Thread Number: 72630  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Who repairs Kitchenaid Hobart KDS-18 dishwashers?
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Post# 959596   9/28/2017 at 12:30 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

Hi everyone,

We have a Kitchenaid Hobart KDS-18 dishwasher that needs to be repaired. Three different service people have come out to our home, only to tell me to dump the dishwasher and buy a new Bosch. After reading the forums and researching vintage models, I'm convinced that this dishwasher can be saved, if only I could find the right person willing and able to fix it. Cost is a concern, and the problem seems to be the motor, among other things. Neither of us has the skill required to take it apart and tinker.

Can anyone help with a referral in Northern California?

The opinions and advice I've read already have been very helpful. Thanks!

Post# 959599 , Reply# 1   9/28/2017 at 12:59 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

If cost is a concern you might want to consider replacing it. Parts are hard to come by , and when available people ask a premium for them. Service people charge around $150/hr

Post# 959600 , Reply# 2   9/28/2017 at 13:01 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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First, I would not put much faith into diagnoses from the so-called repair techs who advised to junk the machine.


Second, I suggest providing the best description you can of what the machine is or isn't doing, so experts here can post about possible sources of the trouble.   Armed with that information, you could track down the necessary part(s) and then find someone to install them.


I presume the machine has been delivering satisfactory results or you wouldn't be interested in keeping it.  If you're located on the peninsula, the water quality there should be fine for a machine like yours, even with today's detergents that lack phosphates.

Post# 959645 , Reply# 3   9/28/2017 at 15:46 by rapidry1000 (San Francisco)        

I'm in San Francisco and have been using an appliance repair firm in Brisbane, CA called Lee's Appliances. He only repairs stoves and dishwashers. I've used the company to repair my 80's Magic Chef gas built in oven and recently my 1988 In-sink-erator dishwasher. Family business that is fast, quick, but pricey. You can reach the company at 650-992-2431.

Post# 959648 , Reply# 4   9/28/2017 at 15:51 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

The machine had been working fine, until one day the cycle just stopped. I'm guessing a toddler pushing buttons at his exact height might have caused something to happen, but multiple technicians seem to have no clue or interest in solving the problem.

When a normal wash is selected, we hear the rumblings of a wash started but there are no sounds of water coming in. If a glass of water is poured manually into the dishwasher, it starts leaking out of the right bottom corner. The spinners at the bottom don't move when the wash is started, and when the wash is cancelled, we hear the motor or noises still going for several seconds.

Thanks to the experts for weighing in.

Post# 959652 , Reply# 5   9/28/2017 at 16:00 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Doctor Bombay!

rp2813's profile picture

LOL -- experts haven't weighed in yet!  With all due respect to those who have posted thus far . . .


Paging SteveT!

Post# 959663 , Reply# 6   9/28/2017 at 16:50 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

Rapidry1000. Thanks for the referral. We aren't far from Brisbane, and that business seems familiar with older machines.

Thanks, in advance!, to the experts for weighing in. Lol

Post# 959739 , Reply# 7   9/28/2017 at 20:57 by Lorainfurniture (Cleveland )        

Have you removed the kick plate to see where the leak is coming from? Do you have a voltage tester?

Post# 959764 , Reply# 8   9/29/2017 at 01:17 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

No, to both questions. Could a complete amateur fix this? Unfortunately, I'm not handy, and while I'm eager to learn, I'm not sure this broken machine should be my first project.

(My kitchen also houses an old Chambers cook top, which has held up beautifully.)

Post# 959766 , Reply# 9   9/29/2017 at 02:43 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Well, it's safe to say you have the dishwasher equivalent of a Chambers cook top or range, but that statement requires a disclaimer of sorts.  Chambers did put its name on dishwashers for a while, but they didn't make them, and they were not known for their performance or longevity.


I'm curious about how just a single glass of water can cause leaking up front.  Presuming the machine isn't filling with water on its own, a glass of water poured into the machine would run down into the bottom of the sump area in the center of the tub, and it wouldn't be anywhere near enough to get sprayed around.   Something about this doesn't add up.  You should be able to dump a gallon or two of water into the machine without overfilling the tub.  You might try that with hot tap water and see if you get wash action.


If you're hearing motor sounds, then the motor is doing something, or trying to.  What's not happening is water entering the tub when it should be.  It could be a fill valve and/or its related solenoid that has failed, or the timer has stopped sending the command for that to happen.  The fill valve would be fairly easy to replace if it's not a hard to find part, but if the timer has issues, it could be a challenge to find a replacement.  It could also be something really simple, like a loose wire that finally broke off either of those components.


Those who are familiar with the KDS-18 may know of a way to check if the timer is at fault.  Since there's no timer knob on Superba models, you can't manually advance it into a later fill period to see if water would start flowing then, which would likely implicate the timer mechanism for the no fill behavior in the beginning.  Maybe there's a way to do this from behind the panel, but the experts will have to advise.


It's normal for the machine to operate for a short period after the "Cancel" option is selected, so that part seems to be OK.  It just sounds weird to you right now because there's no water in the tub to pump out.  It might only be a coincidence that a toddler had messed with the buttons before the trouble started. 


Post# 959868 , Reply# 10   9/29/2017 at 19:14 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

The last repair technician poured the water into the tub and said the water was leaking out of the right hand corner. It was a bit wet, so I assumed that was accurate. I'll try a larger tub of hot water and see if I can get anything going. The motor doesn't appear to be shot, but you're right in that there is a disconnect between the select wash function and the water starting.

Post# 959891 , Reply# 11   9/29/2017 at 22:25 by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Leak is a possibility

I have seen these machines develop leaks in the corners where the weld under the porcelain breaks and then causes a small leak which would be evident by pouring water into that area and needless to say, much more of a leak if the tub actually filled with water.A leak like this if there is not a big crack can be repaired from the outside with a good marine type 2 part epoxy sealer. Buys you some more time with the current machine.
As others have suggested, try to determine if the machine is actually filling with water when it starts.
I suggest that you close and latch the door, press cancel/drain so that the timer advances all the way to the end and then wait a few minutes until the timer actually returns to the very end of its travel after all the noise stops. If you listen carefully, you will hear the timer working and then stop. Maybe a minute or so.

Then, unlatch the door and the timer will click to the start cycle. Then relatch the door, and press the soak cycle button. That will start the machine at the very beginning of the timer's programming and start filling the machine. I had a timer that would miss segments of the cycle if I pressed any other cycle selection and the machine would not cycle properly until later in each cycle and might have missed a fill segment. See how that works and take down notes as to what is happening.
Then we can go from there.

Post# 959944 , Reply# 12   9/30/2017 at 17:15 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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"(Elder Hobart Testosterone is nothing to f--k with.)"

Listen to this guy. He is ruling Hobart Galaticla.

Post# 959990 , Reply# 13   10/1/2017 at 01:34 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

So much good information. I'll try your suggestions in the morning. Thanks for the advice. Until now, I had forgotten one other thing: when the machine was up and running, right before it stopped working altogether, the pipes would make a huge racket and shake the whole countertop during a regular wash cycle. That was the reason for the first technician's visit. Soon after, the clicking noise would sound when we selected regular wash, but no water would start filling the tub. That was the reason for tech visit 2 and 3.

Post# 960024 , Reply# 14   10/1/2017 at 09:51 by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Now that is a new revelation...

Now it sounds like you have a faulty or failing fill valve. Something to check on and don't forget, the supply valve to the dishwasher under the sink or in the basement could have a failed washer in it that could cause the chattering or even stop the water from flowing and could be the problem too. Something else to spend your Sunday checking into!
Keep us posted. Nobody wants to see a KDS-18 scrapped out.

Post# 960325 , Reply# 15   10/2/2017 at 23:52 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

This seems like a promising lead, but unfortunately my husband and I are not DIY fixit people. I had to google some of the terms you used, so I think I'd need more days than a Sunday afternoon to check out this problem. The three different technicians who came out to check out the machine all declined the work -- too much trouble and not worth the time or money. Which leaves me a bit stuck. Do I pull up YouTube videos and attempt this myself or call one more appliance repair guy (kindly recommended by Rapidry1000.) This would be the very last service fee that I could stomach.

Thanks again for taking the time to help!

Post# 960376 , Reply# 16   10/3/2017 at 08:01 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

dermacie's profile picture
You have nothing to lose at this point. You might as well give it a go and try.

Post# 960383 , Reply# 17   10/3/2017 at 09:05 by chachp (Conway, AR)        
Do these help?

chachp's profile picture


I was where you are (as many here were too) and was really intimidated by the whole idea of working on one of these.  But really there are just a few basic principles to how these work and once you're comfortable with those you won't be so reluctant to dig in and see what's going on.  They fill, they circulate the water and they drain.  The timer shuts all these processes on and off at the correct times.


I've attached a couple of graphics that might help you.  One is how to remove the bottom panel (if you haven't already done that) and the other is how to remove the fill valve.  If you decide you want to dig in further you can download the entire Service Manual for this machine at:


Give it a shot.  Just make sure you turn off the water and power.  You might just surprise yourself.



  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 960445 , Reply# 18   10/3/2017 at 15:45 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

If you know anyone who is even minimally handy, they could probably perform the remove/replace of the fill valve for you with the guidance provided above.   A screwdriver and a pair of pliers should do it.  Cut the power to the dishwasher first.


I don't know if the lower front access panel is as tricky to put back in place as on later models, but usually they will pop into position after a few tries.  A screwdriver is all you'd need for this.


The household water supply valve that serves the dishwasher is usually located under the sink.  Unless your house is really old, that valve may not be the source of the problem but if it is, it's again an easy job for someone handy to replace it .  A wrench and some teflon tape should be all that's required.  Be sure to shut off the hot water supply at the top of the water heater first, or shut off the water to the entire house if you know where that valve is.

Post# 960480 , Reply# 19   10/3/2017 at 19:26 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
If three proffessional repair people have already looked

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this DW, and advised against repair, it is time for a another DW.


As someone that has worked for almost 40 years as a KA DW repair tech I can tell you that this KDS-18 is likey to need quite a few repairs to get it back to good running condition.


KA DWs were very good machines, BUT they are more complex than most other brands and they were never the most reliable DWs, they did tend to be long lived because they were expensive and we made lots of money repairing them because people really liked them.


BUT fast forward to today, most parts are NLA, there are few guys that know how to fix them any longer, AND labor and service call costs have gone up by a factor of over 500% since this DW was installed in the late 70s.


The best thing to do is get a new Maytag DW or possibility a good slightly used DW.


John L.

Post# 960518 , Reply# 20   10/3/2017 at 23:59 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

"If three professional repair people have already looked at this DW . . ."


John, I'm betting the literal meaning of that statement captures exactly what likely transpired:  They just looked at it.  Nothing more.  They pronounced it junk and didn't bother trying to diagnose anything -- because they didn't know how.


How many machines have been saved through posts on this site when they were pronounced Not Worth Fixing by one or more clueless young "professionals," but ended up needing only a simple fix that in some cases cost less than $10 and didn't even require a so-called professional to do the work?










Post# 960519 , Reply# 21   10/4/2017 at 00:06 by Jay (California Bay Area)        

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. My handyman father comes to visit this weekend, and I will carve out a couple of hours to get into the machine and give it a shot. Appreciate the graphics, tips, manual, and practical advice. Time to get my hands dirty...I'll keep you posted.

Post# 960520 , Reply# 22   10/4/2017 at 00:49 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Gotta love those handyman fathers!  I learned everything I know from mine and now he calls me for advice!

Post# 960806 , Reply# 23   10/5/2017 at 15:20 by pdub (Portland, Oregon)        
Replacement Water Valve

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These are plentiful on ebay. Part number is: WP417100.


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Post# 960815 , Reply# 24   10/5/2017 at 15:55 by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Got one of those!

In my garage. In fact, had it in my hand the other night thinking about this very post!
Can't go wrong at that price for a new one. Grab it!

If you want to go with the original 2 coil style, let me know. got loads of them as well!

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