I looked up WED6400SW1
and see it takes element part # 8573069
That is one expensive dryer element!
They do not really wanna pay for a brand new element at the price
It is what it is.
so my question is, is there a way I can use the old style (279838) even with a little modification to save them some money?
Not that I know off and unless the modification come from Whirlpool I would not even try to modify it to work.
If something went wrong down the road after you modified the element it would no longer be worth the $50 you tried to save them.
If you really want to save them money and cover your ass just offer to sell them the part for cost.