Monthly Archives: February 2004

Mailbag: Reconnecting the Wires to Dryer Thermostats

Clive Farrington wrote:

Cool website….I have a quick question, in the process of fixing my whirlpool drier. Does it matter which way round the wires go on the thermostats/temp sensors – there was one I’m not sure I hooked back up the right way round?

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For two-terminal thermostats, no. For three-terminal and four-terminal thermostats, yes. In these cases, use the wiring diagram to determine how the wires connect.

Samurai to Go!

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Mailbag: Asko Dishwasher Meltdown

Ann wrote:

I have a 6 yr old ASKO dishwasher. All the insulation melted down causing a flood. It now is so loud it sounds like a MACK Truck. They are giving me the runaround. Any advice or have you heard of similar problems.

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There’s a saying among us professional Appliantologists, “Asko? Oh, no!” Even the Samurai cringes when he gets a service call for an Asko. Their dishwashers are famous in the repairing community as electrical nightmares–their defining characteristic is spontaneous combustion.

Asko, Bosch…why do people buy these freakin’ furrin’ brands? Is it an image thang? Well, for that image you pay twice as much for a dishwasher that breaks down twice as often, takes twice as long to get parts for, and costs twice as much to repair.

I don’t know what part melted on your Asko-oh no dishwasher, but my recommendation would be the same no matter what it is: junk it and go buy a Whirlpool or Kitchenaid dishwasher. A really, really good and quiet one will run you about $500. If you want the stainless steel interior (though, I don’t see the point of this for a residential dishwasher) it’ll run you a few hundred more.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Mailbag: Non-Standard Dryer Vent

John Chisum wrote:

Hello, I am building a new house, the builder has put 3″ PVC VENT PIPE under the cement from landury room to the outside wall, now the inspector tells him that its supposed to be 4″ pipe, what I am asking is will the 3″ PVC VENT PIPE WORK(its installed under the cement floor. Are there any options so this will not have to be removed. and how do i hook up my dryer WHEN ITS A 4″ outlet out of the dryer. Thanks

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Holy Guacamole! There are so many things screwed up here I’m not sure where to begin: basic geometry, building codes, re-sale of your house, and plain ol’ common-friggin’-sense. Let’s start with the basics.

Come with me now on a journey back through time, all the way back to when you were just a devilish glint in yo daddy’s eye… Ok, not that far back, but let’s go back to 8th grade geometry class, you know, the one where you were too busy trying to look up Mrs. Soper’s dress to learn how to calculate the area of a circle. Anyway, Mrs. Soper was trying to tell you that to calculate the area of a circle, you multiply the constant PI (3.14) times the square of the radius, like ahso:

A = PI * R^2

Reducing the diameter from 4″ to 3″ (a 25% reduction in diameter, by the way) may not sound like much, but look at the equation for area again. Area varies with the square of the radius. This means little reductions in radius, make for big reductions in cross-sectional flow area. In your case, reducing the diameter from 4″ to 3″ reduces the cross sectional area from about 12.5 sq. in. to about 7 sq. in. So, a measly little 25% reduction in diameter really amounts to a 44% reduction in the cross sectional area. Do you think this will have an effect on your dryer venting efficiency, causing little annoyances like a 44% increase in drying time and a 44% increase in the cost of operating your dryer? Hmmm, there’s a brain tickler for ya. Well, hang with me, Hoss, ‘cuz we gittin’ to the good part.

Check out this table–it lists maximum dryer vent lengths for vents with varying numbers of turns and exhaust fittings for both rigid metal duct and flexible metal duct–all based on a standard 4″ diameter vent. Ok now, let’s take a ezzample. S’pose you have a common, 4″ rigid aluminum dryer vent that idiot builders with half their brains stuffed into Jim Beam bottles install every freakin’ day all across Ameedica. And let’s further suppose that the total length, including all turns, bends, and twists, is 20 feet, that you have three 90 degree elbows, and that the vent terminates in a standard 4″ vent hood. Referring again to the dryer vent length table, you’ll see that the maximum allowable vent length under these conditions is 18 feet–two feet shorter than our hypothetical vent, but probably close enough that the dryer will still work ok.

Now, just for grins, let’s pretend our vent duct is only 3″ diameter instead of 4″, all else remains the same. Ain’t no rocket science here, Hoss: just take the same answer we figgered out above and reduce it by 44%. In other words, where the allowable maximum length for our 4″ vent was 18 feet, if we reduce the vent diameter to 3″, our maximum allowable length is cut down to only 10 feet! With the total vent length at 20 feet, I can guaran-damn-tee you that you’re gonna be running clothes through the dryer at least twice before they get dry, longer as the vent ages and crap builds up in there, which a 3″ vent will do much more quickly. Can I hear a “Shazzayyam!”

Ok, enough higher math. Now tell me this dryer vent wasn’t your idea! If so, then you need to be taken out and thrashed brutally about the thighs and buttocks. What if the concrete settles and fractures part of the duct causing lint to build up at the fault point, you’re going to what…call Mr. Rooter for a ream job? Why not just build an external 4″ vent and then clean or replace every 5 to 10 years or so as needed?

Finally, what happens when you go to sell your house? If I were the home inspector and I saw that–and you better believe I’d look at something like a Jimmy Hoffa dryer vent reeeeal close–I’d tell the prospective buyer, my customer, to stipulate in the contract that the dryer vent be brought up to code. And then, since the house was built by Bozo-with-a-hammer, I’d start wondering what else wasn’t built to code and I’d go fishin’, documenting every little thing just to cover my sweet derriere.

You get my drift, home-boy? Awwite den, go fix that dryer vent.

Recommended Reading: The Ultimate Dryer Venting Guide

The Toll-free Appliance Repair Hotline

  • “Why isn’t my dryer drying?”
  • “Why isn’t my washer washing?”
  • “Why isn’t my micro waving?”
  • “Why is my refrigerator warm and my oven cold?”

Appliance problems gotcha scratching your head? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to actually talk to a Master Appliantologist and get answers to your appliance repair questions?

Once again, wantonly forsaking all the laws of sound economics, the Samurai demonstrates his utter contempt for anything even remotely resembling good bidness sense. Introducing the Toll-free Appliance Repair Hotline available here, and only here, at Fixitnow.com. Call toll-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week and leave me a message describing your appliance problem. I’ll call you back on my nickel and we’ll talk about your appliance problem. Many times, the information you need is already at my website and I can tell you where to find it. Sometimes, it’s a simple thing and I can explain how to fix it. Where else but Fixitnow.com can you find such an insane deal? Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

Mailbag: Oven Electronic Control Board is Broken and No Longer Available

Barbara wrote:

I have a GE oven, which, as you know, sucks ass. The control panel part needs to be replaced (the oven still works, but beeps incessantly if the power is on) I have just learned that GE no longer makes the part, so their only recommendation is that the oven must be replaced. The oven is 10 years old, so not new, but certainly not so old it should be replaced (and, as mentioned previously, it still works) One additional problem: GE has since changed all the sizes of their ovens, so no new oven will fit in the hole for the current oven. I am essentially stuck remodeling the entire kitchen if I cannot find this stinkin’ $100 part!!! I will never buy another GE again!! I haven’t had any luck finding the part – online parts sellers seem only to stock currently manufactured parts. Do you have any suggestions for anyplace to look for this thing. Thanks for reading, Barbara

P.S. The part number is WB7X7213. The oven is model JTP11WS2WG. Thanks!

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Oh, star-crossed Grasshopper, like so many other GE appliance owners, you have walked into the valley of the shadow of appliance death. The all-touchy, all-feely, all-smelly Samurai feels your pain and shares your erudite assessment of GE appliances.

The control panel itself is probably fine–what you really need is the electronic range control board, WB27X5482. But this is academic since it also is no longer available (NLA). Welcome to the forsaken world of orphaned appliances.

Wait! What’s that over there! A glimmer of hope? The Holy Grail? Perhaps. Here are three outfits that specialize in repairing oven timers and control boards and snatching older ranges from the jaws of NLA-hell:

One of those guys should be able to fix that board for you. Keep the faith and you’ll soon be baking cookies in your oven again.

Appliance Parts for All Brands and Models


Admiral

Airtemp

Amana

Aprilaire

Asko

Auto-Flo

Bemis

Bosch

Broan

Caloric

Climatrol

Crosley

Dacor

DCS

Duracraft

Edison

Estate

Fedders

FiveStar

Frigidaire

Garland

GE

Gibson

Goldstar

Hamilton

Hampton Bay

Hardwick

Hitachi

Holmes

Hotpoint

Humid-Aire

Insinkerator

JC Penney

Jenn Air

Kelvinator

Kenmore

Kitchen Aid

Klein

Litton

Lobb

Magic Chef

Marta

Marvel

Maytag

Modern Maid

Montgomery Wards

Norge

Panasonic

Quasar

RCA

Roper

Samsung

Sanyo

Scotsman

Sears

Sharp

Signature

Sinkmaster

Skuttle

Speed Queen

Sub-Zero

Sunray

Tappan

Thermadore

Toshiba

U-Line

Viking

Wards

Waste King

West Bend

Westinghouse

Whirlaway

Whirlpool

White-Westinghouse

Wolf

Mailbag: Whirlpool Dishwasher Detergent Door Won’t Open

michelle clark wrote:

Hello, Samuri…
 
Maybe you can help me with this one.  My Whirlpool dishwasher is only 3 years old, but the soap dispenser does not open.  I opened the unit up, and replaced the wax motor (part number 3374501).  I was quite proud of myself because it worked… the first time.  However, it did not work the second, third, ect.  Now, I am a little disappointed, but ready to try again.  I am an ex Navy ET, but don’t know a thing about dishwashers.  The model number is DU920PFGQ4.  I have a copy of the technician schematic, and there doesn’t seem to be any other problems with the dishwasher. 
 
Thanks for your time,
 
Shelly Clark

Check the simple stuff first: make sure your dishwasher racks aren’t interfering with the detergent door. This will happen if the rack is put in backwards or isn’t seated properly. Also, if the silverware rack has fallen off recently and you re-attached it, make sure you didn’t position it right in front of the detergent dispenser.

Ok, with the simple stuff out of the way, let’s get into the gory techie stuff. Start by checking the wax motors with your ohm meter, should get 600-1800 ohms. If you do, then the wax motors are good and the problem is that you’re losing voltage to them. Key components to check are the thermal cutoff (normally closed) and the electronic control. Easiest to do a live test and trace the voltage back until you find it. You’ll need the wiring diagram/tech sheet for this. The wiring diagram is either in the kickplate (on bottom) or in the control console but you can borrow my copy in case you can’t find yours–just be sure to return it!

Referring to the wiring diagram, if you measure 120v on P8 of the electronic control but it’s not making it out P9, then the electronic control is bad. Conversely, if you do measure 120v on P2-3 or P2-4 of the electronic control, then the electronic control is bad. The tech sheet also shows how to initiate the rapid advance service feature and diagnostic cycles. This can greatly facilitate troubleshooting by advancing the dishwasher to only run at the part of the cycle where the detergent door opens.

Mailbag: GE/Hotpoint Dryer (Old Style) Squeals

Mark Ratcliff wrote:

Hi Samurai!
Cool Website, dude! I found it by doing a search in AltaVista.
Right to my problem….
I own a GE electric dryer, model number DDE7100MCLWH. Yesterday when my wife was drying a load of clothes (3 small kids = tons of laundry!) the dryer starting making a real high-pitched squealing noise. Very annoying. I, in my infinite wisdom (lol), proceeded to turn it off and on several times, thinking that might fix it. Of course it didn’t – duh. The unit still works perfectly, in terms of it still goes thru its entire cycle, and still dries clothes perfectly. It just does all this with a blood-curdling high-pitched annoying whine and squeal. I’d like to fix this myself so as not to blow the family budget this month (and to quiet down my wife)! I navigated around your amazing website (tons of content, my head started spinning!), got sort of confused (is it the belt or pulley or roller? etc, etc), and decided to begin my Repair Quest with a personal email to You. Please advise and lead me from here, Oh Great Repair One.
Please email me at above address as soon as you can. It is greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Mark Ratcliff
Mountville, PA

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GE/Hotpoint Drum Rear Bearing and Post Kit
Figure 1
GE/Hotpoint Front Drum Glides
Figure 2
GE/Hotpoint Dryer Belt
Figure 3
GE/Hotpoint Dryer Repair Manual
Figure 4

Dryer Disassembly Link

SUDS Rating: Three Mugs

Mailbag: Dryer Console Hums when the Start Button is Pressed

Gary Showalter wrote:

Clothes dryer not working. KitchenAid Model KEYE665BWH1, serial MD3801078, stock EY665B, Electronic Drynesss Control, Extra Large Capacity/ Heavy Duty.
I do my own repairs on this “King of Clothes Dryers”, but this time I cannot figure it out. Just quit working while running. Not the circuit breaker, getting power, as when you push the start button (on any cycle) there is an engerizing humm from the timer dial unit and the start button. Front door trip switch appears to be working. I have opened it up and see no signs of anything failed that left evidence. I have inspected all wires, motor, etc. and all appears visually fine. This is where I am lost as I don’t know how to approach it with a tester in hand, etc. But I am a handy husband and follow orders very well. And if he can give me some pointers, you will sell me parts I am sure.
Gary Showalter

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Ahh, yes, the humming dryer console. I know it well. First thing to do is get a couple King of Beers to have handy while you work on your King of Dryers. This repair is not quite two mugs on the SUDS appliance repair rating system.

The problem lies in one of two components: the timer or the push-to-start relay. Best way to tell which is the culprit is to check the continuity of the push-to-start relay (or switch) using your ohm meter and the dryer’s wiring diagram. If you need more detailed instructions on how to check out the push-to-start relay, get the repair manual for this dryer.

If the push-to-start relay checks out ok, then replace the timer. You’ll be good to go, buddy-row!