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The broken dishwasher

Oh great.

The other day while opening the dishwasher, a “sproing” sound was heard, and now the door’s springy thing doesn’t work — that is, once open, it just drops down to horizontal with gravity, rather than a gentle drop or springing back towards closed like it was before. And it triggered an F1 alarm, which according to the manual is the Flood switch being triggered.

But does that affect the actual washing? Perhaps yes. On the first go, the F1 error triggered again, about halfway through. It used to do that with a U1 alarm. Then, as now, I’ve been able to run a couple of rinse cycles to get things finished, but it’s not as good, of course.

This is a Fisher and Paykel Nautilus DW920. It’s not clear to me how old it is, as I inherited it with the house in 2005. The manual says it’s from 2004, but it’s not clear if the unit is that old, or if that’s just when the manual was last revised — comments on the ProductReview site suggest this model goes back to around 2000.

It does appear that new springs (non-genuine) are available on eBay for about $15. Thanks to the interwebs, others have managed to replace the springs themselves. No doubt I’ll pay through the nose if I get a repairman out to do it.

Given recent experience with the fridge and the washing machine (and even the old car) — paying a bunch to find out something wasn’t worth repairing — I wonder if instead I should be thinking about replacing it altogether.

In the meantime, I hope this doesn’t mean I need to do the dishes myself.

Update lunchtime. Rae and Roger left comments about fixing it myself, which I’d agree with, but I just don’t have the time. I rang F+P this morning; someone will be out today (handy as I’m at home unwell, with two sick kids too). It’ll cost me $121 plus parts, which is expensive, sure, but it’ll be done quickly with no mucking about.

Update 2pm. The repairman came and went. $154.10 for his presence and expertise, 3 x washer spray arm bearings, 1 x door spring. Ah well.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “The broken dishwasher”

We have the same dishwasher that was in the house when we moved in (in 1993). It stopped working 5 years ago. We called a repairer who said that it was only a fuse that had blown. Simple to replace.
That cost $150.
So if you can diagnose the problem and replace the part yourself – go for it!

I’m with Roger – get the part and give it a go yourself. If it turns out too difficult, see if a friend can help. And then if that doesn’t work out, you may as well go a brand spanker, depending on the replacement cost. You can then freecycle the old one and it might be good for parts or whatever.

Good luck replacing the spring, probably isn’t a major issue.
On the other hand…the only dishwasher in this joint are everyone’s two hands *snort* ;)

We had this very same dishwasher. Bought it in, yes you guessed it, 2000.

Flood indicators all the time. During the warranty period (I think it was three years) we had them out at least three or four times.

The dish trays used to slide in and out very stiffly and with great difficulty.

About 5 years in, the module that contains all the electronics died… we bought a reconditioned one and installed it ourselves.

Other annoying things broke on it like the door catch, various other things, and the damn flood indicator never really went away. Finally it died completely and we were incredibly happy to get rid of the thing. We now have a Bosch which is so much better it’s unbelievable.

Re the reviews, here’s mine from the height of our problems with it. We got rid of it about a year after this.

As you say, it all takes time to do it yourself and it can be quite stressful. I used to do many things myself but it is so much easier to just pay. Your cost is close to what I would expect but I have never heard of the arm spray bearings.

@mikeys, yeah I’m not sure I’d buy a F+P if it was my choice.

@Andrew, yeah there are cases like this where I know I’m paying more than necessary, but I’m happy to do so because I don’t have the expertise, and it would take me ages to diagnose the exact problem, get organised, buy the parts, etc.

In this case, he said there was an issue with the arm spray thingy, so it wasn’t as simple as just doing the door spring. I wouldn’t have known that.

I wonder what you think is a reasonable fee. They come to your house, they have been trained in the repair of dishwashers and from what you wrote they are charging $121 for whatever time it takes – plus the parts.

Sounds pretty fair to me.

Typically Or rather generally it is either the spring or the cable. Either is a simple fix for the mechanically inclined. You have to pull the washer to get to it. again rather simple. Look at the part install manual I am convinced an afternoon will either put it right or put it replaced without a service call expense.
Good luck

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