Thread Number: 61124  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Problem with Hydro Sweep arm on my Kitchenaid Superba?
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Post# 837565   8/21/2015 at 03:01 (1,155 days old) by DekeDickerson (Los Angeles, CA)        

Hello all--

Some of you may remember me gleefully posting a while back about finding a really clean Kitchenaid Superba dishwasher. I installed it in my kitchen, hooked up electricity and water in/out....and it worked great! Until a few days ago....

Dishes weren't coming all the way clean and I couldn't figure out why. There was definitely water going in, and water going out, and the detergent was getting used up. Then I checked on it several times during the wash cycle, and figured out the problem.

The "Hydro Sweep" arm on the bottom is not moving! It's just staying in one place for the whole wash.

How to fix this? Is it possibly a belt, or a chain? Or is it a whole motor assembly that needs to be replaced? If any of the experts here have an opinion, let me know before I start rooting around underneath the thing....

Much appreciated! Thank you in advance!


Post# 837568 , Reply# 1   8/21/2015 at 04:57 (1,155 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Sounds like the wash arm support is worn out.  How difficult is it to rotate the arm yourself?  Much resistance?

Post# 837572 , Reply# 2   8/21/2015 at 05:20 (1,155 days old) by chachp (Conway, AR)        
That was my first thought too.

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If it is, that's a pretty easy fix.  What model dishwasher is it?  Can you take off the Wash arm and shoot some pictures?

Post# 837682 , Reply# 3   8/21/2015 at 18:33 (1,154 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
Deke, the spray arm is not actively driven by the motor, there is no belt or chain involved.  It rotates by jet-action, like a rotary water sprinkler.  As the others have said, failure to rotate is due to wear-out of the support/bearing on which the arm sits ... and perhaps less-commonly wear of the arm center bearing itself.

Post# 837745 , Reply# 4   8/22/2015 at 09:22 (1,154 days old) by dekedickerson (Los Angeles, CA)        

A-ha....okay, that makes sense. It seems to rotate okay when I turn it by hand, but not like it's gliding on ball bearings or anything. I bet it's worn out. Can you take off the hydro sweep arm from the top, I'm assuming? And what IS used for bearings in there??

Post# 837755 , Reply# 5   8/22/2015 at 12:23 (1,154 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

The arm assembly lifts straight up and off.  Be sure that the tips of the arms are clearing the bulb-out for the lower rack's casters when you lift up.


If the arm wobbles or otherwise doesn't rotate quietly around when you spin it by hand, that's an indication of problems like those mentioned above.

Post# 837821 , Reply# 6   8/23/2015 at 00:45 (1,153 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        
my mom's '74

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KDS-17A started doing that.  It was already on its last leg but was still running so I got into it tinkering and found the center arm support was actually loose so I pulled it out.  It was causing the arm to hit under the tracks for the lower rack keeping it from turning.  I probably could have glued it with super glue, but instead I wrapped teflon tape around it and twisted it back down into its hole.  It never came out again!  She kept using it until it developed either a timer problem or motor problem (it would fill up with water and just sit there, then it would drain and refill and sit there) so we replaced it with a Kenmore 3 level wash in 1987.  If I had it to do over again knowing what I know now, I'd probably just JB welded it to buy time til it died.

Post# 837839 , Reply# 7   8/23/2015 at 09:01 (1,153 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Nonrotating wash arm

combo52's profile picture
Hi what model dishwasher do you have. A failure of the washroom to rotate can also be a lack of water a clogged filter or as others mentioned a worn out wash arm support or worn arm bearing itself we need a little more information to make an accurate diagnosis.

Post# 837994 , Reply# 8   8/24/2015 at 09:27 (1,152 days old) by dekedickerson (Los Angeles, CA)        

You guys are awesome! I'm going to see what I can find out in the next day or two, will post more info as I discover it. It's good to know I'm not alone in this quest to use vintage appliances (since all my family and friends think I am insane)!

Post# 838021 , Reply# 9   8/24/2015 at 12:47 (1,152 days old) by dekedickerson (Los Angeles, CA)        

OK--went in and lifted the hydro sweep arm off, like you guys told me. Once I studied the design, it's actually pretty genius, isn't it? Amazing they figured out a way to have all that water pressure and not even use a screw to hold the hydro sweep arm off!

So, the thing turns and if I spin it around by hand, it will spin freely a few times before stopping. i don't think the bearings are worn out--there is no "wobble," it's actually pretty tight. Are these just DRY bearings? Any kind of lubricant like silicone or anything else help with the contact friction points?

The other options might be that somebody mentioned the input filter is clogged so there's not enough water pressure to make the hydro sweep arm spin. Where does one find this input filter? Is it attached to the hose or right at the input of the hose and the machine? or is it a separate filter attached to the frame somewhere?

Thank you in advance for your help and advice!


Post# 838047 , Reply# 10   8/24/2015 at 15:06 (1,152 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

The filter is in the sump area under the wash arm.  It's fairly simple to remove the perforated screen and then examine the fine filter below it.  It might have shredded, and parts of that fine mesh may have ended up in the spray arms, which could stop the Hydro from sweeping.

Post# 979294 , Reply# 11   1/21/2018 at 09:10 (271 days old) by joeypete (Concord, NH)        

joeypete's profile picture
Sorry to bring back this old thread but it helped me immensely! I took a video of my KDM-21 empty and saw that the bottom arm wasn't hardly moving. I had no idea. So I took off the Hydro Sweep and then unscrewed the lower part where the fine mesh screen sits. I rinsed it out really well along with the wash arm. There was a lot of fine grit in there. I put it back together and just by pushing it by hand, it spun freely. I'm assuming some grit got into the stationary post and inside the arm where it attaches. Anything else I should do? I don't think . you should grease that part right, since it's essentially exposed?

Thank you!

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