Thread Number: 84259  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
What do I have here?? GE Portable Dishwasher, needs help!
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Post# 1086299   8/24/2020 at 11:40 (1,396 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

As the title suggests, I have no clue what I have or how old it is, I picked it up off of Facebook for $20. I do know I can't get it to run properly. I added a gallon of hot tap water before trying to run it, and after turning the motor by hand for quite awhile, it will start, but sounds like it's struggling and just doesn't sound healthy. I added a bit of cooking oil to the water hoping that would loosen the pump up but no luck.. What next?? I just picked it up for a cool project and to eventually use in the basement kitchen. Is this a motor that I can just let hum and whine till it decides to smooth out or am I going to burn it up? I've only been running it for maybe 5-10 seconds at a time and it seems to be getting pretty hot. Also need to source a faucet connector, if I can get the thing to run.

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Post# 1086301 , Reply# 1   8/24/2020 at 11:42 (1,396 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Very late 1960s early 1970s.

Post# 1086312 , Reply# 2   8/24/2020 at 12:34 (1,396 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I did get it to run, and although a bit noisy, it seems to do all functions (haven't been able to test the water inlet yet) but the pump works, detergent dispenser opens, heating element works, and the timer runs. When it's running sounds like a hurricane going on inside! No leaks either! Tub and racks are almost perfect, with only a minor rusty spot near the rinse aid dispenser. Pretty excited that I got it going!

Post# 1086313 , Reply# 3   8/24/2020 at 12:36 (1,396 days old) by Cam2s (Nebraska)        

You probably need to pull the motor and pump out. Check for clogs in the pump that would prevent it front turning. You maybe able to put some oil in the bearings in the motor to free it up. I would guess that this uses the same turbine pump/shaded pole motor that they used in the PermaTuf tub machines, in which case you could just swap it out for a whole new unit. I would advise not running the pump until you have diagnosed it, if thereís a clog or the bearings are dry running will make it worse and yes you could run the risk of burning out the windings.

Post# 1086320 , Reply# 4   8/24/2020 at 12:51 (1,396 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I can say for sure the pump isn't clogged- PLENTY of water flow inside now- dry bearings may be a possibility, though it wasn't totally seized and seems to be loosening up now. The ad said "was grandma's and used only for canning" and The seller told me she didn't remember the last time it was used, the sump was dry and looked like it had been used for storage as I vacuumed a half cup or so of what looked like flour out of the machine. There was a bit of brown, stanky water in one of the hoses that made an appearance as I unloaded it from the car though. Looks to be very, very low mileage.

Post# 1086329 , Reply# 5   8/24/2020 at 13:37 (1,396 days old) by Spacedogb (Lafayette, LA)        
Citric Acid

I recently got a Kitchen Aid dishwasher that would whine and sounded like the bearings. Hadnt been used in ages due to clogged inlet valve. My sump was white and crusty also. I filled the sump with hot water and added the Citric acid and left soak for a few hours. It looks like brand new and is now silent. So maybe you just have a lot of limescale build up like I did.

Post# 1086343 , Reply# 6   8/24/2020 at 14:56 (1,396 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I took the pump/motor out, disassembled the 2 parts and added some oil to the motor bearings.. SUCCESS! Runs fine and doesn't sound like it's about to die anymore- it does seem to be pretty noisy and whiny but it spins freely now anyway. Doesn't appear to have ever leaked a drop. What type of connector do I need for the faucet? It looks smaller than a standard one.

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Post# 1086344 , Reply# 7   8/24/2020 at 15:17 (1,396 days old) by chachp (North Little Rock, AR)        
If it's the smaller one...

chachp's profile picture


I think it's most likely this one.  I think there are only two sizes.  This one and the bigger one you see on machines like Kitchen Aid portables.  


Post# 1086357 , Reply# 8   8/24/2020 at 16:51 (1,396 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Dustin, you're just hearing a typical GE dishwasher from that era. And it moves a ton of water around!!!!

Post# 1086448 , Reply# 9   8/25/2020 at 06:55 (1,395 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

I ordered a coupling (not the one linked above but the same size) and I'm impatiently waiting for it. I can't believe how easy this thing was to work on- I want to say about 5 screws removed the motor and pump completely and it went back in as easy as it came out. Anxiously awaiting how it does with a load of dirty dishes! Does anyone have a cycle sequence for it? It has 4 cycle buttons (Power scrub, Normal wash, Short wash, and rinse and hold). I assume you're supposed to select the cycle, turn the knob to the corresponding number and latch the door. As far as the butcher block top, can I just sand it down and oil it like a standard butcher block? It's got a couple minor splits in it and some water staining, but overall decent shape.

Post# 1086459 , Reply# 10   8/25/2020 at 07:45 (1,395 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

In a cycle description I read some years ago, the Pot Smasher cycle extends the main wash into the first rinse to lengthen it. There was not a thermal hold, per se, just more minutes in the main wash on the timer.  I have been told it did a right good job of removing crud and crust, it's just getting the particles out of the machine where it falls down with one less rinse.

Post# 1086462 , Reply# 11   8/25/2020 at 08:07 (1,395 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Speaking of, I don't see any sort of temp sensor/thermostat- does the heating element stay on throughout the cycle or specific times? No heating options on the control panel for wash or dry, but there is a bit of limescale on the heating element which leads me to believe it does heat the water. I'm assuming it also does a heated dry since there is a "DRY" indication on the dial.

Post# 1086481 , Reply# 12   8/25/2020 at 10:06 (1,395 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Dustin, back then, heating elements ran throughout the wash & rinse cycles on many/most dishwashers.

Post# 1086643 , Reply# 13   8/26/2020 at 09:29 (1,394 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

In hard water areas you can get quite a mineral crust on the heating element when it runs during drain periods because it bakes on the mineral/detergent film left on the heating element when there is no water covering it, but most machines with a heating element used for water heating depended on the constant operation of the heating element during the drain periods to help heat the successive fills plus it saved wear and tear on the timer from having multiple heater on/off contacts with each water change.

Post# 1086645 , Reply# 14   8/26/2020 at 09:41 (1,394 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
DW water Heating Elements

combo52's profile picture

Nearly all DWs that heat water turned the element off when it was not either immersed in water or being splashed with water, including D&M, WP, KA, MT and later GEs after they learned their lesson.


John L.

Post# 1086648 , Reply# 15   8/26/2020 at 10:26 (1,394 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Couldn't have been too much hard water, the only mineral buildup anywhere is the heating element- I may remove that with some vinegar on paper towels but it doesn't seem to be causing any problems. I'm still in the learing process with this machine, it's likely almost double my age (27).

Post# 1087011 , Reply# 16   8/28/2020 at 18:49 (1,391 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

The connector came today, fits perfectly. First load worked beautifully, didn't leak a drop and everything came perfectly clean. No before pics but I did take a couple after. Normal wash, Cascade Complete liquid in the prewash and a Cascade Platinum pod in the main wash.

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Post# 1087022 , Reply# 17   8/28/2020 at 19:48 (1,391 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Congratulations Dustin. Glad it's working out so well for you. with it being a seemingly low use machine, hope it will last for quite a while. Don't forget about the little wash arm on the top of the tank showing down on the upper rack.

Post# 1087056 , Reply# 18   8/29/2020 at 02:12 (1,391 days old) by Cam2s (Nebraska)        

Glad you are enjoyed your potscrubber. They move a lot of water and wash very well.

Post# 1087071 , Reply# 19   8/29/2020 at 06:26 (1,391 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
Fun machine to have! I'm so happy for you!

Post# 1087106 , Reply# 20   8/29/2020 at 12:31 (1,391 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Yes it does have the arm above the top rack and it seems to be working well, no kibbles left on top of anything. It normally won't see a lot of use, I plan on moving it downstairs for overflow and backup. It's still upstairs so I'm going to wash a load of canning jars either this afternoon or tomorrow to be filled with tomatoes. It does seem like a fun machine to have with the quick cycles, hot water and hurricane force swooshing going on inside. The motor noise kind of detracts from it, but overall a nice, low, low mileage machine. I honestly wonder how many gallons of hot water this thing requires though, it doesn't seem to be a water miser by any means.

Post# 1087107 , Reply# 21   8/29/2020 at 12:34 (1,391 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
It's probably 12-16 gallons.

Post# 1087124 , Reply# 22   8/29/2020 at 13:41 (1,391 days old) by Cam2s (Nebraska)        

If the motor noise is a concern you should look at putting the newer PSC motor in it. Itís much quieter and more efficient, while still being able to generate a hurricane inside. It isnít that expensive to buy and is an easy swap. I put one in my Potscrubber III and I think it is about at the perfect sound level. You can enjoy the splashyness and drama of a vintage dishwasher but if you are entertaining or just want to watch TV after starting itís not intrusive. Power scrub cycle on mine is 13.5 gallons, normal is 10.3.

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