You might remember that one of our goals for 2012 was to buy a new oven, since it turns itself off (and doesn’t turn on again) after 30ish minutes, and one of the programs (the one I use the most for baking) doesn’t work. Well, a couple of weeks ago, our 2.5 year old dishwasher stopped working. So did our immersion blender. And our big pitcher blender is on its last days, too. Definitely not a great month for appliances at our home.
Honestly, the worst part was our dishwasher breaking down. They can be quite expensive and we didn’t really want to spend the money for a new one right now, with the wedding and honeymoon in a few months. The oven we can deal with since we’ve been saving for it since November or so, we’re just waiting to see if it goes on sale. Otherwise we’ll buy it next month. A big blender we can live without (at least for now) and they sell pretty cheap immersion blenders which work really nicely.
But the noises the dishwasher made… oh, it was terrible. It looked like it was broken beyond repair. However, before calling a technician or buying a new one we decided to try and see if we could fix it ourselves. I’m happy to report, it’s been working without a hitch for a full week now! And boy am I glad I don’t have to do the dishes by hand anymore.
So, how did we do it? First we took notice of the error the screen was displaying: the distributor motor was failing. Then we simply googled for tutorials on how to fix the error and went to town dissasembling the whole dishwasher. We followed this great tutorial, in Spanish, and because I honestly thought it wouldn’t work I didn’t take any pictures of the process (I should learn to document everything!). Since it did work, I’ll use that site’s photos to explain how we fixed it. At first we were intimidated by having to open the “brains” of the dishwasher, but we had nothing to lose, so we went for it.
First, you take the dishwasher out of its place and unplug it. If your water tubes (both the in and out one) aren’t long enough, disconnect those, too. Be careful because they’ll probably spill a bit of water. Turn the dishwasher on one side (not on its back!) and take out the bottom “lid”.
Once open, you’ll see the main pump (in the picture above it’s the white thing to the right) and the heater on top of it (gray). Connected to its left is the distributor (white/yellowish). This is the piece we needed to fix. Instead of taking out just the distributor it’ll be easier to take out both the heater and the distributor. Besides 2 or 3 screws, you need to disconnect all the cables. We carefully marked where each one went and took a picture so we knew how to connect everything again.
This is the hidden side (not seen above when mounted into the dishwasher) of the heater (left) and distributor (right). With a simple twist you’ll be able to remove the distributor from the heater.
You can then disassemble the distributor into these two pieces:
What we did was basically disassemble every little piece (including the small gears, etc.) and cleaned each one thoroughly. Be careful while disassembling because there are a couple of tiny springs you don’t want to lose. To test the non-working distributor after cleaning and reassembling we attached a couple of cables to it and plugged it in, before mounting it into the dishwasher again. It still wasn’t working properly, you could hear that awful screeching noise. So we checked everything again, and as it turns out, there was the tiniest plastic shaving stuck in between two pieces. As soon as we took that out the distributor worked perfectly!
We connected and assembled everything and turned on the dishwasher to a fast program. We let it run empty once just to check it was working properly. That was a week ago; we’ve since used it several times with plates and glasses in it, and it works fine! Needless to say, we’re very relieved and happy that we were able to save a bunch of bucks just by fiddling. Here’s hoping the fix lasts a while.
How about you guys? Have you ever fixed something just by giving it the good old college try? I honestly never in a million years thought it would work because the dishwasher made some terrible noises, but I’m sure glad it did!
All pictures from Casa Gimeno