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- > Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Help > The Kitchen Appliance Repair Forum > GE Nautilus dishwasher leaves sandy-looking gunk on dishes

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GE Nautilus dishwasher leaves sandy-looking gunk on dishes  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sun Mar 12th, 2006 02:58 am
   
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jshamlet
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I have a 5 year old GE Nautilus dishwasher that was built-in during construction of my condo. I looked for a model number, and despite pulling the machine out of the cabinet, was unable to find one. I did find this number on a blue and white sticker inside the door: 165D5450P004 - but that looks more like a part number than a model number. The units were bought wholesale by the builder - which usually means "builder grade"

Anyway, the machine has started leaving this gritty, almost sandy-looking gunk on everything. It doesn't *appear* to be related to the food that was on the dishes, either (which is disturbing). After about 20 loads like this, my wife demanded I look into it.

So, I checked all the obvious stuff. The drain grill at the bottom was unobstructed, and appeared fairly clean. The rubber hose/pipe at the bottom was black with "gunk", but was unobstructed. (I took the opportunity to clean all the parts thoroughly with soap and water before reassembling)

I did notice that the sprayer arm assembly was slightly broken. One of the clips that holds it down (and keeps it from flying off) was broken off - so there was only one clip left. However, I decided to go ahead and check everything else anyway.

I checked the intake hose & solenoid valve with no problem. The intake hose is bringing in clear, fresh water, and the solenoid valve for the water intake is fine, as is the float switch. The unit is definitely filling properly - I checked it by letting it go through a partial cycle empty, and opening the door. There was plenty of water in the bottom.

I also checked the solenoid valve for the drain, and it works fine as well. I manually engaged the drain (with the power off), and the movement was fine. I later powered the solenoid, and it was able to open the valve easily.

Before tackling the pump assembly, I checked the drain valve by running hot water through it. The drain hose was unobstructed, and the water went through just fine. In fact, it wasn't even terribly dirty to begin with.

After all that, I checked the pump assembly. The motor turned freely, and operated normally when the unit was powered. I also checked with the sprayer arm off, and it is DEFINITELY pumping some serious water. (it's about 5x as loud with all the water hitting the ceiling of the unit.)

Since it only involved three bolts, I removed the pump assembly, and checked the filter. There was a bit of string wrapped around the impeller shaft, but it was pretty minimal, and the pump shaft turned freely. I went ahead and disassembled the pump, and checked the impeller and rubber seal - both of which appeared fine. (I had hypothesized that maybe the impeller was grinding away at something, and that's what the grit was...)

So, just to be sure, I finished by checked the dishwasher timer and option switches, and they all ohmed out just fine. There doesn't appear to be anything electrically wrong with the dishwasher, and after disassembling the pump and intake/drain bits, nothing mechanically wrong either.

In fact, the only thing "wrong" I found was that one of the retaining clips that hold the sprayer arm was broken off - so that there was only one clip holding the sprayer arm down.

This was suspicious, as the underside of the arm was coated in the gunk that we have been finding on the dishes - but a quick examination showed that the holes weren't clogged. (I sprayed some water through it to check)

So, my new theory is that with only one clip, the pressure of the water is causing it to tilt to one side, and get stuck. On that theory, I ordered a new sprayer arm assembly.

I also noticed that this dishwasher didn't have a true macerator blade on the pump filter - using a bit of stiff wire instead. (these were "builder grade" appliances...) Since I managed to damage the tabs on the filter getting it off, I ordered a replacement impeller/filter/macerator kit as well.

The only other variable is that my wife uses Cascade liquid gel. I understand that some gels can occasionally cause problems, but a gritty residue? (and a dish soap DESIGNED for dishwashers?)

Any ideas on what could be causing the grit?

Also, does anyone have an exploded view of how to reassemble the impeller filter assembly? I forgot to note how the metal ring and the plastic ring fit in. (I tried every possible combination until I found one that didn't result in loud noises or the pump motor failing to turn - so I assume it's right, but I'd like to check)

Thanks!

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 Posted: Tue Mar 14th, 2006 05:44 am
   
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Samurai Appliance Repair Man
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Joined: Mon Mar 21st, 2005
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Liquid-based detergents are a no-no in dishwashers:

http://fixitnow.com/2003/12/mailbag-using-liquid-dishwasher.htm

Some other common causes for dishwashers to leave grit and gookus:

http://fixitnow.com/2005/02/appliance-repair-revelation-dishwasher.htm



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 Posted: Fri Mar 17th, 2006 05:30 pm
   
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jshamlet
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Looks like you were right about the dish detergent. The replacement parts come in, and I ran the machine empty - with a single class to capture any grime. I was pretty sure there wouldn't be much, because I hand cleaned every component that came near water. The thing was spotless on the inside.

The load ran fine, and the glass was full of mostly clear water. I chalked that up to residue from the dish soap I used to clean the plastic parts, and ran it again. The next time, the glass is full of hot, clear water. Finally, I think - the gunk is gone.

My wife runs another load of real dishes through the machine, and the gunk is back. So, it looks like we are going to be tossing the gel. Who would've thought?

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 Posted: Fri Mar 24th, 2006 06:53 am
   
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Mike the dawg
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Also don't place glasses over the tines,the tines interfere with water flow. dishes with narrow openings, like baby bottles, don't allow for good wash and rinse action. If a dish in a certain spot almost always attracts grit put a different shaped dish in that spot. Always use a high quilty detergent, some cheap stuff dosen't always dissolve good. Don't store your detergent under the sink(like most people do) -too humid,can destroy the active ingredients (in granular detergent).  Measure water hardness, to determine proper amount of detergent to use(usually 1 TEASPOON for every grain of water hardness) Somewhere in Samurai's links and this stuff lies your answer.

                               See ya, Mike the dawg

 

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 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 04:07 am
   
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MichEE
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Thanks for the post gang. I'll try this FIRST before I geting the rest of the replacement parts.

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