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Old 07-22-05, 02:08 PM   #1
TheAllPurposeNothing
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Need help!! I'm going to try my hand at dishwasher repair!!

I really know better but....

This past weekend, my dishwasher started to act up. Seems the water is coming out with force from the top jets and the side jets, but is just flowing, not spraying, out of the arm at the bottom. Therefore, the detergent is not find its way to the dishes and the glasses and bottom dishes are looking pretty sad. Been handwashing them since.

Does anyone here know anything about dishwasher repair and mechanics?? Gotta feeling the pump is either clogged or broken altogether. Is it even possible for a pump to be clogged? I was thinking it may be dead, but then how would any water be making it out of the arm?

Something tells me to leave it alone, but I can't afford to replace the dishwasher or bring in a repairman, and I'm starting to get dish pan hands!

I pretty sure I know how this will end up...with the thing in fifty pieces around the kitchen and me unsure of what I just did somewhere in the middle of it (ala Cliff Huxtable) . If I fail, I"ll guess I'll just continue to wash dishes by hand.

Should I stop before I even start, or is this something repairable by a novice??

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 07-22-05, 02:09 PM   #2
Minor Threat
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I'd take some compressed air and blow out the passage before you go and start tearing things apart......works when your fridge starts making less or hollow ice as well.....
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Old 07-22-05, 02:22 PM   #3
TheAllPurposeNothing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minor Threat
I'd take some compressed air and blow out the passage before you go and start tearing things apart......works when your fridge starts making less or hollow ice as well.....
Dumb question #1:

I'm assuming this is not the same stuff I buy at the office supply store to clean off my keyboard, correct??

(Yes...that's right...I'm doomed from the start)
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Old 07-22-05, 02:30 PM   #4
Sdallnct
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What brand is it? Check their web site. GE for one has excellent support where you can see what the problem might be and if you can tackle yourself.
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Old 07-22-05, 02:36 PM   #5
Minor Threat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAllPurposeNothing
Dumb question #1:

I'm assuming this is not the same stuff I buy at the office supply store to clean off my keyboard, correct??

(Yes...that's right...I'm doomed from the start)

No, it's not the same stuff.....


You can go to Sears or home depot and buy what's called a "bubble". Take it to a gas station and fill it with air from the tire hose. You'll be able to take the "bubble" home and release the compressed air from that into the lines and see what comes out. (Just don't look into any orifice while you're blowing air into it.)
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Old 07-22-05, 02:40 PM   #6
OldDude
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Take a close look at the openings in the bottom arm. They are probably clogged with food particles. I believe one pump provides the pressure for all the jets, so if some work, not others, it is most likely the jets themselves.

Expect a nasty couple of hours picking at food bits with tweezers, toothpicks, etc. DON'T just push them back into the arm, they'll just clog again.

There is also a screen at the bottom of the dishwasher to filter out really big chunks to keep them out of the pump. Clean it too.

It's hard to get it all. Some falls back in the arm, unavoidably. You'll probably have to repeat 2-3 times before it is working good.

Can you tell I've done this a few times
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Old 07-22-05, 02:48 PM   #7
Heat
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I installed my dishwasher, and a couple of years ago fixed a problem similar to yours except that my dishwasher had very low flow all over.

When you have an hour or two during the day (not night since your kitchen wonít have power, thus no lights) do this:

1. Take out all of the trays / holders in the dishwasher.
2. Unscrew the plastic screen / vent over where the water drains and see if anything is blocking something in there. If so and you think it might be big enough to be blocking something on the inside, remove it and replace the parts you disconnected, then try the dishwasher again. If you donít find anything, replace those parts anyway and continue to Step 3.
3. Turn off the power to your kitchen at the circuit box, this is very important. Once you think the power is off try turnning the dishwasher on. If it has power, go back and keep flipping circuits until you get the right one. Power must be off...
4. Unscrew any screws that are holding your dishwasher onto your counter.
5. Unscrew the bottom panel on the front of your dishwasher (below the door).
6. Disconnect the incoming water hose, being careful not to bend it (itís probably made of copper). Have a bowl ready to catch the water that will drip out.
7. Disconnect the power supply, write down how the wires are connected if itís not obvious (white to white, black to black, green (?) to green).
8. Disconnect the water drain hose from the dishwasher at your garbage disposal (again catching water from it if thereís any in there). Push a foot or so of the hose through whatever hole itís coming out of, to give you room for Step 9.
9. Pull the dishwasher out of itís hole. Everything should be disconnected at this point, as you pull it out be careful not to rip any insulation around it (noise insulation, if itís there), and keep feeding the water drain hose as needed so you can keep pulling on the dishwasher.

At this point it should be sitting on your kitchen floor. Take a look around the bottom, sides, and back of the dishwasher, see if you can find something that looks like it is blocking something. In my case, it was a popcorn kernel at the very back of the dishwasher that was preventing water from exiting correctly.

If you dishwasher is more then 10 years or so old or was a cheap brand to begin with, it may just be busted.

When replacing the water-intake pipe, use teflon tape. And don't put on the metal piece on the bottom (under the door) until after you've ran a load of dishes through it, you want to make sure that there aren't any leaks.

Good luck!

Also, when you are done, go ahead and disconnect the drain pipe from your garbage disposal, make sure that pipe isn't clogged or partially clogged with fat. If so, remove it.

Edit: Do what others are saying first, taking the dishwasher out and apart is a last resort.

Last edited by Heat; 07-22-05 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 07-22-05, 03:01 PM   #8
ANDREMIKE
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Do you have hard water? I am thinking you can just poor some CLR in the dishwasher and run it. That ill hopefully clear the jets from the water deposits.
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Old 07-22-05, 03:35 PM   #9
TheAllPurposeNothing
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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

Will start with OldDude's tips since they seem like the least complicated (but likely most time consuming).

I'm hoping this won't ultimately involve removing the entire dishwasher (as heat suggested). As it is, it seems to drain the water fine and water flow seems fine from the other jets. This problem seems limited to the arms water flow.

The dishwasher is almost 15 years old so it may need replacing soon. Now is just a bad time so if I can extend its life a little longer, it would be a big help.

I'll let you know how I fare tomorrow after I tackle this tonight.
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Old 07-22-05, 05:01 PM   #10
darkflounder
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Could be the lower jets are just clogged with detergent.

Use Tang. Yes, that's right, Tang. Get a container of powdered Tang, dump into the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full cycle. The citric acid in the Tang does a great job of breaking up detergent blockages.
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Old 07-22-05, 05:23 PM   #11
Heat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkflounder
Could be the lower jets are just clogged with detergent.

Use Tang. Yes, that's right, Tang. Get a container of powdered Tang, dump into the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full cycle. The citric acid in the Tang does a great job of breaking up detergent blockages.
I believe that this is how they would clean the dishwasher on the Mir space station, if it were clogged.
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