Revive old KA dishwasher or?

hemnancyJune 12, 2012

I've been trying to make up my mind about a DW for a while, my KA Custom 21 that was in our house when we bought it 19 years ago still works but the spraying action decreased to the point the dishes were not getting clean and mold was forming on the door. I've been hand-washing the dishes. What could I do to clean out the jets, or should I give up on it and buy a new machine? I am very put off on all the machines after reading lots of reviews, there seems to be something wrong with all of them. We are on a well so have low water pressure that might make it hard for a Bosch to run well. Would a Whirlpool or Kenmore (which might be a Whirlpool anyway) do a good job and last say 10 years? Is an extended service contract a good idea?

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Tweezers or needle-noze plyers can pull out items stuck in the spray arm holes blocking them. You can remove the rotating washarms, usually by twising open a hand screw (or regular one) in the center, after which you can run water from a faucet into the large center hole, shake back and forth, and drain the water through the hole. Then reinstall the wash arm. Repeat for both or all three as needed. The old pre-Whirlpool Kitchenaid dishwashers with the porcelain tubs clean well and often last a long time.

Some Kenmores are made by Bosch (and other manufacturers) as well.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 7:02AM
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Check to see if your are getting enough water in the dishwasher when it fills. Over the years you may have sediment in the strainer of the fill valve. That can be removed and cleaned out. I would also get a bottle of Dishwasher Magic and run through the empty machine to clean out the pump/arms/etc.

I would try this before getting a new machine.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Agree with others about doing a few simple things to maybe perk up present performance. However, suggest that after 20 years, the machine doesn't owe you anything. Also suggest you may be impressed with capacity, performance, and quietness of the new machines.

Disagree with the idea that "...there seems to be something wrong with all of them." As always, there are certainly bad machines that pop up here and there. For the most part, however, they're almost all pretty darned good. Most problems encountered have to do with bad installs, loading, or other matters than the machines themselves.

Water pressure may affect fill-level, but will otherwise have nothing to do with the way machine functions. If your present machine fills appropriately, I have little doubt any new machine purchased will do just fine that way. Easy to check in any event.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 1:12PM
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After 19 years of service, it is not a big surprise to see a drop-off in performance. I would certainly check the spray arms for clogs, inspect the drain hose for same, but you could be looking at a worn pump or stiff bearings/bushings in the motor that could impede performance. Chances are, if you are the do-it-yourself type, you could find a new motor and pump assembly on ebay for pretty cheap if you are really trying to avoid a costly replacement; however, I agree with asolo that the newer machines offer several advantages over older models in terms of quietness and performance.

I do recommend that you steer clear of GE dishwashers. I have examined the "plumbing" (meaning the high-pressure supply galleries to the spray arm ports) and they are far too small to deliver enough water to get dishes thoroughly clean. GE molds the spray arms to look like they are hefty beasts, but underneath, where the water has to flow, they are just freakin' puny.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 6:44PM
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I've been looking at the new machines, Bosch gets good reviews but when I look at Lowe's or some other reviews there are a bunch of unhappy reviews giving them one star, "Don't get this dishwasher!" I have deep flat-edged bowls I use a lot and am not sure they would fit in the rack, and also am tired of washing all my dishes by hand before loading them in the dw so there is no particle build-up, I'm trying to buy into the dream of just sticking the dishes and pots and pans in the dw and avoiding all the rinsing. I like the stainless steel interior of the Bosch and that the filter is SS instead of nylon like in the other dw's. Some people in the forum here say the cheaper Bosch's from the big box store are not as good as the more expensive ones. But the $539 model seems to be the one rated #1 by Consumer's Report. I just realized that one doesn't have a SS interior.

I liked the Turbo wash feature of one of the Kenmores but it had a plastic tub for $500 on sale, the SS tub cost $670. I don't know if the Turbo wash makes it any better or not. It is rated one behind Whirlpool Gold, and neither has a SS interior, which I want.

Any thoughts? My old KA has metal enamel interior, I guess I would like SS, how important is that?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Maybe try this forum. Some real experts there. They might even have spare parts for free.... Try it.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:01PM
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