Monthly Archives: February 2005

Mailbag: Kenmore Front-load Washer Stinks

kenmore front-loading wrote:

I have a Kenmore front-loading washer I purchased in 2001. About two months ago
we started noticing brown and black stains on the clothes. Upon further
inspection, the boot around the door was disgusting so I replaced it. Two loads later,
same issue, staining on the clothes that will not come out! I talked to another
technician and to some one at Proctor and Gamble (we use Tide He) and they both
said that there is a mold issue that lives around the outside tub. Problem
occurs because we don’t use enough hot water washes and/or bleach. This is both
true. We mostly use warm water and rarely use bleach. When we do use bleach we use
the color bleach. We tried using a hot wash with vinegar and also a hot wash
with bleach, both without clothes. Seemed to work but three weeks later we’ve got
the stains again! What is going on, Sensei? I have never seen this problem
before, ever. ?????

Message sent from IP:

Fun fact to know and tell: we’ve had this same washer (Gibson brand, same manufacturer, Frigidaire) for seven years and have never had a mold or smell problem of any kind. In fact, this washer has been trouble-free and we’re a family of five, running it every day, sometimes three times in a day. No problems. Zero, zip, nada. We also leave the door wide open between uses so the washer can dry out.

Now, learn some of the Samurai’s personal hygienic practices. I always use bleach on my skivvies (boxer shorts and white undershirts). It’s a habit left over from my Navy days. If you’re not bleaching your skivvies, you’re wearing poopie germs on all your clothes and you are a dirty man. Remind me never to shake your hand if I ever meet you.

Here, now, I present Samurai’s 14th Law of Appliance Repair: Nothing kills like chlorine.

Bleach: it’s what’s for dinner.

Whirlpool Announces Dishwasher Recall

Ok, now it’s Whirlpool’s turn for a recall…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announces the following recall in voluntary cooperation with the firm below.
Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of product: Whirlpool(r) and Kenmore(r) brand dishwashers

Units: About 162,000

Manufacturer: Whirlpool Corporation, of Benton Harbor, Mich.

Hazard: An electrical defect within the dishwashers’ wash motor wiring poses a risk of the motor overheating and possibly catching fire.

Incidents/Injuries: Whirlpool Corporation has received three reports of overheated wash motors. There are no reports of personal injury or property damage.

Description: The recalled products are Whirlpool(r) brand and Kenmore(r) brand (made by Whirlpool Corporation) under-the-counter, plastic tall tub dishwashers. The dishwashers come with black, white, biscuit, or stainless front panels. They have the following model and serial numbers located inside the tub on a tag near the left side of the door opening:

Brand: Whirlpool(r)

Product: Under-the-counter plastic tall tub dishwashers

Model Number Begins With: DU1, DUL, GU1, GU2, GU6

Serial Number Range: FR2200000 to FR2499999

Brand: Kenmore(r)

Product: Under-the-counter plastic tall tub dishwashers 665.143

Model Number Begins With: 665.160, 665.163, 665.170, 665.173

Serial Number Range: FR2200000 to FR4599999

Sold at: Department and appliance stores and through homebuilders nationwide from June 2004 through January 2005 for between $350 and $600.

Manufactured in: The dishwashers were manufactured in Findlay, Ohio, and the motors were manufactured in China.

Remedy: Consumers with one of these dishwashers should immediately stop using it, disconnect the electric supply by shutting off the fuse or circuit breaker controlling it, and inform all users of the dishwasher not to use it due to the risk of fire. Call Whirlpool Corporation to schedule a free, in-home repair. Please have the serial number and model number of the dishwasher available for the call. Please do not return
the dishwasher to the retailer where it was purchased, as retailers are not prepared to take them back. If you own a Whirlpool(r) brand and Kenmore(r) brand under-the-counter plastic tall tub dishwasher and have had service on your wash motor between August 2004 and January 2005,
please call Whirlpool Corporation to determine if your unit is included in this recall and to schedule a free, in-home inspection.

Consumer Contact: Call Whirlpool Corporation toll free at (866) 769-7260 anytime, or go to the firm’s Web site at

To learn more about your dishwasher, or to order parts, click here.

Appliance Repair Revelation, Dishwasher Leaves Dishes Dirty

appliance tip of the day archive

click here to see an interactive breakdown diagram of a dishwasher

So, your dishwasher is leaving gookus and slime all over your dishes? Or maybe it seems like it’s just not cleaning as good as it used to. Before you run off and buy a new dishwasher and go through the hassle and expense of having it installed (or installing it yourself), take a minute and read this article because the chances are pretty good that it’s a simple problem with an easy and inexpensive fix. I know, I know, I’m always telling you to read something. But, unfortunately, the written word is the most efficient medium for transmitting information on the internet. Ok, hang on for another episode of literary excellence in appliance repair.

Start with the simple checks listed below. Notice that the first item is to check the water fill level– this is the most common cause for poor cleaning in your dishwasher.

  • Check water level when the fill cycle has completed. Should be just under the heating element. If not, you may need to replace the water inlet valve.
  • Check the water temperature. Should be 125 to 140°F.
  • Check pump re-circulation. Listen: does it sound like it’s spraying the water around with enough pressure?
  • Check the spray arm and pump cover for splits or leaks.
  • Check to make sure dishwasher is draining after each cycle. There should only be a little water in the bottom of the tub.
  • Make sure the dishes are loaded properly, or dishwasher is not overloaded.
  • Possibly try a different detergent. Some liquid-gels will bubble and a pump cannot pump bubbles. Make sure the detergent is fresh.

To check your dishwasher fill level, start it up using the cycle you normally use. Listen to the sounds: the first sound will probably be the dishwasher doing an initial pumpout. Then that will stop and the dishwasher will start filling. Lots of times, you can hear the water running. Give it a minute or two to fill. When it’s done filling, the spray cycle will start. Open the door at this point and check the water level. There should be enough water in the tub to cover the bottom floor of the dishwasher. On many models, the water should just come up to the heating element. If there isn’t enough water, you will have cleaning problems, guaranteed.

The most common cause for insufficient water fill is the water inlet valve, like this one showen here. Replace it. Don’t freak out; this is a repair anyone can do with just a few basic tools. This repair rates two mugs on the SUDS-o-meter. And I have a folder full of email from people who considered themselves mechanically impaired who have successfully completed this and other much more difficult repairs with a little help from Hey, that’s what Samurai Appliance Repair Man is all about: helping you discover your inner Samurai.

Here’s how to replace your dishwasher’s water inlet valve:

1. Get your dishwasher’s model number and enter it here to find and order the exact water inlet valve you need. Water inlet valves have different flow rates so be sure to get the right one for your machine.

2. If your new valve comes with any instructions, read ’em! If you’re confused about something, ask me.

3. Turn off the water supply to the dishwasher. The shut off valve is usually under the kitchen sink or in the basement or crawlspace near the location of the dishwasher.

4. Remove the dishwasher’s kickplates. The kickplates are usually secured with two to four screws at the upper and lower corners. Several examples are shown in the dishwasher section of the Appliantology Group.

5. Locate the water inlet valve, usually near the front of the dishwasher. You’ll see two terminals on the valve with wires attached to them, a water supply line (usually copper tubing) from the house, and a rubber or plastic water feed tube going to the dishwasher.

6. Disconnect the water supply line from the valve by removing the brass compression nut holding it in place.

7. The water supply line is connected to a brass fitting on the valve, usually a 90 degree elbow fittting. Remove this fitting. If you can’t get it out of the valve, go to the hardware store and buy another one for $0.78.

8. Remove the screws holding the valve to the dishwasher frame.

9. Remove the wires from the valve by grasping the metal terminal with needle nose pliers and pulling, working it back and forth if you need to. Do not pull on the wires themselves because you could detach them from the terminals.

10. Remove the water feed tube from the valve. You’ll see a small hose clamp that you’ll remove with a pair of pliers.

11. Reinstall the old brass fitting for the water supply line onto the new valve. Use Teflon tape around the threads to make a water-tight connection.

12. Ok, now just install the new valve in the reverse order of the way you removed it.

13. Turn on the dishwasher water supply and check for leaks.

14. Reinstall the kickplates, turn on the power, and run the dishwasher.

15. Pop a cold one and give yourself a pat on the back. Good job!

If you do end up buying a new dishwasher, this installation kit will make the job easier.

Recommended reading:

grasshoppers sitting with the master doing a special gas conversion

To learn more about your dishwasher, or to order parts, click here.

Dying with Ecstasy

The theraputic effect of the drug ecstasy (MDMA) is in the news again. I posted previously about how ecstasy is being used to help Iraq War veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. The Bush Administration had no objections. Now, Harvard is researching the use of ecstasy to ease the anxiety of terminal cancer patients facing imminent death. But the Bush Administration objects to this research because it might “destigmatize a dangerous substance.” Hey, don’t blame me– I voted Libertarian.

Harvard researchers are preparing for the first time in three
decades to conduct human experiments using a psychedelic drug, a
study that would seek to harness the mind-altering effects of the
drug ecstasy to help ease the crushing psychic burdens faced by dying
cancer patients. In the experiment, 12 terminal cancer patients would
be given MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, to determine whether
the drug helps alleviate their anxiety. The experiment seeks to
establish a medical use for a drug whose abuse has been on the rise
among some young people, who use it recreationally for its euphoric
effects. A small but growing group of scientists contends the drug,
administered in a controlled medical setting, can improve mental and
emotional health. But critics, including some in the Bush
administration, said the experiment may destigmatize a dangerous
substance. [read more]

Remote Viewing that Thing in the Closet

Eric Wojcik wrote:

Just bought a house; have no idea what I’m doing; does that white thing in the closet heat water? What if it’s temperamental? How do I take control, oh Samurai Master?


Message sent from IP:

Since you didn’t include a photo of the item in question, I used a proprietary technology developed here at Samurai Labs International to remotely view the contents of your closet. We were able to capture this image. You appear to be in immediate danger; hop on your tricycle and evacuate now!

Samurai Labs International: blurring the line between dreams and reality.

Dell Hell

Has the once-venerable Dell slid into the slime pit or is this just another case of sour-grapes consumers using the lawsuit lottery to get rich quick?

Two Dell customers in California have sued the computer company in a
class action suit. The plaintiffs allege that Dell didn’t deliver the
systems promised, and the suit also names CIT Bank, which handles
credit agreements for Dell Financing, as well as Dell Financing
itself. One plaintiff alleges that a laptop advertised for $599 and
an $89 printer, cost her over $1,300. Another claims that Dell
supplied two PCs of an inferior specification to that ordered. One of
the two law firms representing the plaintiffs said it has
investigated over a hundred complaints since August. The suit cites
violation of two California state laws, the Consumer Legal Remedies
Act and the Unruh Act. Law firms Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman
& Robbins in San Diego, and Jeffrey Keller in San Francisco will
handle the litigation. Dell declined to comment. [read more]

How to Know that a Range ERC is Bad

F1 on a Magic Chef Range

Emily wrote:

Regarding the F1 Error Code on the Magic Chef Gas Range. I got this error
code, did my online research and found that it was either the touch membrane or the
ERC (I think in my case they cannot be disconnected from each other). I did
the test and based on the results, concluded that the ERC was bad. So I ordered
a $140 new ERC, installed it, and lo and behold — it wasn’t the ERC. I did
more reading and based on your message from Jeff about his F1 error code on his
Magic Chef, I decided to try the sensor ($40). It turned out to be the sensor
after all. I just wonder why all the tables that show error codes for Magic
Chef / Maytag gas ranges don’t say that F1 can also be due to a bad sensor. Is
there a way to give this feedback to Maytag so they will consider it and modify
their chart? I am out $140 extra because of this.



Message sent from IP:

Ahh, Grasshoppah, the arcane art of deciphering range error codes is one that has eluded even experienced Appliantologists. I have even heard rumors that appliance manufacturers have competitions amongst themselves to see who can come up with the most diverse and confusing array of range fault codes. But let me address one important point you raised in your plaintive plea for wisdom: replacing parts that turn out to be good.

In most cases, simple tests can be performed to positively show a part is bad. However, in the case of oven ERCs, this may not be so easy. Unless I have the actual tech sheet which definitively tells me what the error codes are, I must sometimes summon my awesome powers of deduction to discern whether or not the ERC is bad. In most cases, you can accomplish this by testing three things:

If those check out, then you can conclude the problem is either in the touchpad or the ERC board itself. In some cases, as in your range, the ERC and touchpad are a single unit; in other models, they can be replaced separately.

What’s that you say: all this sounds too complicated for you? There, there, my leetle Grasshopper, the Samurai has just what you need. Did you know that if you buy your appliance parts from my parts partner that you can return any part for any reason? Yes, and this includes electronic boards that you’ve already installed. Oui, Papa! So, go crazy and buy all the parts you think you’ll need and then simply return the ones you don’t for a refund. It gives a whole new justification for shotgun parts changing, don’t you think?

Gonzo Goes Bye-Bye

Regardless of whether or not you agreed with Hunter S. Thompson’s unique political opinions and diatribes, that old boy wrote some funny shi’ite! Later on, Gonzo, see you on the other side.

Hunter S. Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularized a new form of fictional journalism in books like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” fatally shot himself Sunday night at his Aspen-area home, his son said. He was 67.

Thompson is credited with pioneering New Journalism – or, as he dubbed it, “gonzo journalism” – in which the writer made himself an essential component of the story. Much of his earliest work appeared in Rolling Stone magazine.

An acute observer of the decadence and depravity in American life, Thompson also wrote such collections “Generation of Swine” and “Songs of the Doomed.” His first ever novel, “The Rum Diary,” written in 1959, was first published in 1998.

Thompson was a counterculture icon at the height of the Watergate era, and once said Richard Nixon represented “that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character.”

The writer’s compound in Woody Creek, not far from Aspen, was almost as legendary as Thompson. He prized peacocks and weapons; in 2000, he accidentally shot and slightly wounded his assistant, Deborah Fuller, trying to chase a bear off his property.

Born July 18, 1937, in Kentucky, Hunter Stocton Thompson served two years in the Air Force, where he was a newspaper sports editor. He later became a proud member of the National Rifle Association and almost was elected sheriff in Aspen in 1970 under the Freak Power Party banner. [read more]

Appliance Repair Revelation, Opening the Maytag Neptune Washer

appliance tip of the day archive

If you have the supreme misfortune of owning a Maytag Neptune washer, sooner or later you’re going to need to open the front to gain access to a couple of the more common fail items such as the door latch assembly, the tub boot, or the pump. Fortunately, this beast comes apart pretty easily… if you know the trick. Hey, this is appliance repair, it’s all about tricks. And the Samurai is here to reveal these tricks unto thee, for it is written, “And ye shall know the tricks, and the tricks shall save you a service call fee.”

I have some some cabinet disassembly information ratcheer.

Ok, tear ’em up, Hoss.

grasshoppers visualizing opening the Maytag Neptune washer without tearing it up

GE Announces Recall of Built-In Dishwashers

From our good friends at GE, bringing broken things to life:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announces the following recall in voluntary cooperation with the firm below.

Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of product: General Electric Built-in Dishwashers

Units: About 74,300

Manufacturer: GE Consumer & Industrial of Louisville, Ky.

Hazard: These dishwashers have a connector that can short-circuit and overheat during normal use, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: GE received 29 reports of connectors overheating, including one report of a fire that spread outside the dishwasher and caused minor property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The following models are included in this recall and were sold after January 20, 2004: GE dishwasher models GSD5500G, GSD5560G, GSD5800G, GSD5900G, GSD5960G, EDW3000G, and EDW3060G, with serial numbers with the first letter A through T and the second letter G, or the serial letters VF. The serial number is important as not all dishwashers with these model numbers are included in this recall. The model and serial number are located inside the door wall of the dishwasher.

Sold at: Appliance retail outlets and builder distributors nationwide from January 2004 through February 2005 for between $300 and $400.

Manufactured in: USA

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the dishwasher and contact GE to arrange for their dishwashers to be repaired free of charge.

Consumer Contact: Consumers should call GE at (800) 804-9802 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday to find out if their dishwasher is included in this recall, and to arrange for a free service call. For more information, consumers can log on to the GE Recall Information page at

Montana to The Beast: “Up Yours!”

Lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives collectively
thumbed their noses at the federal government Monday by approving two
bills exempting guns from federal regulations and driver’s licenses
from national standardization requirements. The bills by Reps. Diane
Rice, R-Harrison, and Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, do different things
but are driven by the same concern: the erosion of personal liberties
by the federal government. [read more]

This action by the Montana House sets a dangerous precedent. Just imagine what could happen if more states started acting unilaterally to nullify federal law. We could end up with a federal government bound and gagged by the terms of the Constitution! No more Department of Education to keep the masses uniformly dumbed-down, no more federal funding for masterpieces such as the crucifix dipped in urine. No more Income Tax; we just cannot have this– there’s just no telling what people would do if they’re allowed to keep more of their own money to spend as they see fit. Why, they might go buy guns, or something!

Love Hurts

Mary Kay Letourneau plans to marry her former sixth-grade pupil with
whom she had two children, months after her release from prison for
raping him, according to an online bridal registry. Letourneau, 43,
and Vili Fualaau, 22, set a wedding date of April 16, according to
their registry at a department store. Letourneau served 7 1/2 years
on a 1997 conviction for raping Fualaau. [read more]

I’m sure they’ll be absolutely blissful but I just wanted to ensure their continued happiness. So I channelled the spirit of Rumpus to reveal to me what lay in store for them. Rumpus showed me a newspaper article from three years in the future. Here it is:

Mary Kay Letourneau, 46, was found beaten to death on her living room carpet today. Vili Fualaau, 25, her husband, was found kneeling beside the puddle, covered in blood and gently rocking back and forth, holding a bloodied baseball bat. Fualaau was taken into custody and police report that he was unable to speak for several hours. Police report that Fualaau came to his senses enough to make a sworn statement:

“I was, like, rolling a big fatty when she started bitching at me again like she does. I’m not sure what happened next, ‘cuz, like, I saw myself beating her into a hairy, lumpy paste. Next thing I know, the police are taking me away. Like, wassup with that?”

Fualaau was Letourneau’s former sixth-grade pupil. The two began having sexual relations when he was 12 and she was 35. Letourneau served 7 1/2 years
on a 1997 conviction for raping Fualaau. The couple married after Letourneau completed serving her prison term.

Stranger in the Night

“An East Feliciana Parish woman fired a bullet into the chest of a man
who had broken into her farmhouse, then fought off his beating until
the man died from the gunshot wound. Georgia Belle Sullivan says she
was sleeping before dawn yesterday when her dogs’ barking woke her up.
She retrieved her gun, then saw a shadow move behind a line of chairs.
She told authorities that’s when a man lunged at her. She fired once
at close range … In the beating after the shooting, Sullivan
suffered bruises to her face and elsewhere, and lacerations on her
arms. Sullivan says the gun discharged several more times during the
struggle. She says when Sanford realized he was hit, he told her his
name, asked her not to shoot him again and he let her go.” [read more]

They didn’t say what kind of gun she used, but I can guaran-damn-tee you she wasn’t using a 12 ga. shotgun. I have always maintained that the venerable 12 ga. with 00 buck shot is THE best weapon for home defense.

the bamboo reveals all
12-Gauge Encounter

Nightime intruder.
Grab the 12 gauge. Chink-chink.
Boom! Lights out, mofo.

The End of the World: 2029

A giant asteroid the size of three football pitches will make the closest flyby of Earth in recorded history for an object of its size, scientists said yesterday.

It will pass between the Earth and the Moon and will even come closer than the orbit of many telecommunications satellites, although astronomers insisted that there was little chance of a collision with the massive rock. [read more]

But what if they’re wrong…

Iraqi Ecstasy

Ok, sign me up…

“American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are
to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and
recurring nightmares. The US food and drug administration has given
the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see
if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic
stress disorder.” [read more]