

                    I have repaired a Kenmore with a similar heating coil setup - this is a hazardous setup since this type of coil can easily make contact with the cabinet, short out, and produce tremendous heat - the constant motion and vibration quickly leads to this. If I were you I would scrap it. If you are short on money, you can get another dryer on Craig's list for as little as $50. Even better deals are possible at some home stores - our Menard's will sell used traded in appliances for only $9 with a 10-day period to return if not usable or repairable. Get a dryer with a heating unit in a housing on the back. For tips on how to repair a dryer, see Repair My Dryer - Free Tutorials To Help You Fix Your Dryer!
                    Drywall Taping & Finishing For Beginners


                    • #11
                      The thermostat tested ok with the multimeter, at R200 is in the 5 range. Does that reading sound right?
                      A dryer thermostat should be tested on a Rx1 scale and show 0 (zero) resistance when closed, infinite resistance when open.

                      can the coil be fixed by sottering?
                      No. The coil gets hotter than any solder, even silver solder, will withstand. If the coil is broken it needs to be replaced.

                      It can be very dangerous to jury-rig a dryer element. Dryers are already a major source of house fires.

                      Dan O.
                      The Appliance Information Site



                      • #12
                        Yesterday, I bought a new coil ( I suspected that soldering was not a good idea!). Although the parts distributor made it very clear not to stretch the coil, like the Electrolux instructions say to, we did not, the first time installing it. I showed the distributor what previously occurred with the break in the coil. The owner himself placed a 2nd (new) coil in my heater pan assembly and said he never saw a coil that was too long, that they all need stretching to fit normally. We carefully double checked all, and it seemed good. Looks like Electrolux is producing a coil that is defective. They would not credit me, said I need to take it up the issue with Electrolux. The coil seems a tad large for the unit, we placed it in the unit carefully, and we have double checked the model number in numerous ways. Additionally, their instructions are incorrect as in step 2 it states to: "Stretch the coil to fit...".

                        Today, I put the unit back together. It started, (hooray! ) heated up, and then there was a dreaded "SNAP" sound. We let it run a little bit. No heat was generated. We took it apart. Ends up the coil busted again. There was no contact with the heater pan assembly this time. What keeps causing this? Again, this the second new coil to break immediately.

                        I think I am getting a zero resistance on the safety heater thermostat.

                        What is next, Pros? PLEASE advise. Thanks again!


                        • #13
                          Drywall DIY guy, thanks for response and the heads up! I am determining if that a new unit will be my next move! I cannot keep throwing money out the dryer door...


                          • #14
                            this the second new coil to break immediately.
                            The only thing that would normally cause the coil to fail prematurely and quickly without it being shorted to ground is if two or more of the 'links' in the coil were spaced too closely together. That can occur when bending it to tread the coil through the insulators.

                            Such a condition would cause a 'hot spot' at that point and premature failure. It wouldn't however be "immediate", it would take some amount of time to get to the point of the coil melting due to the excessive heat. It might not take a lot of time but some amount for sure.

                            The owner himself placed a 2nd (new) coil in my heater pan assembly
                            That should eliminate the possibility the coil was installed poorly as described above. A trained technician should have installed it properly.

                            I'm afraid I do not know why you are experiencing the problems you described. If you wanted to try again, the supplier at the following link does offer a "365 Days. Period." warranty on the parts they sell.

                            LINK > Frigidaire 5300622034 Dryer Element Coil

                            Sorry I couldn't be more help.

                            Dan O.
                            The Appliance Information Site