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Help on KDS-18
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Post# 503992   3/14/2011 at 10:43 (1,327 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

A few years back, our Kenmore dishwasher that came in our house went out. We picked up a free/give away lowend, Hotpoint dishwasher (the all plastic ones that weigh about 25 pounds) that got the job done for a while. My wife's mother had a vintage Maytag unit that looked classy and performed so well. We always thought that these older models that were made during the time known as 'they don't make them like they used to anymore' time would be the ones to own if given the opportunity. Well, not long after deciding that the Hotpoint had to go, the annual Salvation Army sale came along and we found a beautiful KDS-18 for $10. What gem it has been! Now the question. For about the last 6 months, I've noticed the Rinse Dispenser not working as the reservoir remains full and I've not had to add any more rinse agent. Then last week, the machine starting stopping (sounds like an oxymoron I know) at the point in the cycle when the timer actuates the Rinse Dispenser and the wash cycle goes no further. If I turn the timer with a screw driver just one small click forward, the unit continues on as normal. Anyone know what I can to fix? I don't want to have the leave the panels off the machine, but right now the only way to finish a cycle is to manualy advance the timer. Thanks for such a great site!

Post# 504032 , Reply# 1   3/14/2011 at 13:27 (1,326 days old) by rp2813 (SF Bay Area)        

rp2813's profile picture

I'm hardly an expert, but you may have to replace the timer. 


Steve T. the Hobart man knows best.  Hopefully he'll see your post and provide some advice.


I think it's safe to say that among KA fans on this site, the KDS-18 is the winner for all-time best KA model Hobart ever turned out.  It's definitely worth fixing.

Post# 504034 , Reply# 2   3/14/2011 at 13:37 (1,326 days old) by tlee618 ()        

You have a winner for sure!  I am no expert by any means but on my KDS 18 It started making a very loud humming noise when the timer reached the point to activate the rinse aid dispenser.  Thanks to good friends who know these machines well they suggested just disconnecting the dispenser which I did.  Spotting is not really an issue for me but hopefully at some point I will find a new one.  Hope this helps.   

Post# 504074 , Reply# 3   3/14/2011 at 16:38 (1,326 days old) by qsd-dan (Pleasanton Ca (Bay Area)        

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Although a little steep in price, here's a brand new timer that should fix her up.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO qsd-dan's LINK on eBay

Post# 504178 , Reply# 4   3/14/2011 at 21:54 (1,326 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Thanks for the info and the link. I am wondering if the RD not working had anything to do with the timer problem? I mean, I don't want to drop $120+ on a new timer only to have it go out in 6 months if it is somehow related. Any ideas on that? Or possibly fixing my timer? Why would it work except for one tiny deadspot that once it gets past, it works fine? Seems like it might just be a bad contact at that point....who knows? Thanks again for your time and advice.

Post# 504201 , Reply# 5   3/15/2011 at 05:45 (1,326 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Before investing in a timer, I would try disconnecting the rinse agent dispenser. Be sure to put electrical tape on the end of the wire. The timer is not the problem. It is the dispenser.

Post# 504213 , Reply# 6   3/15/2011 at 08:06 (1,326 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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Yes there are several possibilities as to why it stops at this point that don't indicate a bad timer. It could also be a bad Sani-rinse thermostat or program switch or even broken wire. And as Tom suggested it could be as simple as a bad rinse aid dispenser. Often when you have a classic product like this that you like it is best to find a good repair person that is familiar with your machine to check it out, then you can start searching for parts if nessessary. You normally will not find good repair help by calling one of the big repair companies like Sears etc. 

Post# 504257 , Reply# 7   3/15/2011 at 12:16 (1,325 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Well, gave disconnecting the RD a try. Wasn't sure which wire to disconnect, so I did both. No change. The power to the timer cut off at the RD point in the cycle and only manually advancing the timer past that point restored the power. Could there be a bad contact in the timer at that point that causes it to loose power?

Post# 504266 , Reply# 8   3/15/2011 at 12:42 (1,325 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

One other detail I failed to mention. After the timer stops at the RD point and the cycle light turns off, in a few seconds you start to hear a low hiss noise from inside the unit. It will stop if you open the latch and begin again once the door is closed and latched.

Post# 504282 , Reply# 9   3/15/2011 at 13:47 (1,325 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

When the machine pauses after the fill is complete and the water has circulated a while, that pause is supposed to last for one timer increment if it is not in the Sani Rinse cycle. What you are hearing is very normal. The heater in the sump (which is two 700 watt elements, comes on at 1400 watts and is heating the water. That sound you are hearing is the sound of water being heated electrically. Try running the dishwasher on the Sani Rinse cycle and see what happens. During the heating period, the Sani light is on, then it goes off when the thermostat detects that the one gallon of water has reached 180F and, AFTER ONE INCREMENT, the water circulation resumes. READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH BEFORE YOU TRY THE SANI RINSE CYCLE FOR A SAFETY CAUTION.

In the Normal Wash cycle, the timer skips over the heating delay and goes into the increment that is not controled by the thermostat which is why you see the RINSE light blink as the timer advances into this pause. If the rinse light is going out, the SANI light should glow signaling heating. It could be the timer, but this is why you really want an experienced KA service person looking at it, someone who knows about 34 year old machines. I had a timer go bad in my builtin 18, but we were sure it was the timer. You don't want someone throwing expensive parts at it.

You were saying that the timer stops the cycle when the dispenser is supposed to be activated, but the dispenser is activated at the beginning of the fill for the third rinse and that initial increment is for the fill and a bit of circulation since it only fills with one gallon of water for the final rinse. So the timer is really stopping at the point where it could go into the Sani heating phase, which should be the second increment of the third rinse. As John suggested, it could be a bad Sani thermostat, the brass-looking plug-like thing in the sump near the heater. If you set it for a Sani Rinse cycle and it does not advance and keeps heating for more than 5 minutes if the water coming to the machine is 140F, the trouble could be with the thermostat. If it does heat for more than 5 minutes with the incoming water at 140F, DO NOT make it resume the cycle. Lift the handle to stop the heating and let everything sit for maybe 4 or 5 minutes. If it overheats the water and then you immediately advance the timer manually, you could be scalded by the over-heated hot water that would erupt out of the vent at the bottom of the door. John and Jeff had a customer with an 18 that did that on the SANI RINSE cycle.

Post# 504285 , Reply# 10   3/15/2011 at 14:06 (1,325 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Ok. Will give it a go this evening and let you know what happens. Thanks for the warning as well.

Post# 504319 , Reply# 11   3/15/2011 at 16:40 (1,325 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Ok. Ran a Sani-Cycle. Timer stopped and cycle light went out at same place as before, the RD on the timer dial. I waited about ten minutes to see if anything different would happen. Heard the same noise pertaining to the water heater. Checked the water temp. at several intervals and it never got over 142F. Manually turned the timer dial slightly and the Sani-Cycle light iluminated, water heater noise continued but nothing else. Waited about 5 more minutes and checked water temp. No change. Manually turned timer dial slightly again, timer started running again, Rinse light lit and wash cycle finished. I don't believe the Sani-Cycle ever ran.

Post# 504349 , Reply# 12   3/15/2011 at 19:14 (1,325 days old) by rp2813 (SF Bay Area)        

rp2813's profile picture

Steve is pretty good about replying to KA questions so hopefully he'll show up here and provide input in addition to what Tom already has suggested.  My machine is a later series and in many ways presents an apples/oranges situation so I don't have much to offer.

Post# 504357 , Reply# 13   3/15/2011 at 20:18 (1,325 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
okay, okay

I saw this yesterday but didn't have a chance to weigh in on it.

As was pointed out above, the dispenser injects during the final water fill so you should hear the coil humming or buzzing when it is working. If it does buzz, then it is working and we need to search elsewhere. If it does not buzz, check it for continuity with a meter(analog is best). You can also hook up a test lamp to the leads to see if there is voltage to the dispenser at the proper time. If the light does not light up, then you either have burned out contacts in the timer since you did mention that it stalls in the sani cycle or maybe the program switch has some fried terminals preventing the timer from advancing.
One thing I tell most of the guys on here about these machines of all vintages from Hobart, they liked to piggyback many of the neutral(white) wires in various spots under the tank. I ruined a perfectly good KDS18 OEM timer because I thought it had bad contacts and could not get it to work again. I ordered a new FSP timer and it didnt work either. Then I turned the machine over and found a burned junction of 3 white wires which, when repaired, allowed the machine to run perfectly again, albeit slightly differently than the OEM timer did.

So maybe you should pull the machine out and check those connections.
Also, I had the Sani Heat tstat fall apart on my machine too. Wire connector got slightly loose and caused the terminal to overheat and fall off. Same thing happened on the same machine to the hot air blower safety stat.
These things can or should be expected on a machine of this age. Has nothing to do with poor design so much as life expectancy of components.
I have another NIB FSP timer if you need it, but hold off till you troubleshoot some more. If the machine is in good shape, fix it and keep it going as long as you can.


Post# 504359 , Reply# 14   3/15/2011 at 21:18 (1,325 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Thank you all for the great info on things to consider and look for. Will carefully do that. One (probably dumb) question, though. What is or where is the program switch?

Post# 504362 , Reply# 15   3/15/2011 at 21:32 (1,325 days old) by qsd-dan (Pleasanton Ca (Bay Area)        
What is or where is the program switch?

qsd-dan's profile picture
In red

Post# 504420 , Reply# 16   3/15/2011 at 23:18 (1,325 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

OK. Thanks, Dan. I should've guessed. After inspecting all the connections, underneath and at the program switches, everything really looks great. I did remove the timer and the protective metal guard around it and inspected the metal contacts. One of them looks fried and another one looks kinda fried. Also, one of the plastic cogs or teeth in the timer dial looked like half of it had melted away at some point. I tried placing a drop or two of plastic epoxy on it to restore it to original size as best as I could and ran a quick wash. No improvement. I did check the RD and it was getting voltage, but it wasn't functioning. The unit stops on the first increment after the RD is powered and not right when it is powered. So, it fills for the last rinse and goes for that first increment until the timer advances one time after the RD and then it stops. I'm thinking the bad contacts in the timer are the answer, but would gladly accept more experienced/knowledgeable advice. When I ran the Sani-Cycle previously today, the water temp never got above 142F. I checked the water heaters this past wash cycle and they both were getting power. What could cause that to happen?

Post# 504730 , Reply# 17   3/17/2011 at 08:08 (1,324 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Hi, Steve. I was wondering if I need to replace the timer, what you would ask for the one you mentioned you had? (You can just PM me the details if you like.) I'm still not sure about the problem as I haven't had any more time to investigate. If the bad contact on my timer is the problem, something must have caused it, and I don't want to replace the timer and have the same thing happen to the new one. I need to check the T-stat for the sani-wash. Should it be closed normally and then open when the high temp is reached? Thanks.

Post# 505082 , Reply# 18   3/18/2011 at 20:50 (1,322 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
still following this thread

and sent you an email in response to your thoughts in the above box!

Post# 505111 , Reply# 19   3/18/2011 at 22:25 (1,322 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Yes, thank you so much for your help, Steve. I really appreciate all the help and insight thus far. I believe I've narrowed it down to the timer. Here are a couple of pictures to help see what I'm talking about. The plastic tooth or cog on the timer dial that corresponds to actuating one of the contacts is missing about first half of the plastic. Something must have happened at that contact that caused it to melt away. So, it doesn't cause the contacts to touch when it is supposed to. But, if it is manually turned just a little more, the rest of the half which is still intact pushes the contact together as required. I don't think there is anyway to repair it, but I'm sure even if I could, if would not want to keep it as the contacts are just probably worn out. I mentioned in an earlier post that I attempted to repair the tooth/cog with some plastic epoxy but it apparently didn't hold strong enough and it just popped off.

Post# 505112 , Reply# 20   3/18/2011 at 22:27 (1,322 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Here is another shot of it.....

Post# 505206 , Reply# 21   3/19/2011 at 15:43 (1,321 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

One more thing I just discovered. Both water heating elements are not working during that last rinse. Are they supposed to be? Is the water supposed to get up to 180? It is only getting up to about 170. Maybe this is my problem if the water temp is supposed to get up to 180 and it can't, then the tstat never actuates to continue the cycle. Does this sound right? Is there any way to check the heater element? Thanks.

Post# 505207 , Reply# 22   3/19/2011 at 15:49 (1,321 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Getting voltage to front water heater element. No voltage to other element toward back.

Post# 505272 , Reply# 23   3/19/2011 at 22:17 (1,321 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

I just found out that the condition in my earlier post is normal when doing a 'normal wash'. The other element only kicks in during a Sani-Cycle, right? However, it looks like there are two T-stats connected to the brass plug or thermocouple in the basin. One is for the second Sani-Cycle element and the other looks like it is connected to the what I'll call the normal element. Is this a T-stat too? If so, does anyone know the limit on it? During the last rinse in a normal cycle, the water temp got up to around 170-172F and the voltage never stopped. Is this normal or is that T-stat supposed to open at some point?

I think I am slowly beginning to undestand how this superb Superba works (thanks to all the expert help and just checking things out as they work). But I still have to figure out what is supposed to happen at the first increment after the 3rd rinse begins. Is there supposed to be a pause there until the water heats up to a certain temp with no lights on and timer stopped? Then things get going again once the water temp reaches the specified temp? What is that temp for a normal wash? (I know it is 180F for a Sani-Cycle.) If that second T-stat to the normal element is faulty and remains closed, will it keep trying to heat the water up indefinitely (and never progress like is happening now)?

I think I am getting closer to nailing down the issue. It is funny that that partially melted cog is right at the point of a contact when this happens, too. If it turns just a little more so that the full height of that cog pushes up at the contact point, the light comes on and the timer starts. Maybe I'll figure this thing out soon. Thanks again for all the input and your time as well. -Chris

PS- I did figure out that my contacts (even the ones that looked kinda bad) were still making contact. I took my timer apart to test them. That is also how I got the picture of the melted plastic cog. Boy, it was real easy to take apart but very tricky to get back together again!

Post# 505288 , Reply# 24   3/20/2011 at 00:05 (1,321 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Testing ! 1,2,3,

The element on your machine is a dual wattage elementwhich puts out 1400 watts total. When heating the water thru the cycles, it uses one 700 watt element coil in the sheath element in the sump. When calling for Sani heat, it adds the other 700 watt coil making it 1400 watts. WH1 wire on the heater is the first 700 watts and WH2 wire comes on at the sani heat portion. There is a single neutral wire on the other terminal end of the element under the machine which is white in color.
The sani thermostat, as I explained in my email, is normally open and interrupts the timer motor until it closes when the sump tstat sees 180 degrees. I am sure there is some variance on that tstat as mine consistently goes to 186-188 degrees before closing and advnacing the timer to finally rinse. The other tstat is the hi limit thermostat which opens at about 195-200 degrees(guys, correct me as I dont have the sertvice manual here with me as I write this). This will shut the whole machine down if it gets that hot. The main wiring goes from the door interlock switch to that thermostat and then to everything else.

As I also mentioned in the email. you can plug the timer harnesses back in and determine what the burned contacts went to and check and see if the component is bad or not. I suspect that if you put another timer in the machien, you WILL do the same thing to that timer if you don't find out what is wrong. I killed my KDS-19 timer in a similar manner when the wire for the drain valve fell off and shorted on the neutral terminal of the valve. I tripped the breaker when I turned on the machine and didn't check first and determine the cause and when I reset the breaker, it popped again, smoke was coming out of the control panel and the wires welded themselves on the drain valve. So be careful and thorough. You will just have to take the flexible cover off the timer and see where the contacts lead and then look at the wiring diagram which shows the black and white connectors and what wires go to what component.You could also simply follow the specific color wire to the offending item.
If it turns out that you have a bad element, I have a few of them too so you will still be able to get the machine going.

If it is the element, since you are heating the water with at least 700 watts, it will work if you disconnect the offending wire leading to the short in the heater.
The dishwasher should still go up to close to or above 180 and then advance when the thermostat closes. It will just take a longer time to get there.

Post# 505578 , Reply# 25   3/21/2011 at 11:17 (1,319 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Looks like the contact (that melted the cog) leads to the Sani-Cycle t-stat (white wire with violet marks). Will try to test this t-stat and report.


Post# 505600 , Reply# 26   3/21/2011 at 12:43 (1,319 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Sani-cycle t-stat tests ok.

Post# 505734 , Reply# 27   3/21/2011 at 21:04 (1,319 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

Sani-Cycle heating element doesn't get the water temp up to 180 on the last rinse. Both elements are getting voltage and Sani-Cycle light is on (I still have to advance the timer manually just a little to get it to come on) but the temp never gets up there. The highest it goes is about 170. So I'm thinking that the element is maybe what burned up and also cause the melted cog at that point.

Post# 505738 , Reply# 28   3/21/2011 at 21:11 (1,319 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

BTW, can I use a multi-meter to test the element? If so, how do I go about it?

Thanks ---Chris

Post# 505740 , Reply# 29   3/21/2011 at 21:20 (1,319 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Almost sometimes counts..

if the tank heat gets to 170, does it then close the thermostat and continue with the cycle? Did you actually disconnect the wires from WH1 and WH2 wires and test them for voltage to neutral? If you did not, you would read 120 volts on both of them because they are tied together at the other end by a single neutral. You have to isolate them to be sure. Or take an amp check on them if you have an ampmeter and they should be drawing somewhere between 11.5 and 13 amps depending on your actual voltage.
Now, if those contacts ran to the sani stat and no longer meet,then that could be why it is not advancing the timer to the next detent. The only thing that is throwing me is that you say it stops there in all the other cycles as well, right.
Check that out and let us know and email me so I can check in with you on Tuesday as SUN,MON,TUES are my regular days off now.

Post# 505783 , Reply# 30   3/22/2011 at 06:43 (1,319 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

"If the tank heat gets to 170, does it then close the thermostat and continue with the cycle?" Yes, but only if I 'help' the timer a little. It does always get 'stuck' at this same spot in every cycle. I checked the amps on the heaters last night and during the Sani-Cycle they were pulling 12.8 and the water temp did make it to 180 at which point the t-stat closed and the cycle continued. But, as stated, I had to apply a little pressure to the timer to keep it active. It is almost like it is only a hair's breadth away from making contact and just a little pressure applied allows it to make contact. If I let off, it stops and Sani light goes out. (I don't believe it will ever get the water to 180 on only one element.)

Post# 505798 , Reply# 31   3/22/2011 at 07:38 (1,319 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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You need a new or even good used replacement timer, these things do wear out.

Post# 507089 , Reply# 32   3/26/2011 at 20:20 (1,314 days old) by cmlambkds18 ()        

And the winner is?!???! Looks like it was a faulty timer after all. Picked up a good used one on eBay for $40 and the KDS-18 is back to running smoothly again. I really appreciate all the troubleshooting help. I learned greatly from the experience.


Post# 507110 , Reply# 33   3/26/2011 at 22:54 (1,314 days old) by rp2813 (SF Bay Area)        

rp2813's profile picture

I love a thread that ends with an easy fix.  And it was a good learning experience getting there.


Congratulations and enjoy that Superba for the many more years that it will likely serve you.

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