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Four years ago, I installed a new GE plastic interior dishwasher, model GDF630PGMWW, in my kitchen. For the last year or two, the screws that attach the upper rack rails to the wall have occasionally become loose. I have tightened them several times, but now they are so loose that none of them can be tightened. We can keep the rails in place only by handling the upper rack very gently and pulling it out halfway.

The screw holes seem to be stripped. They seem to be made of the same plastic material of which the walls are made.

I haven't tried anything because I don't want to wreck the holes even further without getting some expert advice. I really don't want to get a new dishwasher just for this; it's only four years old and does a good job of washing dishes.

How can I remedy this situation? Fill the holes with some product? Get bigger screws? Something else?

left rail with loose screws

right rail with loose screws

exterior right side

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  • There's always the sloppy solution of installing larger screws to cut new threads...
    – keshlam
    Mar 19 at 14:31
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    You may want to talk to GE. They are (in general) a good company, but the trick will be finding someone who understands the problem. 4 years is way beyond the warranty but is also way less than typical dishwasher lifetime (10+). You may have something particularly unusual - perhaps due to the water quality, but it is also possible that others have told them about the same problem and maybe, just maybe, they have a fix. 2 days ago

2 Answers 2

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Pull the dishwasher out and confirm that you can see the tips of the screws from the outside. Assuming that you can --

  • Replace the sheet metal screws with stainless machine screws of an appropriate diameter and length.
  • Install Nylock or similar non-loosening nuts onto the machine screws from the outside. You may need a washer, depending on what the bearing surface looks like.
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  • Another idea may be to try the "toothpick" trick—obviously using plastic toothpicks instead of wood ones!
    – Huesmann
    Mar 19 at 13:54
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    If I see tips of screws sticking out on the outside of an appliance, I would have second thoughts.
    – crip659
    Mar 19 at 17:55
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    @crip659 The built-in dishwashers that I've worked on have no outer shell like you would see on a clothes washer. The (inner / only) shell is typically wrapped in insulation that you can move aside to see fasteners coming through. The point of checking to see the tips of the screws is just to confirm accessibility, because if not accessible, a machine screw and nut is not a suitable solution.
    – MTA
    Mar 19 at 18:09
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    I might try this, but I'm curious about the screws poking through the outside. If that were the case, wouldn't there be water leaking through? Mar 21 at 0:26
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    @GarySheppard The wheelie bits may include a water seal; it's hard to know from your photos. Or the screws could be in blind holes with the tips not actually visible. If that's the case, you would see little protuberances on the outside like the eraser end of a fat pencil. If that's what you have, you could drill through the tip from the inside or cut off the tip from the outside. A small O-ring under the head of the machine screw would guarantee that it remains water-tight.
    – MTA
    Mar 21 at 1:45
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Hot glue might hold up, but with the heat of the water, not sure. Ideally, some JBWeld marine epoxy, followed by tapping new holes.

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  • Hot glue melting temperature ranges from about 250-375ºF (I think there are different types) which should be well below the temperature inside a dishwasher (140-170ºF). I suppose it's possible the glue may soften—but not melt—at those temperatures. But it's certainly worth a try! What has the OP got to lose, right?
    – Huesmann
    Mar 19 at 13:53
  • Hot glue is really quite temperature sensitive. It will soften, the question is whether it's enough to cause a problem. It also goes fairly brittle not far below room temperature (it's not very useful for things on bikes for this reason) so if the dishwasher fills with cold water and starts circulating it before heating, as mine does, you end up with quite a bit of thermal cycling. I've had success with epoxy (Araldite) inside a dishwasher and fully cured epoxy should be OK around things that touch food
    – Chris H
    Mar 19 at 20:08
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    Thanks. I went with epoxy, and that seems to have worked. But I just fixed it yesterday, so we'll see. 🤞 Apr 10 at 17:42
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    The epoxy did not hold more than a week or two, unfortunately. 2 days ago
  • JB Weld might work.
    – Evil Elf
    2 days ago

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