Thread Number: 12157
Dishwasher Help Needed!
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Post# 214501   6/5/2007 at 21:05 (4,370 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

The BOL GE that you have seen me mention here several times has developed a problem.
This started a few days ago, at first I thought it was the detergent (Electrosol) but we even bought a box of Cascade Complete and the problem persists. The symptoms:

Detergent door opens, but not all the detergent is washed out of the detergen dispenser. Still leftover detergent in the both detergent dispensers when cycle is complete.

Dishes on lower rack come out clean, food particles still on items on upper rack.

I took off the lower spray arm (the only one) and made sure it wasn't clogged. I also looked down into the tube where the spray arm connects to the machine and it isn't clogged.

I opened the door while the unit was washing and I could see that the center tower was popping up, water was spraying out of the spray arm and it was moving.

Just last week this thing was doing a remarkable job cleaning, but it's just been the pits ever since.

Any ideas where to start looking for the problem?

Post# 214505 , Reply# 1   6/5/2007 at 21:14 (4,370 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        
faulty fill valve?

johnb300m's profile picture
Check to see if the machine is filling with plenty of water.
There's a little hump, or island right in front of the lower spray arm. When the fill period is done, water should be covering this little island. If not, you may have a clogged or defective water fill valve.

check it out.

Post# 214520 , Reply# 2   6/5/2007 at 21:47 (4,370 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

There is that "island" thing in the right rear of the DW. And in the front to the left is a rather tall cylinder type thing. I think the fill float is in the cylinder thing and the outake is under the island thing in the rear. I'll take the covers off of both tomorrow and see if there is anything clogging up.

Post# 214522 , Reply# 3   6/5/2007 at 22:03 (4,370 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

toggleswitch's profile picture
Sounds like the heating coil may not be getting hot.
Therefore you won't get water temperatures maintaned or boosted.

Does the machine get hot for the dry poriton of the cycle?

Post# 214527 , Reply# 4   6/5/2007 at 22:37 (4,370 days old) by magic clean ()        

Another area to check, see if water is slowly draining from the machine as its washing. Sometimes foreign material can prevent the drain valve from completely sealing.

Post# 214530 , Reply# 5   6/5/2007 at 22:54 (4,370 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

And the drain valve is located under the island thingy at the right rear of the machine? It looks kinda like a cage at the lowest point of the tub.

Post# 214540 , Reply# 6   6/6/2007 at 00:09 (4,370 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

OK, I started it up tonight and while the arm does go around it is not making the normal "swish, swish, swish" noise it normally makes. I can hear the motor running, but I can't hear the wash action. Usually this machine wakes the dead with it's noise, but it is unusually quiet. I also don't see any water dripping from the items on the top rack.

It does fill up with water fine. The "island" thing is completely submersed in water. There is maybe 2-3" of water in the bottom. It fills up to about the bottom of the heating element.

Post# 214550 , Reply# 7   6/6/2007 at 05:58 (4,370 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
Our of interest, why are you hanging onto the machine? We had one of those in our last house, the builders special GE and it was dreadful. I eagerly awaited its demise as an excuse to get something better, unfortunately it didn't die but enough was enough and out it went, the noise, gawd it was awful.

Post# 214592 , Reply# 8   6/6/2007 at 11:50 (4,369 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

Last night I tried it again (with a BobLoad, of course) and the performance was even worse than the night before. The spray arm was barely turning and no water at all was hitting the upper rack.
Then I noticed that the output from the drain cycle was very weak and took a long time.

So on Magic Clean's advice, I took the little "Island cage" cover off at the bottom rear of the machine, took out two sets of baffles and down in the bottom on the screen covering the pump intake was a large piece of saran wrap! Actually it was maybe 2x2" but it was covering about 90% of the pump's intake.
I removed that and reassembled and sure enough, the machine is back to working properly!

You guys are simply great! I was able to fix another appliance by myself! I can't thank you guys enough!

Why are we keeping this thing? Well, this kitchen is tiny. We want to do a remodel to it, but can't decide what we want to do yet. So we want to talk to a kitchen designer before we do anything. And even though this BOL dishwasher is old, it's still in good shape and really does wash dishes well! It'll even wash off dried pancake batter from a bowl on the upper rack! Besides, I'm kinda cheap and something really has to be broke before I'll get rid of it. I am also amazed that something this cheap has lasted so long!

Post# 214597 , Reply# 9   6/6/2007 at 12:08 (4,369 days old) by cvillewasherbo ()        

I have a really old BOL GE dishwasher in my apartment. It just has the one dial and no buttons for heat/no heat dry. Yes, it is noisy, particularly since my apartment is very small, but I have to say that it washes perfectly. I run it about once every 4-5 days or possibly more if I cooked something. I DO NOT prerinse anything. I use Cascade Complete or the equivalent Electrasol (sometimes Walmart brand). I fill both cups and the dishes always come out spotless. Since, I'm renting and it does a great job--even though it's noisy as hell, I'm keeping it.

Courtney in Waynesboro

Post# 214602 , Reply# 10   6/6/2007 at 12:22 (4,369 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        


Ours has a switch for Heated/Cool Dry and just one dial that says "Start" on it. So we must have a MOL model! (:->! Anyway, it's 13 years old.
While we run ours most every night, it sounds like we use ours the same as you do as far as DW detergents go.
We turn ours on just as we are going to bed as our bedrooms are completely on the other side of the house. But we can still hear it churning away. If you are in the kitchen while it's running, you have to raise your voice to talk!

Post# 214647 , Reply# 11   6/6/2007 at 19:24 (4,369 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Old ge dishwashers

To Courtney, first check your model number and go to GE's website and check to make sure you dont have one of the models that would catch fire when the heat/no heat switch would fail. Not to scare you but it is about the right age for their infamous recall. You may still be able to collect a sizeable amount of money for a new machine. And for safety's sake, you should never run a dishwasher when you are sleeping as it can also leak unexpectedly and cause damage.

As far as all these old mahines cleaning well, it has got more to do with the improvements in detergents than the poorly designed washing system these particular machine have. I am constantly amazed at how long they have been used either by GE or by other manufacturers who have copied it or just had GE rebadge the machines with their names. The new formulations of detergentsPowders) have enzymes that literally eat the food and dissolve it so your results are better.

Be that as it may, if they work to your satisfaction, why get rid of it.

To Whirlcool, you mentioned that you have a small Kitchen..before you dive into a remodel project, make sure you measure the space opposite the place the dishwasher is going..The Tall Tub units have longer doors and I have seen some instances where a new machine even before the really tall tubs were out, that would not allow the door to be opened fully. Something to ponder!

Post# 214687 , Reply# 12   6/6/2007 at 21:03 (4,369 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        


Thanks for the tip about the door on the tall tubs. We hadn't thought about that one. And sure enough, right about where a tall tub door would go we have an island!

The version of the GE we have is a Kenmore. But as you state I have seen the same unit under many different brand names. It's usually on sale for $149.95! But I have also noticed that the wash system used also turns up in machines costing up to $299.95. For that price you get features like being able to select a cycle type.

Post# 214694 , Reply# 13   6/6/2007 at 21:17 (4,369 days old) by sactoteddybear ()        
Re: Valve:

Whirlcool, the Valve is located below as part of the Pump Assembly and it has a Solenoid that activates it to Pump-Out the Water. It is quite possible as mentioned by Magic Clean that it might have something not allowing the Flapper in the Valve to close properly for the Wash/Rinse Cycles. If you get this Dishwasher Operating again, or end up getting a new Dishwasher, may I suggest your trying the Wal-Mart Great Value Powder Detergent. I've been using it in my Taller-Tub Maytag 2-Rack Dishwasher, with great results. Good Luck with whichever you end up doing.

Peace and Better Cleaning of the Dishes hopefully, Steve

Post# 214799 , Reply# 14   6/7/2007 at 09:36 (4,368 days old) by cvillewasherbo ()        
water temperature

Hi to Stevet--Mine does not have a heat/noheat dry switch. My hot water is HOT! I like it that way. I like to hot laundry loads in hot water, and I like to have warm showers without running out of hot water (particularly in winter).

I have had the same dishwasher in other rental units over the years before they came out with Enzyme detergents. Original Cascade with Chlorine in it and hot water and that dishwasher produced the same results that I get now. Maybe mine is "special."

Courtney in Waynesboro

Post# 214842 , Reply# 15   6/7/2007 at 15:13 (4,368 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        


The dishwasher is up and running again. As I mentioned earlier in this thread it was a obstuction in the pump intake. I removed it and the machine is back to its good old noisy self again, properly washing dishes nice and clean.

We do use Walmart Dishwasher detergent. It is a "Great Value" and cleans things very nicely. We bounce back and forth every 4 or 5 boxes with Electrosol and about twice a year buy a box of Cascade Complete.

I remember back around 1961 or so when my parents got their first dishwasher, it was a GE Mobilemaid if I am not mistaken, and it came with a box of Electrosol in it! What I remember most about that machine is the odor it had when the dishes were done washing. Kind of a strange, electronic smell to it. But I think the Electrosol brand has been downgraded over the years and isn't as good as it could be. My parents back in the late 60s' / early 70's used to use a DW detergent called "Finish", but I haven't seen that stuff in years!

Post# 214907 , Reply# 16   6/7/2007 at 22:04 (4,368 days old) by sactoteddybear ()        
Re: Hurray:

I'm so glad that you found out that it was only something stuck in the Pump/Valve area and it is back to it's personal Noisy self again.

I as well remember the Finish Brand of Dishwasher Detergent, but I don't remember if my Mother ever used it. She mostly used Cascade and sometimes Electrosol, but she liked Cascade the most.

I know how much it breaks your Heart that you weren't able to replace the Noisy Thrashing thing that you've got, but at least if the same thing happens ever again, at least you will know what's wrong and be able to get it operating again.

Peace and Great Dish and Glass Cleaning, Steve

Post# 214919 , Reply# 17   6/7/2007 at 23:26 (4,368 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

Oh, eventually we will replace it. Since the kitchen is small we have a patio area adjacent to it. We are thinking about expanding the house to enclose the patio and make it part of the kitchen. This would make a 20x25' kitchen. More than enough size! But then there would be the layout design, what color appliances? What Brands? Even what type of appliances.. The list is endless! We are thinking that this rennovation will be about $30K when we are done. Whenever we get around to it!

Post# 214930 , Reply# 18   6/8/2007 at 01:43 (4,368 days old) by maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
Really? (Detergent talk)

I'm having terrific results with the Electrosol 3-in-1 tablets. As good as Cascade.

Can't say about the other Electrosol variations, though.

The vintage dishwasher detergent I miss, however, is Calgonite. I preferred it to Cascade. We used it, when I bought it. When I didn't, Ma got Cascade.

Even though I was the one who usually loaded and ran the thing......

Did anyone here use and like Dishwasher all?

We tried Finish, but were not too impressed with it.

However, my next purchase will be the new Cascade Complete...the new Fresh Rapids with Bleach variety.

The Great Value powder is quite good, but I avoid Wal*Mart as much as possible.


Post# 215072 , Reply# 19   6/8/2007 at 22:31 (4,367 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

Ah, Dishwasher ALL! I forgot about that one. Wasn't it discontinued fairly recently?

Post# 215078 , Reply# 20   6/8/2007 at 22:59 (4,367 days old) by exploder3211 ()        

Grand ma used it for a long time, she loved it... she bought a boat load of it back in the late 1980s froma store going out of bussniess when i was a tiny tot and we had it aroudn for quite a while (they had boxs from the late 1970's there! i used to have 3 unused boxes that where destroyed when my house was in 04), matter of fact she forgot about it and started using palmolive till they quit selling that... She hated cascade cause it smelled too strongly, same with electrosol... She has also mentioned finish several times and one other brand that was similar to a laundry detergant

Post# 215080 , Reply# 21   6/8/2007 at 23:03 (4,367 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
Dishwasher All disappeared from our shelves quite a number of years ago. I'd almost forgotten about it. IIRC Finish was Electrasol before it was called Electrasol, one in the same, just a name change though it appears they kept the name Finish over in the UK.

Post# 215084 , Reply# 22   6/8/2007 at 23:46 (4,367 days old) by exploder3211 ()        

ALl i know is that she Bit**s over the stench of the current and last generation of electosol... She loves the tablet version....
Does any know how those gel pacs work??? I wonder how the plastic covering is dissolved..
BTW-A funny warning on the tabs i have is that you need to remove the wrapper before use otherwise they won't work

Post# 215121 , Reply# 23   6/9/2007 at 11:09 (4,366 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        
tabs, gelpacs

johnb300m's profile picture
yeah, the wrapper does not dissolve, you have to unwrap the tabs and throw the wrapper away. the gelpacs are "ok" i've used them for the past month. I'm going back to Cascade.
But, for a while I was also using the Electrasol tabs, and they SUDS WAY TOO MUCH!
What a stupid soap. Do they not have any suds controls in there? Suds are bad for dishwashers. What are they thinking?

Post# 216349 , Reply# 24   6/15/2007 at 22:07 (4,360 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Soap gets in your eyes!!

WOW! This soap box derby really brings back memories for me! We got our first dishwasher back in 1967 and it was a KitchenAId KDS-15. All the rage with the heating element in the tank and the 180 degree SaniCycle. And it cleaned very well once you learned how to load it properly and all done in less than an hour! I hate to say that you could barely talk in the kitchen but it was slaving over your dishes so it was always forgiven for being too noisy. I even wrapped it in fiberglass and it was noisy.

But all those brand names were tried over and over by us because our water was so hard. I wonder if there are any members here who lived in Woodhaven or Ozone Park in Queens, NY who remember the "Woodhaven" water we used to have?
This water was so horribly hard that the joke was that if you forgot to use pipe joint compound on a pipe it would only leak for a few minutes as it wold seal itself up because of the lime in the water. Let me tell you, it was no lie! It was not uncommon to see stalctites hanging from leaking pipes in some people's homes.

When we would go to remove the dishes from the dishwasher , the glasses were sanitized but all looked as if you had dipped them in milk becasue of the lime. They would wipe clean if you polished them, but why should we have to? We tried all kinds of combinations including adding CALGON(not calgonite) to the soap and even those exzyme active presoakers that they had come out with. Nothing really helped. Eventually the City of NY condemned the water company which was buying water from NYC anyway since they had started to have salt encroachment into their wells. The water quality improved slowly while they connected all the mains together and you could actually see the lime deposits disappear from the inside of the DW and the glasses started to look clear again.
But Yes, we used the brands listed above as well as every store brand out there locally. I loved the Electrasol since it seemed to have alot more bleach in it and at least would clean the coffee stains and fruit stains off of the porcelain tank better than any other brand.We did the Vinegar washes that Kitchenaid today is so fond of recommending to remedy every wash problem out there but it was the change in the water that did the trick.
One side note: When the cuty proposed taking over the utility, they had community meetings in our area warning us that the soft city water was incompatible with the galvanized piping in our homes and that they would not be responsible for leaks and damages resulting in the water change. Boy did I know alot of people who had leaks in their water lines in their homes.The water even cleaned up those joints that had no thread sealant in them! I saw instances where the water just rotted thru the piping as it washed all the deposits out and left paper thin pipe in its wake.

But today, we have better chemisrty and Rinse dispensers are standard on almost every machine so results are better. Great Value from Walmart gets good reviews in the testing magazines along with the Cascades (powders of course, outperform the liquid gels all the time) and while I think the Great Value is good and cleans the food stuffs well, I find that it leaves tea and coffee stains. Cascade in its standard version with Shine Shield, does a fantastic job even without using Jet Dry in my area. My utility in Palm Coast basically softens our water prior to distribution so most detergents and soaps work fine. I dont like the gelpaks as I like to dispense soap when it should be used in the prewash and wash and a drying agent in the final rinse where it belongs.And there is no way I would use a gel pak that doesn't self dissolve anyway!
Thanks for the memories!

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