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A tilting dishwasher reveals a bracket problem
Hi, Wayne here from Sears PartsDirect. Today we're going to talk about how to tighten up a dishwasher that's loose inside the cabinet. If the dishwasher tilts forward when you open the door, you know it’s not anchored to the cabinet.
Most dishwashers attach to the underside of the kitchen counter with mounting brackets like these.
If your dishwasher tilts forward when you open the door, check the brackets to see if the screws are missing. Sometimes the bracket screws pop out when too much pressure is applied to the door—like when a child climbs onto the open dishwasher door or an adult pushes on the open door.
If the screws are missing, you might be able to just replace the screws. Because the screw holes might have been stripped when the screws pulled out, you probably have to use slightly wider screws to fasten the brackets to the underside of your counter. Use screws that are approximately the same length and only slightly larger in diameter than the original screws, to avoid damaging your counter.
Refasten the dishwasher to the cabinet or floor
If you find the screw holes stripped so badly that you can’t replace the screws, you have two options. You can anchor the dishwasher to the sides of the cabinet, which we cover later in this video. That approach is also commonly used for installing a dishwasher under a granite countertop.
If there isn’t a cabinet on one side of the dishwasher, you can attach the dishwasher to the floor.
If the screws aren’t missing, the dishwasher is tilting forward either because the mounting brackets are broken or because the end of the bracket slipped out of the frame slot in the top of the dishwasher. If the brackets are broken, order new ones. If the brackets are okay, you can reattach them to the dishwasher frame.
How to install top-mounting dishwasher brackets
Whether you’re installing replacement brackets or reattaching existing brackets, you have to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter a few inches.
1. Start by shutting off the house circuit breaker to disconnect electrical power to the dishwasher.
2. To see if you can pull out the dishwasher without disconnecting the fill line, drain line or power cord, we’ll check for slack in those connections first. Remove the screws from the bottom front access panel, and then pull off the access panel and toe panel.
Check for slack in the water supply line. If you don't find enough slack in the water supply line to pull the dishwasher out a few inches, close the water supply valve to the dishwasher, place a towel under the water supply line connection to catch drips and disconnect the water line from the water inlet valve.
Next, check for slack in the drain line. If you don't find enough slack in the drain line, disconnect the drain line from the garbage disposal or sink drain connection.
Finally, check for slack in the power cord. If there’s not enough slack and the dishwasher plugs into an electrical outlet, unplug the so the power cord moves freely as you pull out the dishwasher. If the power cord doesn't plug into an electrical outlet, it’s hardwired to the junction box in the dishwasher. If there’s not enough slack in the cord, open the junction box and disconnect the power cord wires. Remove the strain relief nut to free the power cord from the junction box.
3. Carefully pull the dishwasher out from under the counter a few inches to access the dishwasher frame where the brackets attach to the dishwasher. If your floor is wood or vinyl, it’s a good idea to lay a sheet of cardboard in front of the dishwasher first, to protect it from scratches.
Install the end of the brackets in the frame slots and bend the bracket tabs up to secure the brackets in the frame.
How to install side-mounting dishwasher brackets
Before we push the dishwasher back in, let’s cover another option for anchoring the dishwasher in the cabinet–side mounting. You can mount the dishwasher to the sides of the cabinets if the screw holes on the underside of your counter were stripped so badly that you can’t attach the brackets. You can also use this method if you have to install the dishwasher under granite countertops because you can't attach the top brackets to the underside of the granite counter.
This common dishwasher uses the same brackets to anchor the dishwasher to the top or side of the cabinet. To use the brackets for side mounting, use pliers to break off the end of each bracket along this scored line. I know, it's scary to break something, but trust me: these directions come directly from the installation guide for the dishwasher.
Next, remove the plastic buttons that cover the openings in the tub that you'll use to secure the side mounting brackets. Open the dishwasher door and place tape over the plastic button on each side of the tub opening to keep the buttons from flying off when you remove them. Keep track of the buttons because you'll reinstall them later. Using a slotted screwdriver, push the plastic buttons out of the sides of the tub.
Push the bracket into the slot on the side of the dishwasher and bend in the bracket tab. Repeat this step for the bracket on the other side of the dishwasher.
Push the dishwasher under the cabinet, aligning the bracket holes with the sides of the cabinet and centering the dishwasher in the cabinet opening.
Drill a pilot hole for the screw into each side of the counter to prevent splitting the counter when you install the screw.
Insert a screw in one side of the counter and tighten the screw. Repeat this step for the bracket on the other side of the dishwasher.
Reinstall the plastic button on each side of the dishwasher tub.
Reconnect the power cord, water line and drain line if you disconnected them to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter.
Open the water supply valve if you closed it to disconnect the water line. Check the water supply line connection on the inlet water valve for leaks and tighten the connection if necessary.
Reinstall the bottom front access panel and toe panel on the dishwasher, securing them with the screws.
Reset the house circuit breaker for the dishwasher to restore power.
Using these tips, you should be able to reattach your dishwasher to any type of cabinet no matter what obstacles you face. For more do-it-yourself appliance installation and repair help, browse the rest of the videos on our Sears PartsDirect YouTube channel. Subscribe, and we’ll let you know when we post new videos.