Maytag dishwasher leaking from front door

I have a Maytag dishwasher, model# DWU7400BAX. It is around 8 or 9 years old. It is dripping water from the door. The drip appears to be coming from inside the door, around 5 5/8" from the right side. The drip does not start happening until the unit has been running a while, when the washer knob gets toward the heating delay asterisk (just beyond 6 O'clock position). Not sure if it starts happening exactly when it reaches the asterisk, just that this is the general location it starts happening. I began the wash at the Normal position.
The location of the drip seems to be 1/2" to the right of where the latch for the detergent cups is located. My theory is that the small square gasket around the latch is letting water get inside the door, and that is why it is taking a while for the water to soak up the insulation on the inside of the door, and then make its' way to the bottom of the door and then leaking out the bottom of the door. The rinse aid cap is also near this location, but I suspect the gasket more than the rinse aid cap, based on my own opinion from examining these two items. Do you think I'm correct in diagnosing the detergent cup door latch gasket as the cause of the leak, or could it be something else like the black rubber gasket around the door, or the rinse aid cap?
Assuming that the gasket around the latch for the detergent caps is indeed the cause, then the next question is can I replace this small gasket myself, or do I need to have a professional do this? I notice that they sell a latch/gasket kit online for only $2.50. Does replacing this gasket involve removing the white plastic panel on the INSIDE of the door? This panel appears to have special bolts which seem to require a special "star shaped six point wrench" rather than a standard Allen hex wrench. If getting to the gasket involves removing the white plastic panel on the INSIDE of the door, then where can I buy this special wrench, and would it be easy for me to do this job myself? Is there another way to replace this gasket, such as, by removing the OUTSIDE panel of the door, and if so, then how do I do that?
Any potential snags I need to know about...such as would I need a special glue or tools to install the new gasket, etc, or is it likely I could cause other leaks by doing this repair myself?
This may be grasping at straws, but is there some type of caulk I could use, or anything else I could use, that could potentially fix the problem WITHOUT having to take the door apart?
If you think this fix is NOT a do-it-yourself job, then do you think it would be worth spending $100 or more for a repair, or should I simply use the money toward a new dishwasher? What is the typical life of this dishwasher, and how much does an equivalent model cost these days?
Thanks for your advice.
Jay
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Hi Jay,
Not a tough job for the handy homeowner, this is about the most common problem with these dishwashers. Caulk won't do it - you'll have to replace that little boot.
Pulling the door apart's not that hard, either - don't let it scare you. Torx drivers are available at nearly any hardware store these days, and it's not a bad idea to get a kit of various sizes. There are handy drivers that include 4 or more sizes in the handle, or in an inexpensive kit. Usually includes at least a #10, #15, and #20, the most common sizes used in appliances.
Power it down, remove the inner door panel screws, and just close the panel back up again, slipping a clothespin or small Visegrips into the latch strike to hold it up for you. (I snap a forceps into the strike to hold it, which works well.)
You'll see how it installs, it's pretty straightforward. You have to pull the dispenser wax motor(s) and linkage out to get to it, but just take your time and you'll be surprised at how easy it is. You'll find a lot of 'gunk' - mostly detergent residue - in the area that'll have to be cleaned, and that usually takes longer than the actual boot replacement.
I've not been too impressed with these machines, but they've been doing better than I expected when I first saw them. They'll never beat the longevity of the earlier (belt-drive) Maytags, but the same can be said for pretty much every appliance out there today.
Hope that's of some help.
God bless,
Dave Harnish Dave's Repair Service New Albany, PA www.DavesRepair.com snipped-for-privacy@sosbbs.com 570-363-2404
Free home appliance tips from a 32-year pro repair technician! Get your monthly email newsletter here: (Back issues now posted too!) www.DavesRepair.com
John 3:3

not
correct
leak,
door,
myself,
involve
me
cause
use,
WITHOUT
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Thanks. I ordered the part and did the job myself. It took longer than expected, because I should have carefully studied how the 3 internal plastic pieces of the latch mechanism were assembled. Embarrassingly, it took probably a few hours to figure out exactly how 3 of the plastic pieces were supposed to be put together: 1) the semi-clear plastic piece that the wax motor pushes on, and 2) the tiny semi-clear plastic piece that is pushed by the latter piece to move the latch and open up the dispenser while simultaneously causing 3) a white plastic piece to slant downward to dispense some rinse aid.
I did not get around to testing the dishwasher yet (will wait a day or two until there are a *few* dirty dishes), but I'm 100% sure it was leaking through the latch gasket due to the soap buildup in the mechanism, and I'm 99% sure I did wind up putting the mechanism back together correctly.
I think there is a good chance I fixed the leak, but will know for sure when I test it in a couple of days. I'm not too impressed by how this dishwasher was designed because of the fact that it needs this type of latch gasket in the first place. Am I correct in thinking the washers that the don't have a visible latch are less prone to leakage in this area? The GE dishwasher in the house I just sold had a cup that swung open in a circular motion and it did not have a visible latch and, if it had a gasket, I suspect it was something less prone to eventual leakage. (However the GE didn't clean too well.)
With this Maytag dishwasher, I still wonder if (even after the repair) water could still make it's way into door if there isn't enough internal pressure on the flat base of the gasket. In other words, while the gasket fits snugly around the latch, the flat base of the gasket needs to be snug against the inside of the plastic door panel. I assume this, by default, should be the case as long as the mechanism was assembled properly...and I believe that it was, but I'll find out for sure in a couple of days when I test the dishwasher.
Jay
<<You'll see how it installs, it's pretty straightforward. You have to pull the dispenser wax motor(s) and linkage out to get to it, but just take your time and you'll be surprised at how easy it is. You'll find a lot of 'gunk' - mostly detergent residue - in the area that'll have to be cleaned, and that usually takes longer than the actual boot replacement.>>
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I finally tested the washer after replacing the latch and grommet, and everything now seems fine. As mentioned in my prior newsgroup email, it took a couple hours longer than necessary because I should have studied exactly how the whole latch mechanism worked before taking it apart to replace the grommet/latch, since a lot of time was wasted figuring exactly how to put everything back together.
Anyway, everything is now working fine, so far. No more leaking, and the soap dispenser appears to still be working properly after the repair. Hopefully I'll luck out and get at least a couple more years of use out of this machine.
Thanks again,
Jay
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Good for you. With the savings from the not needed service call you can go out to dinner and not have any dishes to wash.
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