Thread Number: 85182  /  Tag: Vintage Dishwashers
Australian 1965 Frigidaire Deluxe Dishwasher
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Post# 1096969   11/13/2020 at 19:32 (860 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Hello everyone,

It's been a long time since I last posted on here. I've recently picked up a few interesting appliances. The most recent is a Frigidaire Deluxe spin tube era dishwasher. The model number is DWDU5. The schematic is dated June 1965.

It's in beautiful condition. The chrome on the front is pristine and has no pitting. The markings on the timer dial are not worn and there is no water staining inside. It must have had minimal usage.

Comparing with pictures and literature of American models, it appears to have features of both the Custom Imperial (the front trim and the wire cutlery basket) and the Deluxe (no detergent dispenser).

I have connected it to power and advanced it through the cycle and everything appears to operate. Next step will be to add water. I've read here on AW that leaking gaskets can be a problem with these dishwashers, but I can make replacements.

It's exciting to have a vintage Frigidaire dishwasher to go with my Frigidaire Flair range and Frigidaire Custom Deluxe Frost Proof refrigerator. At some point I intend to use all three to create a vintage all-Frigidaire kitchen.

Post# 1096970 , Reply# 1   11/13/2020 at 19:33 (860 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Post# 1096971 , Reply# 2   11/13/2020 at 19:34 (860 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Post# 1096972 , Reply# 3   11/13/2020 at 19:35 (860 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Post# 1096974 , Reply# 4   11/13/2020 at 19:51 (860 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Have fun and thanks for sharing.

Post# 1097007 , Reply# 5   11/14/2020 at 06:50 (860 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
Wow nice unit

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looks underused with all those factory tags! Where in OZ is Dandenong? Outside Melbourne???


That enamel is so Aussie too like the St George ovens blue blue blue !


Post# 1097009 , Reply# 6   11/14/2020 at 07:01 (860 days old) by steved (Guilderland, New York)        
That's just like a '64 US model

The fact that the dial says "Dishmobile" indicates it was converted to a built-in unit. It looks exactly the same as the one I had, with the exception of the interior color. Question is, why doesn't it say "product of general motors holden's"?


Post# 1097013 , Reply# 7   11/14/2020 at 07:57 (860 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Cool DW

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Thanks for sharing it with us Tim.


I love the blue interior, it is interesting that the timer knob says Dishmoble as it does not show any signs that it ever had wheels on it etc. I guess if you looked up the model # you could really tell if it was once a portable or if someone either put the wrong knob on it or replaced it with the wrong knob.


I guess it says Product Of General Motors even thought it was built by the Holden division because the Holden was part of General Motors.


John L.

Post# 1097014 , Reply# 8   11/14/2020 at 08:20 (860 days old) by gizmo (Victoria, Australia)        

Dandenong is an outer south-east suburb of Melbourne. At the time this was built, Dandenong was the far limit of suburbia.


I wouldn't be sure that GM-H would have bothered with maintaining the name dishmobile for mobile units only. Dishwashers would have been a rare beast in Australia in the early 1960s. The numbers sold would have been tiny. It is quite possible they kept inventory down by having just the dishmobile knob for all dishwashers. My uneducated guess is that they would have been assembled in Dandenong using some locally sourced parts such as motors, solenoid valve and so on, but would have had a large proportion of parts imported from the USA. That is my guess why it doesn't say "Made by General Motors - Holden" because that fascia, trim, knob and so on would have been imported, so it just says "General Motors."

Frigidaire washing machines would have sold in much larger numbers and would have had much more Australian content. They had "made by General Motors - Holden."


Post# 1097015 , Reply# 9   11/14/2020 at 08:24 (860 days old) by steved (Guilderland, New York)        

Here is a 64 US brochure for the Deluxe "Dishmobile" model. This model was never made as an under-counter unit as the Deluxe model always had the thin control panel. The "U" in your model number of DWDU5 and the brass water valve probably indicates under-counter,  so my assumption it had been a portable is probably incorrect.  Since 1964 was the final year for spin-tubes in the US, perhaps GM sent excessive inventory of control panels to Australia? 

It's a cool dishwasher, nevertheless!!! Congratulations!


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Post# 1097016 , Reply# 10   11/14/2020 at 08:35 (860 days old) by Steved (Guilderland, New York)        

Thank you for the explanation, that makes a lot of sense.

Post# 1097017 , Reply# 11   11/14/2020 at 08:47 (860 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Gorgeous blue - thanks for sharing with us!


Post# 1097027 , Reply# 12   11/14/2020 at 10:17 (860 days old) by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Yes that speckled blue interior tub porcelain is so very different from the US made machines and so very cool!!!

Post# 1097050 , Reply# 13   11/14/2020 at 13:16 (859 days old) by Mickeyd (Hamburg NY)        
Kissin’ cousins~

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Four leaks stopped by a long bead of marine sealant and a shark bite for the supply thanks to lover boy, and I was in business. Good luck on yours; spintubes are a ball !

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Post# 1097056 , Reply# 14   11/14/2020 at 13:53 (859 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
This is beautiful!

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I know that the Frigidaire Spin-Tube dishwashers were almost as picky as the one-arm KA wonders, but, gosh. Good thing you're half a planet away - I'd be sorely tempted.

Post# 1097146 , Reply# 15   11/15/2020 at 13:07 (858 days old) by Hippiedoll ( arizona )        

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Very cool Frigidaire Spin-Tube dishwasher!
Can't wait to read your progress and find out if you found any leaks? (Keeping my fingers crossed there won't be any leaks)

And hopefully see/hear a video of this Frigidaire Spin-Tube on action.

CONGRATULATIONS on such a cool find!

Post# 1097280 , Reply# 16   11/16/2020 at 14:11 (857 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Thanks so much everyone for the comments, advice, pics, brochure and overall enthusiasm !

I was similarly intrigued that the front panel does not say "General Motors Holden's" as is usual for vintage Frigidaire appliances here. Also that the timer dial refers to it being a "Dishmobile" even though it is an under counter model.

I came to the same conclusion that @gizmo states - dishwashers were not commonplace here at the time and so rather than tooling up to manufacture the whole machine, many parts were imported from the USA. And to minimize inventory, all dishwashers were designated Dishmobiles.

Looking through advertisements of the era in digitised newspapers online, it seems Frigidaire offered only two models here in a single "Deluxe" line: an under counter and a mobile unit.

Looking forward to posting more updates here.

Post# 1097834 , Reply# 17   11/21/2020 at 15:20 (852 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I connected the dishwasher to the garden hose to test it running through a cycle. Everything seemed to operate as it should, even the fill valve, remarkably.

The only leaks noticed so far are where the heating element enters the bowl at the bottom and where the spray head enters at the top.

It's a very pleasant sounding machine and the drain solenoid makes an impressive "clack' when engaging. I love the way the timer slowly but confidently creeps to the next segment, rather than jumping quickly, as many other timers do.

Here is a video of its inaugural run.

Post# 1097849 , Reply# 18   11/21/2020 at 17:20 (852 days old) by Steved (Guilderland, New York)        

I love the clear markings on the timer dial. Mine is a little worn and faded. Enjoy!

Post# 1097862 , Reply# 19   11/21/2020 at 18:44 (852 days old) by Jetcone (Schenectady-Home of Calrods,Monitor Tops,Toroid Transformers)        
What a nice machine !!

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Wow we always love our solenoid drive machines the best !!


Chris , thanks for the explanation of Dandenong, I would guess they produced the washers there too?? 
I remember a big parts store in the center of Adelaide back in the 80's. All Frigidaire spares in the window. I found out GM had an interesting relationship with Holden. GM would supply parts and GM had to engineer improvements in their cars if Holden came up with something better. For cars that was Disc brakes, Holden had them before us and then GM introduced them on our domestic cars by agreement. 



Post# 1097863 , Reply# 20   11/21/2020 at 18:49 (852 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Oh yeah the speckled blue porcelain.

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Am I right in thinking that the circular depression in the door is the detergent dispenser? So does that mean that the linear depression next to it is the rinse agent dispenser????

Post# 1097916 , Reply# 21   11/22/2020 at 02:35 (852 days old) by mit634 (Sydney)        

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Thanks All !

@bajaespuma - the circular depression is the detergent dispenser, although it doesn't really dispense. It's just a place to put it before closing the door. This machine does not have a rinse aid dispenser.

Post# 1097924 , Reply# 22   11/22/2020 at 06:32 (852 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
So cool sounding!

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I have always been fascinated by how little these machines have changed through the years. Modern ones made in the US use much less water and only in very recent years have the top of the line models begun to clean (in several hour cycles) half as well as the BOL GE/Hotpoint/Magic Chef models of the mid-80s did in less than an hour.


One reason GM wanted to hang on to German Opel during their bankruptcy was because Opel, like Holden, was a gigantic source of much of their more advanced technology.


Americans are so busy telling themselves they lead the world in everything they have trouble believing anyone else might be doing things better. GM, despite their many, many, many failings, at least has the sense to exploit better technologies when their 'foreign' holdings offer them.

Post# 1097951 , Reply# 23   11/22/2020 at 10:57 (852 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Tim, thank you for providing us with a video. Yes, these dishwashers have a very soothing, calming sound when they're going through the spray/circulation portion of each cycle. Every family I know who had a Frigidaire spin tube dishwasher had the drained water eing sent through the side port of the garbage disposal. This was the only dishwasher that expelled water with such intense force that the water would bubble up to the top of the disposal by the time the drained water stopped. I knew it had to have produced a very forceful wash spray. I used to fantasize that Frigidaire would some how manage to simply ad a revolving spray arm at the bottom still maintain the rest of the washing action. Always thought it would have been a powerhouse of a dishwasher with unlimited loading flexibility.

Post# 1098014 , Reply# 24   11/22/2020 at 16:56 (851 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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It's a bit like the bottom wash-arm only KitchenAids - you look at them and ask yourself how on earth they couldn't see the need for a top sprayer?


Or the first Frigidaire (Electrolux) dishwashers which had a little ball designed to gunk up within two washcycles and stop working, thus making an otherwise really clever system worse than useless.


Or...well, sometimes I think there is a level of middle-management involved who are the epitome of the Peter Principle.

Post# 1098053 , Reply# 25   11/22/2020 at 22:47 (851 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        
Wonderful Find!

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So lucky!


I'd love to try this machine out on our 60 cycle system. I always celebrate anything made for 240 that comes my way. 



@Panthera: I agree, those Potscrubbers knew how to clean in way less time. 



Post# 1098089 , Reply# 26   11/23/2020 at 11:38 (851 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Very nostalgic,

and a sensible design. We miss Holden here too believe it or not. They built that, and Flair ranges (cookers), ovens. Fridges too. Dandenong was a large plant. The rail transit stop was called General Motors. There is a Holden parts distrubution hub there now, as well as a logistics hauler co., and next door a Toyota parts wharehouse, and a heavy truck one, either Izuzu, or other. So was Fishermans Bend, in the Melbourne harbor area. The street is/was named Caprice avenue along the Holden main offices. Toyota was also there, and earlier AAM, which built ckd AMC cars. Then there was the Woodville plant in Sydney, which built Holden HQ through HZ cars. It's now a Westfield shopping mall. I'll have to look up whats been done with the Elizabeth South Australia plant which bult the final Commodore, Pontiac G8's, and
bow tie SS., then the Cruze.
Our police force still has some Holden badged Chevy Caprice's in it's fleet. After Ford dicontinued the Crown Vic interceptors, the fwd Explorers were frying front wheel hubs, cv joints, and turbo's left and right. So they were glad to get a rear drive car. I still see some Chevrolet SS's too, also V8 h.o. Commodore's rebadged. Some owners have even added Holden emblems. If they are military personell, they can get them, and many other things we can't. One had a U.S. Army served license plate.
Of course the rear driven American Caprice V8 interceptor ended production in 1996. The state troopers had many. Now Chargers, Challengers mainly, or Chevrolet Tahoe trucks, and a few Camaro's and Mustangs.
The local police also have a few new F 150 trucks unmarked. The Exploeres have mainly been shifted to light duty patrol work.

Post# 1098093 , Reply# 27   11/23/2020 at 12:10 (851 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I meant the Pagewood

plant is a mall now. Woodville was the first plant. It built Chevrolet, Pontiac, and some Olds ckd cars, then the first Holden 48/15 FE. which was conceptualized as a compact Buick.

Post# 1098234 , Reply# 28   11/24/2020 at 17:41 (849 days old) by gizmo (Victoria, Australia)        

Interesting about some folks in the USA putting Holden and Commodore badges on their Chevrolet and Pontiac versions of the Commodore. The opposite is quite common here - more commonly putting Chevrolet badges on a Holden Commodore, or occasionally the Pontiac G8 nose on a Commodore. I have even seen a couple of Holden Commodore Utes (Think El Camino) with the Pontiac front.

I don't think the Pontiac nose was ever officially sold on a Holden here, though it might have been used on a special edition "boy racer" Commodore. They would have a bit of spare inventory of Pontiac snouts after the plug was pulled on Pontiac so suddenly, it would have been a very Australian thing to do to make a "Special Edition" Commodore to use up the left over parts.

Ford did it in the 1970s. The Falcon XB Coupe (the basis of Mad Max's car) sold OK but tastes changed suddenly and the facelifted XC version stopped selling overnight. Ford Australia copied a strategy used in the USA (I think it was on Mustang IIs) and made a Falcon Cobra "Limited Edition" with white paintwork with fat blue stripes down the bonnet (hood), roof and boot (trunk). The Llmited Edition" run was just enough to use up the last of the coupe body shells. No more Falcon Coupes after that. They sold out in no time and are worth a fortune today.

just found the Pontiac nose was indeed used on a Special Commodore Ute. Link below.


Post# 1098288 , Reply# 29   11/25/2020 at 10:34 (849 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

yeah, it's cool looking too! The first Holden sourced Pontiac was the GTO of the generation before the final one, your Monaro. I think Holden used Pontiac styling cues as early as the HQ Satesman's split grille. Vauxhall did as well on the Viva.
The Elcamino was always larger than your utes. In 1960, it was a full size car, based on the Impala. None for '61 through '63. It was re introduced for 1964 as a mid size Chevelle based car, and remained such until it's demise in 1985. When every other GM A body car was downsized in 1978, it grew in wheelbase from 112 to 118 inches, while sharing the same width as the rest. There was no point in having a car based truck with a 108 inch wheelbase when buyers had a choice of a short box full size 1/2 ton truck. The A specials, Monte Carlo, and Grand Prix went from a 116 inche to a 108 inch wheelbase. Full size B body cars were on a 116 inch w.b. from 1977. your HQ through HZ cars had more in common with our Nova rear drive X body cars of the 70's. Those were compact cars here. Unibody with a front sub preimeter frame. The A bodies retained a full perimeter frame.
It seems whatever GM did well, they managed to ruin. The bean counters faults no doubt. It upset John Z Delorean so that he left GM after they revealed the 1980 fwd X car program. The Olds Cutlass was our best selling car in 1976 period, not a Honda. I think taht was also Holden's highest unit production run.
So today Opel survives under ownership of the Puegot Citroen group. At least you still have the new Insignia based Commodore from Russelsheim design and engineering. We have it here as the Buick Regal. Even the touring wagon.

Post# 1098382 , Reply# 30   11/26/2020 at 06:03 (848 days old) by gizmo (Victoria, Australia)        
At least you still have the new Insignia based Commodore

Not any more.

GM have shut down Holden altogether. The Holden brand is now dead.

They are still selling off the last few cars.

Their future in Australia is as "GM Special Vehicles" where they will sell a really tiny selection of US GM models. I understand it will start with just Silverado, later Camaro and maybe Corvette, plus a Cadillac of some sort. At least some will be imported Left Hand Drive and be converted by an independent licensed contractor to RHD. Dealers are furious and I understand they are getting a class action together to sue GM. They say GM convinced them to invest millions to upgrade their dealerships only to have their supply of cars stopped at very short notice.

Such a shame. GM made bad decision after bad decision here.

the Opel-based smaller Holdens were popular as they were appealing to look at and lovely to drive, but some proved unreliable and they developed a terrible reputation. Though some owners loved them - my partner had a 1998 Holden Barina SB, the local badged version of the Opel Corsa B, made in Spain, you got a good one or a dud, it was a lottery. We got a great one, had it 280000 km + and it was like new when we traded it in, only replaced to get better safety gear. It was so cute you could kiss it.

Holden replaced them with Daewoo-sourced junk but still badged as Holden Barina. The beginning of the downfall IMHO. All the Korean sourced Holdens were like stepping back 10 years from the Opel sourced cars they replaced and were even less reliable.


I am a big Peugeot / Citroen / Renault fan and I would have liked to see Peugeots wearing Holden badges but I doubt if the rest of Australia agrees with me. People stayed away from the Opel Insignia "Commodore" in droves ("It isn't a proper Commodore, just a European front drive 4 cylinder with Commodore badges, how dumb do Holden think we are?"... etc) so I imagine if they came from Peugeot they would be shunned even more. (Though Peugeot have a long history in Australia, they have always been a niche product.)


Post# 1098393 , Reply# 31   11/26/2020 at 10:10 (848 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Wow Gizmo!

I drive a Ford Edge awd V6. If I were going to drive a sedan again, it would be european. Ford doesn't even sell one here anymore. Only car is the Mustang. There are some leftover Fusions (Mondeo) still at dealers. The Fiesta, then Foucus was cancelled first.
I knew all the Aussie auto plants closed when Canberra cancelled the govt. subsidies, but I didn't know Holden dealers were also going defunct. I thought they would continue selling a Commodore from Asia, a Malibu, an Equinox from Canada, and trucks. The Cruze plant in Ohio also closed. It is now from Mexico. The Buick Encore Daewoo based small suv is assembled in Flint. The Vision suv is from China.
Has Ford done the same marketing wise? Toyota, Mitsubishi, etc?
The GM Oshawa Ontario plant has also closed. Only Ingersol still open for the Equinox, and GMC Terrain suv's. The Silverado and GMC Sierra are assembled in Fort Wayne Indiana, and Arlington Texas, along with the large suv's, the Chevrolet swb. Tahoe, lwb. Suburban, GMC Yukon swb., xl, and Cadillac Escalade swb., and xl.
Oh, there was GMC badged Elcamino in the 1980's, the Cabilero.

Post# 1098410 , Reply# 32   11/26/2020 at 16:01 (847 days old) by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

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That was the original plan with the 2016 product plan to stop assembling in AU and bring in the Commodore from Germany, the Cruze from Korea or Thailand, the Acadia from Spring Hill, the Equinox from CAMI (or Mexico) and the pickup trucks from Thailand...then the plan to sell Opel made the FWD Commodore non-viable long term; but they still had hope that they could short term the Commodore and then do a de-contented CT6 as the "new Commodore". Then the Commodore/Insignia bombed in the AU market (did much better in NZ, actually), and the Equinox didn't appeal at all (these were expected to be the two volume sellers). With these two market failures, they entered a RHD death spin (where without UK business volume, without a South Africa plant, with essentially no Japan market, and a very underutilized Thailand plant the business in AU/NZ became unviable. I was at OnStar during this period--we were anticipating launching down there in AU/NZ (had staffed up planning/public safety outreach) down there because OnStar was finally a viable worldwide product (with 4GLTE you could use a single type hardware worldwide). I've got lots of details, actually, as I was very involved in the AU launch, but unfortunately when the Commodore/Equinox bombed the expansion was placed on hold, then killed off.

Post# 1098417 , Reply# 33   11/26/2020 at 18:28 (847 days old) by luxflairguy (Wilmington NC)        

I thought this thread was about Australian Frigidaire dishwashers NOT about cars? Am I wrong? Trust it to Mike (Vaceartor) to re-direct the thread!

Post# 1098418 , Reply# 34   11/26/2020 at 18:32 (847 days old) by eronie (Flushing Michigan)        

Ok how does the spin tube work?
Spin on it's own? Pix and vids please!

Post# 1098428 , Reply# 35   11/27/2020 at 00:18 (847 days old) by appliguy (Oakton Va.)        
Trust it to Mike (Vaceartor) to re-direct the thread!

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in post # 29 he also got wrong two pieces of information regarding the ElCamino. First off it the 1959 and 1960 models were NOT based on the Impala they were based on the BOL 2 door Chevrolet station wagon and second, production of the ElCamino stopped after the 1988 model year NOT 1985. PATRICK COFFEY

Post# 1098514 , Reply# 36   11/28/2020 at 08:01 (846 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Oh, forgive me!

LuxFlair Greg is the elder, with likely more insurance?! Yes leave it to me to draw relative parities to products manufactured by GM, etc. I find most subjects relative to many others, either in reactive, or colaborative aspects.
So a 1959-60 Chevrolet Impala, Bel Air, Biscayne, b.o.l. wagon are all B bodies. I'll work on exact word details. 1985, '88, so close in the time era. I forgot while writing that post that the rear drive A bodies continued through '88. Did the Malibu though? The Celebrity came out for 1983.
My ex was a GM employee, so after we split in 1993, I didn't get to see all the publications that coroprate sent in the mail. I still have the GM 1993 Financial report. Those listed production unit numbers for each division and subsidiary.

Post# 1098571 , Reply# 37   11/28/2020 at 17:04 (845 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Theme Drift

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Dahlings, we've always wandered all over the place in these threads and somebody has always been upset about it...and yet, we still all wander.

It's not that big of a deal. Really - that Holden and Frigidaire both belong to a now dead era of GM's Mark of Excellence is relevant.

That Frigidaire today is...well, we don't use those words on Imperial and GM can't seem to produce anything which doesn't have at least 17 recalls is tragic enough. 

I, for one, welcome references to that wonderful past.


Post# 1098578 , Reply# 38   11/28/2020 at 17:38 (845 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Thank You

Panthera! for not turning me into a goat, or pigeon.

Post# 1098641 , Reply# 39   11/29/2020 at 07:12 (845 days old) by gizmo (Victoria, Australia)        

Or  turning me into a kangaroo...  ;)

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