Thread Number: 35380  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
Kirby 505
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Post# 380506   11/1/2017 at 09:06 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
Picked this up from the local habitat for humanity store. Was in the back hidden with the other vacuums. Bought it for 10 bucks. At first I didnít realize how old it was until I did my own research but it appears to be from 1945. It doesnít look good cosmetically. Iím pretty sure I will have to replace the outer bag, the brush roll and maybe some of the trim pieces. However and very surprisingly the motor runs well. It makes no bearing noise at all. I should be able to restore it. Looks like the most difficult part will be cleaning it up and buffing the metal, my bench polisher is going to be busy.

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Post# 380508 , Reply# 1   11/1/2017 at 09:46 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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This 505... has the foot switch and most likely the nozzle casting used on models 513 to 515, as well as the handle fork from a 514 or 515!

So yes, this 505 has been rebuilt over the years! All 505s originally had black trim throughout (including the plastic Emtor bottom), but the very early 505s did not have the nozzle with the belt lifter feature.

I want to say this 505 also has a 10-blade fan.

Good luck restoring this!


Post# 380510 , Reply# 2   11/1/2017 at 10:10 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
That'll buff up nicely. I look forward to seeing it when it's gleaming like it was meant to.

Post# 380533 , Reply# 3   11/1/2017 at 14:22 by electrolux137 (Los Angeles, California)        

electrolux137's profile picture


Here are a couple of photos of my 505s to show the bag and trim.

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Post# 380535 , Reply# 4   11/1/2017 at 15:45 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
Thanks for the info. Yea I realized pretty quickly the machine isnít original. The bag was the first to give that away and maybe the sound of the motor too. There is no way a machine this old and in this condition should sound as good as this one does. Anyways for the hell of it I contacted Kirby about their rebuild program. $350 not including shipping and taxes. I wonder if thatís just the labor fee or if it includes everything it may need. The machine being as unoriginal as it is I figured Kirby will end up using all new parts anyways from whatever they have on hand. So In the end if thatís the price for all of it. It may be worth it.

Post# 380536 , Reply# 5   11/1/2017 at 15:51 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
My understanding is that's a turnkey price, covering both parts and labor. If you do it, It'll be interesting to see what they send back.

Post# 380569 , Reply# 6   11/2/2017 at 08:51 by kirbyvertibles (Independence, KS)        

kirbyvertibles's profile picture
That is the price for everything. I had a Classic Omega rebuilt and I was very happy with it.

Post# 380630 , Reply# 7   11/3/2017 at 20:33 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
Great score - it will shine up just fine.

Take a look through my 505 resto thread to get yourself ready for yours.

And if you have any questions, ask away. It will be easier than it looks, trust me. Mechanical parts are all still available for the most part. I do have some extra new red headlight trims if you need one.
Looking forward to reading about your adventure!

Post# 380634 , Reply# 8   11/3/2017 at 22:56 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
Thanks for the input rob. Iím not too afraid to tackle this myself of course though I do know Kirby would do a far better job buffing it up than I can. What I will be doing is taking it apart this weekend and seeing what needs to be done with it. If the price on parts starts approaching rebuild territory I may change direction and send it in to Kirby. Thatís worse case though. Between a new bag and brush roll we are already around the 50$ mark. Managed to find a similar bag for about 22 bucks on partswarehouse

Post# 380657 , Reply# 9   11/4/2017 at 16:04 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture

Tore it down this morning, was going to start buffing and hitting with a wire wheel the steel parts that are rusted, but there is alot thats going to have to be redone, the wiring is all but shot, still has the fabric sheathing on it all but its falling apart, as soon as I disconnected the switch the wires pretty much just fell off... I don't know how this thing even turned on!

As seen in the pics all the metal needs a complete restore. All soft parts need to be changed, gaskets, trim, wear items like the belt, brush roll and bag, the emtor needs all the seals replaced and an acid bath and bead blast, it had a brick of dirt and grime in it. All the fasteners need to be replaced as they are rusted, I was able to get them out easy enough though. I talked to Kirby Rebuild Dept again this morning, the $350 does in-fact include anything and everything it may need. Factoring in my time alone needed to buff and restore this machine it looks like its going to be more worth it to just have Kirby do it. I'm guessing it needs about $250 in parts assuming I can get everything I need, not including things that don't need replacing like the wheels. As far as I can tell Kirby would replace worn parts like the wheels, belt lifter and cord etc, so I guess that's a bonus, If I was to replace everything Kirby would replace, I'm guessing I would probably be over 350 in parts alone. The lady I spoke with said that I would recieve a letter in the mail detailing where to ship it to, she estimated it would take about 35 working days to have it back to me. I'm going to send them everything, the handle, the outer bag, all of it. Hopefully they replace it all!

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Post# 380664 , Reply# 10   11/4/2017 at 18:01 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture



I hope you can keep that 10-blade metal fan even though it too is rusty!


Post# 380665 , Reply# 11   11/4/2017 at 18:04 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 380666 , Reply# 12   11/4/2017 at 18:20 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture

Same here Ben! I think that fan should be ok, I will include a note with the machine whenever they have me ship it out that I would prefer to keep the original fan, other than the rust there is nothing wrong with it I can see. They should be able to take care of that though and be able to reuse this fan I dont see why not. 

Post# 380807 , Reply# 13   11/6/2017 at 21:25 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
I hope you like tan...

...because I am pretty sure that will be the color of all the replacement plastic and rubber parts. The red has not been widely available for some time. The black is pure history. The white corrosion should some off easily with a brass brush or fine sandpaper. The rusty bearing plate would be replaced with a new one (with new bearing).
According to some previous posts I had read on the rebuild service, good metal fans were often replaced with plastic ones. If you were to send it in, consider installing a cheap plastic fan from ebay and save your metal one.

Post# 380854 , Reply# 14   11/7/2017 at 15:48 by huskyvacs (Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I would do your own rebuild with original parts if I was you, since you seem handy enough to strip the motor anyway. The rebuild program doesn't make it a 100% original museum piece, only functional. You will have mismatched parts, mismatched colors, and it may look worse than it does now. They don't cater to collectors.

I have a 1927 Hoover that was rebuilt (in 1956). Even back then with that rebuild, the original bag is gone, the scissor bag hanger is gone, the original on/off switch is gone, the original cord is gone (and the wrong color), the original triangular emblem has been replaced, and the original bumper guard is gone.

Post# 380859 , Reply# 15   11/7/2017 at 17:59 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture

texaskirbyguy all the parts I have been able to find are either tan or green. Red and black are long gone 

Post# 380873 , Reply# 16   11/7/2017 at 20:13 by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
Sweet Kirby! It should be very interesting to see how it looks when it comes back from their factory. I wonder what they do to replace NLA parts?


Post# 380874 , Reply# 17   11/7/2017 at 20:23 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture



You can also paint some of these trim parts black... it is required, though, that you find the right kind of paint that will last.



Post# 384222 , Reply# 18   1/14/2018 at 09:52 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
Got it back from Kirby. Took about 8 weeks which was accurate with what they told me originally. Sure enough they did in fact replace every non metal piece on this machine. All fasteners are brand new as well as the machine has been completely rewired. Without even factoring in my time if I had rebuilt it myself it was cheaper to have them do it. Plus unlike some have said the machine matches aside from the bag and emtor swivel door. When I was looking for parts it most surely would have been miss-matched as not every website had these tan parts, some had the green parts others had red or tan. I wouldíve had to buy parts from two or three different sellers in order to get everything I needed and they would not have been the same color. They replaced the switch, fan, brush roll, outer bag, power cord, wheels, ALL TRIM, COMPLETELY REWIRED, belt lifter and the motor armature as well. I also did not include the long handle but they gave me a new one with the machine anyways!!! All in all I'm very happy with the job they did. I have a bag converter on the way that actually matches the new color scheme now that converts to FG bags.

Now that I remember I think they replaced the fan chamber as well! It had a small crack in the bottom of it maybe from something hard being flung into it, thats gone! I bet they replaced the chamber!

It purrs like a kitten. Enjoy the pics.

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Post# 384232 , Reply# 19   1/14/2018 at 13:40 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

Do you still have the metal fan that came with this when you bought it?


Post# 384240 , Reply# 20   1/14/2018 at 15:34 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
No, I included a note with the machine stating that I wanted it but they did not give it back to me. It was slightly out of balance though or atleast had to be because the machine itself is vibration free now when I am running it. It seems to perform better with the new fan too...

Post# 384248 , Reply# 21   1/14/2018 at 20:09 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

I still hope you enjoy your newly-rebuilt 505! Would love to see a video of it soon!

I once had a 505 myself!


Post# 384267 , Reply# 22   1/14/2018 at 22:10 by Lesinutah (Utah)        
Hank and ben

lesinutah's profile picture
I guess it didn't post last message.
Hank how did you get top of brush housing that shiny. I used a sanitronic 7 bag topper same color as wheels.
Ben Im pretty sure 505 508 509 use 6 blade metal fan and in 1970 or a little before stopped producing 10 blade was only fan made but it's aftermarket not original.

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Post# 384278 , Reply# 23   1/15/2018 at 00:31 by jaun007 (Pretoria)        

That is one beautiful machine

Post# 384299 , Reply# 24   1/15/2018 at 10:42 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture

Kirby polished it, I have an 8in bench grinder though that has buffing pads on it I do use for polishing, they come out pretty good most of the time, bought a large brick of buffing compound too that works ok.

Post# 384308 , Reply# 25   1/15/2018 at 15:32 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

The 515 was the first Kirby to use a ten-blade metal fan, but it will not interchange with the same ten-blade metal fan used on models 516 to Tradition.


Post# 384309 , Reply# 26   1/15/2018 at 16:20 by luxflairguy (Wilmington, NC)        

Where did you buy your block of buffing compound? Greg

Post# 384310 , Reply# 27   1/15/2018 at 16:41 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
Hopefully the link works, if not just put in buffing compound into ebay. Its the green one. Works well, was using the HF stuff before this is just as good and cheaper as you get ALOT more.

Post# 384313 , Reply# 28   1/15/2018 at 18:57 by Lesinutah (Utah)        
Juan hank ben

lesinutah's profile picture
Thanks Juan.
Ben I have a question I bought aftermarket 10 blade I bought for 508 and my tradition had a 10 blade metal I'm not sure it's aftermarket or not. I took all bearings and spacers off might be why they look the same but pretty sure they are not spacer and attachment spindle have to be different. Just a question my tradition 10 blade fan would that fit on d80.
Hank thanks for the info I have Fetzer polish and exact same polish from harbor freight. BTW they are the exact same so if you see green red or white it does not matter where you buy it its the same thing.

Post# 384316 , Reply# 29   1/15/2018 at 19:38 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

You are correct that the 10-blade fans used on models 505-515 and 516-Tradition have different mounts.

Yes, the Tradition's 10-blade fan will fit on the D80.

For models 505-515: part no. 1189S
For models 516-Tradition: part no. 119056S


Post# 384317 , Reply# 30   1/15/2018 at 19:53 by Hank (Cali)        

hank's profile picture
Yea thatís what I figured itís all the same crap just a different package. 👍

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