Very Noisy Disposal ... Fixable?

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I have an Insinkerator disposal that works well, however, it is very noisy. It wasn't that way when it was new. And, strangely, it sometimes (very infrequently) get quiet. I've never taken one of these apart. Is this something that might be fixable?
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Below is a copy of some of my brilliant advice on the same subject in another thread. You can substitute "piece of bone" or your choice other words for "spoon or fork":
There's probably a spoon or fork in the disposal. Someone dropped it in, turned on the disposal, and when it made a horrible noise, they adopted the "I don't know nuthin' and I ain't talkin'" routine. Replacing it without first trying to clear the obstruction is ridiculous. Someone in the house might drop something into the brand new one the day after you install it. Then what? Buy another new one??? Don't do that. Use the money you save to buy tools and beer.
Sharpen your best kitchen knife and place it on the counter where you can reach it. Tell everyone in the house to stay away from the disposal switch. Better yet, tell them to stay out of the kitchen. If anyone disobeys, wave the knife at them like a madman. This is how it's done. You could also turn off the circuit breaker, but it's much more interesting to create a sense of danger so you're a bigger hero after you fix the disposal.
The disposal doesn't have sharp blades inside. It's got these things they call "hammers" mounted on the bottom surface near the outer edge. First, peek in with a flashlight to see if you can spot the debris. A dental mirror would help, and you should have at least 3 different shapes & sizes in your toolbox anyway, so here's an excuse to buy more tools. Then, stick your hand in there carefully and feel around. The bottom surface is supposed to spin like a carousel. You might be able to dislodge it if you remove whatever piece of metal is wedged between a hammer and the side of the housing. The debris itself might be sharp if it's been chewed up, so be careful.
Look at the bottom (outside) of the disposal and you'll see a socket for a hex wrench. That's there so you can use a wrench to turn the inner part backward and dislodge debris. It doesn't have to be the wrench that came with the disposal, which is probably nowhere to be found anyway. Any hex wrench of the proper size will work. If you don't have a set of hex wrenches, here's yet another excuse to buy more tools. That's always a good thing.
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As long as we are posting brilliant advice from previous discussions, here is something that I posted a few weeks ago that seems to fit your exact situation of "sometimes noisy - sometimes quiet."
I got kids. Kids (at least mine) sometimes put things in the sink that belong in the garbage. One thing that has occasionally ended up in my disposal is the pop-top from a soda can. Other times it's pieces of plastic from one of those slotted bread bag closures.
Sometime these small hard items can find their way between the bottom plate and the side of the unit. Sometimes the shedders will spin past them like they're not even there, other times it will make an awful racket when the shedders hit the piece and other times the unit will simply jam.
Use a flashlight and look carefully along the side walls of the unit to see if there are any pieces of hard material stuck there. They can be a real PITA to get out if they've gotten jammed in there tight.
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I have found that an older Insinkerator can be made quieter (much quieter) by simply replacing the rubber gasket that is placed between the sink and the unit.
It's easy to take apart; disconnect the hose to the dishwasher, if any, disconnect the drain pipe by unscrewing the two screws that hold it to the unit, unplug it (OK, maybe that first) and take an Allen wrench to turn the tightening ring counterclockwise. Watch out and hold the unit well, as it will fall if you don't. The tightening ring has three round "tubes" located on the circumference of the ring (tangential) and these "tubes" are what you use to unscrew the tightening ring. If you don't get my explanation, I am sure you can DAGS and find a clearer explanation. Replace rubber gasket and mount again. The unit will be much quieter (if it is what the other two before me speculated, you will also be able to find it; generally, though, parts and pieces that are in a garbage disposal make more than "noise:" I would call that a major racket that would make anyone stop the unit right away. My opinion only).
Pierre
Pierre
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wrote:

I too have found that replacing the gasket works. What worked even better was replacing the thin metal sink that came with house with a heavier one. Also the next time you have to replace the disposal get the best auto reversing unit you can get. Its money well spent. Cost is soon forgotten, quality is long remembered.
Jimmie
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Like JoeSpareBedroom, here's my .02 on the same subject in another thread.
Do you ever clean it? Simple. Toss a tray or two if ice cubes in it. Whenever I do this, after it's done and flushed with water the only sound is the hum of the motor.
...and then again, it may just be f*ed up :-)
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a manufacturer of disposals say grind bones to clean the unit.
always fill the sink a good bit before turning on disposer and pull water plug.
so it has enough water to grind, water too low, noise way up
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Ahhhhh, wudda they know :-)

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Remove the silverware and that should quiet it down....
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You're not supposed to keep the utensils in that handy opening???
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Despite all the jokes about "removing the silverware", etc., there are no foreign objects in the unit. The blades just seem to be making all the noise. The inside of the unit is very clean as it is all stainless steel. My old unit, about 15 years ago, which wasn't stainless, was pretty ugly inside after years of use.
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

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I'm not doubting your inspection techniques, but I will relate my own experience.
There were a few times with my old Kenmore that I would hear the occasional racket, look down in the unit with a flashlight and see nothing. It wasn't until I would insert my hand into the unit and run my finger around the seam between the side walls and bottom that I would feel the tip of a piece of plastic or some other foreign object. Once I removed the object - often not easily done - the noise would go away for a long while. Once it would come back, I would go through the same process - see nothing but feel debris - and remove it again.
I will add that I have never had the problem with my Insinkerator Evolution unit. The removable drain guard does a much better job at catching debris than the drain guard on the Kenmore. That, BTW, is something you should look at if you decide to replace the unit. The guard for the Kenmore unit was sandwiched between the sink and the chrome ring inside the sink - in other words, not easily replaceable. After years of putting my hand down the drain, it became ripped and worn, allowing soap, utensils and other debris easy access to the disposal. The Insinkerator uses a removable guard which dosen't experience the wear and tear like the old one, and if it did, could be replaced in seconds with having to disassemble the entire disposal and drain system.
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Art Todesco wrote:

Ignore the sound.
Eventually whatever is in the disposer's innards that's making the racket will get ground up and the disposal will return to silent operation.
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To answer your original question, it's fixable **IF** you can get the parts, and **IF** you can install them yourself. Your next move would be to contact the manufacturer about parts availability.
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I've yet to see a disposal that was meant to be taken apart and have parts replaced. Even if it's theoretically possible, I sure wouldn't waste the time trying to do it. How about after you screw around, take it apart, pay $$$ for parts, put it back together, re-install it, it either still makes noise or maybe now leaks?
I can see replacing the gasket that attaches to the sink, or the side discharge connect for a dishwasher. But as far as taking the unit itself apart, fuggeda bout it! For $130 you can get a decent new one.
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I've yet to see a disposal that was meant to be taken apart and have parts replaced. Even if it's theoretically possible, I sure wouldn't waste the time trying to do it. How about after you screw around, take it apart, pay $$$ for parts, put it back together, re-install it, it either still makes noise or maybe now leaks?
I can see replacing the gasket that attaches to the sink, or the side discharge connect for a dishwasher. But as far as taking the unit itself apart, fuggeda bout it! For $130 you can get a decent new one.
==============
I've installed them, but I've never held them in my hand and wondered "Hmm...how does this come apart?"
Have you?
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You're the guy who said they can be fixed and repaired with new parts.
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You're the guy who said they can be fixed and repaired with new parts.
===================== So, you're saying your not as smart as the people who sit on an assembly line all day long, putting these things together.
Got it. Thanks.
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re: So, you're saying your not as smart as the people who sit on an assembly line all day long, putting these things together.
If I understand your meaning, I don't think that's a valid argument.
Are you saying that if a minimum-wage, minimally educated assembly line worker can put something together, then anyone with any amount of intelligence and mechanical skills should be able to repair that item?
If that's the case, then consider that many items today can be put together on an manned assembly line but can never be taken apart without damaging the item. Consider the assembly line worker who aligns parts on the line before they goes into a press or a welder. Just because they were put together by a human doesn't mean they can be taken apart.
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Good to see someone else here has common sense.
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