So, here it is before I started messing with it...in all of it's 'I'm a regular ole dryer that makes awful noises when running' awesomeness.
So step 1 was to get inside so I could see what was up. This was a GE dryer, so in order to open it, I opened the door and found the screws that held the top in place.
You can see the little hole there on the top left. I unscrewed those two and pulled the top off:
So now I'm looking in there, very proud that I got it open. Then it slowly dawned on me that I had no clue what I was looking for. I think maybe I expected a little pink flag waving saying, 'look at me, I'm broken!' Too bad, this whole thing would have been much easier. You can see a thin black line running around the drum in the center...that is a fan belt. If that had been broken, it would have been an easy fix. Alas. So the next step was to take off the front and remove the drum. It was easy enough to reach inside and unscrew the front from the sides.
The thing to be careful of here is the light. There is wiring that goes from the front into the electrical hookup, so you can't just yank the front off. Watch those little cords. Here is that front piece at a different angle.
If I had been paying attention I might have seen the problem right then, but I was still hoping for a broken pulley, so I went in to remove the drum from the dryer housing. It needed this funky little bit on the screwdriver that I've always wondered what it was for.
So I reached in and unscrewed the back from the drum by removing those three screws in the middle.
Then I carefully removed the belt and pulled the drum out.
It may be hard to see, but no pulley's were broken during the dismantling of this dryer. Darn. OK, back to the front:
See that grey felt band thingie? Yeah that was broken and all bunched up everywhere. So then I set about trying to find that part. No luck. So I called a dryer repairman. He said he'd be out the next day, and I was hoping that my efforts at opening the dryer would make his job easier and thus save me some money. Next day came...and went. I called, he said he meant late afternoon (it was already 6pm) but he was glad I called because he was running late and wouldn't make it that day anyway. So we rescheduled for the next day. That day came and went. ARGH! So I called a different repair guy and told the first guy no thanks. The new guy I called asked how old the dryer was (5 for those of you who care) and the brand (GE). Then he proceeded to tell me that it wasn't worth repairing it and I should just go buy a new one. So after 5 days, I realized I only needed one tool to fix the dryer, my credit card. So here's the dryer: