Electric dryer - fix or replace?

I'm looking for some opinions about replacing or repairing a dryer.
I have a 16 year old Kenmore electric dryer. Lately it's been getting noisier and noisier and seems to by drying slower. The noise is a slow, low pitch, rising and falling cycle. I have checked and cleaned the vent (about 9' of straight 4" pipe, w/one 90" bend).
I know 16 years is a good lifespan for an appliance, however, I also know that dryers are simple enough that it might make sense to repair rather than buying a new one of equal capacity. I'm going to examine it more closely this weekend, but the "structural" parts; drum, chassis, etc. seem sound and not excessively worn, and the heater and electronics seem OK. I can't really get at the motor until I take it apart some, so I'm not sure about the condition of it yet. The rear drum seal seems to be sticking out a couple of places, and rotating the drum by hand seems uneven, so I figure I'd have to replace the seals at a minimum, as well as the belt and maybe the drum support rollers.
My question is that given the age, is it reasonable to replace the worn components, or should I just go for a new unit? Are the motors and/or heaters in newer units significantly more efficient to operate? I wouldn't think there'd be much change in the technology of those. I know some of the newer models have all kinds of extra features, but we're happy with the choice of cycles/temps on our current unit. If we do replace it, we'll probably go with something about the same level, so extra features aren't really an issue.
What I don't want to have happen is that I sink $$ into the seals, rollers, etc. and then in a month have the motor or something else fail and end up having to get a new unit anyway.
I guess my main concern is the motor. Assuming I don't see any obvious problems, is it reasonable to expect it to continue functioning, or at 16 years is it already on borrowed time? As a test, could I run the motor without the belt & drum to see if it runs smoothly, or will a "no load" run damage it? Are there any other things I should look for and/or test on it to see if it's worth keeping?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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I'd fix it - as you say, there is very little to them and there is no reason to expect the motor to fail. If it has oil cups, oil the motor while you are in there.
It may just be a matter of taking it apart and cleaning and lubing the moving parts. I need to clean and lube (grease) the bushings on my drum-support rollers every few years or they start to get noisy. Use a high-temp grease like you'd use for wheel bearings in your car.
While you have the drum out, you could replace the drum belt just as a precaution.
John

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<snip>
If this has no heat exchanger, it may be substantially more expensive to run than a newer one.
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I've never heard of a heat exchanger on a dryer. I pretty sure no North American model uses or have used such a device in a dryer (although it may not be a bad idea to help reduce energy consumption).
Dan O. - Appliance411.com http://ng.Appliance411.com/?ref411=clothes+dryer
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dryer.
getting
Blow out all air passages in the unit with an air compressor or leaf blower. I've seen doing this completely revive non-working dryers.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike O.) wrote in message

Hi,
Check it out at least before replacing!! Dryers of your vintage where made to last 15-20+ years easy....newer ones seem to crap out more like 8-10 years now.
if just rollers, belt, drum seals I'd probbaly repair the old dryer before replacing it.

Without a crystal ball no one "really" knows!

Large leaps forward in energy use, most today are probably a min of 1/4 less energy to use....but they last 50% less in length of time/life span.
http://www.applianceaid.com/dryers.html Some dryer helps/tips.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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Yes.
The motor might be a bit more efficient, an element is an element. On some newer models they just install a lower wattage one to reduce energy consumption numbers. Some hi-end models have gotten some electronic controls (read headache) to allow them to dry more efficiently.
I myself have a 1968 Whirlpool design dryer and I would't swap it for a new one if they paid *me*. I'm not a big fan of most of the current models which are available.

If cared for properly (ie, not running the appliance while showing signs of needing attention and having problems looked into promptly), you almost never "have to" get a new dryer. It's usually only when you let things get out of hand (ie. left too long) that replacement becomes more cost effective.

Not a really big deal if you can replace it yourself.

Sure, it's lasted this long there's no reason it can't last longer. I don't know how high the rate of failure is of the motors on new dryers but the probability of having to replace one in the first 5 years of ownership is a pretty good.

No it wouldn't hurt the motor but it wouldn't tell you much either. About the only thing you could look for is maybe side to side play in the motor shaft or signs of overheating on the motor windings (if visible) and motor switch.

Common things that need replacing on Whirlpool built dryers (like most Kenmores) are the drum rollers, belt and idler pulley. All of which can be purchased in a kit (see the following link for an example). The seals if they're worn they should be replaced and the whole inside of the dryer and around the motor ventilation ports cleaned.
JMO
Whirlpool/Kenmore Dryer Maintenance Kit http://ng.appliance411.com/data.php?rcX7636
Dan O. - Appliance411.com http://ng.Appliance411.com/?ref411=Kenmore+dryer
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[...information snipped...]

I was thinking that running it no load might show if there's any excessive vibration or other signs of problems.

Do the brushes on these motors typically need replaced? Also, what about lubrication, do they usually use sealed bearings? I would think they would be sealed; oil+lint doesn't sound like a good mix... If I should oil it, any particular type?
Thanks again.
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Unlikely there are brushes in it. If it has oil cups, just use some regular light motor oil. The cups have wicks in them that just get soaked in oil.
I've never touched the motor (or oiled it) in my 15-year old Sears dryer. It may have sealed bearings that don't require lubrication. My furnace motor has oil cups.
John

would
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Thank you for all the responses. I'm going to disassemble the dryer tomorrow, pull the drum and figure out exactly what I need to replace. Unless I see something major, I think I'm going to go the "repair" route.. I figure if I spend $50 and get another 5 years, it's worth it.

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