Thread Number: 69544  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Kitchenaid Dishwasher KDC-21A / KDI-21Parts Interchange
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Post# 924432   3/1/2017 at 22:15 (477 days old) by msmaiden (new england)        

Our beloved Kitchenaid dishwasher that was in this house when we moved in 26 years ago stopped working couple of weeks ago. I thought we would have to give in and buy one of the new pieces of junk that they sell now.

But hubby got it working today.....(big sigh of relief)

We have picked up parts both NOS and used and swapped out several.

I am picking up extras to have on hand for any future troubles.

My question: Would the heating element from a KDI-21 fit the KDC-21A? The part number is different than what is listed on the downloaded parts list I retrieved from kitchenaid. The motor relay we bought from this particular seller was from a KDI-21 and it did have a matching part number for our KDC-21A.

From what I have learned on this valuable site the "I" is for the higher end model "Imperial" while the "C" is for the lowly "Custom". I think the heating element should fit but I wanted to ask the much wiser members of this forum.


Post# 924477 , Reply# 1   3/2/2017 at 09:35 (477 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Swap Away!

Rest assured that just about every part in those machines are interchangeable except for the timers and the program switches. Everything else is basically the same. The heating elements should be no problem except that you need to be careful about the gaskets that seal them to the tank. As you know, there is just about nothing available as far as replacement parts for them thanks to Whirlpool killing that off years ago. As long as you can keep swapping parts out, your machine will last another 20 years!
It is entirely possible that your machines make be totally identical in features as there were upgrade levels on the Custom models that brought them to the Imperial level with adjustable racks and identical cycles. I had a KDC21D which had all the Imperial features. One of the best machines I ever had.

Post# 924532 , Reply# 2   3/2/2017 at 16:22 (477 days old) by msmaiden (new england)        
Thank you stevet!

I went ahead and bought the heating element to have on hand. We bought a circuit board/timer (very hard to find), the door interlock switch, the "push button" panel, blower motor and motor relay.

I know many would insist we are nuts for wanting to keep using an old dw vs a new one.
Well we like the old gal. Not certain how old it really is as it was already here but I have have been using it without issues for 26 years. I don't think the previous owners used it much. It certainly wasn't abused.

Personally I prefer the mechanical controls too.

When I began reading reviews for the new dishwashers I was shocked at the lack of quality. Plastic tubs? Lack of a heating element and blower motor? Cheap racks? Electronic controls that fail within a couple of years? Some models not even having an upper arm sprayer????

No thank you, I'll keep my old dishwasher for as long as I possibly can. Hubby had it apart and said everything looked fine; no rust, the porcelain tub is shiny and without chips, the racks have no rust and the wiring looked good too.

To us the cost of parts vs a new piece of poorly made junk makes it well worth keeping the KitchenAid.

Thanks again!!

Post# 924546 , Reply# 3   3/2/2017 at 19:18 (477 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I think the last year the 21 series machines were produced was 1989 or 1990, so your dishwasher may have been almost new when you moved in. 


If you want to give your machine an updated look, you can get a set of stainless steel front panels for it, although KitchenAids do have timeless appeal without them.

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