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Whirlpool Gold dishwasher runs in short cycle but not normal cycle

I have a Whirlpool Gold Series (model WDT920SADM0) that is about 5 years old. Within the last few weeks we noticed that the “normal” cycle would not clean dishes and detergent pods would be left practically intact in the bottom of the dishwasher.

This led me to believe it was a pump issue, so I ran a short/1-hour cycle. However, the 1-hour cycle does run as expected with water getting into the dishwasher and all detergent being fully utilized in the cleaning cycle. (Of course, the 1-hour cycle doesn’t clean to the degree of the normal (3-hour) cycle, and we’re left with the frustrating task of washing several items by hand after the 1-hour cycle is complete.)

I’ve followed the steps to do a full reset by shutting power off at the breaker, then powering back on, thinking there could be a computer issue. This has not resulted in resolution.

I’m at a loss at this point. It doesn’t seem like a pump issue, and it’s unclear if this is a computer issue. Regardless I have a semi-functional dishwasher and need some help! I’m grateful for any insight, guidance or help offered!

Update (09/08/2019)

@SaraFilthaut and @Ali, in the end we replaced the dishwasher with a different make and model. I discovered that the cost of parts was going to be at a level that made me question repairing a 5-year old dishwasher vs. replacing with new. Between computer boards and pumps, I preferred to have a highly rated and new dishwasher and stop the madness.

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Owner's Manual mentions an optical sensor:

This dishwasher is equipped with an optical sensor wash that

detects water temperature, soil, and detergent amount. Wash

cycles are adjusted based on the load sensing.

Also check the documentation on cleaning filters (might explain the 1 hour not cleaning properly).

Just out of curiosity though, is 3 hour cycles normal for newer dish washing machines (I guess also depending on brand)? Seems quite excessive, imho, and the guide mentions the 1 hour cycle but not the length of the extended cycle(s).


@propman Thanks for commenting. The “normal” cycle on this Whirlpool (and I believe many dishwashers now) is about 3 hours. Apparently this is the most energy/water efficient as it allows the sensors to assess the progress of the dishes as they clean. I’ve diligently cleaned our filters over the last 12 months.

One thing I’ve noticed on the normal cycle is the dishwasher takes in water for an initial rinse, then drains that water. After that it counts down until 3 hours have passed without making a sound (there are occasional “clicks” that sound like signals are being sent to switches). About 5 mins into the cycle I hear the soap door pop open, but there isn’t additional water intake for cleaning. That is why this is so interesting - the 1-hour cycle seems to function normally (as in, doesn’t “go silent” during the cycle).

I don’t see how the dishwasher can work normally for one type of cycle, but not for another. I’m going to test the other cycles (heavy, pots/pans) next.


@dpodepot Thanks for the update on the 3 hour info. If there is more than one sensor in the unit, then maybe one is not used during the short cycle because it is not needed for a more detailed washing session. If however there is one used during an extended washing cycle session and it is malfunctioning, it could be it's not transmitting the correct signal to the water inlet circuitry. Certainly no expert here and wish I could offer more but hopefully someone more knowledgable than myself will be able to offer further suggestions or solution. Thanks again for the update. Appreciated. :-)


Hi @dpodepot ,

Check behind the kickplate (toeplate?) as sometimes the "tech sheet"(aka service manual) is sometimes located there.

If it is then it should help with how to run the diagnostics to check the machine.

Just a thought.


@jayeff Thanks for that suggestion. I didn’t find a manual behind the kick plate but will look it up online. I’m going to see about running the diagnostic because I’m noticing that the dishwasher functions mostly in other cycles (short/1-hour, and heavy), but not entirely. Perhaps running a diagnostic will yield an error code that can clarify this issue.


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Resurrecting an old post, I know. However, I wanted to chime in since I have been battling a similar issue with my Whirlpool Gold Dishwasher (WDT780SAEM1). Noticed that the detergent packet wasn’t getting dissolved and the dishes were wetter from humidity than actual spraying water. Went through the following attempts to fix it:

(1) Changed brand of detergent (Finish to Cascade), no luck.

(2) Reset the dishwasher at the circuit breaker and re-ran. Worked for one cycle and then started giving me issues again.

(3) Ran dishwasher diagnostics mode. F7 E1 fault, which seemed to indicate a heating element fault. Tested the heating element with a multimeter, was fine.

(4) Reset the dishwasher at the circuit breaker before running it each night. This started to work and then the results became sporadic.

(5) Replaced the control board, no significant change in the outcome of the dishes.

(6) Noticed that the dishwasher wasn’t filling up properly after the initial fill-up, tried replacing the water inlet valve. Still didn’t work.

(7) Reset the dishwasher, ran diagnostics mode, no errors. Still doesn’t work.

(8) Started running it on one-hour wash cycle, that still works, which is strange.

(9) Come across this post online and look up Whirlpool Turbidity Sensor. $20 part from Amazon, ordered, delivered, installed in less than two days.

(10) Ran the dishwasher last night on Sensor mode and the dishes came out perfectly clean. Seriously, as good as when the dishwasher was new.

In short, %#*@ you Whirlpool for not having a fault code specifically associated with a Turbidity Sensor fault. This was the cheapest and the easiest part to replace out of all the replacement options and the only way to arrive at this is to do trial-and-error with the other parts.

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Center Wash Arm Assembly

Lower Wash Arm -Upper Wash Arm Assembly

The center wash arm circulates water to the dishes in the upper rack. If water can’t flow properly through the center wash arm, the dishes in the upper rack won’t be cleaned properly. Over time, food particles can get trapped in the tiny holes in the wash arm. If your dishes are coming out dirty, the wash arm might be clogged. To unclog the center wash arm, remove the wash arm and dislodge any debris from the holes. If the wash arm is extremely clogged, replace it. In addition, make sure that the center wash arm assembly is mating properly with the water supply nozzle.

Pump and Motor Assembly

The motor drives an impeller to force water up through the wash arms. If the motor is defective, the pump impeller is broken, or some part of the pump is clogged, dishes won’t be cleaned properly. Make sure that power is getting to the circulation pump and motor. If power is getting to the pump and motor assembly but it still won’t run, replace the pump and motor assembly.

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@mayer I appreciate this suggested solution. The dishwasher is getting the initial intake of water and rinsing the dishes in the first few minutes of the cycle, so I believe the wash arms are functioning properly.

I do have my eye on the pump and motor assembly as the potential culprit. What doesn’t make sense though is that the pump/motor seem to work in the short 1-hour cycle and in the heavy (about 4 hours) cycle.

Any thoughts on why the dishwasher would only function properly in some cycles rather than another? Does that imply a control board issue? Thanks!


I have the exact same problem. I was hoping that perhaps there will be a working solution to it. The suggested solutions from @mayer doesn't seem like should help - again the key clue here is that the 1-hour cycle works. Which means that 1) the pump and motor are OK, 2) center arm assembly also work.

It seems to me (someone who has no clue regarding dishwashers) that perhaps some sensor that is not needed for the 1-hour cycle is at fault.

Again, would appreciate if someone has an answer.


@dpodepot Did you fix it? I have the same problem.


@Sergey N.

I have not been able to fix the issues. I will be replacing the pump and motor assembly before the end of the month in hopes that doing so resolves the problem. If that doesn't work, I will likely replace the entire dishwasher with another make/model.


Thanks again to all who provided input on this issue. After exploring other boards and looking at the cost of parts replacement without the certainty that we would resolve the issue, I’ve opted to replace the dishwasher.

The pump/motor assembly replacement would’ve been at least $260. If that didn’t resolve it, the computer board would’ve been another $250+. Not interested in spending $500+ in hopes that a five-year old dishwasher will get back on track. Good luck to those with similar issues!


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We also have this problem, the normal (3 hour) cycle just sits with no action and no cleaning. The 1hour cycle cleans like a champ. Spent $500 or so for it and we have paid $350 to have it fixed once. Now it has this same problem. Does anyone have a suggestion for a quality machine?

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Hi Donna. We ended up replacing ours with a Bosch; we have been very pleased with its performance. As you can see with this issue I posted, I was nervous to spend the kind of money to try fixes only to discover the problem would persist. I'm sorry that you've had that experience. Given what parts and service visits cost these days, compared to the cost of buying a new dishwasher, we opted to buy new and start fresh. Good luck!


I realize this is over a year later, but see my post below. If your 1-hour cycle works, but the other cycles don't, I'd highly recommend replacing the Turbidity Sensor. It's a $20-$30 part that takes about 30 minutes to replace if you're reasonably handy.


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I am detailing here my full experience, including what I think has fixed the problem (I asked the forum a few months ago and had been struggling since).

Again, I have a Kenmore 665.13222N412 (made by Whirlpool) that started with not fully washing the dishes about 6 months ago. We will see soap residue/foam at the end of the cycle both at the bottom and on the dishes. Initially, we thought it was the dishwasher capsules and got a new brand. But the problem continued.

At some point (4 months ago), we could basically tell that something was wrong as we couldn’t hear the water sloshing around, but could hear the clicks. We found a turnaround by starting washing with 1-hour wash. This worked for a while (about a month), and then the 1-hour wash stopped working as well.

I did a lot of reading and found out that you could reset the control panel after pressing the three buttons fast and repeating the whole thing 3 times (3x3=9 times you have to press the buttons altogether).

The dishwasher would start working again after each reset but only for a few times. After a few washes it would display the same problems again. We lived like this for a couple of months. Eventually, even this method stopped working. Meaning, it wouldn’t work even after I would reset the control panel. It was obvious there was an underlying cause. I read a bunch again, and decided to try replacing the Pump and Motor Assembly as suggested above. This is part I purchased:

There are videos on Youtube how to change it. I am not very handy, so it took me the best part of Saturday to do it. My main problem is that I didn’t have something called ‘clamp pinch plier’. You would need this to tighten a hose. I basically had to drive to Home Depot and buy one for like $10.

So. far it has been working (for about 2 weeks). Fingers crossed. The problem seems to be that even though Whirlpool says these dishwashers are American Made, all the major components at the bottom are Made in China. Not that I have a problem with Made in China, but I imagine they shop around vendors to build these pumps and components and go with the cheapest one. Terrible process that assumes some 5-10% of dishwashers going bad in the first 3 years is ‘acceptable’. Nevermind the stress and anguish of the customer. But the CEO gets to tell Wall Street how good their cost savings have been this quarter.

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Hi Ali, is it still working? Link to Amazon looks broken, part still available?


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If it sounds like the unit is running through the cycle but the motor is not running you probably need the motor. There is an off chance you it can be the board however with these Whirlpools the motor is more likely. I do agree that is is strange it runs the motor in one hour cycle and not normal, that doesn’t normally happen. There are t15 screws on the inside of the door if you remove those the front panel should come loose but there are tabs on the hinge that will keep it from falling. There are two plastic covers over the wires coming out of the board, once you remove those you will be able to access the wires. There are two light blue wires nest to the largest connector that power the motor. You can test from the backside of this connector with needle probes or take this connector out and test the prongs on the board. you will need to let the dishwasher fill and be in the part of the cycle when the motor should be running. If there is 120v there you need the motor, if not you need the board. You can find videos on replacing the motor it is one of the easier motors to replace as long as you get the whole motor/sump assembly.

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Derek Sisterhen zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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