Thread Number: 34699  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
Curb Find: Electrolux Discovery II
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Post# 374782   7/1/2017 at 19:02 (324 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So I was driving to a meeting earlier this afternoon and spied the bottom an Electrolux upright vacuum cleaner laying beside a couple of discarded mattresses. By the dark jadestone color, I surmised it was a Discovery II. I didn't have time to slow down to take a better look but about an hour and a half later, I was returning home and it was still there so I stopped and snagged what indeed turned out to be a Discovery II with a hose in reasonably good condition. There were no other tools with it, but so what. For the price paid, I cannot complain.

When I got it home, I carried it to the back deck for an inspection before bringing it into the house. Aside from an expected number of 'battle scars' for a 30-year-old machine, it turned out to be in really great condition. There are no broken or missing bits, the cord is in near perfect condition, the brush roll is nice and stiff, both motors run smooth and quiet. the icing on the cake is the genuine Electrolux bag had just been replaced. Also, there's no evidence of exposure to any vacuum killing carpet powder and no noticeable odors whatsoever The only extremely minor problem I spotted is the rubber bumper doesn't seem to be properly seated across the front (see photos). I can't for the life of me figure out why on earth someone would want to toss this lovely machine.

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Post# 374785 , Reply# 1   7/1/2017 at 21:34 (324 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
Good find for you! They are quite nice machines.

Post# 374786 , Reply# 2   7/1/2017 at 22:08 (324 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
So I've been playing with my new toy this evening. I took the top cover off of the powerhead and found it to be a little dusty inside, which is not surprising. The better news is the belt almost looks like it was replaced sometime in the not too distant past. I have to wonder if it and the brush roll aren't perhaps newer than the rest of the machine.

After cleaning it out, I tried to fit the cover down correctly but try as I might, it just wouldn't go. The front lip is still on top of the bumper. I'm wondering if something is warped. I wish my Discovery Plus wasn't buried all the way at the back of my storage building behind my dad's toy collection so I could pull it out and compare the two to see what's going on with the cover. All that said, it seems to perform pretty well. It got a cat hair-encrusted Persian rug clean in about three passes. That's not Kirby class, mind you, but it's acceptable, especially considering how much I'm not spending on it.

Post# 374789 , Reply# 3   7/2/2017 at 00:46 (324 days old) by FCS3 (Hawaii)        
Hey there, human

I was just watching a video called "Changing a belt on an Electrolux upright vacuum" (it was a Discovery II) on YouTube. The powerhead cover was fitted right before he takes it off to change the belt. But the cover didn't go on right at the end of the video. I think you just have to closely examine the tabs and slots alignment. If the plastic is even slightly warped it will keep one or two from lining up right. One thing to try is to use strips of duct tape temporarily, to hold the portion of the cover in place that does fit right, then gently bend the cover while fitting it into the problem area. Any tape residue left after removing the strips can be cleaned with a little paint thinner or alcohol, then wiped with a damp cloth.

Post# 374796 , Reply# 4   7/2/2017 at 09:47 (324 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
Very nice machine! That still has the original type of Electrolux brushroll, which is much stiffer. It did a nice job of beating, and sweeping the carpet, unlike the modern brushroll which is not nearly as aggressive.
Gotta love Curbside Discount!

Post# 374797 , Reply# 5   7/2/2017 at 10:28 (324 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
On further examination, it looks like there is a slight warp in either the upper or lower shell--or maybe both--right in the curve where the 'L' extension begins. At least, that's where the gap between the two halves is most pronounced.

Andy, you're right about that brush roll. I pulled the one i had swapped out from my Discovery Plus and compared it with the one on this machine and the difference between the two is night and day. The one that came out of the Discovery Plus is considerably softer and the bristles are visibly more splayed out.

It still just boggles my mind that someone would toss a machine like that--especially in such good condition--out on the curb instead of at least taking it to a thrift shop. We live in such a wasteful society. Another oddity was that I found this machine beside the well-manicured entrance to a retirement living facility. I see those sorts of refuse piles beside apartment complexes around here all the time but not at that type of place.

Post# 374801 , Reply# 6   7/2/2017 at 12:02 (323 days old) by compactc9guy (Bathurst New Brunswick Canada )        
Electrolux Discovery 2

compactc9guy's profile picture
I got the same machine in a yard sale for 20$ brought it home cleaned it up and it works like new here is mine .I got the hose after gave it a rebuild when i found it there was no bag now its back to new

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Post# 374805 , Reply# 7   7/2/2017 at 12:45 (323 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
I just finished giving my new toy a good going over with some Goo-Gone and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get most of the scuff marks off. Then I decided to take it apart again to see if I could get the cover to fit down properly and I found what I (and presumably the previous owner or whoever had last worked on it before it was tossed to the curb) was doing wrong. There's a little, for lack of a better term I'll call it a trumpet flare, inside the lower housing that goes between brush roll housing and the flexible hose that leads into the upper blower motor/filter bag housing. When you take the two halves apart, that flare wants to stay with the upper cover and it's easy to mistakenly think it's part of the cover since they're the same color. But it is a separate part and it needs to be properly situated on its two locator pins on the lower chassis. Once it's in place and the hose is inserted into the back end, the upper cover snaps on easily with the front lip inserted correctly behind the bumper. Now that everything is buttoned up properly, I ought to give it another test run to see if that's improved performance any.

Post# 374807 , Reply# 8   7/2/2017 at 14:03 (323 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
I just gave the Discovery II a second test run and it definitely picks up better now that the upper cover is properly seated and there are no air leaks and it's also quieter. I'd also imagine that going forward, there would be less dust and dirt inside the motor housing since everything is now sealing up properly.

Post# 374917 , Reply# 9   7/5/2017 at 09:28 (321 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Sidekick Adapter Kit

human's profile picture
Just when I was feeling good about not having to spend a penny on this Discovery II, I made the mistake of perusing eBay before going to bed last night (always a dangerous pastime) and happened upon a listing for a new old stock Sidekick Adapter Kit for a Discovery III. The kit consists of an adapter module that plugs in between machine's cord and power receptacle to provide a switched receptacle for the Sidekick's cord, a metal-tipped hose handle to replace the standard all plastic one, a power cord and a set of attachment rings to secure the cord to the hose, which are still sealed in their little plastic baggie. I know very little about the Discovery series (or Electrolux uprights in general) but it seems the Discovery III did not necessarily come factory equipped to accommodate the Sidekick so this kit would have been needed to add one.

After carefully examining the photos of the adapter module and comparing them with my Discovery II, I determined that this kit was indeed compatible and could therefore be used to retrofit my earlier model machine. The seller only wanted $8.75 for it but there was also an 'or best offer' option, so of course I just had to play the game. When I woke up this morning, the item was mine for $7.00 plus shipping, which was actually a little bit more than the cost of the item but not outrageous. I also have a Discovery Plus, which is essentially a Discovery II with brackets for onboard tool storage, so this kit would presumably fit either machine, but I think the Plus already has enough extra stuff hanging on it, so the the Discovery II would be the better candidate for conversion. Also, the Plus is presently inaccessible, buried in the back of my barn. The kit should arrive early next week and I'll let you know how the installation goes. So while I didn't really have to spend anything on this machine, I think this will be a worthwhile upgrade.

Now what time does that Vacuholics Anonymous meeting start?

Post# 374920 , Reply# 10   7/5/2017 at 09:54 (321 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
I think our meeting is at 3 today...I can't make it though, there's a vac sale at Montgomery Wards! ;)
And good find! Those kits made them phenomenal on stairs and upholstered furniture.

Post# 374924 , Reply# 11   7/5/2017 at 13:35 (320 days old) by JustJunque (MA)        

Hey, human,

I can certainly relate to that!
My most recent curb find was an all grey Electrolux Ambassador III.
Beautiful cosmetic condition, but the power nozzle was packed with some kind of mess that must have been wet when the previous owner vacuumed it up.
It was the canister, hose, sheath and wands for the power nozzle, and the aforementioned power nozzle.

Once I cleaned out all the crud, and detailed the canister, I was amazed at the great condition it was in.
Plus, it ran fine!

I proceeded to hit eBay to acquire everything that I didn't get for free.
The on-board tools, the aluminum wands for the non-powered flip floor tool, the flip floor tool itself, and even a correct color Sidekick.
After lavishing all of these gifts onto my "freebie", I'm probably into it for a little over $50.
But, as much as I'm liking this new addition, I still feel like I got a good deal!

I had only owned Epic 6500s prior to this one, so I'm enjoying the little differences in the machines.

I think I could stand to attend one of those meetings myself.
But, I have the day off, and I think I need to go ride around and see what towns have trash day today!


Post# 374926 , Reply# 12   7/5/2017 at 14:43 (320 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
I had a similar experience with a $5 Filter Queen I bought at a thrift shop last year. After replacing the cord and a couple of smashed power nozzle components and buying a pack of filter cones, I was into it for about $50 and still needed a new brush roll, which I never got.

Post# 375029 , Reply# 13   7/8/2017 at 20:47 (317 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
The Sidekick Adapter Kit arrived today and I started installing it this evening but adapting it to the Discovery II is going to take a little bit of modification. There are four little ribs right in front of the power receptacle on the vacuum cleaner that are preventing the adapter from sitting down into place. I'm going to have to cut them off with my Dremel tool tomorrow. Once they're out of the way, it should go right down into place and my 'handiwork' will be hidden by the adapter. I've already installed the metal-tipped handle on the hose--just a matter of unscrewing the old one and twisting the new one into place--and I'll put the cord on the hose once the adapter is in place and I can get the length of cord between the adapter and the hose right. I kind of hate to have to take the Dremel tool to such a nice looking machine, but the end will definitely justify the means.

Post# 375049 , Reply# 14   7/8/2017 at 23:24 (317 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
The more I stared at the partially-disassembled Discovery II, the less I could wait to get that adapter fitted, so I want out to the shed and got my Dremel tool and went to work with grinding tools of various sizes until those pesky little ribs, fins, whatever you want to call them, were gone. The adapter was still a tight fit, but it's now in place and the cleaner turns on, so that much is a success and I can say for sure that a Sidekick adapter for a Discovery III can be fitted to a Discovery II.

Now, the final remaining piece of the puzzle is to attach the cord to the hose. The only problem is they're about a quarter inch too short to fit around the circumference of the hose, especially with the little square retaining clips in place. I'm thinking that although there's no visible sign of deterioration, they may have shrunk up a little over the past 25 or 30 years. Is there a special trick to putting them on? I'm thinking of soaking them in boiling water to make them a little more stretchy, but that can wait until tomorrow.

Post# 375056 , Reply# 15   7/9/2017 at 04:31 (317 days old) by fantomfan57 (Central Texas)        

I like following your adventure as you remind me of my creative ideas. I also felt I should find out where Vacoholics Anonymous meets. That is why I posted that I decided I was done collecting when I found my Fairfax Canister.

Post# 375059 , Reply# 16   7/9/2017 at 09:03 (317 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Yeah, these sorts of technical challenges are the most fun part for me and sometimes writing about it can be a helpful part of the problem solving process. Sometimes a machine doesn't really feel like it's truly mine until I make some sort of modification to it, add an accessory or whatever.

I was apparently too tired last night to comprehend the instruction sheet because it does indeed say to soak the straps in hot water before installing them.

Post# 375060 , Reply# 17   7/9/2017 at 11:14 (316 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
The hot water did the trick but it still wasn't easy and my fingers will be hurting for the next couple of hours. But the bottom line is I've given my Discovery II an upgrade the manufacturer never intended. The modification I had to make to the vacuum cleaner was minor and completely hidden by the Sidekick Adapter. To the untrained eye, it would appear the adapter had always been there. All in all, it's not a bad upgrade for the price of a fast food meal.

Post# 375067 , Reply# 18   7/9/2017 at 13:01 (316 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
Good cleaners! I prefer the canisters for attachment work, but they still sweep circles around many modern Big Box machines.
I have an Epic 3000 I use when I clean carpets. I vacuum before with a Hoover guardsmen and use the Lux to suck up the shampoo crystals when I'm done. Grooms beautifully.

Post# 375072 , Reply# 19   7/9/2017 at 14:51 (316 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
I agree with you that the Lux canisters are far superior for attachment work but this upright isn't bad. For serious carpet cleaning, I'm still a die-hard fan of my Kirbys. With the Sidekick attached, it got the cat fur off of my recliner without a problem. Had I not lucked into an NOS conversion kit for dirt cheap, I wouldn't have even thought to undertake the project. Just for fun, I've included photographic evidence of my handiwork.

  View Full Size
Post# 375073 , Reply# 20   7/9/2017 at 15:16 (316 days old) by fantomfan57 (Central Texas)        

I applaud your success! Keep it up.

Post# 375077 , Reply# 21   7/9/2017 at 15:26 (316 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
Very nice!
On a side note I am now a first time Kirby owner! It's from Canada, and I got it from the original owner. I'll have to get some pictures of it.

Post# 375084 , Reply# 22   7/9/2017 at 20:32 (316 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
You'll love your Kirby; they're absolute beasts.

I just discovered a task the Discovery is exceptional it--cleaning up cat litter. I usually use a Hoover QuikBroom to get up litter that my cats have tracked out of their pan but since the Discovery was parked just outside the bathroom door, I just grabbed it and gave it a try. In straight suction mode, it sucked up the litter effortlessly and then I got the bath mats with just a flick of the switch to turn on the brush roll. My only minor complaint is the power foot is a little cumbersome in narrow confines of my bathroom.

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