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FIXED KDTM404EBS3 Kitchenaid dishwasher lower spray arm not turning even after wash motor replaced

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fcastle

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Model Number
KDTM404EBS3
Brand
KitchenAid
Age
1-5 years
It is KDTM404EBS3.

Lower spray arm has not been rotating. Wash motor replaced twice by repair company without success. New lower spray arm has been ordered. New "grinding"-like sound now occurs during wash cycle. Looking for advice when tech returns with new lower spray arm.

Several months ago, I noticed items, especially tall cups or bowls, on the bottom rack were not getting clean after a cycle with our dishwasher (installed Fall 2018 during a new build). After checking the lower wash arm position, I noticed it was not rotating. I ran a diagnostic cycle and received error codes F9E4 and FAE3. After not doing much more research, I ordered a new lower spray arm from Amazon, which obviously did not fix the issue. Fortunately, we have a home warranty, and, after looking at the price of the wash motor (figuring that would be next on the list), I submitted for a repair.

First repair company came out (I was not at home), wife said the guy worked on it for a bit, did not say much, and left. We get notified shortly thereafter a different company has been assigned. New repair company tech arrives and his first comment is, "Huh, I have never worked on a dishwasher like this before." Very inspiring. He proceeds to work on it for a bit and decides I need a new wash motor. Supply chain issues, blah, blah, four weeks later, a new tech from company #2 arrives. Mind you, up until this point, we can perform washes with less than 10% of dishes on the lower rack not getting cleaned so at least there is that.

Tech works on the dishwasher for a while and proceeds to tell me that the new washer motor is bad and he cannot get the dishwasher working. He tells me he will prioritize me on a second wash motor when he orders one. He leaves and I check the dishwasher. The lower rack is not even installed correctly, and, after I fix that, I noticed the lower wash arm is hitting the bottom of the rack. I try a quick test wash and now nothing is cleaned on either the lower or upper levels. Argh.

Two weeks of handwashing everything later (so fun), tech #1 with company #2 returns with second wash motor. First thing he notices it the lower spray arm hitting the lower rack. He makes it known that it appeared the other guy did not know what he was doing. Tech #1 works on the dishwasher for a while, and gets the second wash motor in. He says, "I think I got it!" We run a wash, but, the lower arm is STILL not rotating. We can hear it switch from top arm to bottom, and one or more of the smaller arms are spraying water, but the entire lower spray arm is not rotating. He says the only thing left is the spray arm, which he will order.

After he leaves, I run a diagnostic after clearing the codes. The first time, no errors show up at the end. I run it again, and the second time I get the FAE3 dryer fan error again, but no spray arm error. I throw my phone into a waterproof pouch from Amazon and try to see what exactly is occurring during the cycle. From what I can tell, the two small spray arms on the lower spray arm assembly are spraying water (one spinning and one not), but I cannot 100% tell if water is coming out of the jets on the biggest of the three arms. The top spray arm is rotating with no issues.

With the next full load of dishes, we have thankfully returned to only a couple items not being fully cleaned on the bottom rack (and, more rarely, the top rack). Frustratingly, however, there is now a "grinding" sound of sorts that was never there before during parts of the wash cycle (this occurs during the diagnostic as well). My wife (bless her heart): "That is not right and that is not fixed." Basically, even if the dishes were getting 100% clean, the noise is unacceptable.

I call the repair company and let the supervisor know about the FAE3 error code. He says he will check it and they will order parts if need be in addition to the spray arm. They are scheduled to return a week from today with a new spray arm and dryer vent part.

After reading all the threads I could find about the lower spray arm not turning issue, I am very skeptical that a new spray arm will solve the problem. I am just looking for some advice and answers to the following questions:

1. If the lower spray arm is still not turning, why did the diagnostic cycle not throw a F9E4 code?
2. If the new lower spray arm does not fix the problem, what would be the next step I could recommend to the tech (assuming he has no thoughts himself)? From what I can tell, the diverter/lower spray arm motor is separate from the wash motor, although when I asked the tech about that, he said it is all in the wash motor unit. Assuming it IS separate - would that be the next part to try?
3. Could the new wash motor be the culprit of the grinding noise and would that be something that would justify replacement with yet another wash motor? Could it also be occurring because the motor is trying to turn the lower arm but it cannot? The dishwasher obviously has a decibel rating and that noise to me is louder than the normal cycle. I do have an SPL if that would help in an argument for further investigation into the sound.
4. We do occasionally have an item on the top rack not get completely clean. Does the lower spray arm (and its three sub-arms) contribute to the cleaning of the top rack in any way?

Thanks so much in advance.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
131,532
Location
Redmond, Oregon
They should of ordered the diverter motor, on this style the diverter motor and lower wash spray motor are incorporated together in this one unit.

Another member was having this same error code with this same model, Look here:

Here's the diverter motor/lower spray arm motor for your model:
Diverter Motor W10843811


I posted the screenshot of that F9E4 error code in that thread too.

Jake
 

fcastle

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Hey, thank you, Jake! I was wondering if that was what the tech should have ordered. He definitely seemed unfamiliar with that specific dishwasher. I will give the company a call and see if they can order one of those before coming out.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
131,532
Location
Redmond, Oregon

fcastle

Premium Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Well, amazingly, it was actually the lower spray arm that was the problem. The tech arrived and I spoke with him about the diverter/lower spray arm motor. He said the wash motor and pump assembly that they installed last time actually includes the diverter/lower spray arm motor. He said the diverter motor and associated parts specifically are big pain so they just always replace the entire wash motor and pump assembly. He installed the new lower spray arm as well as the new dryer fan. He ran the diagnostic cycle and there was no "grinding" noise (he thought it may have been the motor trying to turn the spray arm but not being able to), the spray arm was obviously moving during the cycle, and no error codes appeared after the completion of the diagnostic cycle.

Thanks for responding, Jake! Now to just see if I can get my money back from Amazon for the bad spray arm I received....
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
131,532
Location
Redmond, Oregon
Excellent, glad to hear the new lower spray arm fixed it.(y)

Thanks for the update!

Here's the lower spray arm assembly for your model, in case others need it too:
Lower Wash Arm W10860176


Watch this video:


Jake
 
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