new dishwasher works.
so rather than sinking more money into something that may only last another few years with likely constant maintenance i look for sales on good machines.
i ended up with the Maytag 8959 AWW. other than it was a PITA to install as the drain hose is only 5 feet and i needed 11 feet and no stores had the 12' version which is availabe. then the local plumbing store told me how i could make a makeshift fix, which worked in the end but not after several trips to the same store b/c he forgot to give me everything i needed.
in any event. my problem is now solved and my wife loves OUR new dishwasher.