DIY Fix Your Maytag Dishwasher on the Cheap


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Introduction: DIY Fix Your Maytag Dishwasher on the Cheap


I used to love the Maytag brand.  My old dishwasher lasted more than 20 years when I replace it with a new one a year and half ago.  You can't be wrong choosing a Maytag, I thought.  But I was deadly wrong.

Last week my 1.5 year old Maytag dishwasher suddenly quit working.  The "Start" button won't respond, so is gone my confidence with Maytag.  I searched the internet and found many unhappy customers complaining the same: the touch buttons failed shortly after the warranty expired.  There are basically two options, one is to get the repairman here to fix it.  The chances are that he will just replace the control panel, as well as the control board with about $150 each.  Labor is probably another $150, which would easily totals to $450, about the same amount as a new dishwasher.  The other option is to simply buy a new one, and trash the old-new one - what a waste!  The premature failed dishwasher would be in the landfill, and polluting the environment, or used as scrap metal, wasting energy. Either way you are a loser, while the salesman will be laughing all his way to the bank.

I searched the web for DIY solutions, and learned to get the diagnostic manual from the bottom panel, and then found the root cause for the failure, and finally fixed it with very little cost.  Now my dishwasher is working again. Here is how I did it step by step.  Hope you can benefit from the instructions here.







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Step 1: Find Out What's Wrong With It.

It's easier said than done but with the diagnostic manual, it can be done.  I run two diagnostic tests which allowed me to conclude that the problem is not as serious as I initially thought.  First is to put the dishwasher in diagnostic mode. In my case it is to push the "normal->heated dry->normal->heated dry" in sequence rapidly.  The washer then resets itself and runs for a while although it never finishes.  It didn't solve the problem but it gave me a feel that it wasn't totally dead.  

Then another test is to separate the fault of the control panel from that of the control board.  This requires the control panel to be removed from the door following the instructions in the manual.  Make sure the power is turned off at the fuse box so you don't get an electric shock.  Then disconnect the cable from the control panel to the control board (a gray box about the size of 6x10 inches).  Then turn the power back on.  Once the door is closed, the dishwasher will start to drain with the motor running.  This would be an indication that the control board is functioning property.  I had doubts about this since the control board could still be bad even it passed this test, but that wasn't the case.  Well, I guess the control board is better built than the control panel.  In my case, the motor run which suggests the fault is at the control panel.  

The control panel is simply a piece of plastic with all the touch keys and a cable.  What can be wrong?  I carefully examined the control panel and didn't find any problem initially.  Then on the back of the cable, I found a small spot on some of the 14 wires on the Flat Plastic Cable (FPC).  It looked like part of the cable but actually it was rust!  After removing the rust, it reveals that the wire was broken at that spot for several wires, which explains why the "Start" button won't work.

I further tested the connectivity using a multimeter following the instructions in the diagnostic manual.  Sure enough the wires were open for several buttons, so the root cause of the problem was found.

Step 2: Fixing the FTC Cable Is Both Hard and Easy.

The FTC cable is part of the touch key panel so there is no way to just replace the cable.  What's worse is that the cable is paper-thin and you can see through it.  I initially tried to use solder iron and ended up with some holes.  So the old fashioned way of fixing broken wires doesn't work with the printed circuit on the FTC cable.  

After some research on the web, I found the wire glue which might work, but then had mixed review from users.  At the same time I found the "Rear window defrogger repair kit" by Permatex and I though that it would work.  I bought a kit from the local auto part store (advanceauto) and found a tiny bottle inside this big box.  It wasn't clear whether this would actually work on a flexible plastic cable.

I carefully scrapped off the rust at the broken wire on the FTC and exposed the copper layer which is paper-thin.  Then used a toothpick to apply the repair paste to make the wire connection.  Let it dry for a day and then measured the resistance.  It is about a ohm which is not too bad (not totally conductive).  After making all the connections for the broken wires, I followed the diagnostic manual to test the connectivity for the 14 pins using a digital multimeter in diode mode.  For example, in my case, the "Start" button uses pin 12 for positive and pin 4 for negative.  It shows about 670 ohms when the start button is pressed for connectivity because it has an internal diode.  Using this procedure, I tested all buttons.  

It's a good idea to also test for short circuit.  I actually had one in my first try because I had to use copper wire to make up for the burnt hole.  The thin copper wires actually caused a short between two pins.  As a result, I had to take it apart again to fix it.  It's better to test for short between adjacent pins before it is put back together.

Now the question is how to insulate it.  I thought about the liquid tape but that appears to be toxic which is not acceptable for dishwasher applications.  Then I found the Super 33 tape which appears to be good for this application.  I got a roll from Homedepot for about $5 and taped all the connections before putting the control panel back to the dishwasher door.

Finally, the magic moment came.  I push the start button and the dishwasher is back to life. 

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

8 People Made This Project!

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126 Discussions

0
cariewinter2
cariewinter2

Question 4 months ago on Step 2

I am having the exact same problem with my dishwasher. I went and got all of the supplies to do the repair, but I am unable to "peel" away the tape to get to the broken cable. Any advice?

0
Spring123
Spring123

Question 8 months ago on Step 2

How would I fix this particular control panel wiring? The wires are connected to a black "pin sort" connector. Photos attached.

image.jpegimage.jpegimage.jpeg
0
gmandxl
gmandxl

1 year ago

Thank you very much for your great advice!!!! I am 56 yr old Mom who was so desperate to fix my dishwashing machine and I followed your steps, although I could not find that liquid electric paint from any stores so I used my facial mask made of charcoal to patch the corroded area of the FTC cable and used my hair blow dryer to dry it faster. Then voila, it worked!!!!

IMG_2183.JPG
0
Spring123
Spring123

Reply 8 months ago

I need help with this particular control board, for my Maytag dishwasher. Photos attached. How would I fix this wiring?

image.jpegimage.jpegimage.jpeg
0
Practical Techonlogy
Practical Techonlogy

Reply 1 year ago

Wow! I am very impressed that you fixed the problem with charcoal. I just checked that charcoal has good conductivity so you are right it works. Smart lady, we are very pride of you!
By the way, it has been many years since I initially posted this instructables, and I am glad to say that my dishwasher still works with the original fix. Well, I fixed it a couple of more times with the front panel including the thermal fuse, so it is pretty much beat up. The motor is still running strong though. Cheers!

0
gmandxl
gmandxl

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks again!!!!!

0
CodeAnimal
CodeAnimal

Tip 1 year ago on Step 1

I have had this problem happen as well, and I believe the main cause is (other than shoddy design) having hard water. A repairman in our area sees it happen constantly, and as a fellow electronic repair person he told me to absolutely NOT use the steam option. Ridiculous, I know, to be told 'don't use the steam on your steam dishwasher'.

This latest time, however, it turned out NOT to be the corroded wires. I examined them closely and was not seeing any corrosion as I had before. Turns out I did not even need to open up the door.

This is something else you should check before even opening the dishwasher if you have the following symptom:

NO LIGHTS COMING ON AT ALL ON THE CONTROL PANEL

As the author says, the troubleshooting guide is hidden inside the bottom kick panel underneath the dishwasher.

The guide says that the control panel lights may stop working entirely if the memory in the control unit (the thing you plug the control panel into) may have corrupt memory and that you should turn off all of the power (flip the circuit breaker).

This fixed out problem, simply cycling the circuit breaker. Make sure to try that first before disassembling the door.


0
JoelK61
JoelK61

1 year ago on Step 3

My issue was within the main part of the button board. Or idization of overlapping traces produced a short. Your article encouraged me to keep trying until I found it.

Screenshot_2018-09-03-14-49-16.jpg
0
SuzanaP5
SuzanaP5

1 year ago

Just like magic!
Thanks you very much for share it!

My husband and I are renting a house and it has a Maytag dishwasher which seems to be an old model. One day it was perfectly working and on the next day didn`t start anymore. I could press the cycles buttons and see the green LEDs turning on, but when I pressed start or drain nothing happened.

I decided to search on the internet and I found this post. I didn`t find my manual on the internet so i tried to run the diagnostic test as explained pushing the "normal->heated dry->normal->heated dry" in sequence rapidly, which worked and I could see that the dishwasher was still alive, and yes, it took more than normal to complete the test.
After this we decided to open the control panel and we found the exact rust as mentioned.

We don`t have a multimeter so we decided just do it and believe it would works.

I scrapped off the rust, and of course I damaged the copper wire!

I tried to buy the conductive paint from Bare before start but I definitely could not find it on 3 different stores, so I stopped at the first Auto store and bought the Complete Rear Window Defrogger Repair Kit from Permatex which has the very small bottle.
I used the pencil that comes on the kit to link the trails again but sometimes the toothpick also helped, and this material is very easy to remove if you commit any mistake.
I let it dry for one hours under the fan and I could see it was totally dry.
We decided to assembly back before use the eletric paint (I bought the black liquid eletric paint at Lowes) to make sure we linked the cooper wires correctly.

And that is it! The dishwasher was perfectly running back! I didnt run a complete cycle because I`ll apply the liquid eletric paint today, but I tested all cycles and buttons and also the drain cycle. Everything is perfect and I only spent $23 dollars.

Complete Rear Window Defrogger Repair Kit from Permatex $16

Liquid Eletric paint $7

Attach is a picture of FTC drying after apply the conductive material.

dish.jpg
0
LittleBruno

Hello Everyone. This is a great site, and I thank all who have added their experiences about their repair experiences of the corroded ribbon cable on our Maytag dishwashers. My dishwasher suffered from this problem, however when I went to repair the control panel one of the plastic screw holes on the back of the panel snapped away from the main body of the panel. This left me with a very wonky panel. So I bought a brand new panel. My machine is up and running just fine. I do have a question for everyone here. How do we prevent this corrosion in the first place? What so you?

0
kenb158
kenb158

2 years ago

I have had our Maytag model # MDB7749AWW! since March 2011. I just opened up the control panel and found nothing wrong with my wires or ribbon conncection. All lights in the different cycles used to work but 'light' no longer does but after pressing 'heated dry' and then 'start', a light came on and it was starting. Then it began not to start with the light going off and not working at all. What might be wrong? I unplugged & reconnected the wires/connections that I could and turned power back on, hoping for a quick fix, but no luck. Suggestions?

0
AndreasP63
AndreasP63

2 years ago

Another grateful thank you by an owner of a 7 year old mdb4709awb1 where the buttons stopped working.

Without these instructions I would not have attempted the repair or even found the corrosion on the backside of the cable.

To my regret I had not read any of the comments because I had not discovered them.

But I had considered using conductive pen or paint but have an auto store much closer. The.defogger repair fluid worked fine (sofar).

I used the tips of the multimeter sondes to carefully remove the darkened metal and exposed a silvery substrate which seemed conductive only over very short distances. So I followed the original instructions and carefully painted in 'wires’. For me the brush from the repair kit worked better than a toothpick. It would have been a good idea to shape the tip of the brush with scissors.

For sealing I used white 100% bathroom silicone I had lying around. Let's see how it holds up.

IMG_20170622_190018899.jpgIMG_20170623_135508285.jpgIMG_20170623_120831203.jpgIMG_20170622_190145685_HDR.jpg
0
KennB5
KennB5

2 years ago

Where did you find the pin-outs for the control panel? I can't seem to find a diagnostic manual anywhere. It looks like I've got the same model pictured above.

Thanks!

0
tones8
tones8

2 years ago

What's a magic eraser? where to get one?

0
bethanyann1977
bethanyann1977

Reply 2 years ago

Mr Clean Magic Eraser, you can get it at grocery stores, walmart, target, just about anywhere

0
DianeT51
DianeT51

3 years ago

Thank you so much Evan L13 and thank your wife for me too. I am a 69 year old Young lady and did what you said step by step and it now works again. For you people who think it is too difficult it isn't it just takes time. By the way the magic eraser worked for me for some.... but I needed to use rubbing alcohol and qtips also. Thanks again you're great!

0
EvanL13
EvanL13

Reply 2 years ago

Fantastic! Glad to help. Rubbing alcohol is a great idea actually as it will help dry any remaining dampness from the cable before sealing it back up.

0
InstructThisGuys
InstructThisGuys

2 years ago

All I did was ground out all the pins on the ribbon cable of the touch panel by shorting the pins to the chassis momentarily. These probably all have floating point issues since there isn't any path to ground on any of the nodes while in their open state.

I'm guessing that the discoloration/corrosion of the wires in the ribbon are from electrolysis as the wires are remaining charged in their open state.

Remember to disconnect the power first!

0
Deanotexas
Deanotexas

2 years ago

Great advice it worked for me! Thanks to the author and all the people who posted their comments and pictures, it was very instructive. I had a Maytag MDB 7749 that was 3 years old. The buttons just stopped working reliably a month ago. I did notice that no buttons would work in the end but I could see two of the LED lights were lit very dimly, apparently some small amount of electricity may have been leaking over to those. Thanks again

0
jimahs
jimahs

2 years ago

This totally worked for me! My Maytag 8949 dishwasher started acting funny a few months ago. Noticed that it wasn't turning off after hours of running on auto-wash or normal...after some experimenting, we realized it would turn off at a normal time when running on Light mode. I figured there was something wrong with the control module, but this was a good temporary measure. Then this morning the unit wouldn't turn on. The Start and Cancel buttons didn't work. Found your post and figured I'd give it a try before purchasing the $150 replacement panel. Took some time, but the Magic Eraser was able to scrub down into the ribbon and eliminate the rust.

Only had to spend $7 for the liquid electric tape...didn't have green in stock, so I went with black ;)

Now trying a load of dishes in auto-wash - hoping to get everything back to normal.

Thank you!