Thread Number: 73131  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
KDI-18 Help! Power Light + Timer working but no wash cycle
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Post# 966012   11/4/2017 at 16:24 (324 days old) by JeepinJohn (Westminster, CA)        

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Hi all, hoping to get some ideas from those with more dishwasher experience than I have.

I am just a novice who found this forum a few years ago after going through 2 "modern" machines in 3 years and deciding modern dishwashers are not built to last. I figured there must be a better way and that maybe older, more well-built machines with less electronics might be the tickets. I was smitten when I discovered that I was late to the party and many others had come to the same conclusion.

Using these forums, I honed in my search and eventually was able to acquire a lightly used avacado green KDI-18. My lovely imperial has worked flawlessly for 4 years and two residences (I made it part of our deal when we moved to bring our dishwasher with us).

Anyway, yesterday I loaded her up like always and pushed the "Soak 'n Wash" button, surprisingly the normal filling and washing cycle did not happen. The red power light still came on and the timer seemed to move through it's normal cycle, however I did not hear it fill or wash.

I emptied the dishes and took out the bottom rack and noticed the bottom was full of water. Not sure if a previous cycle was prematurely disrupted by wife or daughter without getting restarted, or just failed to fully drain after last wash.

After looking through the forums and per some past tips, I got all the water out and took the filter off to make sure there were no clogs. It was pretty clean. The float in the left front seems to move freely as well.

I bought/downloaded the repair manual. Lots of good info on how to access and replace specific parts, but not a ton of insight on troubleshooting, so hoping I might find some help here.

First question, just because the timer moves clockwise through its cycles, is that enough to dismiss this as not being an issue, or could it somehow not be triggering the fill/wash cycles and still be the problem?

Second, any idea from seasoned repairmen (or women) likely problem areas where I might start first?

Finally, is there anything else external to the dishwasher I should check before I tear it apart to try and figure out the problem?

Thanks in advance for your time and input.
Much appreciated,

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Post# 966064 , Reply# 1   11/4/2017 at 21:52 (324 days old) by barcoboy (Canada)        

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Most likely the problem is either the motor itself that has gone bad, a broken wire between the timer and motor, or the timer is not sending power down to the motor. It's possible that you didn't hear it filling before because there was enough water already in the tub to keep the float switch engaged, preventing the fill valve from opening. Did you happen to hear the snap of the drain valve opening while the timer was running through the cycle? The machine wouldn't drain even though the valve was opening, because it needs the motor running to pump the water out.

Post# 966138 , Reply# 2   11/5/2017 at 08:00 (323 days old) by chachp (Conway, AR)        
If you need a motor...

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Steve posted this one earlier but that auction ended and the seller relisted.  You may want to put a Watch on this one just in case.  I don't think it's a bad price but others may have one cheaper.


Here's hoping it's a loose wire!!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO chachp's LINK on eBay

Post# 966181 , Reply# 3   11/5/2017 at 10:50 (323 days old) by JeepinJohn (Westminster, CA)        

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Thanks for the response barcoboy. I hope the motor has not gone bad, but acknowledge it is always a possibility. It was sitting in a box unused for about 30 years before I got it and was in mint condition, so the motor has only seen a few years of use, but maybe those years in storage worked against it.

Is there anywhere to get a new motor or are these long out of production?

Post# 966188 , Reply# 4   11/5/2017 at 11:31 (323 days old) by JeepinJohn (Westminster, CA)        

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Update, I just tried running it again after emptying all the water out and this time, it refilled. I think yesterday when I tried it, it was already full of water at the bottom from a previous attempt from my wife, and since float is working properly, I did not hear the water filling since it was already at full level.

In this most recent cycle, it filled with water to the appropriate level, and I heard an audible click as if it was ready to enter the next washing cycle, but no washing ever happened.

If it filled with water, does that mean motor is good, but there is some other problem, or is it likely still the motor?

The (external) timer still continues to turn as normal, and the heating element even kicks on and seems to run as normal when it gets to that phase of the cycle. However, the water does not get pumped out at the end (I don't think, I am trying to leave it alone and let it run through a full cycle in normal time rather than jumping through it by turning timer knob, to see what it does regarding pumping water out at end of cycle when I don't touch it).

Thanks for any input,

Any ideas?

Post# 966195 , Reply# 5   11/5/2017 at 12:11 (323 days old) by coldspot66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

Possibly a timer problem? If you jiggle the timer knob while it is in a wash cycle, do you get any motor noise/startup? Also could be a selector switch. Pressing the buttons one at a time while in a wash cycle, is there any motor noise?

Post# 966196 , Reply# 6   11/5/2017 at 12:12 (323 days old) by JeepinJohn (Westminster, CA)        

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Also thank you for the link chachp. I had not reloaded the page prior to posting my follow up so did not see this listing. Will hope there may be a less expensive part than the motor, but am open to investing in one if that turns out to be the only likely culprit.

Regarding a loose wire between timer and motor, what is the best approach to troubleshoot that? As simple as pulling off the kickplate and bottom panel and check to make sure any wire connections are not loose, or should I be testing with a voltmeter somewhere?

Post# 966207 , Reply# 7   11/5/2017 at 13:35 (323 days old) by JeepinJohn (Westminster, CA)        

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Just realized that I described barcoboy's description of why I didn't hear it fill. Sorry, got multiple projects going this weekend and overlooked this. I apologize for reiterating what you had already described. Yes, it was already filled which is why I never heard it the first time. And yes, to answer your question, I do hear the drain valve opening when it goes through its cycle, but water does not drain out. Thank you for those insights!!!

Answering coldspot66:
When I jiggle the timer knob during wash cycle I heard a single loud click each time down at the bottom of the machine... I suspect this may be just the drain valve opening/closing between cycle phases.

When I push the different buttons during the cycle nothing happens, no sound of the motor trying to kick on.

Does that rule out the selector switch and the motor may still be the main culprit?

Post# 966234 , Reply# 8   11/5/2017 at 17:35 (323 days old) by barcoboy (Canada)        

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The loud click you are hearing from underneath is indeed the drain valve.

You would need to test to see if power is getting down to the motor, and test the motor windings for continuity.

If you take a look at the schematic diagram in the service manual, you will see that the motor is supplied power via three different paths from the timer: the main path via the light blue wire, through the pre-wash detergent dispenser via the purple wire, and through the wash detergent dispenser via the red/white wire. The timer routes power through each detergent dispenser for one interval at the right time, and the motor is used as a load to cause the bi-metals in the dispensers to heat and release the detergent doors. So if one of the detergent dispenser wires was broken, the motor would stop at the dispensing interval, but run the rest of the time. Also, if the main light blue wire was broken, the motor would still run for one interval when the timer routed it through the other two wires for each dispenser. The other side of the motor is connected to neutral via a white wire, so if a wire is broken, and the motor doesn't run at all through the entire cycle, it's probably this one.

Unfortunately, I think the motor is wired directly and can't be unplugged from the harness, so it makes testing it harder. If you have a multimeter with sharp tips on the probes, you might be able to pierce the insulation of each wire and test it for power, but if you aren't comfortable working with electricity, you should probably leave it to someone else to test.

First thing to do though is a visual inspection of the entire wiring hardness, especially near the motor and timer, to see if there are any wires that have broken.

Post# 966405 , Reply# 9   11/6/2017 at 13:30 (322 days old) by Stevet (palm coast florida)        
On the right track..

All the advice above should be considered in troubleshooting this problem. In your answers you ruled out the fill valve and the drain valve. As previously mentioned, the problem is quite likely to be a wire issue.

The Hobart engineers liked to Daisy chain the neutral wires from component to component and sometimes they would come loose and the wires would disconnect themselves.

Turn off the power to the machine and remove the bottom kick panel and the lower front panel and carefully check that all the white wires are connected where they should be. The motor neutral was sometimes connected to the neutral on on the drain valve with a piggy back connector and because of vibration, the wire could work itself loose and fall off. If that is the case, reconnect the neutrals and the motor should start working again.

If it doesn't then you will have to see if you are getting power to the motor. As advised, if you are not confident about working with live wiring, have someone who is capable, check it for you.

Regarding the motor that Ralph referred to, it is a brand new motor and seal and is built to the Hobart commercial motor standards and not the domestic version's standard. The list price for a new motor exceeds 4he price of a new machine. But that does often happen. The asking price is reasonable.

Post# 967144 , Reply# 10   11/10/2017 at 10:00 (318 days old) by JeepinJohn (Westminster, CA)        

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Thank you all. Will be trying your advice this weekend hopefully. I really appreciate the time and insights. Will post an update once I've tried the various recommendations.

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