Renovation of

Mr. Westdave's

Kirby Vacuum

Model 509 (1949)

Here's a little story about the rebuild job I did for my friend Dave Weiner's old Kirby.

It all started when I was over there visiting and the subject of his Kirby came up. I think it was because I saw it in the hall closet. Anyway, before you could say "Sani-Emptor," I had it out and on the living room rug to check it out.

I turned it on and heard a horrible roaring noise and an intense vibration of the motor. I immediately knew what the problem was, so I turned it off. I removed the rug nozzle and confirmed what I knew -- the machine had a broken fan blade.

I told Dave he should not use the machine in that condition as it would ruin the motor -- the vibration was caused by the motor's armature-shaft spinning off-balance which is what happens when a fan blade gets broken. I offered to take the machine home and fix it for him.

Typical of my obsessive-compulsive personality, once I got the machine home I was not satisfied to just replace the fan. I took the machine completely apart and cleaned it inside and out, and ... Well, I'll continue the description of my work after the picture show...stay tuned!

















Okay, here's a rundown of my work:

1. Complete overhaul/renovation of machine, inside and out.

2. Totally dismantled motor; cleaned out a couple decades' worth of crud; greased rear bearing; balanced armature and commutator; installed new carbon brushes.

3. Replaced broken motor suction fan w/ new 10-blade lexan high-efficiency fan.

4. Cleaned and hand-polished (*) all exterior motor housing & metal components.

5. Replaced cracked Sani-Emptor trap door.

6. Installed improved handle grip w/ swivel cord-hook release.

7. Installed new, longer (32-ft.) electrical cord. Removed cir. 1956-vintage replacement cord to preserve for posterity.

8. Replaced torn headlight bumper.

9. Installed dust-bag protective collar.

10. Installed wheel extensions for front axle and added 1 wheel on each side.

11. Cleaned and adjusted rug nozzle agitator brush.

12. Cleaned, deodorized and disinfected cloth dust bag.

13. Provided superior-type Air Freshener granules.

14. Provided attachment set consisting of flexible hose w/ suction and blower couplers, swivel connector, long wand, curved wand, bare floor brush, rug nozzle, dusting brush, upholstery nozzle, crack cleaner, scalp massager, paint sprayer, portable handle, and custom storage case.

15. Provided power polisher unit with new belt.

16. Provided Handi-Butler unit with new belt, flexible shaft, buffing wheel, wire brush, grinding wheel and safety cover.

17. Provided xerox of original instruction book.

- - - - - - -
(*) I do have a commercial-grade buffing system in my workshop. However, it is presently inaccessible due to an explosion of clutter. I told Dave that that was too bad, because had I been able to buff it out properly, it would shine like chrome -- like this one that I did some time ago:


Maybe once I get my shop in better order, I'll bring Dave's machine back over for a polish redo!

Meanwhile, his reaction did not disappoint me when I returned the sweeper -- he clearly was delighted, so that made it all the more a worthwhile project!

Thus, as my Grandma Jessup used to say, who had a Kirby once upon a time, "A Good Time Was Had By All."



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