Issues of connector corrosion are nothing new. Years ago I was working with industrial power coming into our plant on power lines exposed to the elements. One of the things that we had to do was use a special grease to prevent galvanic corrosion when hooking up aluminum and copper cables together. It worked great. I have since used a similar grease (available at hardware stores) to prevent exactly this type of problem. Cost isn’t much of an issue since the amount to protect the contacts in this dishwasher could be applied with a toothpick.
Now if we could get the appliance manufacturers to use this type of product on exposed connections they could cut their service calls dramatically.
The average American decries how we are sending jobs overseas and the poor "Made in China" quality. It is unfortunate that in many cases, we cannot pass the buck to the manufacturer, but have to follow the trail back here to the design center. This is just one of the reasons cost of consumer goods is skyrocketing; poor design leading to multiple repairs. You would think the manufacturer would be concerned with their reputation, but apparently not.
Looks like large U.S. branded appliances are going through a period much like the U.S auto industry in the late 70s and 80s -- a huge drop in quality. The only difference is there is no Japan to pick up the slack and give consumers an alternative. Germany is to some degree. Without some strong competitive from appliance makers who are delivering goods and hold up, this may problem not right itself.
After seeing this post, I start to wonder about the article that was posted a day or two ago about a Korean design firm making a cool dishwasher / sink combo. If they've got the same monkeys doing the final implementation, you won't be able to do your dishes by hand either.
My daughter's new'ish (about 3 yrs old) Maytag DW had exactly the same thing happen and a quick internet search squarely pointed out the front panel board as being the most likely culprit. Buying and replacing the front panel assembly fixed the problem. I am strongly recommending they keep the old assembly based on your analysis - I'll have to take a look at it and see what the contact tails look like. There are a number of sprayon products out there in the hifi world for fixing and improving contacts and that will be the next step. At least they were easily able to do the repair themselves so the repair only cost them the panel replacement cost.
It is tragic that Maytag (actually Whirlpool now) does NOT track these problems and owe up to them. If you can't do the job right (e.g. track your problems and have your engineers work on solutions) then maybe you should be in the business.
Of course, Maytag is no longer in the business (as least as a separate entity). I am somewhat ashamed that a good old US company such as Whirlpool has not stepped up to the plate but the financial pressures are enormous and the bean counter/product manager is supreme. Sigh.
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