Thread Number: 34569  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
Kirby 518 front fan plate removal
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Post# 373726   6/12/2017 at 18:02 (311 days old) by GibsonR0 (Oakland, CA)        

Hi all, I'm new to the forums so pardon any newbie mistakes I make.

I recently purchased a Kirby 518 and the bearings sound like they need some new grease. I'm in the process of removing the front plate over the fan but it won't budge. I've removed every screw except the one holding on the nozzle lock, as I believe this is just attached to the front plate. Anyone with experience tearing these 50's-60's Kirbys down have any thoughts? Is it just a seal I need to break or is there another screw hidden somewhere on this beast?

Many thanks for your help!


Post# 373728 , Reply# 1   6/12/2017 at 18:43 (311 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture



You might like to watch these videos from chicagomike:



This post was last edited 06/12/2017 at 19:40
Post# 373731 , Reply# 2   6/12/2017 at 19:14 (311 days old) by GibsonR0 (Oakland, CA)        

Thanks! I love those videos! I have them ready for when I get in the sucker. The problem I have now is just getting the front fan housing off. I'm pretty sure I've gotten all the screws off, but the housing barely separates on one side and won't budge at all on the opposite side (where the duct up to the bag goes. Any ideas?


Post# 373734 , Reply# 3   6/12/2017 at 20:25 (311 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Either you had forgotten a screw (none are really considered hidden) or you have not broke through the sealer used to seal the two halves of the case. CAREFULLY run a utility knife in between the two halves, cutting the seal and levering it apart.
The nozzle lock is on the front only, do not try to loosen it.

Post# 373740 , Reply# 4   6/12/2017 at 20:58 (311 days old) by GibsonR0 (Oakland, CA)        

Great, I thought that must be it. Thanks a bunch, guys!

Post# 373742 , Reply# 5   6/12/2017 at 21:33 (311 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

No problem - let us know how it turns out.
The bearing plate can be a pain to get out as well. One hint to help prevent stripping the heads of the screws is to clean the dust out of the heads well. Then with a very well-fitting screwdriver, ratchet, or impact wrench, tighten them just a tad to break them loose, then loosen them.

Post# 373886 , Reply# 6   6/14/2017 at 18:02 (309 days old) by GibsonR0 (Oakland, CA)        

Will do! I got the seal to separate finally. It must have been really old, it almost looks like epoxy on there. The fan is the next challenge. The belt shaft is really stuck on there. Thanks for the heads up about the bearing plate screws, texaskirbyguy, I'll keep your advice in mind once I get there!

Post# 373899 , Reply# 7   6/14/2017 at 21:59 (309 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
Fan should be easy.

Poke a scratch awl, ice pick, or similar tool into armature shaft hole by motor cooling fan to lock motor shaft. Then give the fan assy a good twist clockwise since it is reverse threaded. This assumes you have the original metal fan.

Post# 374165 , Reply# 8   6/19/2017 at 15:29 (304 days old) by GibsonR0 (Oakland, CA)        

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of updates. Life and stuff. Thanks for all the tips, texaskirbyguy! It's really helping to move the project along. The fan is still being difficult. This vacuum has been used as a commercial vac for at least some of its life so I suppose its possible someone else got into this motor and got a little overzealous with tightening the fan assembly.

Oh and yes, it does still have its original metal fan, with barely a scratch on it!

Post# 374172 , Reply# 9   6/19/2017 at 17:26 (304 days old) by CharlesKirby66 (Manteca, CA)        
Reverse thread

charleskirby66's profile picture

I hope no offense is taken!


Are you turning to the right to take the fan off?  The fan and belt shaft are reverse threaded, meaning "lefty loosey, righty tighty" do not work. 


Sorry if you did indeed read this already and knew.  I just wanna be sure you caught that!



Post# 374179 , Reply# 10   6/19/2017 at 19:48 (304 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Also just to verify, you are holding and twisting the fan itself, right? The old metal fan and belt shaft is one unit. Twisting the fan itself gives MUCH more needed leverage to get it off. With your tool in the shaft hole, you can actually use both hands on the fan if needed!

Post# 374182 , Reply# 11   6/19/2017 at 20:27 (304 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
Yes, the fan is reverse-threaded.


Post# 374442 , Reply# 12   6/25/2017 at 23:23 (298 days old) by GibsonR0 (Oakland, CA)        

Thanks guys! Yep, I was turing the fan as a whole. It's off now, got the bearings out and cleaned. I'm just waiting on new brushes and caps. The old caps have almost none of the original plastic on them.

Post# 374488 , Reply# 13   6/26/2017 at 19:40 (297 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

The old caps have almost none of the original plastic on them??

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