Yesterday morning, while running around doing a bunch of housework, I started the dishwasher. Or so I thought, because I came back fifteen minutes later and it was off. I certainly believed that I could have messed it up, so I restarted it again. Came back into the kitchen another ten minutes later and it was off.
Turned it on again. I could hear the water go into the tub, and then hear a 'buzz' followed by a click. Five times in a row. And then the thing would kick over to a drain cycle and turn off. Damn. It's a new KitchenAid that I bought last year, so I was figuring it might still be under warranty. Found the receipt (a miracle in itself), and looked at the date. February of 2011. So it's a few months out of warranty. I immediately called their customer service number, and eventually was connected to schedule an appointment for service on Monday—which I figured out later would be bad because my wife's kennel club was doing their dog shows on Monday and Tuesday.
Back in the old days of appliance repair, you'd grab your manual. Maybe they'd have a crappy exploded parts list diagram. You'd then go and try to figure out how to get the thing disassembled to the point where you could tell what was going on, and then make an attempt to fix it. Maybe—if you were brave. For something like this, you were probably stuck with a service call.
But in this age, you have a friend. Google. Fired it up, put in 'KitchenAid won't start cycle' into the search box, and see what comes up. http://www.applianceblog.com looked like a promising area to start. Got onto the site, and found that my model (KUDS30IX) has a service bulletin out for a faulty control panel. Damn. But reading some of the advice on that forum posted by the moderators (who are appliance repair guys) led me to believe that it might be something else keeping the wash cycle from starting. They described the need to make sure the sump and chopper blade area was clean, and they referenced a great YouTube video (http://youtu.be/iRCCrEwrst8) about how to get to the sump and chopper motor and clean it out. I needed to go to the hardware store for a $5 T15 screwdriver, and then I was off with that screwdriver and the handy-dandy iPad to give the repair a shot.
Everything came apart easily, just like the video said. I wouldn't have ever figured out how to get to this area without that help. Got into the sump: toothpicks, a couple chunks of plastic, coffee beans, glass. And a bunch of food crap. These new high-efficiency dishwashers are good with energy, but they can be lousy with regards to cleaning, especially when things get gummed up. Got that cleaned, and got some chunks out of the chopper blade area too. Put everything back together (after giving a little extra cleaning love to the tub) and started the cycle.
Thanks go to the ApplianceBlog forum (they have a donate button, so if they help you out—donate!) and the HandyGuys Podcast.