How To Replace Clothes Dryer Drum Glides

by Josh on November 15, 2010 · 15 comments

in Projects

When my 10-year-old Frigidaire clothes dryer started leaving friction marks on clothes, I was afraid it might be time to start shopping laundry appliances.  Fortunately, I was able to fix the dryer myself for far less than the cost of a service call or a new appliance.  In fact all it took was $50 in parts and an hour or two of my time.

Diagnosing the Problem

A quick Google search identified that the mysterious rusty brown marks on my laundry were caused by worn out drum glides.  The broken glides create a gap at the front of the dryer drum where clothes can get stuck and then marked by friction during the dryer operation.  When the glides are severely worn, there may be also be a grinding sound when the dryer spins, though that wasn’t a symptom for me.

Scorched Shirt

Making the Repair

Begin any appliance repair by unplugging the power cord, and–if applicable–turning off the gas supply.  After I powered down the dryer, I removed the top panel and opened the front of the appliance to access the drum glides.

dryer top removed

Open Dryer CabinetYikes!  With the cabinet opened, I found that in addition to repairing the drum glides, I also had to clean out a decade’s worth of errant lint.  I always clean the lint screen between loads and have even vacuumed out the exhaust duct a couple times, including after the incident with the rabbit, so I was surprised to find this much lint in the cabinet.  Considering the fire risk posed by dryer lint, I’m glad this repair allowed me the opportunity to clean out the cabinet.  It really would have been worth opening up the dryer just to do this cleaning.

Dryer Cabinet Lint

Cabinet Lint Removed

With the front panel of the cabinet opened, the worn out drum glides were easy to spot.  Of the plastic glide plates attached to the felt gasket, two were very worn down and one had broken off altogether.  Friction from the dryer drum had also discolored the felt to the same rust color I had found on my clothes.

Worn Drum Glides

To begin the part replacement, I removed the felt gasket from the flange on the front panel using a stiff putty knife.  The gasket on my dryer consisted of two pieces, an upper felt that was grey, dense, and held the plastic glides, and a lower felt that was white and slightly less dense.  After I had scraped off the felt and adhesive as well as I could with the scraper, I used a steel wool pad to take off the rest of the old adhesive to ensure a solid repair.

Old Glide Removed

With the glide flange prepared, I could install new upper and lower felt gaskets that I bought from a local appliance parts supplier.  The kit included adhesive, so there were no worries about picking the right glue for the job.  I glued and positioned the upper felt with the drum glides first, using several clamps to fix the gasket in place.  Once the upper felt was set, I glued and clamped the lower felt.  Taking pictures throughout this process was helpful as a reference for installing the new parts exactly as the old had been.

Clamping New Glides

After giving the adhesive time to firmly set, I reversed my disassembly steps to put the dryer back together.  Before I put the top panel back in place, I took a picture of the drum glides properly mated to the dryer drum.

New Glides In Place

Wrap-Up

The dryer runs perfectly after reassembly and I have stopped finding friction marks on my clothes.  The low cost and simple repair steps made this a great DIY repair project– one I think many people could undertake.  I also know now that it is relatively easy to open up the dryer cabinet for periodic cleaning, so I should be able to keep cabinet lint accumulation under control and safe.  To remind me about this periodic service need, I used my labelmaker to create a “Cabinet interior last cleaned” date label which I attached to the front of the dryer.

Now if only the laundry would fold itself.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica January 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I had the same problem with mine! It was relatively easy to fix, but I have a question for you. when you put it all back together and started it up, did it sound like the new glides were scratching a little? I think mine is making this sound, only because the slides are new and they have to adjust. Just want to see if you had the same issue or not

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Josh January 26, 2011 at 1:13 am

Hmmm… my dryer was making a scratching sound before the repair, Jessica, but afterwards it sounded normal. Maybe yours didn’t get seated just right in reassembly?

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Katy M May 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

Josh, I found your blog through the True Value Blog Squad and stumbled across this post. We have a dryer that was causing the same mysterious problem and seeing that you were able to fix it relatively inexpensively encouraged us to try it too. I called around, found the parts, my husband installed them and now our dryer is good as new. We also greased the ball bearing in the back, maybe that was the previous commenter’s problem? I just wanted to say how much we appreciate that you posted this tutorial and photos, because you saved us a lot of money and made it easy. Thank you!

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Jay June 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I’m gonna give it a go tomorrow! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the words of encouragement and advice!

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anonymous July 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

My wife just had a white shirt wrecked like this and we have been getting lines for a month or so now. I thought it was my HE washing machine and have been going crazy trying to clean that!

I wiped a white cloth around the front of the top felt seal and got the same mark! I was about to head to best buy and look for a new dryer! Thanks for the help i know what i am doing this week!

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tennie wells September 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

dont forget to wear gloves. the inside panel on my dryer had a bur and i cut my fingers all to pieces.

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Josh September 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Good point, Tennie. I’m sorry you hurt your finger. Any concealed metal edge should be considered unfinished and potentially sharp. Be careful out there!

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Larry G. Beaudrot March 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm

We have the same problem with our Frigidaire electric dryer. We’ve damaged several $20. white shirts. Your article has been a blessing. Thanks. Now I’m going to try locating the grey seal and glides for it.

Thanks
Larry

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Donna March 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm

We had the problem of brown streaks on the clothes. When my husband took the dryer apart the problem was clear and we needed the felt/drum glide and a lower front seal. I tried to order on line but due to our dinosaur computer it would not go thru. It was sunday aft but noticed a phone # so phoned. Talked to a nice gentleman in Nova Scotia and ordered the parts. The parts arrived on Wed. (in northern B.C.) Awesome service. To make a long story short — dryer fixed, washing & drying at this moment – no brown streaks.

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Jeff April 19, 2012 at 8:07 am

I do not have any clothes damage or sounds ,but a felt looking belt appeared in my dryer hanging down in the front of the drum. I could feel the groove it cane out of and pushed it back in only to have it come out again. The dryer does not seem to want to stop running now and I still can not get the felt to stay in .The felt seems to be in good shape .Does it require a adhesive ? I can see no evidence of any

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dee May 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I have the same problem with black lines and tearing holes in my clothes. Just want to know exactly what party I need to buy before I go out and buy something I don’t needs. Ive looked for glides and cant find the parts, I find pad kits

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larry October 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

does anybody know how long this repair is supposed to last? I had somebody fix this exact same problem for me just a couple years ago, and it’s already doing the same thing again and ruining shirts…I am wondering if it’s worth the hassle, or if it’s just going to happen again and drive me crazy by ruining another favorite shirt.

Does anybody know if this is a problem with ALL dryer brands? or just frigidaires?

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RAUL December 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Had the same problem, which ruined many clothes. My GE gas dryer is 10 years old. Changed the drum glide and the lower felt. The drum glide brought the brown glue enough for the whole job. Drums spins nice and smooth. Spent around $143 for both parts and less than 2 hours removing and cleaning the unit with vacuum cleaner, and installing parts.
Used parts: WE9X105- LOWER FELT,
WE03X10001 GLIDE DRUM.
No more brown streaks.

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becky September 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

did anybody happen to find a way to remove these streaks from the clothes? I’m not having much luck!

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Bryan September 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Well Josh – Kudos for doing this entry. Exactly the problem and even the same type of dryer! Thanks for taking the time to document this.

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