"I don't usually sell to end users..."

So my wife was complaining about stuff taking far to long to dry in the dryer. When she first mentioned it, she was having problems drying a large load of towels. I figured that it was due to the fact that towels like to hold water and it was a pretty big load so I didn't think anything about it.

Yesterday, she called me at the office to tell me that she had a bedsheet in the dryer for well over an hour and it was still cold and wet. I promised to look at it when I got home.

Getting home, I put a load in the washer and then into the dryer. Firing up the dryer it looked like things were going fine. It was getting hot and life was good so I let it run for a while.

After about 15 minutes, I checked on the dryer again. It was still running... well, it was still tumbling, and it was also ice cold. This isn't good. So I got out their troubleshooting manual:

Problem:                Solution:

No heat                 Check circuit breaker

That solution would be fine and dandy, but this is a gas dryer and the circuit breaker is obviously OK because it has power.

Grrr.....

I decide to pull it away from the wall and take a look inside through the rear vents. I start it, and I can see the heater element (replacement for a pilot light) glow red and then go out. After a minute, it tries again. No fire at all.

Either the valve is damaged or the heater element isn't hot enough. I start to take it apart. (Though it is only 1.5 years old, its out of warranty so if I can fix it myself, I will. I know what service technicians charge.)

Fast forward over an hour as I remove a bunch of screws to panels while trying to figure out how it come apart. I finally get it apart and give the valve a whack with the screwdriver to see if its stuck.

I get a flame this time. This is good. Being a good techie, I stop it and wait a few minutes and try again. This time, no flame.

Grrrrrrr...

Either the valve is really stuck, or something else is wrong. I give dad a call to see what he thinks. (I'm a computer geek, not an appliance geek. He's an appliance geek, not a computer geek.) Solenoid coils either are busted or aren't getting voltage.

Haul out the voltmeter. I get a resistance of 1.8 KiloOhms one of the 2 coils and an infinite resistance on the other. Not good. Broken coil. Check the voltage for the power to the coils with the dryer running. Yup, they get voltage when the heater element is on. I now know what's broke.

Go to LG's website and see if I can find a way to order parts. Nope. I get a listing of service dealers. I call them and they state they don't sell parts. They fix them, but don't sell the parts. I call LG directly from the number on their Owner's Manual. They have an option to order parts right off the main menu.

I talk with the woman that answers and tell her about the problem. The conversation goes something like this:

LG: "Are you a technician?"
Me: "No. I know what the problem is. One of the electronic valve coils is bad. Can you help me find the part number and let me order it?"
LG: "I don't usually sell to end users."
Me: "OK. So can you help me me find the part number and let me order it?"
LG: "I don't usually sell to end users."
Me: (Realizing that this might be a problem.) "What do you mean by that? You don't usually or flat out won't sell me the part?"
LG: Silence...
Me: "I know where the problem is. I just need the part. The dryer's not under warranty anymore and I'd like to avoid having to pay someone to fix something that I can do myself."
LG: Silence...
Me: "This is very frustrating. Can you help me or not?"
LG: "Well you don't have a service manual with the part number."
Me: "Its not published in the user's guide. How else would I?"
LG: "With the service manual."
Me: "Well can you help me figure out what the part number is and let me order it?"
LG: "I think I can help you find the part number but I'll have to check with my supervisor as to if I can sell you it. What's the dryer model number?"
Me: "Its DLG5932W. The broken part is the electronic valve coil."

She finds that there is a gas valve assembly and gives me the part number.

Me: "So can you sell it to me?"
LG: "Let me check with my supervisor... I'm sorry. I can't. Only a qualified service technician."

Grrr....

I've get the names of a few authorized service centers. They all are assuming that I'm still under warranty and are a bit surprised when I ask for labor rates. I get prices for labor. $69 - $89 for the first 1/2 hour plus $20 for each 15 min... plus the price of parts.

I scheduled one and actually talked to the technician about the problem. He agrees that the coil is shot and he'll order the appropriate part. Maybe I'll get it by the end of the next week.

I really don't like the attitude of "we won't sell you this part because you're not qualified" for something in the consumer space. I'm not asking them for warranty service and I don't carry a service contract with them so what do they care? Its not like they make money off of the local technician doing the work.

The only thing that I can figure is that if I do the gas valve wrong that it could leak and I'd find a way to sue them. I look at it as I wouldn't take it apart if I didn't have at least some idea what I was doing.

The $.20 coil will probably cost me a $150 when its all said and done. Hopefully less if I can get the technician to just drop the thing off and let me do it. I was happy to see that I'm not the only person to have this kind of experience. Though I don't think my wife would like it if I painted the dryer yellow and put Space Invader decals on it.

Comments:

Just wondering, couldn't you just buy it from the service center, rather then from the company direct, even if they charge an extra 500%, it's still cheaper then getting the service tech in..

Posted by Paul Greidanus on February 18, 2005 at 10:25 AM CST #

Well, maybe she wouldn't like you painting it but I bet your friends would dig it! -Chris

Posted by Chris Melissinos on February 18, 2005 at 01:33 PM CST #

Just find an appliance supply center and order the part through them. The first time my dryer went I got a tech in and I paid the $75 + part fee. But the tech also told me how to repair the dryer in the future and where to get parts, which I have done twice since. Well worth the money I originally paid!

Posted by reha gur on February 21, 2005 at 06:17 AM CST #

When I read your post, it was like you were looking over my shoulder, writing down every step (except for the numerous curse words). Do these sound familiar: 1. Screws so tight, its like their welded on. 2. Removing all the screws on the back, only to find there is no way possible to take the back off. 3. No access door for maintenance. (The one on the back right hand side does not count because it is totally freakin' useless) 4. Removing every possible screw, and loosening the drum, just to access the gas valve assembly. 5. Brilliant engineering on that right-hand solenoid valve - just enough space to remove the screws and unseat the valve - but not enough room to remove it without disconnecting the gas tube. Mine is also about 1.5 years old. I called LG to see if I could get the service manual, and the rep actually said it was for legal reasons. By the way, the local appliance parts suppliers, that LG gave me, do not deal with LG parts. After I finally removed the valves, one was definitely bad, but I will replace both so don't have to do this again, at least for another year or two. If you get a chance, drop me an email if you find "cheap" valves anywhere. I just hope I can put the whole mess back together after I find them!

Posted by Geoff Gomlak on May 19, 2005 at 03:16 PM CDT #

Did you ever get the part number? I'm having the same problem right now with my dryer and would really appreciate any help that you can offer. To say the least, I'm bummed that I bought this LG dryer. Thanks for the heads up with this post on what to expect.

Posted by Chad Oltman on April 16, 2006 at 07:15 AM CDT #

We should form a class action lawsuit against LG. My dryer is 1.5 yrs old. Same scenario. Glow plug ingites, but no gas to burn. Are the valves bad or the coils? Where can I get the coils? Please help. Thanks

Posted by Ian Chamberlain on June 26, 2006 at 02:52 PM CDT #

I'm having the same problem. Can some good soul describe how to open the machine and take out the valves. My machine is 1.5 years old, too.

Posted by Matthew Bradford on July 11, 2006 at 01:16 PM CDT #

What you do to open the machine is use a putty knife to get between the side and the cover. There a latches in the front you need to push in and the top will then open up. You need to look for a reset switch next to the exhaust valve and reset it. Good luck. Chad

Posted by Chad on July 13, 2006 at 04:24 AM CDT #

My LG gas drier is also 1.5 years old and I'm having the same problem. It's been down 3 weeks now waiting for LG to supply the service company with the part. Go figure.

Posted by Michael Seifert on September 23, 2006 at 04:24 PM CDT #

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Phil is an Area Technical Engineer in the Central Area of Oracle's Field Service in North America. He has 15 years of experience supporting Sun's entire product line.

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