Gas dryer doesn't work - repair or replace

OK, appliance fans - let's hear what you think. I have a Maytag gas dryer purchased in 1988. In 2001, the igniter failed and it cost $149 to get it replaced. (I'm not willing to consider DIY where propane is involved.) Now, once again, it isn't producing a flame. My guess is that the same repair would cost $175-$200 today. Probably most of the cost is for the guy to drive the truck out here, so getting an estimate first isn't practical.
Would you repair a dryer that was built back in the days when (we like to think) they made them from Big Iron and designed them to last forever, or buy a new one that probably has hundreds of digital settings and is much more energy efficient but is made mostly from plastic? If going the "Replace" route, what to buy? Our needs are simple; we just want it to dry our clothes and last a long time. We do want it to be a gas-powered model though.
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Dryers are pretty simple appliances compared to others and most are economical to repair from a replacement cost factor. BTW an igniter can run as much as $70-75 for the part alone (I just replaced one in my GE) but is not hard is you are handy and can work with tools. Most of them do require pulling the whole burner unit to change the igniter so the gas connection must be un-done. If your old unit had no other problems or weird sounds, then I vote to repair it.
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I'd opt for repair. I'd also consider doing it myself. You don't have to tamper with the propane to replace an igniter. It is a couple of wires and screws.
Check out www.repairclinic.com for some troubleshooting tips.
Overall, dryers are simple machines. Burner, drum, motor, pulley and belt, idler bearings and rollers, and a sensor.
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Nick Danger wrote:

I would also suggest repair. You may want to consider DIY. You don't need to get involved with the propane in any direct way. Get a book or find a good web site, remember not to touch the igniter (if it is a hot body type). It should be a easy job. However the part is not going to be cheap. In any case it is cheaper than new.
--
Joseph Meehan

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what will a brand new dryer cost in comparison with repairs?
general rule of thumb if repair is at or over 50% of the cost of a new one replace the appliance....
time to price a new dryer and add delivery and install if its not DIY
with other appliances consider they might be more energy efficent, fridges are espically in that catergory. new ones save lots of money on electric
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Luck just is not with me today. First this had to happen on the day the rest of my family decided to throw every piece of clothing they own into the laundry (although one thing that did go right was a bright sunny day). Then I found a couple sites with clear detailed instructions for troubleshooting - mostly checking for continuity in various circuits. So I got out my voltmeter and found that the cables were missing. In the 22 years that I've had this thing, the cables have never been more than a foot away from it, but now I have no clue where they are. So now I have to decide whether to keep looking or buy a new voltmeter, and in the meantime I don't have a working dryer.
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you can fab a couple cables with plain insulated wire like 14 gauge stripped on ends push in meter contacts.
I fox office machines for a living and did that just the other day saving 20 minutes walk each way back to my van.
use with care but in a pinch it works.
mnote for safety reasons trhere are more than one type of test leads today, standard banana plugs and newer hard to get shocked type.
Take you meter with you when shopping for leads......
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I have a new fangled dryer about 8 years old and my parent's have one about 3 years old. Both are efficient and holding up fine. If your dryer does not have a moisture sensor I would consider replacing it. That is the major improvement over the last 15 years.

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Fixing a dryer is generally DIY, even with propane; the type of fuel should make no difference. For a no-heat problem on a gas dryer, these are the common points to look at:
1. Ignitor open. 2. Coil open. 3. Thermostat or thermal fuse open.
Here is the diagnostic trail, simplified: When there is a call for heat (you turn on the dryer), you should hear the clang of coils setting up the the valve for fuel. There are actually 3 coil circuits within the 2 coil units. If you don't hear that clang, this would point to a thermostat/thermal fuse problem. If you do hear the clang, then this would point to an ignitor problem. Lastly, If the ignitor glows, then this would point to a coil problem.
Maytag dryers are generally very easy to repair because an internal front bulkhead holds the drum in place, allowing you to take of the front, leaving the wires connected, and diagnosing the problem with power to the machine. This is a bit more "dangerous", but will give you accurate results.
Take off the front, and move out of the way, but leave wires connected. Put the dryer into a heat cycle, press start, and see if the ignitor glows. If not, do a voltage drop test at its connector. If you get 120 at the connector, then replace the ignitor. Next, while the drum is turning, you can do voltage drop tests across each thermal fuse and thermostat, which are located on the blower housing and on the burner housing. If you find a voltage drop of 120, then this is the component to replace.
When I say voltage drop, I mean testing for potential by placing your meter leads on the 2 wires that feed a component. If the circuit is closes, you will get no drop, but if the circuit is open (or in our case, the component is broken), then your meter will show 120v.
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