We have a 19-year-old Maytag dishwasher that has needed some routine repairs over the years but overall has performed well. Two repairs, however, stand out.
Two years ago the machine started to leave the dishes less than clean. I removed and cleaned the float that controls the water depth and found it badly corrupted with slime from our very hard well water reacting with the soap. But that didn't fix the problem, so we called the local repair guy.
He determined that a filter was clogged. This filter was buried down inside the bottom of the machine underneath the cover that houses the mechanism that lifts a stalk up and sprays water and detergent all over everything. To get to it one must remove eight screws and lift off the stalk and some related parts. What blew my mind was that the presence of the filter and the need to periodically clean and/or change it was not mentioned anywhere in the user manual.
So there was this time bomb slowly ticking away as it gradually reduced the efficiency of the washing cycle, and the user didn't have a clue where it was or how to clean or replace it. The $155 service charge was based on a $15 filter, the labor to remove/replace it, and a $70 fee just to get to our rural address. That easily accomplished chore is now on our list of things to do when the time changes from standard to daylight savings time.
Then, the machine started making a rasping noise that sounded to me like a fan blade rubbing on a housing. The same repair guy showed up, and after removing the front lower panel, suggested that a mouse might have gotten in the squirrel cage rotor of the fan. That was not the case, but some monkey had designed the unit with a press-fit, injection-molded, nylon rotor, which had shifted on its shaft and come in contact with the end of a self-tapping screw holding the cover on the fan.
So instead of a positive locating boss on the base of the rotor to keep it in proper axial position and using a screw that couldn't interfere with the rotor, a monkey used a screw that was already on the BOM so as to avoid another item on the BOM. I gave the repair guy a shorter self-tapping screw from my stash. The bill came to $115.
This entry was submitted by Robert B. Price and edited by Rob Spiegel.
Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Rob Spiegel for Made by Monkeys.