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FIXED KDTM354DSS4 KitchenAid Dishwasher not getting the dishes as clean as it used to

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scottdfuller

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Jun 21, 2008
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77
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Model Number
KDTM354DSS4
Brand
KitchenAid
Age
6-10 years
I have a KitchenAid KDTM354DSS4 that is not getting the dishes as clean as it used to. I've cleaned the main filter screen religiously and am taking apart the interior parts in order to clean out anything that might have gotten beyond that first filter screen. But in the meantime, I'd also like to run diagnostics to see if there's anything else that might need attention. I've searched the forum but for some reason can't find instructions for how to run the diagnostic test for this machine. Can someone point me in the right direction?

Thanks.

Scott
 

Robert4

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Houston, TX
Jake posted the tech sheet in #4 here:
Look on page 3 where it says--->Service Diagnostics Notes
 

scottdfuller

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I ran the diagnostics based on the instructions on this sheet. I seems to start and run but then eventually all of the lights go off and it ends/finishes and there is nothing on the screen. I didn't sit there for the whole cycle and I did not time it. If it finishes and shows nothing does that mean that it ran with no errors, or does it mean that the diagnostic cycle failed somehow?

Thanks

-Scott
 

Jake

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Ok Scott, Now read Page 6 in the tech. data sheet where it says: Service Diagnostics with Error Codes

The Clean (or Completed) LED will flash the error codes in two parts.
--->The Clean LED will first flash the function code, pause for 2 seconds then flash the problem code, pause for 5 seconds then repeat three times (unless advanced by the Start/Resume key to the next interval).
--->If there are no error codes the Clean LED will stay on solid for 5 seconds.

Also, when you start a new cycle listen for the machine to fill with water, then after that you should hear the wash motor start running and water splashing in the tub. Are you hearing that?

Jake
 

scottdfuller

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Jake-

Sorry, somehow my thread got split in two.

Thank you. I was expecting some sort of a code to be on the screen when I returned (like my washing machine and dryer do), I didn't realize I needed to wait and watch for it. From what I can tell, I got error code 6-1 and 6-2. Can you help me interpret those codes? My dishes get MOSTLY clean, but I always wind up with a few dishes and a few pieces of silverware that are not fully cleaned. To me that meant that maybe some of the sprayers were not working or that the filter was clogged so things were getting a final rinse with dirty water. I never suspected that it would be lack of water. When I ran the test cycle, it certainly sounded like there was water in the basin. Could this mean that it's getting water, but not enough? Thanks for your help.

Also, you may have seen on the other half of the split thread, I pulled the dishwasher and pulled the filter out to clean it. The filter itself was pretty clean but there was a big wafer of gunk at the top of it that I was thinking could be preventing it from spinning (photo 1 & 2). I cleaned everything and put the whole assembly back together. When I went to throw away the gunk that I cleaned out, I found a small black spring embedded in the gunk that I obviously did not put back. I'll have to pull everything apart again to replace it. I found this image in another thread, can you confirm that this is the correct order of assembly. (photo 3)
 

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Robert4

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Sorry, somehow my thread got split in two.
Whoops. I was using my cell phone and sent Scott this link via a conversion by mistake thinking that something might be wrong with the filter:
(That's where he said he would check on the filter.)

Jake will help you with the error codes. The gunk looks like grease or detergent buildup. What kind of detergent are you using?

To me that meant that maybe some of the sprayers were not working or that the filter was clogged so things were getting a final rinse with dirty water.
Since the filter has that much gunk, I would first run a cycle to clean the dishwasher with something like this:
 
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scottdfuller

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I wanted to mention one other thing. The not-getting-clean problem goes back a few months...but just in the last week or two, I've noticed a little more smell coming from the dishwasher when it's in the drying mode. Like a bit of burning plastic, but not really burning plastic....just hot plastic. There's nothing laying on the bottom getting melted...no tupperware parts or anything, it just seems that the heater coil is getting hotter or something. I have no idea if that's related or if it's just due to my heightened sensativity to the dish washer as I try to figure out what's wrong with it.

-Scott
 

Jake

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Robert I already mentioned not to do that please in Private, post all links in Public.

Scott, in your Photo 3 above did your pump filter break?

Jake
 

scottdfuller

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Jake-

No, sorry for the confusion. My filter was fine. After doing all of the internal cleaning (sprayer bars, tubes to the upper sprayers, etc.) and still not getting great results, I decided to go underneath and see if the filter was a mess. Since I found a bunch of paper parts when cleaning the interiors (probably a stray napkin or something) I thought maybe the filter was in bad shape. I had watched a video where a guy with the exact same dishwasher found that the entire filter screen was clogged with a thick soup of mushed paper. So, I gave that a try. The filter itself seemed fine but while i was in there I found that thick wafer of white stuff between the filter and wiper assembly. I cleaned that out. That's when I screwed up and didn't realize that there was a spring embeded in the gunk. Now I have to take everything apart again in order to get that spring back in place. Before doing that, I wanted to make sure I know where the spring goes. That's when I found this photo which I labeled as "Photo 3" elsewhere on this forum. That's the only reason that photo is on there. I want to make sure I get the spring in the correct place in relation to the washers and other parts.

Then I can get back to the problem of figuring out why this thing isn't washing properly. This attempt on the filter may have just been a time consuming side project, especially since I screwed up the reassembly process.

I ran the diagnostics AFTER I put everything back together last night. (and with the spring still not replaced into the filter assembly) That's when I got the 6-1 and 6-2 error codes. Unfortunately I did not do the diagnostics properly BEFORE I dug in to the filter assembly so I don't know if the errors were there before or after my work.

I plan to fix my mistake and get the spring back into place before using the dishwasher again but I'm hoping to figure out if there are other things I need to do while I have the dishwasher pulled out, so I don't have to pull it multiple times.

Thanks for bearing with me. I've sucessfully pulled of about a dozen repairs on multiple appliances with you assistance and I'm hoping to be successful on this one too.

-Scott
 

Jake

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Jake

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Yes Scott, just take your time, patience is the Key to appliance repair!

Jake
 

scottdfuller

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I will pull the water line and check to make sure I have no crap in the line. I do live in a house built in the 1920's with some remaining galvanized pipe. That should be an easy one. Do you have any info specific to the Fuse and "Fill Valve Solenoid" testing? i.e. how I get to those parts and how to specifically test them?

Since I need to pull the machine out again in order to put the spring back in to the filter assembly, I'd love to do all of the things that involve having the machine out, all at once.

Thanks.
 

scottdfuller

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Thanks Robert. I know I'm asking for a lot of hand holding but I want to make sure I do this correctly and don't cause more problems. The video should get me through the fill valve solenoid check.

Are there instrutions for how to get to the fuses/control panel?

I was thinking that this piece was directing me to specifically check a fuse associated with the fill valve. Do I need to know which fuse is for the fill valve or am I just checking the F9 fuse?
1643839231005.png

Am I reading the "Meter Check of Loads and Fuses" section correctly that I first check while it's plugged in and running the diagnostic cycle and then if that fails, I unplug and check each for resistence?

Maybe this just proves that I should not be doing this but, can you tell me how I do this part properly? I've successfully fixed many appliances with the help of this website and the people on here so I'm not quite ready to give up and call a repair person yet.
1643839762386.png
 

Jake

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Ok Scott, In your first post you never mentioned it wasn't filling, so those error codes may be old.

If the dishwasher is filling with water when you start a new cycle, then your fill valve is fine.

I think you already found and fixed the problem with that gunk you found and unclogged in your pump filter you mentioned in post #5.

Jake
 

scottdfuller

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That’s true, I do not think it’s ‘not filling’ but since I can’t see inside, I was worried that maybe it’s not getting ENOUGH water for some reason or another. I checked the fill valve solenoid and it tested fine. I was going to move on to the fuses next but maybe I’ll try to clear the codes and run the diagnostic cycle again. Does that make sense, or should I just run it and see if it works.

I read on the forum that clearing the codes requires some challenging button pushes for a dishwasher with controls on the top of the door. Are there instructions on how to do the reset?

I know that I need to pull the filter anyway to replace the spring that I accidentally left out, so when I do that, I’ll clear out the water hose just to make sure it’s clear. Then I’ll run it and see how it does.
 

scottdfuller

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Update on previous post. I figured out how to clear the codes then let it run through diagnostics and got only error code 6-1. Tomorrow I’ll pull the water hose and clear it out and see if that changes anything.
 

Jake

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Ok good Scott!

Now 6-1 says it can be LOW water supply too. So yes, I'd first Turn off the water supply to the dishwasher and disconnect the waterline from the water inlet valve and clean the water inlet valve screen and see if that solves it. Because if the fuse was bad you'd get NO POWER to the water inlet valve at all period.

Here's the water inlet valve for your model:
WPW10327249 Water Inlet Valve


Jake
 

scottdfuller

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Location
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Jake-

so, I did all of the cleaning I could do both inside the machine and of the filter under the machine. I cleared out the water supply screen, replaced the hose with a new braided hose, and before connecting it, ran water through it with the main valve open just to verify that I had proper full flow. I've run the dishwasher a few times since then, and still getting some stuff that's just not getting as fully clean as it used to. I'll try arranging dishes differently, maybe try a different detergent but those are things that have been the same since we've had the dishwasher, before this issue.

Would the next step be to replace the water inlet valve? It seems like an easy enough fix that can be done with the machine in place. What other possibilities are there? The pump? Wouldn't I get an error code if the pump wasn't working? I'm fine buying some new parts and seeing if I can fix it, but don't want to be throwing money away chasing the wrong problem. Thanks for your help.

-Scott
 
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