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FIXED KDTM404ESS3 KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Cleaning

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Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
Model Number
KDTM404ESS3
Brand
KitchenAid
Age
1-5 years
Hello. First, let me thank you for your blog. It has already saved me hours while trying to troubleshoot my unit. Unfortunately, my problem is not solved. I have my suspicions, but am getting conflicting results, so let me tell you my efforts so far...

1) INITIAL SYMPTOM:
Dishes were not clean on either upper or lower racks. It did not appear any water-under-force was making contact with the dishes.

2) SPRAY ARM INSPECTION
Suspecting the Lower Wash Arm (W10860176) I removed it and dis-assembled relevant parts below it, down to removing the white Diffuser Disc (WPW10476221). Upon inspection, all related parts seemed fully intact, functional and not blocked. The sprayer jets did not appear to be blocked. The gearing was not broken and the largest tri-head sprayer moved easily on it's gearing (when detached from the LSA drive pin). I reassembled all, then ran multiple Service Diagnostic Cycles.

3) SERVICE DIAGNOSTIC RESULTS
Intervals 27 & 26 (Customer Errors 1&2) returned the following:
F6E1 - Water Inlet, Low/no water.
and
F9E4 - Diverter, Lower Spray Arm Error

Intervals 2 & 1 (Service Cycle Diag Errors 1&2) returned only:
F6E1 - Water Inlet, Low/no water (and no corresponding 6-4 or 6-2 errors)
9-4 was not part of the Service Cycle errors - strange.

At this point I once again dis-assembled all related Spray Arm parts down to the Diffuser Disc, and all still looked in order. So I reassembled, cleared the previous customer errors, then ran another System diagnostic. The historical customer errors were gone, but Interval 2 repeated the Service Cycle Error, 6-1. With that in mind, I turned my focus to the Water Inlet Valve.

4) WATER INLET VALVE INSPECTION
I dis-assembled the Water Inlet Valve (W10872255) down to removing the entire valve. All connections had been tight and intact. The filter screen in the valve was completely clean. While disassembled, I independently confirmed strong water pressure up to the point of it's connection to the Water Inlet Valve. I reassembled all.

5) I BEGAN TO DOUBT THE 6-1 ERROR CODE
After reassembling the Water Inlet Valve, I ran a speed wash (customer) cycle, this time with my hand touching the water inlet valve, to feel if it was operating. I also opened the dishwasher immediately after the initial fill. The dishwasher filled with water just fine, to just above the heating element. I've reached the conclusion there are NO problems with the water intake, though I can't explain why I'm still getting the 6-1 Diagnostic error.

Since it was clear my unit was getting water, I tried putting a couple coffee mugs (face-up) on both the lower and upper racks, to see if any of the water was being diverted to the upper rack, which I had not previously tested. No water appears to be circulating. The cups were empty on both upper and lower racks.

6) ERROR 9-4 RETURNS
After having run the customer speed cycle above, I once again ran another Service Diagnostic cycle. The two Customer Error codes re-appeared, including the 9-4 error. But again, only the 6-1 showed up as a SERVICE ERROR, not the 9-4.

7) STATUS
After all the above, it appears water is getting into the dishwasher, but while it's in the tub, it's just sitting there. It's not being distributed by any of the sprayer arms, upper or lower. It's heating and pumping out just fine btw.

8) MYSTERIES
A) The lower Sprayer Arm IS MOVING partially. During a customer cycle, I can open the dishwasher at random points and the lower Sprayer Arm will be in a different position, though no sign that the jets have fired. It is turning but how much I can't tell.

B) If it's a Sprayer Arm problem, why is the 9-4 Error never thrown as a Service Diagnostic error? It only appears as a historical Customer cycle error.

C) Why is the Service Diagnostic throwing the 6-1 Error, despite the unit appearing to fill (and refill) with water throughout all test cycles?

D) My lower Sprayer Arm has three tri-head spinners (W10860176) but I'm uncertain which are supposed to actually spin. The largest tri-head turns with the gearing. There is a second tri-head spinner that includes a gear. This head spins freely, but doesn't appear that it is gear driven, despite the presence of the gear. My third tri-head spinner doesn't spin at all, but is frozen in place on the main arm below. Is that how it's supposed to be?

Sorry for the data dump, but hopefully you can make sense of it. Any assistance or insight is greatly appreciated. I can send photos if needed.

J.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
122,555
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
On these models there has been a problem with the pump filter breaking and jamming up the wash motor, thus you will hear little to no water spray out the spray arms. Id check that first.

Mike took lots of photos and documented them here:

Here's that pump filter you can order if needed:
Pump Filter W11084156


If not in-stock at RepairClinic, It's also here: W11084156

If the pump filter is fine, I'd next use a multimeter to check for 120 volts at the wash motor after it fills and should be running, if you get 120 volts and the wash motor is not running, then the wash motor is bad.

Here's the wash motor for your model:
Circulation Pump W10902589


Here's the video:


Let us know what you find.

Jake
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
Jake,

Thanks for your immediate reply! Let me add one more bit of info from yesterday, as it ties into something Mike mentioned.

When I ran the last Express Wash customer cycle...
- I started the cycle
- The washer filled with water, as I touched the Inlet Valve to confirm ops.
- Immediately after the Inlet Valve stopped and the washer successfully filled with water, I heard a sequence of four, 1-sec each, electronic buzz + clicks.
- Buzz+click - (2 sec pause) - Buzz+click - (2 sec pause) - Buzz+click - (2 sec pause) - Buzz+click - (2 sec pause)
- After that sequence, silence for many minutes, until what sounded like a drain sequence began.

Mike mentioned he could hear the jammed motor buzzing at it tried to spin. I am not hearing a continuous buzzing. I don't believe it's getting to that point. Rather it sounds like the system is trying to initiate the motor that never starts in the first place. I would guess the second part of your instruction is more likely.... that it's a bad motor. Based on this new info, would you concur?

Curious, do you have any insight as to why the System Diagnostic Cycles are not providing more useful feedback? Is it not to be trusted?

J.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
122,555
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Mike mentioned he could hear the jammed motor buzzing at it tried to spin. I am not hearing a continuous buzzing. I don't believe it's getting to that point. Rather it sounds like the system is trying to initiate the motor that never starts in the first place. I would guess the second part of your instruction is more likely.... that it's a bad motor. Based on this new info, would you concur?
I would yes, BUT its better to verify that first by removing it from the dishwasher and physically looking at it like Mike did.:)

Curious, do you have any insight as to why the System Diagnostic Cycles are not providing more useful feedback? Is it not to be trusted?
Yes, lots of times its accurate to the specific problem.

Jake
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Florence, MT
Jake,

Yes, will do. This at least confirms to me that I MUST uninstall my DW before going further. I was trying to avoid that.

As for my parts, if it is a bad motor, you recommended the $363 "BASE PUMP" replacement (W10902589). Blue on JPG.

I noticed on a separate thread, you recommended to TrippKnightly he order the $237 "PUMP & MOTOR" (W10861526). Green on JPG.

The $237 W10861526 would seem the better choice for me too, given:
- The $363 Assembly is only a subset of the complete $237 Assembly.
- Most notably, the W10861526 includes the "Diverter & Lower Wash Arm Motor". Since I'm logging recurring 9-4 customer cycle errors, having that new Diverter motor as backup would be ideal.
- And W10861526 is $100 cheaper, so I'm getting the LSA motor for free!

According to APP, either part matches my KDTM404ESS3. Can you confirm?

The only downside I see is that RC doesn't have a HOW TO video for swapping out the full W10861526 assembly, while you have an excellent HOW TO for changing out the W10902589. The value of having those videos is huge.

Please advise and thanks,

J.
 

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Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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McMullen Valley, Arizona
Yes, Here's the complete wash motor assembly which includes everything--->W10861526 PUMP&MOTOR

--->Here's the service manual: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1IABZRwoDnJElVXGVxsXNrdtXmyUJclAL

Disconnect power to your dishwasher. Then you will need to remove the dishwasher from underneath your cabinet.

Then you will need to remove the sump and drain pump first--->Starts on Page 4-21.[/B]

This is the closest video I could locate to remove the whole assembly:


Jake
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
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Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
Jake,

Thank you for all the references and resources. I would love to report back, however it's unclear when I'll be able to get my hands on the part. If this thread is still active, I'll provide an update.

J.
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
Jake,

Appliance Parts Pros shows "Out of Stock" but RC shows "Special Order". I assume in both cases, the part ships from the manufacturer? Do you recommend I HOLD for "in-stock" before ordering, or should I get on a back-order list now? Appreciate any tips.

J.
 

Jake

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Messages
122,555
Location
McMullen Valley, Arizona
Do you recommend I HOLD for "in-stock" before ordering, or should I get on a back-order list now?
Either way is fine. I always put the order in first for my customers when they are out-of-stock, then just wait till they email you saying its ready to ship..:)

Jake
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Florence, MT
Jake, given I have weeks to wait for parts availability, it will give me time to think up further long-shot questions for you. :)

Can you think of any reason why the Diagnostic cycle consistently threw only 6-1 Low/no water errors? Water IS in the tub, but could a bad sensor be telling the unit there is NOT water, and thus not allowing the pump or motor to continue on with a normal startup? It is the float that dictates the status? I'm wildly guessing here, but trying to make some sense of that lone error code. No rush. It appears I have nothing but time.

J.
 

Jake

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I wish I could answer those questions, but I can't.

Seems lots of members have this same 6-1 error when the wash motor assembly goes bad, don't know the cause.

Jake
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
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Location
Florence, MT
Hello Jake,

A quick update. After polling all major online OEM dealers daily for W10861526 availability, Sears Parts Direct was able to ship one, arriving today. I'm re-watching the videos you previously referenced. Question - would you recommend silicone grease on the outer rubber seal of the Pump/Motor assembly, where it makes contact with the dishwasher frame? Certainly more Qs to follow. Stay tuned.

J.
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
In prep for swapping the Pump & Motor assembly, I've been reviewing the many resources noted above in this thread.

Both the APP and Repair Clinic videos, as well as the official KitchenAid KD-17 PDF guide, all indicated the DW must be uninstalled and flipped over to detach all the Pump/Motor connections. I REALLY wanted to avoid that, since with my install, it will require removal of finished (glued) wood trim, among other time-consuming disassembly.

Diverging from the two videos however, the KD-17 has you disconnecting most wiring harnesses from the inside of the tub.

Early on, I had stumbled upon a YouTube of a guy removing the Pump & Motor without uninstalling/flipping the DW. I had dismissed attempting that, being a newbie DIY and assuming I would never blindly find all those wire harnesses that the APP and RC vids guided me to disconnect once the DW was flipped. But given KD-17 has you disconnecting most of those harnesses from the inside, after the pump/motor is flipped inward, this greatly reduced the number of semi-blind pre-disconnections required underneath. As a bonus, the drain pump motor and drain hose are both very near the front, so you can actually see most of the removal exercise for those two elements.

Here's the YouTube:

Combined with the other references, pretty darn sure I can effect this swap without pulling my DW from the cabinet. Will advise.

J.
 
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Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
Jake,

Before I begin, I'm realizing there is ONE applicable part that was not included in the full Pump/Motor new assembly: the OPTICAL WATER INDICATOR (as named on my model, though I also see it named as a TURBIDITY SENSOR). Part W11084121.


Yes, I can pull it from my original Pump/Motor. However, if you think there's any chance that the OWI could be related to my problem as described earlier, I would buy and replace it first. It's a small, cheap, available part, compared to the larger Pump Assembly. If the OWI went bad, would it throw LOW WATER error readings to the system diagnostics, and stop the motor/pump from running? My understanding is it's only supposed to measure temp and water cleanliness, so I wouldn't think so, but you're the pro.

J.
 

Jake

Appliance Tech - Admin
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Messages
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If the OWI went bad, would it throw LOW WATER error readings to the system diagnostics, and stop the motor/pump from running? My understanding is it's only supposed to measure temp and water cleanliness, so I wouldn't think so, but you're the pro.
No, it would not.

Yes, use that video to replace the sump/motor assembly without removing the dishwasher from the cabinet.

You can also watch this video:

Jake
 

Berndawgz

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florence, MT
Jake,

It appears you can put me in the FIXED column. Install of Pump/Motor assembly went as smooth as could be expected. I've run a successful Express Cycle without sparks or leaks. Will follow with a diagnostics cycle and hope error codes are gone.

Having purchased and replaced the entire Pump/Motor assembly, I'm left with a few high-value spare parts, most notably the Diverter & Lower Wash Arm Motor (assuming it was the Wash Motor that failed). Unfortunately I don't have the know-how or equipment to bench test anything. Guess I will shelve and hope I never need it.

Tips for other DIYers...
- It is not necessary to uninstall your DW to make this fix.
- Be cautious as you flip the pump/motor assembly in and out of the tub. Especially when installing the replacement, most wire harnesses offer little slack. You'll have to re-attach certain harnesses then flip-n-tuck in stages to re-seat the assembly back in the tub, without yanking or splitting your wires. Slow and methodical and you'll be fine.
- In my opinion, hardest thing for a DIY to judge is how much torque and force to use when twisting, pulling and pushing parts in and out. In many cases, things took a bit more force to snap free than I was initially comfortable with.
- longest reach underneath was unlocking/locking that third tab that secures the assembly to the tub. Recommend slowly snaking your arm back from the front left side. Fish around for awhile and you'll eventually feel it. For locking after re-install, it will be helpful if a second person can push down the assembly from the inside of the tub, making it easier for you to lock the tabs underneath.

A huge thanks to Jake and Appliance Blog for sharing their expertise, time and again, and always within 36 hours or less of my questions. Wow. Also, the APP and RC videos + the official repair manuals (KD-17, etc.) you referenced were invaluable.
 
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Jake

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Excellent Berndawgz, glad to hear the new pump/motor assembly fixed it.(y)

Thanks for the update and the added information you posted!

Jake
 
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