By Nick Pagazani
About four years ago, I purchased a brand new Kenmore Elite stainless steel dishwasher for my new kitchen. It worked very well at first. It was very quiet and it cleaned very well, better than any other dishwasher I’ve owned. Just as the warranty ran out, so did its reliability!
One day I noticed the soap was not being dispensed. Being the tinkerer that I am (Gadget Freak - Case #96), I decided to open it up. It was clear that the solenoid activating the soap dispensing door and rinse-aid solution was burned out. I purchased the whole assembly (my only option) from Sears and installed it. Still no go. After changing out a few burned-out resistors on the main circuit board, without any luck, I ended up having to purchase a whole new circuit board assembly. Finally, it worked again!
Then one day I opened the front door of the dishwasher and it just dropped! I assumed the door spring had broken. As it turned out, the spring was fine. It was the rope and plastic connector that had failed. The monkeys had designed the mechanism so that the angle of the force that the roped applied to the plastic connector was almost at a right angle to the fastening method, thus slowly breaking off a small piece of plastic at a time until eventually there wasn’t enough plastic material left to withstand the force. The same mechanism is on both sides and the replacements I purchased were redesigned to fix the deficiency. Thank goodness.
But that’s not all! One day, it just stopped working. No lights, no nothing. I studied the schematic carefully. The only thing I could see happening was the main thermal fuse (one time only) had opened. Apparently, in talking to a repair man at my local parts supplier, it’s a common problem with that design. If the water coming in to the dishwasher is not hot enough, the heater needs to come on before the cycle can start. The heat generated slowly makes its way up to the circuit board and the thermal fuse opens.
I’m thinking the Monkeys didn’t consider the higher thermal conductivity of the stainless steel panel versus the plastic version (non-Elite models), but used the same thermally rated fuse on the common to 8,000 models circuit board (which also happens to be made by Whirlpool)! This has now happened to me twice in two months! I have had the thing apart so many times, all of the plastic screw bosses are virtually destroyed and I can barely keep the thing together anymore.
Just a side note; I also have a Kenmore Elite Fridge and Kenmore Elite Oven Range, but that’s a whole other post! My other appliances are either Maytag or LG, and have no complaints on them. They just work.