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Changing A Dryer Cord From 3-Wire to 4-Wire

July 2, 2006

Q: I just bought a new house and the dryer plug is the new 4-wire type. My dryer has the old 3-wire cord on it. So I went to Home Depot and bought a new 4-wire dryer cord. I removed my old cord and started to install the new one but, I’m stumped. What do I do with the green wire?

A: This is a common question we receive and a common mistake most every general contractor makes that we work with.

With a 3-wire system your neutral terminal will have a copper clad or aluminum strap or green wire connected between it and the frame. You need to remove this when changing to a 4-wire cord.

Terminate the wires from your new 4-wire cord as black to black terminal, white to white terminal, red to red terminal and green to ground screw on frame. This is the other end of that strap or green wire you need to remove from the white (neutral) terminal.

When changing to a 4-wire cord it is very important to remove the strap or wire that connects between the white terminal and the dryer’s frame. If you do not remove this, your neutral or grounded conductor will allow electricity to flow through your dryer’s frame and shock you each time you touch your dryer.

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Comments

22 Responses to “Changing A Dryer Cord From 3-Wire to 4-Wire”

  1. Nikki Holladay on July 27th, 2006 1:45 pm

    I have to do the opposite – remove a 4 prong cord and put on a 3 prong cord. Please help!

  2. sam winstead on May 17th, 2007 6:58 am

    I changed my dryer cord from a 4 prong to a 3 prong. It worked great last night but this morning the dryer ran for a few minutes and quit. I unplugged the dryer. Just not sure what the problem is.

  3. Al on May 14th, 2008 8:07 pm

    Great Site. One Question. I am changing a 3 prong dryer cord to a 4. The White wire on the center terminal has a Y were a green wire is conected to the white and runs to the dryer frame. Do i remove the green from the white and keep the white as is running to thje center terminal?

  4. Keith Culpepper on July 1st, 2008 11:00 pm

    I am going from a 3 wire to a 4 wire. Have it wired correctly an instructed above but it keeps tripping the breaker everytime I plug it in. Any advice? I am thinking maybe the receptacle is bad. Looks like it had sparked before I moved in from the top terminal.

  5. Ken on September 16th, 2008 4:42 pm

    I have a maytag dryer I purchased from craigslist. I believe it’s an older dryer and the three wires connected in the rear is vertical. The wires are yellow (on top), white (in the middle) and light blue (on the bottom). Where should I put the red wire, white wire, black wire and green wire. There is a ground screw just outside of the panel. On the white screw, there is a bond strap that is connected to another screw inside the panel. Thanks for your assistance. Maytag could not advise me aside from sending a technician which would cost me more than probably the cost I paid for the dryer.

  6. Linda on September 19th, 2008 6:06 pm

    I connected my 4 prong cord red to light blue, black to black ywllow, white in the middle which had to white connectors plus a strap. I removed the strap and connected the green wire to the frame under where I removed the strap. I plug in the dryer and it will not come on . What did I do wrong.

  7. FEDERICO on October 12th, 2008 9:26 am

    I HAVE A FOUR WIRE PLUG IN MY RANGE, AND A THREE WIRE RECEPTACLE WITH THE NEUTRAL WIRE AND GROUND CONNECTED TOGETHER, MY HOME IS OLD(1986), I CAN CHANGE THAT RECEPTACLE FOR A 4 WIRE RECP. BUT DO I NEED TO SEPARATE THE NEUTRAL AND GROUND IN MY PANEL TOO? OR CAN I LEAVE IT AS IT IS?

  8. Dillard Baker on November 30th, 2008 11:32 am

    I have a Generac GP 65000 gas genarator that has a 4 wire female receptical and I would like to use a 3 wire female at the end of my cored when pluged into the genarator. All my other devises that require 220 are 3 wire. Can I use a 4 wire plug and not use one of the connections in the plug and only use three and if so which three?

  9. Tom Peterson on December 1st, 2008 11:15 pm

    I have the same question as Dillard Baker above) except I have an 8500 watt generator. Thank you in advance. Tom

  10. Trina on January 11th, 2009 1:46 pm

    I was reading your answer abouting going from a 3 prong dryer cord to a 4 prong. I understand where to connect the wires, but what I didn’t understand is what needs to be done with the ground wire that is internally attached to the dryer. I have a GE dryer. Do I just leave that old wire hanging? If not I dont understand how to remove it. Please advise.

  11. Randy Kelley on March 22nd, 2009 5:40 pm

    I have a newer home with 4 wire outlet. My dryer played out mom gave me her 3 wire one. I removed my 4 wire cord to put on older dryer. When i removed 3 wire cord the colers are red, white ,and l blue. Colors on 4 wire plug red, black , white, green.So i guess red to red white to white .Where do black and green go?PLEASE HELP

  12. Teri on July 26th, 2009 6:44 pm

    I am changing my dryer cord from a 3 prong to a 4 prong. I have a whirlpool. My problem is that I have a green weier instead of the strap. I do not see that I can remove this wire. Any advice?

  13. Molly on August 4th, 2009 7:28 am

    My boyfriend rewired my GE dryer from 4prong to a 3 prong plug to accommodate our 3 prong outlet. Before changing the plug, the dryer worked fine. Now, it has power, and spins the clothes, however the heat no longer works. Any ideas on what we could have done wrong in this process? Are there any fuses in the dryer that could have blown out?

  14. Dale Jackson on January 6th, 2010 8:14 pm

    I was reading your answer abouting going from a 3 prong dryer cord to a 4 prong. I understand where to connect the wires, but what I didn’t understand is what needs to be done with the ground wire that is internally attached to the dryer. I have a ROPER dryer. Do I just leave that old wire hanging? If not I dont understand how to remove it. Please advise.

  15. jamie on April 24th, 2010 4:35 pm

    i have a roper dryer and i dont know what todo with the fourth wire my dryer has three the new cord has four how do i know what the colors mean and where they go

  16. Mike garza on May 2nd, 2011 8:48 am

    I changed my 4 prong to a 3 prong plug and now the dryer will not turn on. Is there a reset button on the GE Dryers?

  17. Jim on May 10th, 2011 3:07 pm

    Can I cut the three prong plug off and wire on a four prong. Where does the white go.

  18. zach laraway on July 4th, 2011 9:38 am

    im changing a 3 prong to a 4 but the green wire cant reach any screws where do i put it

  19. GREG KERR on October 22nd, 2011 6:13 am

    I have a Generac GP 65000 gas genarator that has a 4 wire female receptical and I would like to use a 3 wire female at the end of my cored when pluged into the genarator. All my other devises that require 220 are 3 wire. Can I use a 4 wire plug and not use one of the connections in the plug and only use three and if so which three?

  20. T on October 25th, 2011 2:57 am

    I have an older ge dryer, while trying to install the cord, I noticed that there were 4 wires on it. A red,white, black, and green. I’ve found a place for every wire except the green wire. So I’m curious to know if I’m not suppose to use the green wire. There is a litte bracket which reads green ground on one end and the other reads green ground screw. So I don’t know what to do at this point

  21. Tip J. Moses on January 30th, 2012 12:20 am

    Dear Sir.
    I have a question.
    I would like to put a 220v breaker panel in my yard with a 50 amp outlet for my RV.
    I will be using number 6, 4 wire running from the main breaker panel.
    My question is: How to wire both panels with the 4 wires.
    If you could e-mail me a Diagram of Installations.
    Thank you.
    Tip J. Moses

  22. Shailie on February 25th, 2012 10:22 pm

    Hello, I recently changed my Bosch dryer cord from a 3 prong to a 4 prong cord. Everything is hooked up correct and I’m not getting shocked my dryer works but seems to smell “Hott” what could be wrong?

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