Dishwasher repair -- how? And should I?
August 21, 2013 3:03 PM   Subscribe

I have a 7-year old Whirlpool dishwasher (GU2200XTSB to be exact.) I got the 7 clean-light-flash error signal, and was able to clear that (so control panel seems good.) Heating element -- still hot. Water fills? check. But then it just hums when in the past the big chugging washing motion would begin. So it sounds like some kind of pump/motor problem. The water isn't getting pushed around. The little detergent door is opened but the detergent is still there, barely wet. I am pretty handy and have repaired several other major appliances before. so -- 1) how to diagnose pump vs. motor vs. ???? 2) Is this just stupid given the age of the dishwasher? I'd rather pay $50 or $100 than $500, but....
posted by msalt to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Do you have a separate spray arm for the top? Is it driven by water pressure, as most are, instead of directly driven by a motor? That would indicate a pump problem.
posted by SpecialK at 3:21 PM on August 21, 2013

Best answer:

Thiss forum thread is about a similar error code and possible causes.

Good luck.
posted by BenPens at 4:02 PM on August 21, 2013

Response by poster: Great ideas, both of you, thanks!

The top has a much smaller spray arm, a little white plastic thing with two little wings that each have a jet nozzle. it's much smaller than the other arms, and not metal, but does that too.

It revolves freely when I touch it, so I assume it's driven by water pressure not a motor, right?

The most interesting idea in BenPens' link suggests a Flow Meter failure.
posted by msalt at 4:26 PM on August 21, 2013

This may sound like a stupid question, but I have to ask: what color are your kitchen appliances?

The reason I ask is that, thanks to the current obsession in the decorating world for stainless steel appliances, you can often find people unloading perfectly good, not particularly old white or black appliances for a song on Craigslist. When my last dishwasher started to die, I priced it out and found that I was looking at $115 in DIY repairs. Instead, I bought a new, never-used dishwasher for $200 from some folks who'd moved into their place, promptly torn out the new white appliances and replaced them with--you guessed it--stainless steel.

If you can get a good line on a cheap dishwasher, it may not be worth the trouble to fix the old one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:21 AM on August 22, 2013

Response by poster: Interesting idea. This one's black but white would fit the kitchen better actually. I saw a never-used DW on craig's list and was kind of suspicious, why would someone own a new DW and have it for sale?
posted by msalt at 11:45 AM on August 23, 2013

Mine was purchased on sale by a couple doing a full kitchen reno by one spouse, then the other decided they should go stainless and bought a complete set of those. Because mine was a clearance item and had been unpacked, they couldn't return it, so they had to just unload it for cash. Weirdly, variations of this do not seem to be uncommon.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:28 AM on August 26, 2013

Response by poster: The upshot is, I took it apart and -- as someone on the internet said -- dishwashers are modular and pretty easy to get into.

In my case, it filled and drained fine but hummed when the wash cycle should start. I had hoped that some crud inside had jammed it, and it might work after I cleared that out. There was definitely crud in there, but the motor was shot. The guy at WL Mays (a great appliance parts store in Portland) said that you could tell the bearings were shot -- the impeller should spin completely freely, but this felt sticky on and off. Also a corner of it was rusty, indicating a water leak inside the dishwasher that may have been part of the problem.

A replacement motor also costs $150. I bought a new low-end dishwasher (Amana) for $320; the repair for half that much didn't seem to make any sense in a 7 year old dishwasher, with no guarantee there wasn't some other problem too. However, I learned enough through all this to install it myself, which at least save me $125.

posted by msalt at 9:53 PM on August 28, 2013

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