Yessir, the glamour never stops round my house. Toy cars, second-hand cameras and now a broken tumble dryer!
The model is a Beko DRCS 68 W. Age about two years. Syptoms were limited to the drum not turning. So I thought I’d have a look. I may have no electrical qualifications, but I do have a couple of screwdrivers…
This is what you see once you pull the machine out (unplugged from the mains, naturally). A pressed metal back with a couple of extra covers. The larger one is a duct for warm, moist air; the smaller one on the bottom right is an inspection panel for the motor.
And this is how it looks with those covers removed. Sure enough, the belt was broken and dangling next to the motor pulley. Which was a relief, because a motor failure would have been much more expensive.
After “letting my fingers do the walking” through the Yellow Pages failed to turn up any local stock, I got a part number from Beko’s website and found an original spare on eBay for an astonishing £6.49 posted. Ordered it up and it arrived next day. Great service.
The first thing I noticed when I took the old belt out of the machine was that it had a different part number (1967 for the old belt, 1966 for the new). Cue minor panic, quickly resolved by a little internet research which suggested that the 1966 belt had superceded the 1967 belt. Perhaps the engineers became aware of belt reliability problems and specced a 1mm shorter belt instead?
There are various other parts of the dryer that need to be disassembled before the back will come away, one of which is the large e-clip which mounts the drum to a bushing on the rear panel. It’s a bit like removing the largest toy-car suspension pin you’ve ever seen! There are also waste water pipes and electrical connectors that need to be taken apart (remember to note down which way they go back together – I find a camera incredibly useful for this). I couldn’t easily remove the last of the water pipes but by then the back could be moved almost completely to the side.
This is a shot of my attempt to hold the drum in place with grey tape as I took the back off. I didn’t really work out (read on), but it does show the drum itself and the brown marks from the belt drive.
You’ve probably noticed that there are no pics of the back completely off. It’s partly because I forgot, and partly because it is such a physical job to wrestle the belt over the drum and hold the drum in place as you re-attach the back. In the end I put the dryer front-panel down on a sheet on the floor to try and get the drum nicely aligned.
I know that most tumble dryers use a belt looped around the drum, but it’s plain to see that this is a crude solution that is sure to lead to failure sooner or later. Not only is the belt under a lot of tension, it is also subjected to high temperatures. Surely a direct drive motor or a fixed drive with a friction or fluid clutch would be more reliable?
After all that, does the dryer work? So far, yes. It stinks to high heaven, but I think that is just the “hot new belt” smell. If my repair lasts two years, I’ll be pleased. £6.49 plus a couple of hours headscratching and a couple of hours of manhandling works out as pretty good value.