Two years later after flawless operation, the problem has returned. This time I thought I'd document the repair procedure in case it's of use to anyone else.
First a caveat: don't try this unless you are comfortable with DIY repair and have at least a basic understanding of electrical safety. The instructions here worked for me, but may not be the "correct" way of doing things. If you do decide to proceed YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. Also, if there is any warrantee remaining on the appliance it may be voided by your attempt to repair. Feel free to add feedback below if you have any interesting information to add.
The tools you need for this are:
- Phillips head screwdriver (number 2), but you might get away with a flat head
- Torch (optional)
- Bucket (optional)
- Rag (optional)
- Brush and/or vacuum cleaner (optional)
- FDW60 manual (optional)
Empty any water remaining in the dishwasher. Remove the filters and drawers (
Before disconnecting the cold water in ensure that the water supply to the appliance is OFF. This is usually accomplished by means of a valve leaver near where the hose connects to the water supply. Leaver perpendicular to the pipe usually means OFF. Have a bucket and rag ready to catch any residual water in the hose.
Same applies to the grey water outlet hose. This water may have a foul oder -- so be prepared.
Ensure that the power cord and the two water hoses are free to move as you gently pull the appliance out.
Place some newspaper on the ground and have some rags on the ready. Stuff a rag in the drain well to absorb residual water. Gently lay the appliance on its side. Be prepared from some water to seap out. The bottom of the appliance is now exposed. Use a brush or vacuum cleaner to clean the bottom.
Double check that you have electrically disconnected the appliance (don't just rely on the appliance on/off button!). Best to physically disconnect the power cord from the wall socket. If you can't do this then trip the fuse associated with the appliance. Verify there is no power by switching the device on and ensure the power neon does not light.
The bottom panel can be removed by unscrewing 6 (Phillips Head Size 2, I think) screws marked by red arrows in photo. You may need to temporarly remove the front legs to access two of the front screws(just twist the leg until it comes out).
Most of the essential dishwasher components are now accessible. The drain pump can be removed by unscrewing one screw (see photo) and twisting the pump assembly.
The impeller should now be visible inside the pump chamber. Use a pen or screw driver to rotate the impeller a few revolutions. There will be some resistance due to the pump motor – that is normal.
Ensure that there are no foreign objects stuck in the chamber (use a torch to illuminate the chamber while rotating the impeller). In my case I found a pumpkin seed!
Reattach the pump assembly (be careful to ensure the o-ring seal is still there).
Replace the bottom panel. Bring the unit upright. Reconnect power and water hoses. Run a "Prewash" cycle to test.
That should be it!
Boot note: On my first attempt at reattaching the pump assembly I failed to engage all three posts of the bayonet twist lock mechanism (the one at the back which isn't easy seen had not engaged). This resulted in water leaking during my test which caused the float switch activate. This manifests itself as as flashing "Eco" LED and the drain pump runs continuously. Once the pump was attached properly everything ran smoothly.
Update (24 Jan 2011): I've added additional information about the this dishwasher's controller board in this blog post.
Update (7 Mar 2011): A Hotpoint technician told me that this can often be solved without removing/opening the unit by using something like a wire coat hanger to unstick the drain pump impeller. I've never tried this, so I can't comment on its effectiveness and it probably won't help if there is a foreign object lodged in there.
Update (25 May 2011): Impeller got stuck again today. This time I tried the coat hanger trick that was suggested to me by the Hotpoint technician. It worked! I had to do it twice... first time the pump started working, but it sounded rough and then jammed again. The second time it again sounded rough for a few seconds but recovered and seems to be fully back to normal now. There was probably a foreign object in the pump chamber that got expelled eventually. You need a wire coat hanger and make a right angle bend like this:
The horizontal part (running parallel to my measuring tape) goes into the drain hole. See photo of the underside of the dishwasher above to get an idea of what's going on. About 10cm - 11cm is what you need to reach the impeller. Then just wiggle it... all it takes is just the slightest movement of the impeller to unstick it. Of course if you have a large foreign object stuck in there this probably won't help – you'll need to disassemble the pump as described in the main part of this post.