Appliance Repair Show Transcript - August 5, 2007

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2000 Kenmore Calypso Washer Repair Cost versus Replacement

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Darren, in Southfield, we'll start with you this morning with a Kenmore Calypso washer, on the Appliance Repair Show. Go ahead, Darren.

DARREN

I have, like you said, a Kenmore Calypso washer. I've had it for about seven years, and it broke, and I had the repair lady come out, and she said the problem was the water pump on the Kenmore. She explained if you're familiar with the washer, how it tosses the load, it doesn't have an agitator like a normal washing machine.

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, I used to own one.

DARREN

Right. She said the U-joint had gone bad, and that causes it to dip, and then things get in the pump and causes the pump to go out. And now, the washer is a big paperweight, and she advises that, she estimated it would be six hundred dollars to fix it. So she recommended buying a new washer, and that's probably what I'm going to do, but I was wondering, do you think it's repairable, and if not, what do you think about the Oasis washer, the one that replaces the Calypso?

JOHN SOWDEN

Anything is repairable as long as parts are available. It's just a matter of if it's cost effective versus purchasing a new unit that has normally a one-year warranty. It's just like automobiles, where at some point it's time to send it to the graveyard. In your case, it sounds like you need a new U-joint, unicouple assembly and the pump. I think the pump for those comes with a motor attached to it now, and it's about a hundred and twenty bucks roughly for that, and then the U-joint assembly is about the same. If the wash plate is damaged, that's probably another seventy or eighty dollars, I'd say half of your estimate is going to be in parts, and then the rest because it is a complete teardown of that machine to do that, I would say anywhere between four and six hundred would be a pretty accurate estimate as far as what you're describing. As far as whether you should do it or not, it depends on how much you like the machine. The Calypso uses a lot less water than the standard top-loader, so your water bill should be lower. There are other things based on how these machines are made and wash the clothes that make them more energy efficient over time. The Oasis, are you talking about the front-loader?

DARREN

Ah, this is going to be a top loader Oasis.

JOHN SOWDEN

Oh, I understand, that's going to be a similar machine, it has an agitator, though, but it's the same thing where, I don't want to say it's a new design, it's actually been around for a while, but yeah, they seem to be, from what I've seen, a pretty decent machine. Again, the more bells and whistles you get on anything, the more you end up having the potential for more repairs.

1965 Frigidaire Refrigerator/Freezer No Longer Keeping the Ice Cream Frozen

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Shirley, in Clinton Township, you're next on the Appliance Repair Show. Good morning, Shirley.

SHIRLEY

I want to know if I should send my Frigidaire to the graveyard, or try to keep it. It's brown, it's from 1965, fourteen, I think, cubic feet, it's very economical to operate but will not keep the ice cream frozen. Is there a part for it?

JOHN SOWDEN

Has this just started happening?

SHIRLEY

No, it's been going on for about a year now.

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, the first thing, there are always some basic things with any refrigerator which is make sure the condenser coil is clean. If it's under the machine, yours might have the condenser mounted to the back; it looks like a big black radiator, for lack of better words. The other thing that can happen over time is that the compressors can become inefficient which means that they're still pumping, but they aren't circulating the refrigerant through the system at the proper pressures, which can cause problems. The other thing is that over time the cabinets, the insulation can break down, and cause some erratic temperature swings. When you say the ice cream is not freezing, it can also be in the product. Some ice creams require a colder temperature to maintain, ice milk versus ice cream. I always tell people to use a thermometer, a fairly accurate thermometer, and you should have between zero and eight degrees in your freezer section to keep ice cream, obviously the closer to zero you're going to have it the more it bends the spoon as you're trying to dig it out. I would start by just monitoring temperature and see what you have. If it's only keeping ten or twelve degrees, you could have a problem, again with the efficiency of the refrigerator, and there's not much you can do as far as to repair it other than to spend a lot of money. And if it's forty years old, it might be something to keep out in the garage to keep cold beverages with the weather we've had. But other than that, I wouldn't keep ice cream in there.

SHIRLEY

It's not yet ready for the graveyard.

JOHN SOWDEN

Not if you still have another function for it.

Washing Machine Timer Knob Broke and Timer Shaft No Longer Turns

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Diane, in Waterford, has a heavy-duty washer problem, on the Appliance Repair Show. Good morning, Diane.

DIANE

Good morning. So this is what happened. My knob came off, the plastic piece is still on but the little knob came off. For a while, I was turning it around with a pair of pliers, and it was hard to do, but then I realized that I could turn the whole piece around to go through all of the cycles to get to the one I wanted. So I was doing that, and now it's not working around. I try to turn it with pliers, nothing happens. It's just broken!

JOHN SOWDEN

So, you were using the dial to move it instead of the knob as a stopgap between the pliers and then now you can't turn the timer shaft at all?

DIANE

Exactly. Well it will turn, but it doesn't start. Water doesn't come in and it doesn't go to any of the cycles.

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, so the washer doesn't do anything, then?

DIANE

Exactly. It was before, when I was turning it through all the cycles, without the pliers, but now, one day it just stopped doing anything.

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, it could be that you have a different problem now. Could be a lid switch, where obviously the lid has to be closed before most machines will start. But, from what you're describing, I would still lean towards the timer and with all the kind of force of turning it and turning it around ... the problem you have with turning it around and around with the power internally applied to the timer, it burns the contacts as you spin it around.

DIANE

That's what I was thinking, something like that.

JOHN SOWDEN

So normally, you want to either push in or pull out on the dial, it turns off the internal power to the timer. Then when you move it, the contacts make and then when you turn power back to it, it keeps them from burning up the contacts. You can take the model number complete as it reads off the machine and put it into Repairclinic.com and get an idea of the cost of a replacement timer, and make your decision there and whether or not you think it's worth trying to repair.

DIANE

Sure, well I'll start from there. Thanks for your help!

2007 Maytag Washing Machine Leaking and the Water Temperature Is Always Hot

JOHN MCCULLOCH

John, in Detroit, has another washer problem on the Appliance Repair Show. John, go ahead.

JOHN

Yeah, thank you. I just got a Maytag washing machine about a month ago, and I have a couple of things...my wife will set it, for a large load to a super wash cycle, which raises the water level up real high, and it tends to leak a little water over there, and I figured that may not be a big thing, I can just plug the overflow to. But she has a secondary thing, the hot water seems to come out no matter what cycle she sets it on, whether it's warm-cold, cold-cold, or whatever in between. It seems to have always hot water when it fills the tub up.

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, well you say when you put it to the highest setting; you seem to get a leak?

JOHN

Well, it has what's called a super wash, and it raises the water level up to, I guess as high as you can get it.

JOHN SOWDEN

Right.

JOHN

And, when she sets it at the lower water setting, or lower level, it doesn't leak, but when it goes to the high level, it leaks.

JOHN SOWDEN

Normally, there's a ring that goes around the top of the tub, and what happens is, as you get to the higher levels and you have some agitation going on there, you get some splashing. The water will normally go up to this retaining ring on the top of the tub, and the water is supposed to drain back through some small holes in the ring back into the tub. If those holes are plugged with soap residue or fabric softener, then that top will hold that water on top of the ring, and then as it goes into spin it will shake it off and you'll get water on the floor. You might want to look at that and see if possibly those holes are plugged up. That's what I would suggest for the first problem. The second problem as far as water temperature, it really depends on the machine. Normally, when you select warm water you're supplying voltage to both sides of the water inlet valve, and then when you select cold you supply to one side and hot to the other. It could be a problem in the wiring or the switch that's always supplying power to that. Or, on some of the newer units they have a thermistor, which is mounted in the water valve, which senses the water temperature, and that has failed, either the thermistor in the water valve, or the small little bore that they have that interacts with that circuit. I always start out with, make sure the hoses going to the machine, are clear, you don't have any water residue if you're using a well or have hard water, and from there I would start looking at the electrical portion of it, where it fails.

GE Dishwasher Runs for Five Minutes and Then Shuts Off

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Jim, in Monroe, has a dishwasher question, here on the Appliance Repair Show. Jim, go ahead.

JIM

Hi. What we have is a GE dishwasher, and the issue we're having is that it runs for about five minutes and then it shuts off. It sounds a little odd, it's struggling, but we tried the different cycles and stuff and they're still having the same problem. I don't exactly have the model number, so I can't give you specifics on it.

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, does this have a circuit board digital display, or does it have a timer on it, a knob that you turn?

JIM

No, it doesn't have a knob, it's got the, maybe it's the Profile, and it's got the pushbutton kind of thing.

JOHN SOWDEN

So it's electrical.

JIM

Right.

JOHN SOWDEN

And, you say it goes for five minutes and then quits, does that mean the motor quits running, or the whole thing just goes dead?

JIM

It totally shuts down like the cycle is completed.

JOHN SOWDEN

And, on those there's a circuit board and then there's also a small timing mechanism in there that's sort of a rapid advance timer motor and it works in conjunction with the control board, and actually either one could probably have failed. On most of those, you either remove the lower panel, or sometimes you have to remove the front panel, depending on where they're hiding it. There will be a, what they call a tech sheet, or a technical manual sheet, that's a couple page printout that shows the wiring schematic for the machine, as well as, in most cases, a step by step on how to put it into a diagnostic mode, where it will tell you what buttons to hit, and you can kind of put it through a self-diagnostic and it will tell you what things to check at that point. The other thing to always check is that all the electrical connections are secure to each control board. Sometimes just a buildup of corrosion over a period of time ... when you deal with washers and dishwashers circuit boards, there's always a potential from the steam and the water to cause corrosion between the wiring and so, yeah, I would start by, A: make sure the connections are good, and B: look at the technical sheet and see if you can put it into self-diagnostics and it might answer the question for you.

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And then if it doesn't answer the question for him, he can call back.

JOHN SOWDEN

Next week he can call back, or he can send an email to RepairClinic.com and go to our website on the "Contact Us" page and put your email address in, and a specific question, model number, serial number so we know what you're looking at. It helps to know. And then, we can try to address it that way.

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And, we should mention that if he does it today, and if he wants to call today, he can!

JOHN SOWDEN

Yes, he can. RepairClinic.com changed our hours, we are now open from 8:00 AM to midnight, seven days a week, and our parts counter is now open seven days a week from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. So today, if you need appliance parts in the Detroit area, you can still drive over to the Canton area, Michigan Avenue and Beck Road is the nearest intersection and we'll be open until six o'clock to help you out with your appliance parts.

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And with the weather being what it is today, it might be a good idea to take care of that little problem that's been irritating you for the last six months.

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, I'm assuming the honey-do-list today is on the inside of the house rather than the outside of the house.

2002 Kenmore Side-by-Side Refrigerator Fan Motor Is Running All the Time

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Keith, in Ann Arbor, has a refrigerator problem here on the Appliance Repair Show. Keith, what is the problem?

KEITH

I've got a five-year-old Kenmore side by side, and my concern is that, I'm not quite sure, is that the fan motor in the back of the freezer side is running a lot more than it did when it was newer, when we first got it. I had a service tech come out, back in the early spring and he thought that the fuser was the problem. The air diffuser, allows cold air to circulate from the freezer into the refrigerator and back through a return was stuck closed or something.

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, they can stick at times.

KEITH

And, I got that working, and it still runs a lot. What I did after that is I replaced the seven dollar thermistor, which I thought wasn't reading the temperature right. But that didn't change anything either. So I was wondering is it just me, or is this thing supposed to be running all the time, as opposed to my memory of it when it was new and didn't run as much? And again, this is the little fan motor in the back wall of the freezer unit, not the fan motor at the bottom.

JOHN SOWDEN

Right. Well, the first question I have is, are you experiencing any problems with temperature in either the refrigerator or freezer sections?

KEITH

Not that I'm aware of, everything's cold.

JOHN SOWDEN

So everything is working normally as far as temperature goes, but you have concerns that the fan motor is running more than it previously did.

KEITH

Yes, and it runs the bill up and everything.

JOHN SOWDEN

Right. Well, the fan is basically as you described, just pushing cold air from the freezer, through the diffuser assembly and back circulating through the freezer. It's possible that the reason you notice it more is that the fan motor is noisier than before. It could have a bad bearing or something where you just notice the sound more because the fan motor is more audible than it used to be. As far as that goes, all you can do is replace the motor. If you're not experiencing a lot of temperature swings or any problems with it, I'd say it is normal operation. Unfortunately, when a service person comes into your home, they're only there for a short time, and you live with it every day, so they could look at it and everything looks to be all right, and yet you're noticing something that you haven't noticed before. But I would lean more toward the fan motor itself and seeing if maybe it's just loud, or the fan blade is not aligned properly or something that's making it more audible and therefore you noticing it and thinking it's a problem. Most of those run quite a bit. Most of the time, the machine's running and a lot of them will run even with the compressor, the fan motor in the back, not running because it's still circulating the air through the refrigerator - freezer section, even while the compressor is turned off.

KEITH

Okay. Again, my memory might not be working right. Like I said, it could have been running just as much when it was new.

JOHN SOWDEN

Right, right.

KEITH

It's just an impression that I'm getting that it's running more now. We try to keep the vent, the return vent free and clear of obstruction, but...

JOHN MCCULLOCH

John, how much of a job is it to, if that thing needed to be replaced, just to quiet it down, to make Keith happy, the motor for that thing, or the fan assembly for that thing, is that a huge expense?

JOHN SOWDEN

No, it's not a huge expense, and normally to get at it it's a matter of emptying your freezer, and there are a couple of screws holding the back panel in, you have to remove the back panel so you can get at it, and it plugs in.

KEITH

At five years is that common to have to do?

JOHN SOWDEN

Not necessarily, but things do wear out. Again, I don't know if you have a problem. Normally, if there's an issue you're going to have problems with the temperature, so I'd start out by monitoring those, and say, what do you have in your refrigerator and freezer section? You should have zero to eight degrees in the freezer and between thirty five and forty two in your refrigerator, and if you see a variance there, wait an hour or so and check it again because it could have just went through a defrost, which can spike the temperature for a short period of time. The other thing to always look for is the door gasket: is the door closing all the time, is the door gasket torn and letting too much air in and it's causing it to run more now?

KEITH

Those are all good; the unit is clean and sound in that way. The technician said it possibly could be the diffuser, is it opening enough or shutting enough...

JOHN SOWDEN

And that could be as well.

KEITH

Is that something that you've found is common?

JOHN SOWDEN

The diffusers will stick at times. I thought from speaking earlier you said you'd replaced that ...

KEITH

No, I didn't replace it, he unstuck it, which we thought was the problem, but the fan continued to run all the time.

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, the fans do run most of the time. I was under the impression that you had replaced...

KEITH

No, he just unstuck it when he, you know he kind of stumbled across it when he took it apart and said see it wasn't opening all the way.

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, then I would start there, and change the diffuser then.

KEITH

Just real quick, I listen to other people's units if I'm in someone else's home, and I'll say well his isn't running all the time, it's quiet.

JOHN SOWDEN

Every machine's different, though, it really depends on what it's trying to achieve and then each one has a design to achieve that and most of those freezer fan motors run all the time. Well, thanks for calling, Keith.

1991 Kenmore Washing Machine Giving Off a Burned Rubber Smell

JOHN SOWDEN

We're going to go to Roselyn, in Oak Park, with a Kenmore washer.

ROSELYN

I have a Kenmore washer, bought it in '91. For the first time I put in a small load, and on the last spin, I smelled burned rubber or oil, very faint but it was there, I turned off the machine, and pulled the plug, and now I'm afraid to start a wash, because I don't know what's going to happen.

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, from what you're describing you could have, the most common is called a motor coupling problem. That unit doesn't have a belt, it has a rubber isolator that goes between the motor and the transmission which absorbs the shock and engages the motor, and it's not uncommon after fifteen years for that to have worn out, and you will get a smell at times of the burning rubber as that fails. And, the other thing it could be is that the motor windings have been overheating and that will also give off a smell. I wouldn't be afraid to try it again; I just wouldn't turn it on and go on vacation. I would try to monitor it and see what happens, so I would go ahead and put a normal load in and see if it starts working properly or not. It could be just the machine, the coupler's worn, and if that's the case what it will do it will not agitate or spin, but it will fill and normally pump the water out. So if you run into that situation I'd say you need a motor coupling, they're pretty inexpensive, they're not terribly hard to change, and we have instructions on how to do that on our website. If you log in to the "Contact Us" section you can go in there and view a document on how to disassemble the machine and get at that component and change it. So if you know someone who's fairly handy, or if you're handy yourself, this is a pretty entry-level do-it-yourselfer type job.

ROSELYN

This is from beneath?

JOHN SOWDEN

You actually have to take the whole cabinet off the machine, but it's not hard once you know how to do it, like most things, and we can teach you how to do it.

ROSELYN

I used to have to do that, but I did it with my husband at that time. We had another machine at the time, a Whirlpool, which we kept going for over twenty years. Nonetheless, the other question is, I heard that lady who called about the knob. My knob broke, and I turn it by putting on a rubber glove, and there are three or four holes, square holes behind that knob. I get my fingers into those holes with the rubber gloves, and I turn the knob that way. But I'm worried now that you've described to her what could happen!

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, it's actually the knob for that machine; this is a problem that fifteen or twenty dollars will make go away, to put a new knob on.

ROSELYN

Oh, I've done this three times with the company. And gotten three different kinds of knob, and not one of them, I've got them right here, they do not fit, they are push-on, and they are not screw-on like this one is.

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Well now you have found the answer to your question.

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, I think what she might have there, John, is that the other knob when they break off, the stem of the old knob will sometimes stay on the timer, so what she might be seeing is the old stem of the timer and that's why she can't see that it's a threaded-on knob. That one screws into place, an if you don't take the old shaft off the timer stem, it will look like you have the wrong knob, when in reality you're looking at some residue left from the old knob and it's making it hard to install the new one.

ROSELYN

You mean this screw that's sticking out from the machine itself...

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay the timer shaft you're looking at does, you do see the threads on it?

ROSELYN

It has threads on it.

JOHN SOWDEN

Okay, then you should have a threaded knob to go on there, which is a common part, and we should have quite a few of them in stock.

ROSELYN

Well none of these knobs that I have here, and I've paid a lot of money for them and none of them fit.

JOHN SOWDEN

The new good thing is, most of them are made of metal instead of plastic, they have updated it and they seem to have a lot more duration. But tell you what, if you give us a call today at our eight hundred number at Repairclinic.com, that's 888-343-4948, and provide our operators with the model number you provided us with, they can tell you how much the knob is, and you can look at a picture of it and make sure you have the right knob before you stop by to pick it up or have it shipped to your door.

ROSELYN

Okay, that sounds wonderful. I do thank you so much, and thanks for being there.

1997 Kenmore Refrigerator/Freezer Mullion Strip Is Too Hot to Touch

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Tom, in Garden City, has a question about a Kenmore refrigerator/freezer here on the Appliance Repair Show. Hi Tom, what's the problem?

TOM

It's a Kenmore, it's about ten years old, and the problem ... I mean it works fine, it's a side by side refrigerator/freezer, but when you open the doors, the compartment that separates the freezer from the refrigerator, this one strip is getting extremely warm, extremely hot to the touch, and it's been doing that for about six months. Is that something I should be worried about?

JOHN SOWDEN

Well actually that's called the center mullion strip, and the reason that's hot is because they normally run refrigerant lines through that area and they do that because those lines are hot or warm to the touch, and it's so when you open the door it closes against it so you don't have a cold surface for the door to seal against which causes it to sweat. So they use part of the refrigeration system to keep that area warm so that it keeps the doors from sweating. If it's really hot, that's normally a tell-tale sign that you need to clean the condenser on the unit, or the fan motor that cools the compressor is stalling or not running, causing it to overheat, which then causes a high pressure in the system and then more heat in that area. It's normal for it to be warm to the touch; but if it's excessively hot, it's because the unit is working too hard, and that's normally caused by a dirty condenser coil.

TOM

Okay, so then I just need to get in there with a vacuum cleaner?

JOHN SOWDEN

You need to get your flashlight, and your vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment and a condenser brush which we can sell you over the counter or over the internet, or if you have an old baby bottle brush that works at times in a pinch too. Either way get in there and clean those out real well, not only will you stop it from being hot to the touch, but you'll probably save a few dollars on your energy bill as well. That's where I would start on that one.

TOM

Appreciate that. Real quick one more thing, I have an ice cube maker that I want to remove, is that something that you can just take out and don't worry about it and unplug the electrical line to it and, of course, terminate the water supply?

JOHN SOWDEN

In most cases, the answer is yes, most of the icemakers, it's just a few screws that mount it in place, there's a wiring harness, and you can just unplug them and remove them. The problem you run into is on some units, depending on the machine, they used to use the icemaker as the defrost timer, and if you unplug it, the machine will quit working. That's not common much anymore, and if you have a question about that you can give us a call at our eight hundred number, 888-343-4948, and we can tell you what style icemaker you have, or put your model number in to the website and again, look and see. Most of those have a plastic tray versus a hard metal mold for the icemaker, that's how you distinguish the two.

Icemaker Not Producing Ice

JOHN MCCULLOCH

And here's Tom, in Maumee, Ohio, with an icemaker question, on the Appliance Repair Show. Tom, go ahead please.

TOM

I get down there and the icemaker isn't working. So I attack the problem, I feed water to it, I take the solenoid apart at the bottom, I found the filter, fairly plugged, cleaned that out, put it all together, I went up top, took the cover off of the end of the unit, and there's four little finger switches that go around, got it to go around, put it back together and now it won't work on it's own. Any thoughts?

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, the icemaker has to have the proper freezer temperature to cycle, and I think it's about thirteen or fifteen degrees for the mold temperature of the icemaker before it will go into a harvest mode, so it's possible that the freezer temperature isn't cold enough.

TOM

Okay, we'll check that.

JOHN SOWDEN

Things will look frozen, water freezes at thirty-two degrees, so you'll still have things looking pretty cold in there. It's possible that you have a situation where you don't have a cold enough freezer temperature. If that's not the problem, then I would lean toward the icemaker itself. Now, you said it doesn't cycle or it doesn't fill?

TOM

My sister doesn't really know that, I did not get it to do either. I cycled it manually, but then when I ... I see her about once a week, so I'm going by what she says.

JOHN SOWDEN

If you found the water valve restricted, normally what happens is, the water valve over time will restrict and it will short-fill the icemaker. When it does that, the water doesn't come down the fill tube with enough force, and some water will be left in the fill tube, that's the tube going from the icemaker to the back of the refrigerator. And over time, each droplet of water will come to a point where it freezes over that tube.

TOM

The tube is clear. I had it out in the sink.

JOHN SOWDEN

Oh, okay, that's good, because that's normally what happens is you fix the problem, which is the water valve, but then you still haven't cleared the ice, the fill tube, and you run into the same problem. If you have questions about the icemaker itself, how to cycle it, or check it, you again can log into our website and put in the model, serial number and you'll - we actually have some documents there that you can reference yourself so you won't even have to send an email to us. And, it will tell you step by step how to check the icemaker. That would be something you could either take with you or print out and take it over to your sister's house.

TOM

That sounds like a winner.

JOHN SOWDEN

You know, it's funny, John, I had to fix an icemaker this weekend at my sister's house. I got there for my mom's birthday party and the icemaker wasn't working and it was a tragedy, of course.

JOHN MCCULLOCH

Oh, of course, I bet you fixed the icemaker and then ran out for ice!

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, so, what happened is, it's the simplest things at times, is one of the kids had pushed something in the icemaker assembly where it's at, and had bent the arm that senses how full the bin is. So I looked in there and it was all bent up and stuck so it was sensing that the icemaker was turned off. So I unbent it and put it back in operation, and I haven't had a phone call, so I assume it's still working, but sometimes it's the simple things and the very obvious things that people overlook and they want to dig into electrical components and then, on the flip side, it's something that they've covered all the bases with the simple stuff, and it's an intermittent electrical problem that can cause even technicians to pull there hair out at times.

JOHN MCCULLOCH

You just don't know.

JOHN SOWDEN

You never know.

1992 GE Dishwasher Door Latch Is Not Locking

JOHN MCCULLOCH

That's why we're here. Here with a fifteen-year-old dishwasher that's got a stuck lever on the door, John, in Ann Arbor, on the Appliance Repair Show. John, how stuck is it?

JOHN

It's not exactly stuck, what happens is you're supposed to move it from left to right to make the door seal, and it goes about a half inch and it locks up and it won't move any farther.

JOHN SOWDEN

Is this a GE by any chance?

JOHN

I think it's a GE; it's about fifteen, sixteen years old. We put it in the house when we built the house.

JOHN SOWDEN

Yeah, the lock assembly, they get bent over a period of time. You can try to take them out, remove the front panel, control panel, and that's, of course, after turning off the power to the machine. And try to bend the arm back into shape, most often they just get kind of worn out and bent after a period of time and you have to replace that lock assembly. Most of them run between forty and sixty dollars, and it's not too hard a job, it's just a few screws and you have to mount the door switch to take it off and mount it to the new bracket, but other than that it's a pretty straightforward repair.

JOHN

Okay, what I didn't understand was did I need to fix it or replace it.

JOHN SOWDEN

Well, if it's only ballpark fifty dollars and it's something you can do yourself, I'd say if the machine otherwise is working all right then I would replace it. If the racks are rusty on that, and normally at that period of time you get some rust buildup, you can actually fix this. RepairClinic.com sells a repair kit that's kind of like a liquid rubber that you sand off the bad spots in your rack and use this almost as a nail polish applicator, and you can cover up the bad spots with the rust in the rack. It not only keeps it from scratching your dishes but it also keeps the rust and things from getting down into your pump and motor assembly and ruining that over time.

JOHN

The rest of the machine is in nice shape, so it's not that.

JOHN SOWDEN

If that's the case, I would recommend putting in a new latch assembly in there and hopefully you'll get another fifteen years out of it.

JOHN

Okay, thank you very much!

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