Dishwasher repair trials and tribulations

In case yours breaks and you want to go down the DIY repair route - this is what I went through…

Our Miele, getting on a for years old now wasn’t draining properly and has some dirty water in the bottom after a wash.
After a quick check, I knew I needed a new non-return valve and after inspection, I saw that the the rubber gasket had deformed.
You can’t buy the simple rubber gasket separately from the ball and housing which make up the valve so I ordered a new valve from Miele for 70CHF.
Whilst waiting for the new one, and still using the machine, it’s internal flood alarm went off.
This is activated by a micro-switch attached to a polystyrene float which triggers when a couple of mm of water enters the base of the machine.
I though this was connected to the non-return valve problem so switched off the machine until that was delivered.
After delivery and fitting, the machine drained properly and I breathed a sigh of relief - that was a cheap repair.
A couple of days later, the flood alarm went off again! There were obviously two problems.
This is when you decide whether to get Miele in for a few hundred CHFs excluding parts or you have a go yourself.
I decided, after looking at reviews, that if the machine was going to be replaced, I’d get a Siemens as there doesn’t seem to be much difference in washing ability and a Siemens was only a few hundred.
I found the leak after taking the machine to bits, repaired a solenoid and it’s leaking O ring* and put it back together again.
You have to put it on its side to get at the bits and some water inevitably must have dripped somewhere as although the machine turned on again, when I started a program, there was a loud bang, a bit of smoke and nothing more.
This is when I discovered that the mains socket (3 phase), not only had burned and corroded pins (not connected with this problem as this was clearly old), but the earth wire was not connected!
There’s no RCD on this circuit either.
I replaced the mains socket with a new one and then had to strip down the dishwasher further to take the circuit board out (took photos of the ten or so connectors to it before unplugging) and repair the burnt off tracks and connecting via on the board (there’s no internal fuse in the dishwasher so if something shorts, it wrecks the PCB).
I put it all back together and it worked - but still leaked - from somewhere else this time.
I took it apart again and found a second, hidden solenoid so fixed this (and the third and final one for luck).
I put it all back together again, ran a few test programs and now have a working dishwasher again.
This was a few weeks ago and it’s been fine since then.
The solenoids are around 250 CHF each from Miele and excluding the PCB, but including call-out and labour fees would have easily been more than the cost of a new machine - at least 1200 CHF.

Incidentally we had a pretty similar model replaced in our old place after a much more serious leak. Now I know I could have repaired it myself for a few CHFs rather than taking the advice of the Miele technician who said we needed a new one.

Water and electricity don’t mix (especially without a protective RCD) so if you have a go yourself, be careful.

*I de-calked the solenoid armature and checked the spring function and armature action were smooth. Although having boxes of assorted O-rings, I didn’t have any of the correct internal, and external diameter so I wrapped PTFE tape around the O-ring and it made a really tight seal (I found this idea on Youtube).
I can get the correct O-rings in the UK but didn’t want to spend 25 CHF on postage to get them delivered here and discover there was even more wrong with the dishwasher).

2 Likes

I’ve successfully repaired the non-return valve housing with a glue gun before now, but yeah, they’re definitely a point of failure. At one point had 3 Miele’s in different places, now we got rid of the one that was in our kitchen here, which was still working perfectly, and I salvaged some of the parts to use as spares. Would have done more, except the one in one of our appts is only 45cm wide, the one in the French house is single phase, with no 2- or 3-phase connection available. So it was off down to the dechetterie.

I admire your tenacity, had a similar run of repairs on our washing machine recently, a Hoover, bought from Digitec about three years ago. At one point I called in the professionals, only to find that they would not touch it, not a brand supported by any of the places I could find. Digitec themselves only offered a ‘bring it in and we’ll have a look at it’ service. Grrrr.

That particular repair turned out to be a sock that had somehow got past the drum seal and jammed up the water inlet area. Of course, I should have realised at the time that this meant the drum seal was not properly seated, didn’t find (and fix) that one until several weeks later.

Most recent one was the drain filter/cap that you need to remove to get rid of anything caught in the outlet pump area. Had become increasingly difficult to get back in place, in fact I realise now I’ve replaced it that it was never really seating properly, the new one being so much easier than the old one ever was.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will now continue functioning properly, despite there still being something rattling around between the inner and outer drums :-o

2 Likes

I decided I had nothing to lose.

As for washing machines, I replaced a motor in an Electrolux with one from a broken V-Zug which I hadn’t got round to taking to the recycling.
Our (a Siemens) gave a drain pump warning which sounded expensive but was a handful of 5 rap pieces stuck in the drain pump impellor that must have been deep in the pockets of one of my kids’ jeans.

One thing I have learned is that a a major part in any future decision in buying appliances will be availability and price of spares.
Siemens/Bosch/Gaggenau are good in this respect.
V-Zug are good for user-replacable parts are they are just up the road so I can order online and pick up.
Miele are so expensive!

2 Likes

Getting spares for Hoover/Candy/Whatever other brand names they go by is not actually a problem, they’re very common in France, and cheap enough at under 10 Euros for the broken drum paddle(s) replacement and about the same for the filter/plug.

But having bought a huge capacity (13kg) machine for nearly a grand I was very disappointed to find that barring a home repair I would effectively be left with no option other that to scrap it and start again.

Oh, and given that it’s down in the unheated garage, why is it always in the middle of winter that it breaks down?

1 Like

I am hugely impressed!

Would it be rude to derail the thread slightly, given that names have been mentioned, and ask for any more nuggets re brands, types etc. in Switzerland? We’ve just bought (the renovation works will be another story) and move in in June. We need new washing machine and possibly tumble dryer, although as we rarely use one that might wait, and I shall be testing V-Zug’s ability to provide spare parts by asking about 25-year-old dishwashers. Like Tom1234, we are down the road from them so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. When we renovate, however, I shall be looking at a new dishwasher as well.
Thanks!

We had a 3 year old Miele. It broke down. The engineer insisted it was our fault and so not under warranty. 500 francs to repair.

So I bought a dishwasher for 600 francs from Galaxus. It started leeking. After a bit of too and froing, the manufacturer decided that it wasn’t worth fixing and we were refunded the money. I asked a friend who used to be a plumber to take a look at it. He fitted a new non-return valve and it’s been working ever since.

And no - I won’t buy Miele again.

2 Likes