Thread Number: 13733
Kitchenaid Superba KDS-17A (Hobart) help
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Post# 236591   9/14/2007 at 08:14 (3,450 days old) by sarah ()        

Manual, parts supplier, insulation?
Hi again,

Hi Everyone,

I'm seriously beginning to consider the KA. I have more questions.

Does anyone have a manual that I could have a copy of for this machine?

Can you recommend a parts supplier?

I'm hearing that this machine is likely to be quite loud because it was not wrapped with sound insulation. Do any of you know if I insulate it if it will impair the performance, reduce it's life by causing overheating or anything else?

Here's what I understand so far: I'm going to have to get over washing my big pots and bowls on 1/4 of the bottom rack, right? and it's going to use more water and energy than my current model, right? But the benefits will be that I'll get really clean and dry dishes because it's powerful, and it's also pretty fast.

How much prewashing am I going to have to do? What about screens and filters? I'm guessing that disposers and choppers are pretty modern, so no chunks should go in this one, right? Also, is this a jet dry dispenser in the door? I do like having a jet dry dispenser?


Post# 236676 , Reply# 1   9/14/2007 at 20:33 (3,450 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
A tall order for sure! But you WON'T be disappointed!

The KD-17A was the first generation of energy saver Dishmachines made by Hobart. If you can call a switch that turned off the heating element a true energy saver! I don't mean it sarcastically, but that was all it did. Turn off the heating element(all of 700 or 800 watts during the drying phase of the cycle. Possible savings at today's electric rates,probably in the area of less than a nickel a load!

The Dishwasher itself is a TANK! You won't find two big washarms in it, just the 4way Hydro-sweep arm on the bottom which will send torrents of water up to the top rack as long as you don't stop the water with big bowls or pots on the bottom.They will come clean on the top rack but you have to experiment.
As you have probably read or seen here, loading was always critical in any machine that had only one washarm. There should be a small spinner washarm on the top of the machine which they called a constant rinse arm which sprayed wash and rinse water over the tops of the dishware in the top rack, which would help with keeping small particles from being left in the recesses of cups and such.

I think I saw more of them broken off than actually in the machines! People either forgot the arm was there or didnt even know about it and would smash them with a bowl or glass in the top rack.

The KSDS was the Superba top of the line so you would have the soak and scrub cycle as well as the Sani Cycle which heated the final rinse to 180 Degrees. That alone would help your dishes dry even with the heater turned off.

The best feature, and I use it all the time on my machine(KDS18)is if the dishwes arent really dirty or it isnt loaded to the gills, I start it with the short wash and once it starts filling, I switch it back to the sani cycle or normal cycle so you get a longer wash and the 3 after rinses not a short wash with 2 rinses.Nice to have a manual timer that lets you do that by just pressing the buttons at the right time!

The recommended incoming water temperature for that machine is anywhere between 140 and 160 degrees and it did not stop nor extend the wash cycles to heat the water. It would turn on the heating elments during certain phases of the cycles to maintain or increase the tank water about 1 degree a minute, but with wash cycles that were relatively short(though effective) compared to today's units, there wasn't a really significant increase in the water temperature.

Regardless of any Superba I ever had, I always use the Sani cycle to aid in the drying of the dishes at the end of the cycle and almost never use the energy saver dry option. I just like nice, hot and dry dishes when I open the door to unload them.

You SHOULD definietly insulate the tank since it had next to no insulation on it and it will cut down the noise levels considerably as well as keep the heat inside the tank where it will do the most good. If I had one of those now, I would take it to my garage, clean the outside tank really well and then use automotive undercoating on the tank to cut the "ringing" sound of the water drumming against the inner tank. After that, I would either wrap it with fiberglass on the sides and back or pick up an insulating blanket off of someone's scrapped machine or get it from a local parts supplier. Most tanks are basically the saame dimensions so it doesn't matter what brand it comes off of, it will probably fit fine. use some duct tap to hold it in place.

Most people never think of insulating the inside of the door but I always do. That cuts more of the noise down. I usually use either acoustical insulation available at a store like Radio Shack ot I use 4 inch Fiberglass batts and carefully remove the paper facing and definitely remove the foil facing from it. That way you now have acoustical insulation without the danger of shorting out live electrical terminals. I stuff it carefully against the door after removing the outer panels with the power off at the circuit breaker panel.
I avoid the areas of the deterget dispenser and bimetal actuators on it so it works freely as well as the area of the rinse agent(jet Dry) dispenser which is standard on your machine.Whether it still actually works is something you will have to see for yourself. If it does still work, great..if it doesn't, you cannot buy a new one so you may have to scavengeon from a machine at the curb. They are all the same from the 14 thru the 18 series machine, that is, the door has two holes for it to fit thru. The plastic nuts and gaskets are still available from Hobart directly if you cannot get them from Whirlpool. Just ask me and I will give you the current part numbers.

The pump motor is still available and usually comes with a pump seal and you may still be able to get the pump housing parts on ebay or from one of the larger parts distributors. Just remember that they stopped making those machines nearly 30 years ago. Various other parts like drain and fill valves are out there and may need adapting to work but you can still get them.

Makes you wonder how many of the other brands' machines are still out there working day after day after so many years!

The motor is a full 1/2 horsepower motor which was the same they used on the commercial units and so is the pump itself except for the diversion of some water to the top constant rinse arm. There is no soft food disposer of any kind in the pump so hard items can cause a problem, though there are two filters in the machine if they are still intact. There is the stainless steel fine mesh filter which filters the wash water and the large one allows specifically sized soft items to be pumped out by the drain impeller. That would be undissolved items like pasta, rice, potato chunks and small seeds. But the key here is to scrape your dishes first which is recommended even for the new machines anyway.You probably won't have to prerinse them since the machine does have a few prerinses and prewashes depending on the cycle selected.

Most of the cleaning is done by the much improved detergents we have now. If you stick with the TOL detergents, they will dissolve most foods anyway so your results should be more than satisfactory.

To the best of my knowledge, it was only Kitchen Aid that had a true food disposer like setup in their pumps and they were only on the 21& 22 series machines.That also includesd the machines that Hobart made for Insinkerator.Once the 23 series machines came out it was a whirlpool designed pump in the KitchenAid tank.No hard food disposer anymore with that changeover!
Other manufacturers use the small blade type shredders or a spring to take care of foodstuffs but they did not compare to the disposer in the KA machines. Now those were Cleaning machines!
The 18,19 and 20 series were ons step below that with a stainless steel macerator ring that worked with the drain impeller which was a hard plastic to cut bits down to small size while the unit was draining.

And needless to say, these units use much more water than the current machines but you will never have to worry about getting the proper amount of water to flow over the dishes when your sump is supplied with gallons of water and not quarts of water. Simple match says if you have to meet a certain specification of water over the dishes(Weir Rating) especially to satisfy NSF then if you use gallons you need less minutes to distribute the water than nif you are only pumping a few quarts at a time.

Hope all of this makes sense to you.
I have the service and parts manuals to this machine but don't have a use and care guide or a sales brochure. But I know there are postings by other members who have posted the brochures and I would bet on it that more than one person has the use and care guide too.

Post# 236680 , Reply# 2   9/14/2007 at 21:14 (3,450 days old) by sarah ()        
Thanks Steve & Energy rating anyone??


Thanks so very much. I would love a service manual! I've already gotten an offer for a user manual. I'm beginning to think this one is a yes, but I did not notice the rinse arm on top. The machine looked excellent overall and virtually unused, so I'm guessing it was there, but I will have to check. Email me privately for addresses and whatever else you need: sarahperdue at bellsouth dot net

I didn't quite follow on what I might have to do to replace the Jet Dry dispenser...but perhaps you could give a bit more guidance later if I need it? Were you talking about a possible retrofit?

And, of course I know that Energy Star was way in the future, but are there any geeks here who have calculated energy usage per year on this beast? (Do I really want to know??

Thanks so much everyone,

Post# 236690 , Reply# 3   9/14/2007 at 23:13 (3,450 days old) by brent-aucoin ()        

Don't worry about energy use!
I have about every Hobart Kitchenaid that was ever made. I have my favorites, and change them in and out, always using two at a time.
The key here is that Hobart used a great pump system, and with hot water, you have no worries. Everything, in this model that you are getting, will come out great if you load correct.
They do use more water, but it is not a big deal.
The newer dishwashers run for about 90 minutes, to 2 1/2 hours. So you either use a little more water with great results, or let a newer "energy saver" run all night and use power..... and from what I hear, the newer, is not better for cleaning, most of the time!
If this machine is in good shape, you will love it. You will be amazed at how quick it is from start to finish.
Don't worry about the energy consumption! I promise you won't notice a difference at all!
Will you take pictures when you get it all in?

Post# 236694 , Reply# 4   9/15/2007 at 00:52 (3,450 days old) by peteski50 (New York)        

peteski50's profile picture
My sister had the KDS17 series when she moved into her house in the 80's. She kept it until the mid 90's and replaced it with about 4 different dishwashers. In fact today I went with her today and she bought a GE tall tub. Lets see how this one works for her. The KDS17 did not have the energy saver switch, it was the later ones of the 17 series that had the energy switch. It was a excellent machine. The normal wash was about 30 minutes plus about a 22 minute dry. It cleaned very well. She had her hot water set to about 150 at that time. Their is nothing built like those hobart kitchenaids. My mother had a KDS19 for 25 years. That also was a tank. It was the beginning of the water heating series in every cycle. This was the only series that had no heat only dry being the last rinse was always heated to sani temp on all cycles. Most people knocked this dishwasher series but if you used the jetdry the dishes always came out dry. My mother now has a GE tall tub like myself and likes it but says nothing compares to her kitchenaid. She wanted to get a new one and I talked her out of it. She saw my uncles newer kitchenaid when she visited in Florida and said it's a piece of trash and after using it she is happy I talked her out of it. I really wish they made machines like that today. It would be great if they made tall tubs with the hobert design. What happened to KitchenAid is almost as bad as what happen to Frigidaire.

Post# 236731 , Reply# 5   9/15/2007 at 10:22 (3,449 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

panthera's profile picture
You don't have to give up on pots and pans in these wonderful machines, that is totally a misconception.
You just have to learn where to leave space for the water to make it 'up' to the top rack.
In our Varicycle portable (similar problem), washing dirty pots and pans is a joy...first US made dishwasher which works as well as my Miele at getting really dirty pots clean. But I have to leave space free at the sides and the back as well as roughly three inches from the back. If I do this, everything on the top racks comes out perfectly clean.
Water temperature plays a big, big role here. I suggest you go for 150F at least. Enzyme detergents like Great Value work much better in this machine than I ever thought they would; you may not have to go for the TOL detergents once you figure out loading.
I never use the full dry cycle, the rinse is so hot even on the Varicycle that two minutes after I open the lid the dishes are dry.
If the rinse aid dispenser has failed for heaven's sake don't replace it with one of the millions of recalled ones used in Maytags, GEs and other modern trash. Use, instead, a combo-tablet with built in rinse agent.
And do find that little spray arm. It makes a difference.
Given the sales of LG, Bosch and Miele in the US, I really wonder if the American manufacturers were so right in their decision to stop building quality and just offer shit.
Oh, noise and heat insulation. I would hold off on that until you know for sure that there aren't going to be any major repairs coming up. And don't believe a word the repair in-duh-vi-duals say at the stores. With few exceptions, there is nothing in that machine which can't be fixed, replaced or worked around...should it ever break.

Post# 236803 , Reply# 6   9/15/2007 at 20:54 (3,449 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Don't sweat the rinse dispenser, Sarah

Due to the age of your machine, the rinse dispenser may or may not have failed. Some keep going for decades and others wind up failing and letting the dispenser drain out. The diapragm and spring that hold in in place seem to just fail. You cannot retrofit it with any of the newer ones that Hobart used as they were single opening units which used a bimetal spring to open the plunger/stopper on the dispenser. They used the current draw from either the pump motor or the heating elements to cause the bimetal to pull up on the plunger and let the jet dry drip into the rinse water.

Yours (actually any of them from the 14 thru the 18 series)used a dispenser with a solenoid valve that opens and closes in repsonse to the timer telling it to dispense. So it works like an on off switch and therefore, you cannot put a newer style into your unit. If it works, all the better and if it leaks out, you can use one of those newer style multipack soap combo tablets as panthera suggested.

I will scan the manual for you and send it when I am done with scanning. If anyone else would like one, let me know!

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