Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hotpoint Aquarius FDW60 dishwasher drain pump repair

A few years ago our 2004 Hotpoint dishwasher (Aquarius FDW60) started failing in mid cycle with a flashing "Eco" and "Fast" LED. The underlying cause was that the grey water drain pump wasn't pumping. There was precious little information about reparing the device on the internet. Faced with a repair bill of at least €140 we were close dumping and replacing it. I figured there was nothing to lose by investigating the problem myself and after a little puzzling over the layout of the various inards of the device I eventually located the drain pump, disconnect it, manually rotated the impeller a few times with a srewdriver, reconnected it... and sure enough everything was back to normal.

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 (the top drawer requires that you to remove a plastic stopper at the end of the drawer rail). Use a rag to mop up any remaining water in the drain well. Switch of the unit and remove power at the wall socket or fuse.

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.


Unknown said...

Joe you are a star thanks very much for putting up a easy to follow instructions. I came home from work to find a very unhappy wife and dirty dishes in the sink.
So with an out of date warranty and I knowing it had something to do with the drain pump, and not to mention the call out charge plus parts and labour and vat, I decided to have a look on internet to see if anyone had the same symtoms as me and i found your site and was exactly what i needed to know about getting to the pump impeller. so job done money still in my pocket and lots of credit with the wife. thanks again.

cogito928 said...

I'm so pleased with this info working dishwasher again !!!!!thankyou thank you thank you

Liam said...

Tks Joe. You saved me a nice few quid. A few lemon seeds in the impeller was the reason it stopped. Tks again. Liam Dublin Ireland.

mred77 said...

Great stuff Joe,you have saved the day! saved me from buying a new dishwasher,thank god for the internet!

EPL Talker said...

Hi Joe

Tried this a few months ago and it worked, fantastic.

Got the same problem today, but found a large plastic part lose in the machine.

It's 10cm long by 3.5 cm at its widest.

one side is mainly flat the other has a curve.

any ideas?

Cheers Geadja

Joe Desbonnet said...

@EPL Talker:
Do you have a digital camera or camera phone which you can use to photo it?

dovim said...

hi Guys
I have a hotpoint FWD60, the bottom spray arm is not rotating. Pressure of water is fine. Cannot find any visable blockages which could cause this. Any suggests would be great.

Joe Desbonnet said...

@dovim: When you say water pressure: do you mean the pressure at the appliance inlet? or at the waster arm itself? I assume it's the former.

When the dishwasher is in "half load" mode I think the bottom arm is disabled (by a electrically actuated valve). Maybe that valve has failed for some reason.

dovim said...

Thanks for getting back, I checked the water pressure at the machine inlet, That was fine, I will check on the main pump to see if I can find an actuated valve.
Thnaks for the quick response.

Ken Grayling said...

Thanks a million - was about to give up on locating a leak - your clear pics/instructions give me the confidence to investigate further.

Unknown said...

Excuse me,
I need high resolution picture from bottom. The same like in this thread. Thanks! I hope i will solve my error and improve english. Then i can help too :). vikigo1@azet.sk

Mouse said...

Cheers Joe that was a great help, our culprit was a small portion of kebab skewer. Very simple instructions, saved us a few quid aswell.


Milliscent Morgan said...

This is such a great post but supposedly I'm looking for a post about dishwasher repair Edmonton ab.

slim P.I. said...

I have issue with top arm not rotating. I can see that there is a ball stopper in the inlet to stop leaks between the high/low position but it seems ok. It seems that the arm get water to it but it does not spin? Is it the same pump for both top and bottom arms? The arm is perfectly free to rotate? Any ideas?

slim P.I. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Desbonnet said...

Could be that the arm isn't getting enough water pressure to spin. From what I can recall there is just one pump but there is a valve to disable one of the arms (I think the top one) for "mini loads". It's possible that valve might be stuck or the pump can't produce enough pressure. Just wild guesses I'm afraid.

Unknown said...

Just a quick THANK YOU !! The coat hanger method worked for me. We are very thankful. Regards, Carl

Unknown said...

Hi, I have the same fault code. I have taken the drain pump off and put power to it and it is working ok.
I am presuming that it must be an electronic problem. Any ideas that I can try would be appreciated.

Joe Desbonnet said...

Was it draining waste water successfully? I think you can test by pouring in water and seeing if it's sucked out. If that's the case I wonder is there a sensor that detects the presence of water in the washing chamber... maybe that's faulty.

Unknown said...

No. The drain water isn't pumping away. But it isn't blocked because if I drop the drain pipe to floor level it just flows out when it's switched off. I wonder if the pump is getting power but it is not possible to test when running as the access is through the bottom. If its laid on its side I don't think the cycle will start, plus water will flow out wont it?

Unknown said...

No, doesn't drain away but if I hold the drain hose at floor level it all runs out even switched off.
Can't really test to see if the pump is getting voltage because access is from the bottom & can't switch it on to do a cycle when it's laid on its side.

Dadoodle said...

Hi, I have tried all of your tips, firstly they are great, easy to follow for anyone. But secondly my machine still doesn't work in the sense that the water isn't draining at all. Is this just a case of needed a new filter pump? As I don't want to spend money on a pro if I can sort it. Water rushes into washing machine on prewash as usual etc but no water comes through the waste pipe, thanks.

Urban Spaceman said...

Great tip Joe. I had the same problem of ECO 45 and Fast 40 lights flashing and dishwasher full of water. After searching online for cheapest repairers to call out I found your blog. Tried the wire coat hanger trick and it worked a treat. I ran the prewash cycle twice and all the water drained out each time.

Many thanks as this has saved me a repair cost

FIONA said...


Can anyone explain in a bit more detail how you fix this error with the coat hanger. Are you feeding this down the plug hole at the bottom of the dishwasher.


FIONA said...


I am in the process of takiing my machine apart as I read this post with interest . I too am having the issue of water collecting in the bottom and flashing eco light. Can someone explain this thing with the wire are you feeding this down the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher. thanks

ice-man said...

thanks mate i had the same problems with the main pump removed the bottom plate pulled the pipe off the main pump where it comes from the center used a screwdriver to turn the impeller a few times now sorted got the wife off my back thanks again mate

PJC said...

Great posting Joe with some of the clearest instructions I have seen - About to strip machine down to get to pump then saw the helpful tip at the end with a coat hanger wire. 2 minutes and I was back in business. Now the weekend is not going to be taken up with shopping for a replacement dishwasher.

Unknown said...

have a hotpoint dishwasher wont pump out the water ,hear and see plunger /solanoid go down hear pump /motor running can also see this ,no blocked drain line will empty on floor ,ran air from compresser in drain line untill water left in washer was bubbling,stil wont empty can turn blade in sump by hand no resistance is this ok ? .

Joe Desbonnet said...

Tim, you say you hear the pump motor running... I wonder is there any way you can verify that the pump impeller rotating? Speculating that maybe the impeller is no longer attached to the motor shaft (?). Unfortunately I don't know enough about the construction of these things to make any real educated guess as to the failure mode.

Unknown said...

Joe, could you post a close up photo of the float switch. Wife has pulled connector off & it's not keyed so I have no way of knowing which way to reattach

Poppy said...

Hi Thank you very much for your advice, using the coat hanger to unblock the impeller worked a treat. One comment: there are two openings at the bottom of the drain hole, one sideways hole slightly above another hole right at the bottom - we tried both. Anyway it worked and we are very grateful you took the time to do this blog.

sarah said...

Hi have a Hotpoint FDW60G no flashing lights,taking longer to wash drains & heats perfectly sometimes the drying light doesn't come on it's delicates!! otherwise it's fine have looked @ pump seems fine, so was wondering is it the circuit board,had one put in 2 yrs ago.Any ideas? Thanks Sarah

sarah said...

Hi have a Hotpoint FDW60G no flashing lights,taking longer to wash drains & heats perfectly sometimes the drying light doesn't come on it's delicates!! otherwise it's fine have looked @ pump seems fine, so was wondering is it the circuit board,had one put in 2 yrs ago.Any ideas? Thanks Sarah

Unknown said...

I have to add my words of gratitude for Joe's excellent instructions. Very clear and I have been able to find nothing else on this topic.

I used the "poking" method a couple of years ago when this first happened. I used a flexible pipe-cleaning rod and it worked first time.

The fault has occurred again and no amount of wiggling the rod would fix it. I have an air blaster that's used for clearing sink blockages. It doesn't do that very well but I thought it worth a shot before pulling the machine out and dismantling. Gave it one blast and everything's working again. No repair bills, no new dishwasher and very little effort. Thank you, Joe!

Unknown said...

I have dw fwd60 with flashing fast and delicates what does this mean and do you have any suggestions as to how to fix thanks scott

Unknown said...

Great stuff, we have been without ours now for 4 weeks so will try this tonight. Can anyone identify exactly where I insert the coathanger and do I then wiggle it about?

Thnaks again

Joe Desbonnet said...

Gary, At the bottom of the dishwasher where the water drains way: at the very bottom of that well there is an opening (on the right as you look in) where the waste water drains out. That opening after a few cm (inch) turns in a direction toward the back of the dishwasher (only another few cm/inch) and at that point you'll have the wire in the pump chamber.

Obviously be gentle with the poking and prodding.

Alan G said...

Thank you - there was a chip from mug somehow got into the motor - if we ever meet there are several pints coming up way ;)

bongo said...

Hi my husband took that bit out of the bottom to clean it got a bit of a chipped cup got it moving freely and it now clean but now the 3rd and 5th lights flashing shortly after it switched on and then it stops any ideas

Joe Desbonnet said...

If you google for FDW60 diagnostic codes you'll find some discussions of the possible causes of the various flash codes. I think blinking 3+5 indicate some filter problem ( see this discussion http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=239218 )

Paul gal said...

Hi have a hotpoint Aquarius dwf31 it just keeps running shows 2hr display on door does not heat

Unknown said...

Quite often it is not a jammed pump, but a blocked draining hose. This can often be cleared by detaching it from the sink drain (with the machine off) and poking a sink-cleaning flexible cable (or a length of stiff electrical cable) down its whole length. This will not totally clean the hose, but it will allow the pump to start moving the water and empty the machine.

Now it's time to use a machine-cleaning tablet. Unfortunately, these are designed to clean the internal water circuit, and make the inside sparkle and smell nice - the drain hose and pump only get flushed once, which may not be enough.

The remedy is simple - before you start a cleaning cycle, place the draining hose in a bucket. Keep watch over the machine, and when it completes the washing cycle and has stopped pumping water into the bucket, stop the machine. Now empty the bucket back into the machine, close the door, put the hose back into the bucket and turn it on. It will now pump the water back into the bucket. Repeat this as many times as you like, or until your patience runs out.

Now put the drain hose back where it is supposed to be, and you are ready to start dish washing again.

My recommend is to put your machine through a cleaning cycle every 2-3 weeks (hose connected as normal). This only flushes the hose once each time, but that will be enough to stop gunge from accumulating in it.

Hope this makes sense, and helps.

Unknown said...

Genius!! I had the dishwasher in pieces on the kitchen floor before I read about the coat hanger, so I'll give that a go if it happens again but this just saved me a fortune and a headache!

Sylwia said...

Hi Joe our Ariston elixia LI 68 stopped draining the water. We thought the module died after 11 years of hard work. But we decided to try to fix it before buying a new one just in case that it was something small. First we drained the water using air blaster for unblocking toilets etc. Then we checked a water hose for blockages (dismantle the pipes and clean) but the dishwasher still wasn't draining and kept stopping after 15 minutes. We finally tried your trick with a hanger and it worked fantastically. Thanks a million for your instructions and advice it saved us a lot of money!:)

Unknown said...

2016 and this is still working. You sir, are a legend!

Joe Desbonnet said...

Good to hear that :) Unfortunately my FDW60 developed a leak a few months ago (July 2016). I wasn't able to easily trace it... so and after 12 years of operation and at least 5 repair jobs, I decided it was time to send it dishwasher heaven.

The Bosch that replaced it was faulty on arrival (flow sensor fault), but was quickly repaired under warranty and has been working fine since.

Unknown said...

Hi there can anyone help me my hotpoint dw60 the lights are flashing...number 4 and 6.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this simple fix! My dishwasher stopped working mid cycle, with 2 fault lights which didn't correspond to anything in the manual. The first post I found suggested getting the pump fixed or scrapping and then I found yours. It took a few goes at poking around with a wire but i got it working in an hour or so without having to bother hubby. Cheers!