Thread Number: 72536  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
KitchenAid Imperial by Hobart KDI-57 Electrical Issue -- Smokes When Run
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Post# 958404   9/21/2017 at 04:49 (369 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        

Hello, all! I am hoping that I have come to the right place. Our KitchenAid Imperial dishwasher (KDI-57) of approximately 45 years (which we love dearly) has been working well until this evening when it started smoking during the beginning of the wash cycle. The smoke was coming out of the latch that keeps the door closed (on the top).

Here's the rundown of what happened:
Our dishwasher's detergent dispensers have not worked for several years, so my Mom (being clever) just loads the soap in by hand at the appropriate time (just as the water is filling during the Wash cycle). Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put in the detergent, which I realized at the end of the Rinse cycle. So, I opened the door, put in the detergent, closed the door, advanced the timer to the beginning of the wash cycle and pushed in the button labeled "Full Cycle" to start the dishwasher. Then (for the first time in its life) it made a very weird noise, like a relay was stuck or there was some strange draw on the electrical motor (almost like a soft sputtering/stuttering or static noise), but then it engaged the water filling. I immediately lifted the handle to stop the dishwasher. After about 1 min., I put the handle back down and pushed the "Full Cycle" button again. It made a 1/2 sec or less odd electrical noise but began to complete the fill of the water and continue on with the wash cycle as normal. Unfortunately just after the water was in, wisps of smoke near the top of the dishwasher appeared. We let the washer rest for about 5 min and tried again. Same thing -- a bit of smoke. I let it rest even longer (1 hour) but no good -- still smoke. Not wanting to do any damage to our precious dishwasher, we gave up, and I started looking on the internet and found this forum.

I sure hope you can steer me in the right direction. I am wondering if the 3 button program switch just failed? Or maybe the Electrical Supply box? The wiring harness? The timer seems to be still advancing, and the machine is running well, despite the smoke. What do I do to troubleshoot? Are there any parts for this dw? We are in Cleveland. Do you know of an appliance repairman we could hire to help us? I am praying that the answer is yes! My mother of 90 years is very fond of this machine, as am I, and we want to keep it going for many more years. I am willing to try anything. I grew up with this machine (it used to be a portable dishwasher, but we installed it permanently after about 5 years of using it as a portable). She has been a great caretaker of this vintage dishwasher, along with her Tappan Visualite electric range. Please help if at all possible. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and for any help you might be able to give.

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Post# 958424 , Reply# 1   9/21/2017 at 08:29 (369 days old) by jeff_adelphi (Adelphi, Maryland, USA)        
Bob's Appliance Service

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Try contacting Bob at 216-521-9353, he's an expert on these older KitchenAid DW's

Post# 958450 , Reply# 2   9/21/2017 at 13:28 (369 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        
Thanks for the referral!

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the referral! I gave Bob a call and am waiting for a call back. I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed in hopes he can help out. I'll let everyone know what he says. Thanks again!

Post# 958462 , Reply# 3   9/21/2017 at 14:42 (369 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

dermacie's profile picture
Keep us updated on this.

Post# 958486 , Reply# 4   9/21/2017 at 15:58 (369 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Smoking KitchenAid KD17 dishwasher

combo52's profile picture
Timers and selector switches were weak parts on this machine they sometimes would burn up a wire, good news is it's pretty easy to fix. Let me know if Bob can't find the parts for it I might have them.

John L.

Post# 958531 , Reply# 5   9/21/2017 at 23:48 (368 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        
Thanks...still biting my finger nails on this one, though

You guys are great! Thanks for all of the positive words of encouragement.

I still have not gotten a return call back from Bob, but I will put in another call in the morning. The good techs are always busy!

Thanks, John L., for your kind offer on parts. I will definitely keep that in mind.

I hope everyone has a great evening!

Post# 958985 , Reply# 6   9/25/2017 at 05:48 (365 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        
Status Update on Smoking Dishwasher

Good morning!

I received a call back from Bob Salem at Bob's Appliance Service (216-521-9353). He is old school and a super guy. Although he is very busy, it sounds like he really knows his stuff. He does not go on the internet, have email, or a smart phone (just an answering machine), so it took a bit of time to connect with him, but he is a wealth of knowledge. He told me to let everyone know that HE HAS LOTS OF PARTS FOR VINTAGE APPLIANCES, so if you need a part, call Bob Salem!

We spoke for a few minutes, and I found out that he doesn't service the area we live in, either, but he was willing to help diagnose my problem over the phone with some coaching. He told me to remove the upper panel around the top of the dw to see if I saw any burned wires and to call him back. I did that and did not see anything.

However, I got another service tech to come by to help me from Decker Appliance Services in Euclid, Ohio (216-486-7200). The technician that came out was also named Bob, and he has had a lot of experience with these vintage appliances, too. Decker is a family business, and he has been a part of the business for more than 40 years himself. Bob from Decker Appliance took more of the door off, and he ran the dw again until it smoked. The problem was the bimetal behind the soap dispenser. Apparently, the soap dispenser leaked water on the bimetal/wires behind it, and that caused a short/bimetal to burn. He said I would need to get the two bimetals and the soap dispenser replaced. He isn't sure if the parts are available or not (he was not too optimistic), but I said to at least try! So I am waiting for a call back from him. I am hopeful that between the two Bobs, I might be able to get our dishwasher fixed.

I will post again when I find out more, but please put those two Bob's in the database, especially Bob Salem at Bob's Appliance Service, if you need any spare parts. Thanks!

Post# 959018 , Reply# 7   9/25/2017 at 09:23 (365 days old) by pumpkina (California)        

Thanks. Would you post a photo of that area? Thanks!

Post# 959023 , Reply# 8   9/25/2017 at 10:05 (365 days old) by Chachp (Conway, AR)        
The good news....

chachp's profile picture won't have to stop the dishwasher to add soap anymore.


Here are the pages from the Parts Catalog with the pieces you need.  Unfortunately, some parts have new numbers and I don't have a cross reference guide.  However, this may get you started on some eBay research if they can't help with parts.  I bet they will have them but if they don't here's a start.  Someone else on the site will have a cross reference list for the part numbers.  Some eBay sellers list both the new and old numbers. 


These are great machines, so glad you're trying to save it.

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Post# 959026 , Reply# 9   9/25/2017 at 10:28 (365 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

swestoyz's profile picture
The original non-shielded version of the bi-metalic (4160824) seems to fizzle out quicker than their later counter parts (4162568). I've had luck replacing the original black units with the shielded white ones. Plenty are available on ebay and they are pretty easy to replace. Be careful to not pull the wire out of the spade connector when disconnecting the old bi-metals.

Whirlpool/KitchenAid/FSP PN 4162568

Post# 959059 , Reply# 10   9/25/2017 at 16:00 (365 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        
Thank you for the parts reference numbers and schematics!

Thank you, Chachp and Swestoyz, for posting the schematics, pictures, and info on the parts numbers (old and new), including the eBay link. This is extremely helpful! If the Bobs in Cleveland can't find parts from their stock, I will order these immediately myself. I will also take a picture of both the old and new versions of the area when I open up the panel again, as well as keep the updates coming. I am so grateful that there are folks like you that are inspired to keep these great machines going!! THANK YOU!

Post# 959142 , Reply# 11   9/25/2017 at 22:43 (364 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Relocating that bimetal assembly was the first thing Whirlpool did after they bought KitchenAid, for exactly the reason yours failed.

Post# 959146 , Reply# 12   9/25/2017 at 23:32 (364 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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On a bi-metal repair on say a KDS18, is there a way to prevent the short from happening again?

I did log into our distributor and see if they had the bi-metal available and it says that Whirlpool has 1001 in stock available to order. They must still make this part?

Post# 959193 , Reply# 13   9/26/2017 at 06:53 (364 days old) by barcoboy (Canada)        

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While you are at it, you might want to consider changing the two o-rings on the detergent dispenser door shafts while you are changing your bi-metal. Very easy to do and will stop any dripping that is happening from these shafts. When I first got my KDS-58, I ran it with the front of the door off and could see it dripping from both shafts, and also noticed a lot of corrosion on one of the prewash bi-metal terminals, so I changed it at the same time. Here's a link to a thread I wrote which shows how to do it, and contains the size of o-rings you'll need.

Post# 959279 , Reply# 14   9/26/2017 at 14:15 (364 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        
Detergent Dispenser Question

Hi All, Still no word from the Bobs, but I will give them a call later today to get a status update.

Thanks again, everyone, for a great discussion! I really appreciate the latest one from JKBFF regarding the O-rings that I might need. JKBFF...Your post is great! Thanks for referring to it with the great pictures of the area. As you might have read from my initial post, our detergent doors have not opened on their own for some time. Is this because the bimetals were failing? Or is this because the detergent doors themselves failed? If it is just the bimetals that control the opening and closing of the doors on the soap compartments, then since I have to replace the bimetals anyways, perhaps I can just overhaul the current dispenser with the O-rings you suggested and not have to change out the entire component. What do you think? Change out the bimetals AND the soap dispenser? Or just the bimetals and do the O-ring update? I do see a bit of corrosion around the lower part of the flange where the soap dispenser mates with the dishwaher's door on the inside of the dishwasher (when the door is in its closed position). I have included a picture of the affected area. Next question: how do I mitigate the corrosion? Paint? Thanks, as always!

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Post# 959281 , Reply# 15   9/26/2017 at 14:27 (364 days old) by swestoyz (Cedar Falls, Iowa)        

swestoyz's profile picture
If I were in your shoes, I'd replace the bi-metals and the entire detergent dispenser - KitchenAid/Whirlpool/FSP PN 9740171. The springs can get weak on these over time, and even if the bi-metal trips the door the spring may not trigger fast enough to have it open if you just replace the o-rings in the dispenser (this was the case on an old KDS-17 I had).

Prices vary wildly on these, but you can get them somewhat cheap.


Post# 959336 , Reply# 16   9/26/2017 at 20:21 (364 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Faulty detergent dispenser

combo52's profile picture
Yes you definitely need to fix the leaks I would do it by replacing the entire dispenser assembly I've never tried to fix one of these apparently it is possible however. When you remove the dispenser assembly you can clean the rusty areas around the edge of it and paint with two-part Epoxy enamel that is used for repainting bath tubs etc.

Also replace the bad by metal and if you want you can mount the dispenser upside down in the door of the dishwasher so that if it leaks in the future water will not leak on the electrical parts, Ralph mentioned this before. whirlpool did this right after they bought KitchenAid because of the large number of fires this caused.

Other things that might cause the dispensers not to open our clogged wash filter, bad inletvalve causing the dishwasher not to get enough water in it or a bad washroom support common problems with this dishwasher.

Bob Salem in Cleveland would have any of these parts I would have them if he doesn't.

Post# 959338 , Reply# 17   9/26/2017 at 20:36 (364 days old) by barcoboy (Canada)        

barcoboy's profile picture
Uhhh... that was me who posted about the o-rings. :-)

If I remember correctly, I did have a bit of trouble with the bi-metals when I first got my KDS-58. I think one of the doors wouldn't open, or wouldn't stay locked; can't remember now. I was able to adjust them by bending the bi-metal ever so sightly so that it just barely catches the release mechanism, and that fixed the problem. I found that if they were bent too much, then just the heat from the water hitting the dispenser would cause the door to open too early. It was a bit of trial and error to get adjusted just right.

But I would have to agree with swestoyz: in your case it would probably be worthwhile to replace the entire dispenser. I believe the dispenser can be mounted upside down so that the bi-metals are on top, which will then not allow any water to drip on them in the future should another leak occur through the door shafts. The wiring might have to be lengthened in order to accomplish this though-I'm not sure. This was one of the things Whirlpool changed when they bought KitchenAid from Hobart.

As for the corrosion, I asked the same question a couple of weeks ago about my "new" KitchenAid KUDS230B0 I recently picked up. The thread on that is linked below.


Post# 959339 , Reply# 18   9/26/2017 at 20:37 (364 days old) by barcoboy (Canada)        

barcoboy's profile picture
Ha John... I guess we posted the same thing at the same time. :-)

Post# 959359 , Reply# 19   9/27/2017 at 00:31 (363 days old) by etudiant (Cleveland)        
Apologies to Barcoboy and thanks for everyone's great in

First things first ... I apologize for not giving Barcoboy credit correctly for the great post and link (wrongly attributed to JKBFF) that was put in this thread. Please forgive me! I must have scrolled up to the wrong heading when I was writing my post. :-( Barcoboy's pictures and explanation were very informative!

Next, I think I will go with all of your recommendations to replace the detergent dispenser when I replace the bimetals. Seems like the most reasonable thing. Thanks, Ben, for the link to that eBay detergent dispenser. I will figure out how hard it is to mount the whole assembly upside down and try to do this, as well, since it appears that this is a known flaw in the original machine.

Thanks to John L. (Combo52) for his input on other causes of the detergent dispenser not opening. I will definitely keep these in mind, as well as follow his advice for painting the door area with 2-part epoxy enamel prior to putting in the new detergent dispenser. Since I see rust here, do I need to sand this area first before applying the 2-part epoxy (like I saw in the referenced thread)? Also, is it hard to remove and re-install the detergent dispenser? I have never worked on a dishwasher before. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks again, everyone!

Post# 959859 , Reply# 20   9/29/2017 at 18:34 (361 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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Post# 959913 , Reply# 21   9/30/2017 at 12:10 (360 days old) by barcoboy (Canada)        

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Sorry for my lack of response. I haven't been feeling very well the past few days. I think I have BPPV, as I have vertigo when I wake up in the morning... makes me very nauseous.

My opinion would be if you see rust, it is best to sand it off before covering it with epoxy, as it will only spread if not removed.

I have never changed a detergent dispenser before, but it doesn't look too complicated. Of course make sure you turn off the power to the dishwasher before working on it by shutting off the breaker. Unplug the wires off of the bi-metals, and then remove the eight screws holding the dispenser to the door. The new dispenser should come with a new gasket, so make sure that all of the old gasket is off before installing the new dispenser. Once it is installed and new bi-metals installed to it, adjusted so that they just catch the dispenser doors, and then wired up, run a full cycle to test the doors and watch for drips.

Post# 959921 , Reply# 22   9/30/2017 at 13:03 (360 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Great advice here! But watch out on the rust.

The detergent dispenser is an easy fix as Barcoboy described. Don't be surprised, though, if you break a screw or too. If the old dispenser leaked then some of the screws are likely to be rusted as well. If that happens, just go to Lowes or HD or Ace Hardware and get a similarly sized screws in stainless steel and install them on the new part. As mentioned before,turn the dispenser the opposite way the original was installed.That will prevent any future leaks from coming in contact with the wires that attach to the bi-metal heaters. You may have to extend them so, again, go to Ace and get the proper sized connectors and some butt connectors to splice in the new wires and you should be good to go.

NOTE: the wires marked DC1 are for the prewash door and DC2 are for the main wash door. It is best to connect them where they belong so the doors are loaded properly with detergent and will open at the right times.

Also, if you use the newer style white bi-metals, they can only be installed in one position since they have a locating hole that fits over a peg on the detergent door and that should be just about perfect a position to allow the doors to open up when called for.

As warned before.. TURN OFF THE POWER AT THE BREAKER!!! There is current(120v)sitting in those wires even when the machine is off so you can get a really nice jolt from them and NEVER, EVER, connect the bi metals to a full 120 volt power source as you will cause a direct short circuit. You cannot test them that way.

They work by running a load thru them, in one side and out the other to cause the bimetal to heat up and bend which then releases the door. On your machine, the pump motor is switched from the timer thru the bimetal when it is time to open the specific door and then switched back to a direct connection thru the timer to the motor. Same goes for the wash door. You won't notice any change in the sound of the motor at all, just the door opening. Later machines used the motor amperage draw for one door and sometimes used the heating element amp draw to open the other door. This actually provided more accurate activation of the door as the amp draw was always the same. The pump motor draw was dependent on the load put on the motor by the water in the machine.

As far as the rust is concerned, make sure you are not mistaking actual rusting and scaling of metal for simple rust staining due to water conditions and perhaps some foreign material that may have left a rusty residue in a particular spot.Determine what it is with your finger nail and not some hard scraping type of object. Once properly diagnosed, you can proceed from there with a repair if need be.
Hope this helps.

Post# 959943 , Reply# 23   9/30/2017 at 17:11 (360 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Dr. Bombay of the Hobart Fusion !!!

Never miss a beat.

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