Thread Number: 71447  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
1955 Kenmore portable dishwasher issues
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Post# 945439   6/26/2017 at 19:47 (361 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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Tyler came the other week and I pulled out the 1955 Kenmore to show him.  Apparently the water valve solenoid has bit the dust.  I went to the appliance shop and got one that should work and modified it to fit the cabinet.  The only problem is that the inlet tube died.  Anyone have any suggestions on a replacement?  Also, since I'm asking, does anyone happen to have a control panel around?  I'm debating having it 3D scanned and printed, because every time I pull out a hose it tries to break more.  In case anyone is curious #9 and #23 on the book page.

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Post# 945501 , Reply# 1   6/27/2017 at 00:37 (361 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Will, I just LOVE your kitchen! Best of luck with the dishwasher!

Post# 945537 , Reply# 2   6/27/2017 at 08:11 (360 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Will, the only suggestion I could make about the fill tube would be to make one out of semi-rigid pipe with an elbow.  Just use reinforced pipe.... LOL    I don't know if they make the 'pex' pipe in small diameter - but I used 3/8 inch reinforced semi-flexible pipe on both the '62 Mobile Maid and '59 Princess dishwashers recently.  


I wonder if a sign shop might be able to recreate the control panel for you.... 

Post# 945538 , Reply# 3   6/27/2017 at 08:12 (360 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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I guess it would help if I posted the old book page.

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Post# 945539 , Reply# 4   6/27/2017 at 08:17 (360 days old) by classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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Thanks Louis! Paul, I wonder if I can get the smaller inner diameter out of the simi-rigid pipe? I don't have the best water pressure, and I want to make sure I get enough out of the water out of the old girl to do what needs to get done. How does the D&M inlet tube compare to the G.E.? Thanks for the suggestion!

Post# 945540 , Reply# 5   6/27/2017 at 08:23 (360 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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The inlet tube looks about the same as on the GE and I have really bad water pressure in Ogden (we're on a well) but the machines seem to get enough water in during the fill periods.   I've used elbows and tees on other machines with no real issues with water flow (but it is a good thing they are hidden - they start looking like something out of a science experiment gone wrong... LOL).  

Post# 945560 , Reply# 6   6/27/2017 at 11:02 (360 days old) by wiskybill (Canton, Ohio)        
Consider this..


As Yogi would say "thinking outside the box"

Consider this, heat shrink tubing used in electrical applications.
You can find it at Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, etc.

You may find a large enough tubing to slip over the damaged end. Maybe coat
the area first with a silicone sealant and then slip the hs tube over and
then shrink it being careful not to overheat the rest of the elbow. It doesn't
take a torch to shrink it, I've done it with a lighter stick.
Allow time for the silicone to cure before trying it.

Just an idea, but it could work.


Post# 945569 , Reply# 7   6/27/2017 at 12:38 (360 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Will, I wanted to comment on the photo of your beautiful, step-back-in-time kitchen (photo #11 in the original post). Awesome! Best of luck with the required repairs for your '55.

Post# 945571 , Reply# 8   6/27/2017 at 12:46 (360 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
easy fix..

It looks like you have the new water valve and to replace that rubber hose should be no real problem.
Go to a hydraulic hose supply store and pick up some of the red or green silicon hose of the proper diameter to fit the valve outlet. Then thread it thru the hole in the bracket that the old piece would have locked into. Get a small piece of copper tubing or CPVC and connect it to the end of the hose such that if just fits down into the filler tube on the machine so you maintain the air gap. That should last another 50 years. Use appropriate hose clamps to secure everything.

You may even luck out and be able to slip the silicon hose down into the fill tube and avoid having to get the additional nipple.

Post# 945863 , Reply# 9   6/29/2017 at 10:38 (358 days old) by newvista58 (Northern NJ)        

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Hello Will,

Most auto part stores carry rubber Vacuum Hose / Emission system
fittings. They come in Lots of Sizes, Configurations, and
definitely come in molded Elbow form. There are small fittings
that are used to connect small controls under a dash, etc. They
are not expensive, and you could grab a few, of different sizes,
and see if one will do the trick?

Just another option. I have had success with these on various
projects. Good Luck.

Best washes,


Post# 945891 , Reply# 10   6/29/2017 at 15:26 (358 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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also, check pet stores, well more along the lines of aquariums, they have all sorts of elbows and such for power filters, in a variety of sizes....

time to put on your thinking cap and create something so bizarre, yet it works.....been there!...

keep us posted..... can you have poor water pressure with a well?.....every house I had with a well, if the pressure wasn't enough, we would turn it up!

Post# 945896 , Reply# 11   6/29/2017 at 15:45 (358 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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Martin, I believe the issue is with our cold water holding tank. It should be pressurized to provide a decent water flow but I think ours is worn out.  In the other house in St-Lib, we also are on a well but have a fairly new tank and no water pressure issues.

Post# 945908 , Reply# 12   6/29/2017 at 17:25 (358 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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well, it would be a lot of info to type to add air to a bladder is a great help in showing what to do....

for as you increase water pressure, you have to make the air pressure in your tank roughly 5 lbs less than the "ON" pressure....

I would start first with adjusting the nuts in the pressure switch...when first installed, we had a pressure switch 30/50...turning the nuts adjusted it higher....when that broke, I installed a 50/80, which is what I had it adjusted to....a world of difference, you will be surprised at what you can run all at the same time with barely noticing a drop in pressure....especially running several washers at one time....

inside that little black box you should find instructions of which nut controls which function, either way, you have to turn both equally.....I made 1/4 turn increments until I got it to where I wanted it.....

it was also better to find a sweet spot, as we have outside sprinklers, to adjust the pressure so the pump runs continuously when their on, rather than cycle back and forth....

hope this helps....

Post# 946250 , Reply# 13   7/1/2017 at 18:09 (356 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        
Update.... HELP!

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So in good news, I got the parts to make the water valve work!  I plugged it in... Nothing.  I had tested the valve, and had noticed when the value was off it was leaking water.  Turns out the pressure switch finally died.  I bipassed it and it and the valve fired up.  It seemed to be a little less water than I remember in the past, so I left in a bit more in.  It ran though the wash cycle fine but somewhere around rinse/dry a bunch of water would up in the floor and white smoke came billowing out of the bottom of the machine.  


I had towels around but had to get a fan, open the windows, and vacate the kitchen for a while (it was hard to breathe).  No visible damage.  I talked myself into plugging it in again, got the drain to pump out most of the rest of the water and noted that the motor seems to work fine. That was a close one.


So I have 2 possible culprets to my knowledge... The motor I suspect perhaps with a leak from either around the hearing element or propeller, or possibly the pump.  I was only gone about 20 minutes (as I couldn't breathe with the smoke) but I see little evidence of a leak except condinsation in a set of connectors by the motor. 


So what's next fellas?  How should I proceed?  I don't want to blow the old girl up or ruin the motor/pump.  I'm open to suggestions!  Thanks!

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Post# 946254 , Reply# 14   7/1/2017 at 18:32 (356 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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Water test looks like it's coming from the motor.  I think it's one of the motor mount bolts, but in not sure.  It's not leaking bad, but enough.  It still doesn't explain the ton of water that came out of the machine though.

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Post# 946256 , Reply# 15   7/1/2017 at 19:05 (356 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Smoking DW

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The start winding in the main motor is burned up, you can see it in photo 13.


Time to look for a replacement motor, or better yet a vintage KA top load DW no older than the late 60s-early 70s. It is really hard to keep a vintage DW in regular use they just were not that well made till the later 70s through the 90s, with the exception of KAs after the 15 series came out.

Post# 946258 , Reply# 16   7/1/2017 at 19:36 (356 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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Good eye John!  I was too busy looking for the leak to see the winding.   I'll look for a motor.  I don't really use a dishwasher that often, it's more for asthetics and occasional use.  I'd love a 60s KA portable but, a 14 or 15 series is about as late as I'd want.  I like to keep the house and appliances at about 1965 at the latest. 

This post was last edited 07/01/2017 at 22:07
Post# 946406 , Reply# 17   7/2/2017 at 19:17 (355 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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I see you serve crushed ice made the Ice-O-Matic way 

Post# 946435 , Reply# 18   7/2/2017 at 21:18 (355 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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Hi Will, how can you only use a DW occasionally ? don't you eat every day ?. In any case there is a HUGH difference between a KD-14 series machine and a KD-15 machine, so look for a KA-15 machine unless you  just want a museum piece that will continue to break down ever 5 or 6 times you try and use it.


Trying to use a 1955 D&M built DW on a regular basis is beyond even my ability.

Post# 946496 , Reply# 19   7/3/2017 at 07:33 (354 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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I live alone. 3 meals in one day lead to a bowl, a plate, a cup, a storage container for a work lunch, maybe a pan or two, and the assorted utensils.  I don't wash my pans in the dishwasher (personal preference), so unless I have a party, it would take a week or two to fill the dishwasher.  It's less water and easier to just hand wash.  Now growing up, with 3 people in the house our kds-20 got run every 4 or 5 days when it was full (with my mother prerinsing before filling the dishwasher).  That machine is still going strong and the dishes always sparkle.

Post# 946497 , Reply# 20   7/3/2017 at 07:39 (354 days old) by Classiccaprice (Hampton, Virginia)        

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I'll keep an eye out for a ka portable.  I'd prefer a front loader, but a top loader could done. I also have that RCA Whirlpool in Ohio that I'll get in the not too distant future.

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