stupid dishwasher problem

the dishwasher (a GE model with hard food disposer and god knows how many filters) sometimes gets really clogged and we have to pour vinegar in it and drain it many times and so on.
other times, however, I open it and there's water on the bottom. I start a cycle and cancel it, forcing the water to drain. the water drains completely. why would the water drain now but not 5 minutes earlier?
other times it won't drain when I cancel the program, but if I leave the program go for a while (basically washing nothing) then it drains. what does this do? are the filters cleaning themselves during a wash? should I therefore regularly run the dishwasher empty to keep the filters clean?
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Probably a bad timer. Dishwashers generally run mainly on time. The duration of each fill or wash or drain cycle is controlled by the timer. So, the drain cycle at the beginning of the wash is working OK, hence the complete drain, but a bad contact within the timer at the final drain cycle is causing it stop prior to completely draining.
The timer can be replaced, if the dishwasher is worth it otherwise.
As for the filters, they are generally self-cleaning. They filter the food particals from the water as it is pumped out the jets during the wash and rinse periods, but the water is pumped back the otherway thru them on drain cycles, washing the particals down the drain.
A few other items to check:
You run the sink disposal prior to each wash. Since the DW probably drains into the sink disposal, if there is food in there it could prevent the DW from draining properly.
Check the drain hose under the sink. It should be pulled up higher than the highest water level possible in the sink. This will keep water that drains from the sink from flowing into the DW.
Try not putting dishes with too much food left on them in the DW. I know Maytag says they'll handle anything, but my thought is, that's why I put the disposal in the sink - to dispose all. I put the Dishwasher in to do that - wash dishes.

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Hi,
Intermittant problems are the worst!! :(
Model#? http://www.applianceaid.com/model.html
Some draining info and issues that may help....
http://www.applianceaid.com/gedishdrain.html http://www.applianceaid.com/drain_wash.html#drain
Scrape away large pieces of food, bones, pits, toothpicks, etc. Burned on food should be loosened before loading. Empty liquids from glasses and cups. Foods such as mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice and tomato products may cause discoloration of stainless steel and plastics if allowed to sit for a long period of time. Unless the dishwasher is to be operated at once, it is best to rinse off these food soils. Load racks so that large items do not prevent the detergent dispenser from opening. If the dishwasher drains into a food disposer, be sure disposer is completely empty before starting the dishwasher.
jeff. Appliance Repair Aid http://www.applianceaid.com /
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