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Dryer won't stay hot

I have a Sears Kenmore 80 Series Gas Dryer (Model 110.72822101) that dries only when it feels like it. Since it's over 25 years old, it doesn't owe me a thing. However, I think it's probably something simple to fix. I watched through the hole in the front, and this is what happens: 10 secs after I push Start, the igniter glows for about 10 secs and then the flame catches. It burns for about 7-8 mins and goes out. I continued to watch for about 5 mins, and every 45 secs the igniter would glow but the flame wouldn't catch. I've left it running for about 15 mins and checked it every few minutes... same thing. It doesn't matter if I have it set on Auto Moisture Sensing or Timed Drying. I Googled the "symptoms" and several videos came up. Apparently, my problem may be 1) No gas reaching the dryer (clearly this isn't it since it ignited for 7-8 mins); 2) gas valve assembly; 3) gas valve coil; 4) clogged orifice. When I let the dryer cool and then try again, the flame usually catches. Any ideas?

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No Oldturkey this is a good reliable, better built than than the ones today, machine. The gas dryers produced today use the same technology used to build this one. If this had a pilot light on it I might come closer to agreeing with you. I currently use a Maytag gas dryer 15+ years older than this one, but of similar design.

by ABCellars

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As you have described this problem it is most likely the igniter (the thing that glows). That is what provides the resistance to provide the current for the coils to open in your gas valve. When they break down they will still glow but the heat lowers their resistance and therefore the current they provide the coils. If it is bad a visual inspection will show that a great deal of it is dull. It should have "sparkles" throughout the entirety of it. If it is not dull your problem is in the 2 coils for the gas valve. Many places will try to sell you the entire valve. Don't buy that. You only need the coils/solenoids. This is a $25 or less repair if you do the work. This era of Kenmore was manufactured by Whirlpool. Here is the gist of the tear down procedure (It has been the same from 1959 - ?). If you find it is not the igniter or coils the problem will be in the timer. Last I remember they were about $100, but that has been a few years ago.

TOP 3 Likely Causes

1) Bad igniter

2) Weak gas valve coils

3)Timer

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If you have any questions or concerns please comment here or my email address is in my profile. I've worked on 100s of these.since 1991, even more of the same design in the electric flavor. I have over 20 years experience working on these professionally. 90% chance it is the igniter glowing or not.

by ABCellars

Thanks ABCellars. Is this the part I need? http://www.searspartsdirect.com/partsdir... Also, when you said "the heat lowers their resistance," is that why the flame will light when the dryer is cool but it won't continue to light once the dryer is hot?

by Kathy Hirsh

That is the part. Sorry I was off on the price I've always bought these wholesale. Yes it is the heat lowering the resistance in the Glow bar igniter that causes it to not produce enough current/amperage for the coils to open after it is hot, but will light after cooled down. If you have a clamp on amp meter you could verify that by measuring the amperage on one of the igniter wires and comparing that measurement to the amperage rating stamped on the gas valve. In general a visual inspection showing "dull" areas on the igniter indicate that the material it is made of is breaking down.

by ABCellars

I'm excited to give this a try! I'm just not clear on how to access the igniter. Based on the link you provided, it appears that I'm going to access it from the front (by popping the top and then removing the front panel). Is that what you recommend, or would it be easier to access it from the back? My son, Sterling (who codes for ifixit and did oodles of work on "Answers"), is coming down this weekend. He's bringing an amp meter (right, Sterling?). But it sounds like you've already determined what the problem is. So... other than a possible amp meter, do I need any other special tools?

by Kathy Hirsh

No special tools. The only way to access it is by lifting the top and then removing the front. You will need to remove the belt on the right side, just move the belt tensioner and it will come right off the motor pulley. Then you will be able to get the drum out of your way. There is a wall in the back that is welded in place. If on visual the igniter is not dull and/or on the 2nd, 3rd attempted ignition the amperage reads at or slightly above the gas valves rating the problem is the coils. The coils should be less than the igniter in cost. I purchased them wholesale I believe they were like $5 each. I don't believe it is the coils since it lights when cool. Usually with the coils it won't light the first time. When you look at the igniter, unless it has really degraded, you will know what I by sparkles. The sparkles should be everywhere. When you look at a new one you see that.

by ABCellars

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Thanks for the info. My dryer has the same problem. Now I know how to fix it.

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Without a doubt it is #3, the gas valve coils. Replace those and you will be up and rinning. You will need a phillips and a 5/16" screwdriver. If your phillips is so long where you must remove the drum, please note how the belt is hooked around the pulley and practice taking it off and putting it back on before removing the drum.

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I dont agree with ABCellers, in my experience if the ignitor is bad the dryer wont heat AT ALL. And if it heats for the first or first and second attempt and then just doesnt catch the flame, its the heating coils every time.

Thank you, Frank.

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Weak Igniters may cause oven failure but on gas dryers, Igniters usually work, or they don't. I had to test the "Accepted answers" theory though. I called to locate an igniter and the man asked me (who i new use to work at GE when they were still in fresno on blackstone) "What makes you think its the igniter"? I told him the 7 minutes it warmed up then would not heat until I restarted, and i looked on the internet for probable causes. He told me the igniters work or they don't, which sounded right to me, as I've worked on many, and he told me to replace the coils. I replaced the igniter, for my own ("proof") with no changes. Then I replaced the coils and it worked like a charm. Oh, By the way, he also told me to not believe what you read on the Internet!!! Present comment excepted!!! My words

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You don't need to go around replacing parts to find out the source of the problem. Put a clamp on AMP meter over one of the wires to the ignighter, leave it there for 10 minutes. If it is more than 15% less than the plate reading on the coils the ignighter is the problem - not drawing enough amperage to open the coils. Another sign of a bad ignighter is it has dull spots and lost it's sparkles. - You and your source are WRONGE. So wrong, wrong needs spelled wrong.

by ABCellars

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An invaluable tool that i ran across for this type of repair is the book the New Fit-It-Yourself Manual by Reader's Digest. It has general break downs of most major appliances and troubleshooting guides. And at under $20 on eBay, it's a steal. Good luck!!

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I know this is old but if you go to www.repairclinic.com type in your model # and it will give you a list of parts for your model. It has 2 videos one for testing and the other on how to take the machine apart and fix it.

I also have a Maytag gas dryer. 1st load will dry, not the second until a bit later when it rests for awhile, I did replace the gas valve solenoid and the cycling thermostat but still not working. I looked in the peep hole when I turned it on for the second load of laundry and the igniter area glowed for a minute but never lit the pilot. I'm thinking it's the igniter.....any suggestions?

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Yes ignighter. The heat causes it to have less resistance, therefore not enough amperage to open the coils - OHMS law.

by ABCellars

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Same problem with ours... not igniting the flame, just a glow then nothing, then another minute later,just a glow, then nothing. I hate washers and dryers. Mostly, I hate being on a cement basement floor with the dust and lint and cramped space and taking everything apart, testing it (with an ohms meter), doing a thorough cleaning with a shop vac, dropping little screws, finding the right size socket, knocking things over, and cutting my hands and arms on the sheet metal. Then I test it and see that the ignitor catches the flame and I think "BINGO" it is fixed. Then, getting everything back together on the dryer, trying to reattach the venting pipes, and wrestling the beast back into place, put all the tools away, clean up the area, plug it back in, throw clothes from the washer, into the dryer, turn that sucker on AND... just a glow, then nothing, just a glow, then nothing... All this in the evening after a wonderful 10 hour day at work. As I mentioned before... I HATE WASHERS AND DRYERS!

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I can relate. Most washers and dryers are held together with 5/16", 1/4", a philips head, and on a very rare occasion you will find a 3/8. If you don't have a clamp on AMP meter to measure the AMPs being drawn by the ignighter to open the coils, look at the ignighter. If it is more dull than sparkley, the ignighter is MOST LIKELY the problem, also look for cracks on the ignighter. If the ignighter has no cracks and is all sparkley, the coils are the problem 99% of the time.

by ABCellars

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Kathy Hirsh will be eternally grateful.

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