How to Replace Heating Element on GE Electric Dryer

How to Replace Heating Element on GE Dryer
How to Replace Heating Element on GE Dryer

If you are having issues where your dryer will not heat then you should focus on the heating element assembly.  The heating element could be bad or the safety thermostat, the inlet control thermistor, or the safety thermostat–all which are mounted on the heating element assembly.  Follow along and I’ll show you how to tear your dryer apart and replace the heating element…

How to Replace Heating Element on GE Dryer

Equipment:

Parts Needed:

Tools Needed:

How to determine your GE Dryer model: Open the door and look at the bottom right edge of the dryer’s opening:

dryer identification label
Open the dryer door and look at the bottom right corner for the label
Dryer Model Identification Label
Dryer Model Identification Label: Model DCVH515EF0WW

Step 1: Unplug your dryer.

If it is an electric dryer like mine you are dealing with 220V.  Regardless, make sure to unplug it before working it on so you don’t get electrocuted.

Unplug Dryer Before Working On It
Unplug Dryer Before Working On It

Step 2: Remove the 3 Phillips screws on the top edge of the back of the front bezel.

Dryer Top Back Molding Screw Location
Dryer Top Back Molding Screw Location

Once you have removed those three screws you can put your fingernails in the seam and slide the bezel toward the back of the dryer.

Top Back Molding Removed
Top Back Molding Removed

Set the bezel and the three screws aside.

Step 3: Remove the top two cover screws.

They are Phillips head screws:

Top Panel Screw Locations
Top Panel Screw Locations

Step 4: Remove the top panel.

Lift up the front edge of the top panel and slide the panel toward the front and remove the top panel.

Lift the front edge and slide the panel toward the front
Lift the front edge and slide the panel toward the front

Step 5: Disconnect the light, switch, and control panel wiring connectors.

Before you proceed you need to disconnect three wiring connectors.  One is a parallel computer-type ribbon cable for the controls, one is for the light, and the other is for the door light switch (the latter two have tabs you must lift in order to disconnect them):

Dryer Wiring Connector Locations
Dryer Wiring Connector Locations

I put one finger on the left side under the ribbon cable and the other on the right side of the black connector, wiggling the connector and pulling up to remove it.  Be careful because you can actually pull this ribbon connector apart.  I’ve taken my dryer apart about 4 times now and one of the clips on the end that holds the black connector together has begun to come apart.  Be gentle and wiggle the connector around as you pull up.

Ribbon Wiring Connector Removal
Ribbon Wiring Connector Removal

The other two connectors are a similar style where you must lift up the “catch” and pull them apart as shown below:

Lift the tab to remove the connector
Lift the tab to remove the connector
Wiring Connector Disconnected
Wiring Connector Disconnected

Step 6: Remove the control panel.

Remove the two top control panel mounting screws:

Bezel Mounting Screw Locations
Bezel Mounting Screw Locations

Then lift the control panel up and off:

Lifting Control Panel Off
Lifting Control Panel Off

Set the control panel aside in a safe location.

Step 7: Loosen the lower front panel screws.

I found it easier to get at them by propping the front edge of the dryer up on my screwdriver case as you can see below.  Loosen, but do not remove, the lower front panel screws.  If you don’t loosen them enough, almost a quarter-inch, you will not be able to lift the panel up and off of them (I ran into that issue).

Lower Front Panel Screw Locations
Lower Front Panel Screw Locations

Step 8: Remove the upper front panel screws.

Remove the two Phillips screws from the upper front panel:

Upper Front Panel Screw Locations
Upper Front Panel Screw Locations

Once you have removed the upper front panel screws you will want to hold the front panel on to the dryer and swing shut the dryer door.

Step 9: Lift the front panel up and off the dryer.

Lift the front panel up and off the two lower screws that you loosened in Step 7.  Be careful because the door will want to swing open (which makes the front panel want to fall forward then).

Front Panel Removed
Front Panel Removed

Here’s another view:

Front panel removed
Front panel removed

Step 10: Turn the front panel around and inspect the four drum glides.

While you are in here you should take a look at the drum glides.  The drum guides are shown by the arrows in the picture below:

Drum Glide Locations
Drum Glide Locations

This is what good OEM drum glides should look like, the top two should be of a darker material:

This is what OEM drum glides look like
This is what OEM drum glides look like

Mine where NOT OEM and they were all worn out:

Left Drum Glide Locations
Left Drum Glide Locations up close

These two were completely worn out.  As you can see from the picture below, the top glide and the bottom glide are both white.  The top one, if it is a factory replacement, should be a dark-colored material.   I had purchased third-party glides off of amazon and they turned out to be worthless and wore out in less than a month because they were made of a softer material.  They were also loud too.  Anyway, if you have the dryer torn apart you ought to replace these while you are in there if they are worn out:

Right Drum Glide Locations Up Close
Right Drum Glide Locations Up Close

If your drum glides are worn through make sure to replace them.  I have the part numbers and all the steps to replace them (it’s easy) on my article here:

How to Fix Squeaking GE DCVH515EF0WW Dryer-Replace Drum Glides

Step 11: Remove the belt from the idler pulley and motor shaft.

We need to remove the dryer drum so we can get at the bearing that is attached to the back of the drum so we need to disconnect the belt from the idler pulley so the drum will be freed from the dryer.  You can see the idler pulley via the lower left corner, just above the blower fan:

Location to access the belt and tensioner pulley
Location to access the belt and idler pulley

If you shine a flashlight back in there and look into that triangular-shaped access hold this is what you will see:

The location of the drive belt, tensioner pulley, and belt path
We need to remove the belt from the idler pulley

To remove the belt from the pulley push the pulley down to take tension off the belt and work the belt off as shown below:

GE DCVH515EF0WW Dryer Removing Belt From Tensioner
Take some tension off the belt and work the belt off the idler pulley

Move the belt to the right side of the pulley and make sure it is not on the shaft of the motor:

Move the belt to the right side of the pulley
Move the belt to the right side of the pulley

Also make sure the belt is not looped under the motor shaft which is out of sight in the picture below.

Step 12: Remove the drum.

Use the belt to lift the back-end of the dryer and grab the front lip with your fingers and slide the drum straight out towards the front.  If you didn’t unhook the belt from the idler pulley AND motor shaft you will run into issues at this point.  Here you can see me supporting the back-end of the drum:

Lift the back end of the drum with the belt
Lift the back-end of the drum with the belt
Pry the metal sides apart as necessary
Pry the metal sides apart as necessary

Here’s the drum removed:

Drum removed
Drum and belt removed

Here is the dryer with the drum removed:

Dryer with the drum removed
Dryer with the drum removed

Step 13: Vacuum out your dryer.

While you have your vacuum torn apart you ought to vacuum out the inside of the dryer.  There was some lint that had built up around the edges of our dryer:

Vacuum out Your Dryer
Vacuum out your dryer while you have it torn apart

Step 14: Disconnect the electrical connectors from the heating element assembly.

There are 9 connectors as shown below that will need to be disconnected.  They are all similar type connectors and can be difficult to pull off.  I used a pliers to grip the connector and carefully pulled them off.  Do not pull by the wires!  Also, I would recommend that you do not touch the heating elements.  The oil from your skin can get on them and prematurely cause them to burn out and break.

Location of electrical connectors on heating element assembly
Location of electrical connectors on heating element assembly

Close-up of #1, the lower right heating element connector with a single purple wire running to it:

Lower right heating element connector
Lower right heating element connector

Close-up of #’s 2 & 3 which go to the safety thermostat (thermal fuse), GE part number we4m137.  Both of the wires are orange and it doesn’t matter which one connects to which terminal on the fuse:

Safety Thermostat connectors
Safety Thermostat connectors

Close up of #’s 4, 5, 6, and 7, which lead to the inlet control thermistor, GE Part we4m398 and the safety thermostat, GE Part we4m160:

Inlet control thermistor and safety thermostat connectors
Inlet control thermistor and safety thermostat connectors

You will want to make sure the black wire goes on the left terminal and the orange wire goes on the right terminal of the safety thermostat.  The two white wires don’t matter which one goes on which on the inlet control thermistor.

Close-up of #’s 8 and 9 which connect to the heating elements:

Lower Left Heating Element Connectors
Lower Left Heating Element Connectors

Note that the blue wire goes on the left one and the white on the right one.

Step 15: Remove the heating element assembly.

If you know you are replacing it go ahead and remove it.  If you want to troubleshoot it in place you can.  I was removing it for another reason so I will show the steps for removing it…

There are 4 Phillips head screws that hold the heating element assembly in place.  For your info, the complete heating element assembly is GE part we11m23, and the elements only are GE Part number we11x10007.

Heating element assembly screw locations
Heating element assembly screw locations

Here is the heating element assembly removed:

Heating element assembly removed
Heating element assembly removed

Step 16: Troubleshoot the heating element assembly.

With the heating element assembly removed you will be able to easily troubleshoot the element and all the components mounted on the assembly.  To check for a bad element put your multimeter on the element between the following points and check to see if they are an open circuit (infinite ohms resistance):

Checking for a bad heating element
Checking for a bad heating element

Step 18: Install the new heating element assembly.

Orient the heating element so that the notch is at the bottom as seen below, reinstall the 4 mounting screws, and connect the nine wiring connectors as shown below.  If there are two identically colored wires, it doesn’t matter which one goes on which terminal (because it is like a fuse):

Reinstall the heating element as shown above
Reinstall the heating element as shown above

Step 19: Reinstall the belt on the drum.

If you wanted to change the belt now would be the time to get the new belt out.  I went ahead and replaced the belt while I was doing all this and below is the old and new belt together.  The new belt will be shorter since the old belt has stretched out:

New and old drum belts
New and old drum belts

Make sure the ribbed side faces the drum (this is both belts side-by-side):

The ribbed side of the belts
Here you can see the ribbed side of the belts

Slip the drum through the belt, ribbed side toward the drum, and align the belt on the groove closest to the back of the drum (you will be able to see wear on the drum to indicate the right place):

New belt installed on drum
New belt installed on drum

Step 20: Reinstall the drum into the dryer.

Supporting the back-end of the drum with the belt, slide the drum into the dryer body.  You will need to pry out the sides of the dryer to get the drum to fit between them.

Reinstalling the drum into the dryer
Reinstalling the drum into the dryer

It takes some patience to align the drum up with the retainer bearing so the bearing fits in its place.  Be careful to not “stab” the dryer elements with the bearings as you could damage them.  You will know that you have inserted the bearing into the retainer when the top of the drum has the gap shown below:

The correct gap above the drum
The correct gap above the drum

The front edge gap should look like this:

The correct gap in front of the drum edge
The correct gap in front of the drum edge

Step 21: Reinstall the belt on the motor and idler pulley.

First make sure the belt is correctly aligned and oriented on the drum.  The belt should go in the groove that is closest to the back of the dryer and the ribbed side of the belt should face the drum as seen below:

Belt Correctly installed on Drum
Belt Correctly installed on Drum

Here’s how I set it up to access the belt and reinstall it on the motor and pulley:

Location to access the belt and tensioner pulley
Location to access the belt and idler pulley

The belt is going to feel like it is too short, but it will fit.  First put the belt on the motor shaft, second, bend the pulley down,  and third, slide the belt up and over the lip on the edge of the pulley:

Steps for reinstalling the belt on the motor shaft and pulley
Steps for reinstalling the belt on the motor shaft and pulley

Step 22: Test the belt installation.

If the belt is installed correctly, when you turn the drum (while supporting the front edge of the drum), the blower will turn, since it is directly connected to the shaft on the motor:

Blower fan location
The blower fan will turn with the drum if the belt is on correctly

Step 23: Reinstall the front panel on the dryer.

You will need to slip the two bottom “slots” on to the two screws you loosened in Step 7.

Reinstalling Front Panel
Reinstalling Front Panel

As you lean the top of the front panel towards the dryer you will need to move the wiring connectors out of the way so they don’t go into the drum and also you will need to lift the drum up so it slips on to the bearing assembly:

Lift Drum Up to Slide onto Bearing
Lift Drum Up to Slide on to Bearing

You will also need to line up the curved tab on each edge of the front panel with the notch on the sides of the dryer.  I needed to squeeze the sides of the dryer in to line it up (both sides are the same):

Line Up Curved Tab With Notch
Line Up Curved Tab With Notch

Here’s a picture of the front panel in place:

Dryer Drum On Bearing
Dryer Drum On Bearing

Reinstall the upper front panel screws:

Reinstall the upper front panel screws
Reinstall the upper front panel screws

Tighten the two lower front panel screws:

Tighten the two lower front panel screws
Tighten the two lower front panel screws

Step 24: Reconnect the light and door light switch electrical connectors.

These connectors only have one way they can go on and one has 3 wires and the other has 2 so you can’t get them mixed up:

Reconnect the light and light switch connectors
Reconnect the light and door light switch connectors

Step 25: Reinstall the control panel.

The control panel has a slot on the bottom edge that sits down over the metal lip on the dryer body as illustrated below:

Reinstalling Control Panel
Reinstalling Control Panel

Here the control panel is set back on to the body (arrows indicate where the control panel fits over the edge of the metal frame):

Control Panel Installed
Control Panel Installed

Reconnect the control panel ribbon cable.  The female side (on the dryer) has a notch that fits a piece that sticks out on the connector so it will only fit one way:

Reconnecting Control Panel Ribbon Cable
Reconnecting Control Panel Ribbon Cable
Reconnect the light and door switch connectors
Reconnect the light and door switch connectors

Reinstall the two screws into the left and right ends of the control panel:

Reinstall the 2 Control Panel Screws
Reinstall the 2 Control Panel Screws

Step 26: Reinstall the dryer top panel.

There are two “catches” that hook into the underneath side of the top metal panel (circled below).  Set the back edge of the top panel on the top of the dryer and slide it back, centering it on the top of the dryer, and once it locks in place you can set down the top.

Reinstalling the dryer top panel
Set the back edge down on the to and slide back to lock in place

Then reinstall the two long top panel screws:

Reinstall the two long top panel screws
Reinstall the two long top panel screws

Step 27: Reinstall the back molding.

Slide the back of the bezel in place and reinstall the three Phillips head screws:

Reinstalling the back top molding
Reinstalling the back top molding

Step 28: Cautionary Note

If you have perchance pulled your dryer away from the wall you may want to verify that the dryer is still correctly connected to the exhaust pipe on the back.  It isn’t dangerous to have it disconnected but you will vent dryer lint all over your house if you blow the exhaust into your laundry room.

Step 29: Plug it back in

If your heating element was bad your dryer should heat up right away.  Now you’ve fixed your dryer heating element issues and saved a lot of money.

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