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Dishwasher leaking: Fix or replace?
Old 03-13-2016, 12:54 PM   #1
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Dishwasher leaking: Fix or replace?

I bought a condo about a year ago. The dishwasher started leaking recently. Pulling it out from the cabinet, I could see water dripping from the center area underneath (where the motor and sump are located).

This is a Whirlpool Gold Series dishwasher (a higher-end model, WDT910SSYWD0) with a serial date of 9/23/11.

I know that this condo sat empty for extended periods of time (probate of an estate, followed by purchase by an investment company). I'm wondering if the seals may have dried out during the lengthy period of vacancy, causing the dishwasher to leak?

From the diagnosis on repairclinic.com site, a leak from the motor area most likely requires a new pump & motor assembly (~$140.) and/or a sump assembly (~$54. ) (Replacing the seals alone does not seem to be an option, as I could not find them listed separately on their site.)

For comparison, a new mid-level Whirlpool Gold Series (model WDF760SADW) with a few less features is on sale at Home Depot for $540. They also recommend new hoses and connectors (~$40) and a new pigtail (~$10.).

Home Depot won't do the install (typically $99, on sale for $69 at the moment) as my dishwasher cabinet is not in-line with the sink cabinet. The kitchen design has a 45-degree angle from the sink cabinet to the dishwasher cabinet. Home Depot doesn't want the complication of possibly needing longer hoses or a longer plug wire, so they simply refuse to do the install. (I'm capable of doing the installation myself.)

So -- I'm in a quandry -- do I order the repair parts and attempt to fix the current lightly-used higher-end dishwasher (for about $200.) or do I order a new mid-level dishwasher ($540) and do the installation myself ? And, if so, should I replace the hoses and connectors also (~$40)? (I can't see the need for replacing the electrical cord.)

OR Is there a better low-/mid-level dishwasher I should be considering?

(BTW, Whirlpool claims to have a 19-year record of fewest repairs needed.)

I guess I hate to see something less than 5 years old being relegated to the dump. At the same time, I don't want to waste my time, effort, and money if this repair is merely going to be a short-term band-aid. I've read a lot of comments and reports online which make it sound like dishwashers don't have the longevity that they used to.

omni
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:18 PM   #2
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Don't know what mid-level means, but you my want to consider operating noise. Probably don't want a sound rating above 50 Db with very good ones in low 40's.
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Old 03-13-2016, 02:01 PM   #3
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sounds to me like leaking seals. Can't imagine you would have to replace motor/pump, etc just for leaking seals. If it's in a condo it was probably lightly used when the residents/resident were there. Then as you mention, it sat unused for quite a while.


I would get it fixed if it is $200.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:26 PM   #4
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Is there a repair replacement parts store where you live? Call and ask them if they have just the gaskets.... I am surprised that is not an option...


Another thing you CAN do is take out the motor etc. and actually look at the gaskets... maybe some cleaning of the gasket or other chemical on it or even some plumbers putty will seal it up... might as well try the free option first before deciding to spend money... even if you messed the item up you still would be replacing it one way or the other....
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:28 PM   #5
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If the rest of the dishwasher is in good shape, I'd probably try the repair. If you've got room (and a patient spouse who can live without a dishwasher and with some mess for a few days), I'd probably pull it out, disconnect it from the wall, flip it over, and see what is going on. This won't take you as long as you might think. You'll probably be able to tell immediately where the leak is coming from and what needs to be replaced. With any luck, you can tighten things down on a gasket or clamp, or you can add some "form-a-gasket" to an existing part and the leaking will stop. Otherwise, you'll know what parts to buy. +1 on the likelihood that you'll be able to find a gasket somewhere if you end up needing only that.

Especially if you aren't on the first floor, consider adding a pan under the dishwasher and a water alarm (place the sensor in the pan, run the small wires to the alarm in a nearby cabinet so you can change the batteries occasionally). Or, at a minimum, stick a pan under there so that any leak is visible on the floor in front of the dishwasher before it can go somewhere else and do some real damage.

If you do pay for a motor/pump, you'll probably get a lot more years out of the dishwasher without much more trouble. Hopefully . . .

I replaced the recirculation pump/motor on my Whirlpool dishwasher last year. It was a surprisingly quick repair, and I've had no trouble since.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:56 PM   #6
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If possible, (and if there is an access panel under the door), get a flashlight and watch for leaks while it's running. Also check to see at what part of the cycle that leaks occur. This will give you a better idea of where the leak is coming from. Could be from supply line, pump, discharge line, any gaskets/seals, or even the door seal. After pinpointing the leak, you'll have better information from which to make a fix/buy decision.

If you nail down the source, and it only costs about $200 for parts, I would fix it. At only 5 years old, I can't imagine that it needs a new pump. Probably a cracked seal somewhere or loose connection.

I just put a new dishwasher in our condo, replacing the original that was 16 years old. DW had to have a new stainless one. We used the old one maybe 4 times a year. The old one leaked slightly a couple of times around the door seal. IIRC, my new one came with a cord and plug. I did replace the supply and waste lines. Good Luck and keep us posted!
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Old 03-13-2016, 04:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerntz View Post
Don't know what mid-level means, but you my want to consider operating noise. Probably don't want a sound rating above 50 Db with very good ones in low 40's.
I'm using the term "mid-level" to describe models between the base/entry level (few features and high dB levels) and high-end (many features and low dB levels.)

I am noise-sensitive, so dB levels are important to me. The current (leaky) dishwasher is relatively quiet which is another reason to keep it running, if possible.

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Old 03-13-2016, 05:01 PM   #8
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If you're competent and comfortable doing it yourself, repair it. If not, replace it.

(Note: although I rate myself above average in household repairs, my two most painful experiences involved one of our earlier dishwashers and, later, one of my son's. Experiences so bad I wouldn't hesitate to spend a few hundred bux for a new, under warranty, unit vs. repairing one. So, yes, I'm jaded / biased.)
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:21 PM   #9
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Thanks for the great feedback, everyone!

As I am single, I only have a few dishes to wash. And I can live with a brief mess of a potential money-saving "experiment in process".

I will:

>>put a pan under the dishwasher and run it thru a cycle to see if I can tell WHEN and WHERE the leak is happening. (I've already done a quick look-see at the bottom of the empty & drained DW and nothing obvious is evident. My concern going in .... is running the DW and seeing the drips, but not being able to localize their exact point of origination. And possibly tilting the DW unit to further see where they are emerging might cause the drips to start traveling along the bottom surface of the DW?)

>>check to see if there are appliance parts places nearby that may carry only the gaskets/seals for this unit -- not as part of a motor or sump assembly.

Thanks for the suggestion of a drain pan and alarm. This will be a good investment going forward, even with this condo being on the ground floor, as an undetected DW leak most likely would eventually affect the flooring (and nearby furnishings) in the adjacent den.

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Old 03-13-2016, 05:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
If you're competent and comfortable doing it yourself, repair it. If not, replace it.

(Note: although I rate myself above average in household repairs, my two most painful experiences involved one of our earlier dishwashers and, later, one of my son's. Experiences so bad I wouldn't hesitate to spend a few hundred bux for a new, under warranty, unit vs. repairing one. So, yes, I'm jaded / biased.)
Wow...that sounds bad, youbet. Care to elaborate, so I can go in to this experiment with my eyes wide open?

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Old 03-13-2016, 05:28 PM   #11
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Over many years, have repaired dishwashers. dryers, washers and virtually every appliance that we've owned.
Before ordering parts... and more importantly, depending on space available, the procedure has been to move the item to a workspace, and take it apart, to see, (not guess) what the problem is. If the repair cost will be too much, it makes the new replacement item easier to install.
We did have a leak problem with our current dishwasher right after we moved in. Turned out to be a sticking water level float, but rarely are things that simple.
Saving a $600 bill is worth a few hours work to this frugaleer. If it doesn't work, at least there's no regret about leaving $$$'s on the table.
Good luck..
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
Wow...that sounds bad, youbet. Care to elaborate, so I can go in to this experiment with my eyes wide open?

omni
Now that you've mentioned you're single and living alone, you should be OK. My issues revolved around (1) wrong diagnosis (guess) leading to (2) a several day wait for "second guess" parts which meant (3) DW and/or DIL being quite unhappy about the kitchen being in a state of disarray for over a week. Ugh.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:38 PM   #13
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If the youtube link below matches your model it looks like a fairly easy repair job, with the motor being accessible from the top. I'd go for it, or at least remove enough parts to figure out where the leak is. You might luck out and find an inexpensive fix. If you pull the old motor or sump out, you'll have a good idea how much work it will be to put in a new one.

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Old 03-13-2016, 05:47 PM   #14
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Scrap it. You can fix it, then you still have an old dishwasher. It it just needed a clamp tightened, then I would fix.

Find a new one at Lowe's, on sale. They use a 10% off Lowe's coupon you can purchase on eBay.

Likely ~$300, you can get a new one.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:08 PM   #15
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If you don't think you can repair it yourself, look for a good appliance repair place. Look at yelp or similar sites for reviews or ask your neighbors. The repair company may charge a flat fee (ours charges $75) to just get to your place and take a look. Once they diagnose it and give you an estimate, you can decide if you want to repair or not.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:29 PM   #16
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Try tightening the bolts holding the seal down if you can reach them.

I recently had a whirlpool tub that hadn't been used in a long time, when I ran it, the pump leaked.
I tighted all the bolts around the seal where it leaked , there were about 10-12, I gave each one a little snug, manybe about 1/8 of a turn.
I alternated the tighening like you do for a car.

It stopped leaking.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:50 PM   #17
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I recently had my 20 year old Bosch die. Well it still ran but timer was not working properly and the filter wasn't doing very well. Got a brand new still in the shipping packaging top of the line Bosch off Kijiji for less than half of retail sale price. The seller had won it in a contest. Was a snap to install although Bosch had changed wiring hookup but still piece of cake. Sounds like yours is an easy fix though so I would go for that first.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:51 AM   #18
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I suggest you go to appliancepartspros.com as they have videos showing how to replace parts on many appliances in addition to selling parts. I thought I'd never replace a clothes washer transmission because it looked too difficult, but their video gave step by step instructions on how to do it. I also followed one for my dishwasher. If it's leaking at the gasket, you may just need to grease the the gasket which you can get at a big box store in the plumbing section. It looks just like Vaseline petroleum jelly. I've purchased many parts from them and I believe they have competitive pricing and reasonable shipping charges.


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Old 03-14-2016, 08:16 AM   #19
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First go for a service call for $75. Such a new dishwasher probably has something like a stopped up hose or a stopped up filter causing the problem.

A 2011 model dishwasher is just not very old. You'll be wasting money if you don't try to fix it--the chances are.
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Root cause of leak ID'd
Old 03-26-2016, 11:45 AM   #20
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Root cause of leak ID'd

After installing a 3-sided drip tray specifically designed for dishwashers (and well worth the peace of mind for ~$20 on amazon) and running the dishwasher, I noticed that the water leaking out (only about 4-6 oz per load) seemed to be localized to the area of the diverter valve on the bottom side of the dishwasher.

By pulling the dishwasher out of the cabinet and flipping it on its side, I could clearly see corrosion at the wire connector on the bottom corner of the diverter valve and witness marks of water leaking (teeny bits of dried-up white debris) on the bottom half of the diverter valve case. This indicated that the water was leaking down from the floor of the dishwasher into the diverter valve from above. The shaft of the diverter valve extends into the base of the dishwasher through a small rubber washer. I pulled out my magnifying glass to inspect the washer. Lo-and-behold there is a very small tear visible in the lip of the washer that encircles the diverter valve shaft.

I've attached a photo of the (inside bottom of dishwasher) sump area which is about 12" dia. You can easily see the black washer (approx. 5/8" dia.) against the gray plastic. I'm also attaching a close-up of the black washer with a yellow arrow pointing at the miniscule tear.

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Attached Images
File Type: jpg old sump whirlpool.jpg (132.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg tear in washer lip above diverter valve - whirlpool.jpg (123.2 KB, 10 views)
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