Viking Auto Dryer: Heating Element Replacement

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, front control panel. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, front control panel. Photo by Don Tai

Dead it was, our dryer, a Viking Auto Dryer, from the T. Eaton Company, circa 1995, model number EDX22RW1181, front load, Toronto, Canada, hopelessly turning and turning, all without heat. Of course our clothes were not dry after an hour. Wife was not impressed and put the dryer at the top of my “to do” list. A solution was required before the next weekend load. Nothing stops for laundry or cooking.

Off the top of my head, we could buy a new dryer. I priced them out at $500 new. Alternately I could try to repair ours. I have done this before, over a decade ago. The heating element had broken at one of the ends, so I simply extended the wire to the contact and connected it. This fix lasted about 14 years. I even had the dryer’s disassembly instructions taped to the back of my dryer. Our dryer is an old style GE type. I have also replaced the drum glides, which is not a very difficult job.

The dryer heater coil replacement took me 3 hours at a leisurely pace, to complete. This is excluding research, and purchase of the heater coil kit. It is not a difficult job, just time consuming. And he fact that I want it done perfectly.

After trying to disassemble my dryer I remember that the Internet instructions were not too clear, as the old and new style GE disassembly instructions differed. He actually notes offhandedly how to disassemble the old style GE dryer, forcing me to do a couple of test disassemblies before I had the thing apart. Clarity is far more desirable. Follow this order to disassemble the old style GE dryer.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, front control panel. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, front control panel. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, model and serial number tag. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, model and serial number tag. Photo by Don Tai

Tools:
-vacuum: There is a lot of lint dist in the dryer, exhaust pipes, dryer vent cap
-socket: 8mm
-screwdriver: flat head
-screwdriver: Phillips
-needle nose pliers

1. At the Back: Disassembly of exhaust pipe, drum belt, retaining ring

Move the machine away from the wall to access the rear. Disassemble the 4″ exhaust pipe from the back. Vacuum all the lint you can. This lint can catch fire and burn your house down, so this is a mandatory safety step.

The large turning drum, where you put your wet clothes, is held in by a drum belt and at the turning point, a retaining ring. Both of these are released from the rear. From the rear of the dryer, remove the lowest cover, using a 8mm socket. At the bottom of the machine release tension from the fan motor pulley. Basically you are simply taking it off its track. Push down on the wire arm connected to the larger wheel, which will release tension and slip the belt away from underneath the motor drive pulley. It is easier than it sounds.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, drum belt disassembly decal. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, drum belt disassembly decal. Photo by Don Tai

At the rear middle of the machine, above the lower cover, is the middle cover. Remove it with an 8mm socket. Behind it is the pivot point for the drum. The drum is held in with a retaining ring. To release the retaining ring you will need a flat head screwdriver and a needle nose pliers. Pry the retaining washer loose with the flat head, then remove with the needle nose pliers. It comes out easily.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, middle cover removed, rear retaining ring. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, middle cover removed, rear retaining ring. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, rear retaining ring, macro. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, rear retaining ring, macro. Photo by Don Tai

2. Disassemble the front: Door, top cover

Move the machine back against the wall, but leave 4″ of space at the rear so the front cover can tilt upward and backward slightly.

Open the door. Under the front lip of the door there are 4 philips screws to remove. This allows the top to pivot upward and back. Lean the top cover back against the wall. At the two front corners are two philips screws to remove, one on each side. Once released this allows you to pivot the door away to the right side. The door has a 3″ flat bottom and will stand up by itself. There will be 4 electrical wires attached, so the door cannot be completely removed.

3. Remove the Drum

The drum is held in by the drum belt, now loose and retaining ring, which you removed. There are two oval openings partially cut into the dryer front sides. Grab the drum and move it forward, through these oval cuts to remove the drum. The drum will have lots of lint. Vacuum it well. At the rear of the drum will be a lot of holes, where the heat from the heating element enters the drum. There is a space between the rear of the drum and the rear of where you can put your clothes. This area can accumulate a lot of lint. Clean this well, as lint here is closest to the heating element and therefore could catch fire. Set the drum aside.

4. Remove the Heating Elements

With the drum removed the two heating elements are exposed. These are a simple coiled wire connected to electrical contacts at each end. One electrical connector end is shared by both heating elements. This is similar to an incandescent light bulb element which glows hot when electricity passes through. The heating elements are held with ceramic holders that prevent them from contacting the back of the dryer. Simple enough. It was evident that both of my heating elements had broken in the middle and therefore were no longer conducting. Our heating elements will need replacement.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements, both wires broken in similar place. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements, both wires broken in similar place. Photo by Don Tai

Note that the old heating element wires were over stretched and sagging. I am unsure if this makes a difference or not. The sagging could have allowed the heating elements to touch the rear cover.

I was in the market for new replacement heating elements for a 1995 GE-style dryer, made by Viking, the house brand for the T. Eaton Company, a Canadian retailer that was long defunct. Web research revealed that surprisingly these heating elements were not only available but plentiful, costing $50/each. I called the company that had sold me appliance parts in the past, Universal Appliance Parts. He had the kit for $37, he would deliver tomorrow morning, but was a averse to giving me straight answers. I had a GE style washer so I wanted GE parts. What happens if it does not fit? All he said to me was “trust me, I know what I an doing. I’ve been fixing appliances for over 25 years”. That is all well and good, but I was the one doing the repair and wanted more info to ensure I would not get cheated. In the end, as I was asking him a question he said I should go get it from someone else and hung up. Terrible customer service from essentially a parts business.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating element contacts. Note the messed up left contact. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating element contacts. Note the messed up left contact. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating element contacts. Note the messed up left contact. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating element contacts. Note the messed up left contact. Photo by Don Tai

No matter, my uncle, who is a retired appliance repairman, had previously recommended Amre Supply, not far from my house. Their web site said they had it in stock, two types in fact. I called them up, and they answered all my questions. As I was talking to the call centre they called the store to confirm the kits would be in stock. There was a discontinued kit for $13.43 and a newer kit for $37. At the store I could look at them both and decide.

Amre Supply was great. The discontinued kit was brand new and identical to the newer kit, but was prestretched. This turns out to have only a small benefit, as I would have to stretch the wire myself anyway. The wires come coiled but the coils are tight to each other, saving space in packaging. The prestretched coils are only slightly stretched, but not stretched enough. The lady there let me examine both kits and compare. When we could see no difference she asked a more senior guy, who said there was absolutely no difference. If I found the kit was incorrect and was unopened I could get a full refund. They have much better service than Universal Appliance Parts.

The kit has the labels Service Instructions for Heater Kit WE11M60-S, kit dated 04.03.2016 from mabe.parts.ca. The actual url is parts.mabe.ca. Amre Supply is a distributor. The kit comes with 2 heater coils, 3 studs, 7 washers and 3 nuts. I used the coils, 1 stud, all the washers and one nut. The kit package nor instructions do not show the country of manufacture. I hope it is not China.

Back at home with the GE heating coil kit in hand, it was time to read the instructions and take apart the old heating coils. Simplified the steps were: remove the old coils, stretch the new coils, install the new coils.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating element kit package WE11M60. Scan by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating element kit package WE11M60. Scan by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating element kit WE11M60 instructions. Scan by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating element kit WE11M60 instructions. Scan by Don Tai

Removal was pretty easy. Undo the connections, unthread the coils, paying attention to the inner and outer coils. Note that the common heating connection for the old coils was not threaded correctly and looks out of place. The top and bottom ceramic insulators should nestle together in the middle. The previous appliance repair guy messed this up.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements partially removed. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements partially removed. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements completely removed. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, heating elements completely removed. Photo by Don Tai

5. Prestretch the New Heating Coils

The coils, out of the package, are not sufficiently long enough to go around the base in a circle: They need to be lengthened by stretching. Following the instructions the outer and inner heating coils needs to be stretched so that left by itself it should retain a length of 40″ and 35″. While this length was great for the inner, shorter coil, this was too short for the outer coil. I did not know this until after the outer coil was already strung in place. I had to stretch the outer coil by hand while it was strung, trying to ensure it was evenly stretched.

I tried to get an even stretch by grasping each end of the coil and stretching my arms as far apart as possible. This was acceptable for the inner coil, but insufficiently long for the outer coil. I had to take smaller sections and stretch them individually for the outer coil.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating elements stretched. The outer coil was still too short. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating elements stretched. The outer coil was still too short. Photo by Don Tai

6. Install the New Heating Coils

Stringing the new coils around the ceramic retaining clips is similar to doing Christmas lights on your Christmas tree.it is not hard but does take time. The loops catch on the ceramic clips, but other than patience no other skill is required.

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating elements installed. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating elements installed. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating element contacts. Photo by Don Tai

Viking Auto Dryer by the T. Eaton Company, 1995, new heating element contacts. Photo by Don Tai

7 Reinstall the Drum, covers

Slip the now pristinely clean drum back into the dryer body. slip the drum belt into place on the drum, ridged side down. Install the two Phillips bolts to the top two sides. Note that if you drop the bolts you will need to remove the drum to find the bolt. If you do this twice, once on each side then I will not feel like such a dolt. Close the top lid, then reinstall the door with the 4 Phillips bolts on the front lip.

Turn the dryer around so you can work on the back. Reinstall the retaining ring, reinstall the rear middle door. Reinstall the drum belt by pressing down the metal arm leading to the large wheel, slip the drum belt under the motor drive pulley. The ridges should be facing the pulley. Reinstall the lower door. Reinstall the 4″ output pipe. You are done.

Addendum: Wife tried the dryer and to my dismay she said the clothes were not dry. I took apart and cleaned the dryer vents and vent cap. The vent cap was completely occluded with lint. After this the dryer dried our clothes in an hour and Wife is now happy. Be sure to also clean your dryer vent cap.

1 thought on “Viking Auto Dryer: Heating Element Replacement

  1. Gerald - Calgary, AB.

    Thanks for this. Who’d have thought it would still be useful in 2020. Was able to replace the heating coils with $20 GE replacement parts.

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