Thread Number: 71443  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Kitchenaid Superba by Hobart - unknown year/model
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Post# 945401   6/26/2017 at 15:16 (361 days old) by misspriss (Arkansas)        

So we have this dishwasher in our house, it's been here since the 70's. It still works, I use it almost every day. We are considering replacing it with a newer model that runs quieter and has a larger capacity.

I was unaware if this dishwasher would be something someone would be interested in buying, if we should try and sell it or just junk it.

It's not in perfect condition, the silverware basket has some of the bottoms broken out, and the buttons on the front wriggle. But it works, it cleans dishes - sounds like troll is having a fight with a shark or something while it runs, but it runs and cleans okay.

It's avocado green. Should I spent the time looking for a buyer or just ship it off to the junkyard? I hate to trash it if someone is out there looking for this kind of thing, and like I said, it does work.

Post# 945402 , Reply# 1   6/26/2017 at 15:19 (361 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Pictures of the machine would clarify the model, and there should be a model/serial tag on the door frame (assuming an undercounter unit).

Post# 945405 , Reply# 2   6/26/2017 at 15:46 (361 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
Don't do it----------you will regret it------

The reason the new machines are quiet is because they don't use enough water. It will also take two to three times as long to run a cycle. So what it saves in water it burns in electricity.

IMO you should look around and replace those parts and keep that old KAid----- because for no amount of money are you going to find that level of quality and cleaning ability, today.
Keep that KAid until it rolls over dead!

Just 'sayin

Post# 945406 , Reply# 3   6/26/2017 at 15:53 (361 days old) by misspriss (Arkansas)        

It's a KDS-17. For some reason my phone won't upload the picture of the label to my computer to save my life.

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Post# 945409 , Reply# 4   6/26/2017 at 16:09 (361 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

LMAO I love your description of how it sounds when it's running!

Post# 945410 , Reply# 5   6/26/2017 at 16:20 (361 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Thats the way those sound.

The pump begins to circulate immediately, so it pushes air with water through to the wash arms. As it fills with water, it sounds more like a dishwasher.

Post# 945411 , Reply# 6   6/26/2017 at 16:22 (361 days old) by bendixmark (Winchester Mass)        

I just got one just like that same color only it is brand new never run.

Post# 945414 , Reply# 7   6/26/2017 at 16:56 (361 days old) by misspriss (Arkansas)        

This isn't the first dishwasher I've used, we had a middle of the line dishwasher at our last house that I preferred. I don't mind it running a long time if it's quiet, I don't like not being able to watch TV while the dishwasher is running.

Also we use the top rack a lot, we have small kids so all of the sippies and bowls and what not are top rack only. Not having an arm for the top rack is a big drawback. The machine cleans bowls and plates pretty well on the bottom, but we feel like we have to pre-wash anything we put on the top which kind of defeats the purpose of a dishwasher. It also does a poor job of cleaning pots and pans. It doesn't like the usual dishwasher detergents I usually use either. My husband feels it does a sub-par job on silverware, and I have to admit I agree with him.

The deal is it's a family home, we aren't living here a long time, but we do have a dishwasher available to us to replace it with if we want to, I'm just trying to decide if we should bother to change it out, leave it in and put up with it for another 6 months or does seem a shame to junk out one that is still running, and I know people really like the vintage models.

I do like the adjustable top rack, you have to pay big money to get that on modern dishwashers.

Post# 945469 , Reply# 8   6/26/2017 at 21:36 (361 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I think your concerns about the top rack due to the single arm are valid.  Any large items that obstruct the spray will compromise wash action on the top rack.


However, with average items on the bottom rack, this so-called "hurricane in a box" will clean top rack items fine.  The trouble you're having with cleaning over all is due to the removal of phosphates from all automatic dishwasher detergents a few years ago.  The cycles on your machine don't run long enough for the newer formulas of detergents to be effective.


The simple route would be to purchase restaurant grade dishwasher detergent or "boil out" products because they still contain phosphates.   That would restore the cleaning ability of your machine.   Hand wash the large pots, etc. that would block wash action and you won't have to pre-rinse the stuff for the top rack.


KitchenAid dishwashers from this period never rated well for their noise level, but considering the age of yours, there could be some components that have gotten noisy.  Availability depends on what they are.  Still, if it's currently drowning out the TV, replacement parts probably won't improve the situation enough to resolve that issue. 


With a newer machine, you can use any decent dishwasher detergent in whatever form you like, and as long as you're not in any hurry, you'll have relative peace and quiet while watching TV.



Post# 945473 , Reply# 9   6/26/2017 at 21:56 (361 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        
Yes, the Detergent------

removing the phosphates has crippled the cleaning performance of dishwasher AND clothes washers.
HOT water is also essential for any dishwasher. If your water-heater is turned down low don't expect great results from ANY dishwasher.

I buy both types of (phosphated) detergent from Worldwide Janitor and their products are superb in my opinion.
They also save you $$$$.

Here's a link:

Best of luck to you no matter what you decide to do.

Post# 945513 , Reply# 10   6/27/2017 at 04:20 (360 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

toploader55's profile picture
Cascade Complete Powder seems to do well in Vintage Machines

Post# 945516 , Reply# 11   6/27/2017 at 05:15 (360 days old) by chachp (Conway, AR)        
I have this machine

chachp's profile picture


And I don't have these cleaning issues.  I use the Cascade Complete powder in mine.  However, there is not much you can do about the noise.  You might use some Hot Water heater insulation or something like that to better wrap the tub and the lower panel but you'll likely not get it as quiet as the newer machines on the market.  In order to wrap it you'd have to take it out and at that point you might as well replace it with the spare you have if that works better in your situation.


The issues you are having with cleaning could also be attributed to some condition that has reduced the water pressure in your machine.  There are a few conditions that can contribute to this and parts are still available on eBay and other sources but it would take some patience to diagnose and resolve.


You mention moving in six months.  If this spare machine is one you'd want to take with you to the new house you might as well live with this one a little longer.  If the spare is one you'd be willing to leave in the house then you might as well swap it out now.  The new owners of your house (unless it's someone like one of us) will likely rip it out and replace it with something new anyway.


Sounds like you have a busy life and the last thing you need to do is prewash dishes and pay extreme attention to how you load the machine.  Good luck with your decision.  Someone here may be interested in your machine.  If I had room I would be interested in it, but we are about to put our house on the market and I have to purge.  My other half would strangle me if I can home with another machine at this point in time.

Post# 945527 , Reply# 12   6/27/2017 at 06:30 (360 days old) by joeypete (Concord, NH)        

joeypete's profile picture
These are great machines! But yes, they are very loud. I have an 85 Hobart and I did add some insulation to it to quiet it down. Still not as quiet as the Whirlpool Hobart design machines, but they added a rubber coating to the entire outside of the tub to help with noise. That's something I really don't want to take on LOL.

Modern detergents work fine, don't let anyone tell you non-phosphate detergents don't work. I find though that in these older dishwashers using powder is imperative and adding some phosphate does seem to make the machine happier. I use the Cascade Fryer Boil Out with phosphates and my machine has been working great every since. Before it would groan some when I used the detergent packs. Too many suds, those are designed for newer machines with longer wash cycles.

But like always use what you like. I upgraded my machine with stainless steel panels to give it kind of a modern retro look. It was also a very low usage machine so it's very clean. Personally I wouldn't use an old heavily used dishwasher. Just grosses me out.

Post# 945535 , Reply# 13   6/27/2017 at 07:40 (360 days old) by misspriss (Arkansas)        

I may try the Cascade powder, I've been using a gel/liquid, which I just find easier to put in.

I do not worry about it being heavily used. My grandparent's built the house, my grandfather bought the DW for my grandma, she hardly used it because she thought it used too much water. Like, we used it for Christmas and Thanksgiving only, just to wash all the place settings.

After they moved out, my parents lived here with us kids, we again, only used it for holidays. My mom passed away 5 years ago, and then my dad started using it about once a week until we moved in and now we use it every day/every other day. Although it's old, it hasn't been used a lot.

That said, it has probably never been worked on or serviced either.

We had issues with our more modern dishwasher that most would attribute to "phosphates", which was like a greasy residue on the dishes (especially the plastics). That isn't the problem here, stuff just doesn't get all physically clean, like I washed dishes yesterday and one of the plates still had food residue on it, just a random plate, all the plates had the same kind of soil and were loaded the same way, all came out clean but one - on the bottom.

I talked it over with my husband and I told him we'll probably just deal with it for another 6 months. Maybe the cascade powder might help? That worldwide janitor stuff looks interesting, but it is expensive up front! Sounds like it would work great though.

Post# 945542 , Reply# 14   6/27/2017 at 08:39 (360 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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My family had a KDI-17, middle-of-the-line model compared to your KDS being top-of-line.  We loaded it to the gills and rarely had any cleaning failures.  Probably there's an issue that's causing your problem(s).  Have you checked the spray arm for clogs?  It lifts straight up off the pump.  The filter screen can then be removed for cleaning/examination.  Water fill level possibly low?

Post# 945732 , Reply# 15   6/28/2017 at 13:33 (359 days old) by mercury6768 (Daly City)        

We have a very similar white Kitchen Aid, not sure of the model number or age, would date it to at least the '80s, if not the '70s. It was in a house we bought 4 years ago and we LOVE it! It is certainly noisy but it does an amazing job -- we run it about once a week, on average, though I'm sure previous owners used it heavily. We just close the kitchen doors when it runs. And, we use the Cascade Platinum pods.

Post# 945737 , Reply# 16   6/28/2017 at 13:56 (359 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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17 series was produced from 6/1971 to 7/1974.

It was updated to 17A with addition of a no-heat dry button, 7/1974 to 8/1976.

MissPriss's unit is a KDS-17, not a KDS-17A.

Post# 945743 , Reply# 17   6/28/2017 at 14:51 (359 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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I have a KDS-58. So far it's washing just fine with Cascade Platinum. Good luck with your KDS-17!

Post# 945746 , Reply# 18   6/28/2017 at 15:59 (359 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I can imagine just about any brand of detergent doing a good job in Daly City with that excellent Hetch Hetchy water.


You were wise not to replace that machine.  If it has an upper rack wash arm, it's a newer model than mp's, and worth hanging onto for as long as you can manage to keep it going.

Post# 946550 , Reply# 19   7/3/2017 at 14:21 (354 days old) by misspriss (Arkansas)        

It has no upper rack arm, that would probably make it golden.

I've been using the Cascade powder for a few days, I've been happy with it.

We used the pods like the first week we lived here, the "outside" of the pod would get stuck places. I switched to the gel.

I don't like that the powder is so caustic. My husband used to work in a retail store in the chemical department and he said it was pretty caustic stuff if you spill it or get it on your hands. The gel is easier to use. But oh well.

I wish we had kitchen doors to close! Open plan kitchens...I hate open plan kitchens. Kitchens need doors.

Post# 946573 , Reply# 20   7/3/2017 at 17:20 (354 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Washing problems With A KDS-17

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Check to be sure the machine is filling with enough water, if you open the door during a wash or rinse you should have water up to about the top of the filter.

If you are not sure if it is getting enough water open the door after it has filled for wash or rinse and add one gallon of hot water, if the sound of the machine changes to a steadier sound you probably have a bad inlet valve.

A bad inlet valve is one of the most common problems on an older DW like this.

Post# 947102 , Reply# 21   7/8/2017 at 06:28 (349 days old) by joeypete (Concord, NH)        
John...(or anyone who may know)

joeypete's profile picture
So last night when I ran my KDM-21 it filled weird. When I selected the cycle it started filling like normal but towards the end of the fill, the water slowed down to almost a trickle (I could still hear it going in). Normally it fills pretty forcefully then goes right into heat mode. Could this be the inlet valve? Do you have a part number by chance if it is...and is it easy to without removing the dishwasher.


This post was last edited 07/08/2017 at 10:06

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