Monthly Archives: December 2003

Mailbag: “Repairing” a New Oven Thermostat

Peter L. wrote:

Oh wise Samurai Appliance Repair Man, I need your help to fix my oven and save my marriage?

I wish I still lived in Bradford, NH, in which case I could perhaps try to arrange an on-site visit, but I now live in Washington, DC.

Ah, the long version of my tale was too long, but suffice it to say the following. I had to replace the thermostat on my GE electric, self-cleaning range. I disassembled the new thermostat, thinking I might better be able to thread the capillary tube, but I realized that it was soldered internally so no go. Unfortunately, in the process, some parts came out and, since it now doesn’t work, I guess I didn’t know how to put them back. (Oven just heats and heats.)

Can you tell me how the internal elements go back together? It’s GE part # WB21X5320. I can provide more details by email, and the beer fund will grow! Thanks!

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

GE oven thermostat--Click for larger viewOh, feckless grasshopper, what folly hast thou wrought with thy pernicious meddling? Oven thermostats are lovingly assembled at the factory by specially-trained Chinese political prisoners under exacting conditions using intricate little parts. Thermostats should never be disassembled by the uninitiated…unless you just want to dissect it like a frog in biology class. Your only recourse at this point is to shell out another $160 to buy a new thermostat.

And let that be a lesson to you!

Recommended Reading: Oven Thermostat Repair Lab Report

Mailbag: Using Liquid Dishwasher Detergent in a Dishwasher

Jeff wrote:

Great websight in both looks and content. I’ve got one question about dishwashers. I’ve been using “CASCADE” liquid dishwashing detergent and have had the rotating disc over the resevour not opening sometimes during the entire washing sequence. I’ve just rinsed the washer with vinegar and it opened as it should during that cycle. Another websight noted to NEVER use a liquid dishwashing detergent. Do you agree that the granular type is the only one that should be used?
Thanks in advance. . .Jeff

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Absotootely! Liquid and gel detergents are a Bozo No-No in dishwashers because they just gunk up the works. Dishwashers have some delicate parts and the gel and liquid dishwasher detergents tend to gum up the works, especially around the soap door area. Avoid gels and liquids and stick with powdered dishwasher detergents. For best results, use this detergent.

Mailbag: Diagnosing Dishwasher Door Leaks

Tom wrote:

Nice website. I have about an 8 yr old Maytag dishwasher, Model # DWU8330AAX, that leaks at the bottom of the door. About a cup or more of water is collected in 7 plastic cups lined up under the door. Gaskets seem fine. Please help. I can’t afford a new dishwasher for a long time.


The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

Ahh, the mysterious dishwasher door leak. Yes, grasshopper, the Samurai has the information you seek in this Appliance Tip of the Day.

All hail Hirohito!

Appliance Tip of the Day: Diagnosing Dishwasher Door Leaks

appliance tip of the day archiveWhen diagnosing water leaking from you dishwasher door, you need to determine if the water is coming from inside the door liner, from underneath the door, or out the door gasket. Here a few things to check before pulling out your tool box.

  • Dishwasher Installation is Critical!
    The dishwasher has to be level, with all four legs firmly on the ground, and square. Check the level front to back and side to side. Level is especially critical if your dishwasher has a plastic tub because these can be warped by cruddy installation jobs.
  • Oversudsing
    Gawd, I can’t even count how many service calls I’ve been on leaking dishwashers only to find that the problem was either 1) using too much soap or 2) someone (usually hubby) put in liquid dishwashing soap instead of dishwashing detergent. In either case, the dishwasher will whip up more suds than an overcharged keg in a brewpub and you’ll end up with soapy water all over your floor.
  • Water Overfill
    The water level should come up to the bottom edge of the heating element. To check this, open the door after the dishwasher fills with water and starts spraying. If the dishwasher is not level front to back and is pitched forward, the water level will be above the heating element in front but below the element in back.
  • Door Alignment
    The door liner needs to be centered in the door gasket. If it ain’t…you guessed it, LEAK!
  • Door Gasket
    Cracks, tears, and shrinkage can all cause a door gasket to leak. Sometimes, on older dishwashers, the gasket can look ok, but the rubber has become age-hardened and so doesn’t make a good seal with the cabinet anymore. This is especially true with Kitchenaids.
  • Lid Latch Grommet
    This is the little gasket that seals the latch on the soap door. A common source of leaks with Maytag dishwashers is that this grommet will tear and cause leaks. Easy $2 fix.
  • Wash Arm
    Lots of times, plastic wash arms will split at the seams. This pushes high pressure water directly at the door and out through the gasket. To check the spray arm for splits, run the dishwasher to heat the arm then grab both ends and gently twist, looking for splits.
  • Front Tub Flange
    Sometimes the front tub flange on plastic basins can warp and pucker outward, causing leaks. Use a heat gun or warm up the plastic and bend it back into place.

Still confoosed, grasshopper? For more pearls of wisdom about your dishwasher, click here.

grasshoppers waiting to load the dishwasher after the master finishes stuffing his pie hole with flesh meats.