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There is a solenoid in the detergent dispenser that opens at the appropriate time to let the door open and drop detergent. The solenoid might be faulty if the door spring appears alright. One option is to stop using the powder detergent and switch to tablets. One tablet like Finish diamond in the cutlery basket does wonders.
Not sure if you can buy the dispenser to replace.
Opening the door did not affect the latch on the dispenser. The catch does wear out and can be replaced. This involves disassembling the door and a small jigsaw puzzle of springs and levers. If you are attempting I would advise taking pictures to refer to before taking apart. Eric
An automatic dishwasher
detergent dispenser door can become stuck for a few different reasons.
Some problems are easy to fix, while some require more work. Repairs
are basically the same no matter what brand of automatic dishwasher you
have, although specific parts might be required. Fortunately, even if
the detergent dispenser needs to be replaced, the problem is not an
emergency. The dishwasher will clean dishes fine even with a stuck
Fixing a Stuck Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Dispenser
the basket that holds silverware as far from the detergent dispenser as
possible, or make sure no tall items are blocking the dispenser. Also,
keep other items such as plates and pans away from the dispenser.
Anything that winds up touching the dispenser during the wash cycle can
cause the dispenser door to stay closed. Run the dishwasher to see if
this solves the problem.
the front door panel according to your instruction manual, or find the
manufacturer's instructions online, which will probably be in a PDF
file. The panel is typically held on by 6 to 8 screws along the edge,
which you can see when the door is open. With most models, you won't
need to remove the screws at the bottom of the door, which are part of
the hinge assembly.
the detergent dispenser thoroughly from the inside of the dishwasher
and the exterior side as well. Accumulated detergent and other material
can interfere with the spring mechanism or halt the pivot action of the
door. Use very hot water and a micro-sized brush. You also can use a
mix of hot water and vinegar.
dispensers have a bimetallic strip or switch, attached by screws, which
triggers the door release. With the front door panel removed, locate
the switch, and push on it gently with a screwdriver until the
dispenser door opens. You might simply need to adjust the alignment of
a new switch if re-aligning the old one does not fix the problem.
Typically, these switches cost under $10. See Resources for a link to
different manufacturers where you can buy the part.
the two wires connected to the switch so you can correctly reconnect
them afterward, and then remove them from the terminals by holding the
slip-on connectors --- not the wires --- and pulling firmly. Use a pair
of needle-nosed pliers for a better grip. Then remove the switch from
the dispenser by removing the screws holding it in place. Connect the
wires to the terminals of the new switch, and attach the new switch to
the detergent dispenser. Replace the door panel.
the dishwasher again to see if the switch replacement has done the
trick. If not, decide whether to replace the entire dispenser according
to the manufacturer's instructions, or call a repair technician.
You need to open-up the door sections by removing the screws around the perimeter. This is not easy since it takes three hands to hold and disassemble. Please disconnect electric so you do not short any electric parts within the door shell.
The release mechanism may be no good for the soap dispensor tray, or you may find a corroded wire connection to the release. In many cases if the soap tray does not release (but closes) it can be a faulty signal from control panel,however you say the tray will not stay closed; this is most likely a faulty release/latch mechanism which you will see when you open the door shell sections.
Many models have star head screws and will need a star screwdriver (there are 4 or 5 sizes).
Good luck, MACGIVOR
The most common problem with the detergent doors on KitchenAid
dishwashers is that they either don't open during the cycle or open
only halfway. Before looking into more complicated repairs, make sure
that the door is able to open. Check the seal around the door and the
door latch for soap- and food-related gunk, and scrub it off if
present. Sometimes this can keep the detergent door from operating
properly. Consider switching detergents, as some liquids and
pouch-style dish detergents can gum up the detergent dispensers. Also,
make sure that there is nothing blocking the detergent door when the dishwasher
is loaded. Because of the location of the detergent door, a large item
such as a cookie sheet or a pan can prevent the door from opening. Run
the dishwasher through a cycle without anything placed in front of the
detergent dispenser and see if that solves the problem.
rely on an internal timer to complete the wash cycle properly. When
this timer malfunctions, certain steps in the wash process (such as the
release of soap from the detergent dispenser) can be interrupted. If
the dishwasher detergent door is either not opening or appears to be
opening late in the cycle, this is likely the mechanical culprit. A
broken timer isn't something that's simple to replace without knowledge
of dishwasher repair, so it's best to consult a professional if you
suspect that this is the problem.
Malfunctioning Door Components
For the detergent door to function properly, all of its mechanical
components must be in working order. Older dishwashers' detergent doors
rely on a spring-loaded hinge to pop all the way open when the timer
gives the signal. If the door doesn't swing all the way open instantly
when it's manually released, the spring may need to be replaced for the
dispenser to operate properly. If the particular model is newer and
does not rely on a spring to open the door, chances are it either uses
a wax motor or a bi-metal switch to release the detergent door at the
appropriate time. If either of these components is dying, that can mean
that the detergent dispenser will not operate properly.
it is a very tiny plastic "tooth" that let open automatically the door when the washing program selected reach the opening point, the only good solution I suggest is to add the detergent after the first hot wash (just open the main door and drop it in!)...of course the best is to change this door locker with a new one...good luck!
I have the same problem--mine is about 10 years old. To disassemble, looks like you will need to disassemble the complete door--screws around the inside edge of the door. At that price for a replacement dispenser, I will either try to fix or replace the blue arm, or replace the dishwasher. I don't believe its worth putting that kind of money in an old dishwasher.