Thread Number: 36950  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Reliability of Fantom vacuums?
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Post# 394960   7/14/2018 at 19:56 by niclonnic (Bonney Lake, WA)        

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A while back, the 12 amp Fantom Fury I acquired back in March died suddenly after only 2 weeks. So I contacted electroluxxxx here on Vacuumland (via text), who sent me the vacuum, and he offered to fix the motor if I mailed it to him. I finally got around to doing that a couple days ago, and he got it today. Mike hooked up the motor directly to electricity, and surprisingly, it runs really good! He sent me a video.

This makes me wonder how reliable Fantom vacuums truly are. Mike said that the Fury, Thunder, Lightning and Cyclone XT vacuums were "very reliable." However, from what I understand, the Lightning and Cyclone XT aren't as reliable as the Fury and Thunder due to the electronic components.

I'd love to hear everybody's individual experiences with these vacuums. Please comment!


Post# 394967 , Reply# 1   7/14/2018 at 21:44 by myles_v (Fredericksburg, VA)        

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They're made entirely of plastic, plastic just isn't going to fare very well over the course of two decades. I believe the motors are of pretty good quality generally, my Thunder has a very large and powerful motor. But, the plastic parts will break over time.

Post# 394974 , Reply# 2   7/14/2018 at 23:46 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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ABS plastic to be specific. Great rugged plastic and economical at the time, but today it's exceptionally fragile.

The Saturn S-series of cars had body panels entirely of ABS plastic, and especially in desert climate, they will completely shatter with any minor impact. Like here:

I have seen several that have cracks up the entire rear quarter panel just from road vibration. As an example, this is a small wreck that would have just been a minor dent on any other car, but being made of plastic, shattered to pieces.

Imagine that on a Fantom, that's one reason why they are known as collectors' items. They didn't stand up too well to the wear and tear that your average vacuum goes through as they got older and older.

Post# 394985 , Reply# 3   7/15/2018 at 06:54 by FantomFan (Rochester, New York)        
To add to above comments

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The Thunder and Fury were easier to service because they both used Amtek motors that were meant to be serviced. From what Iíve heard, the Cyclone XT and Lightning used Panasonic motors. There were circuit boards in the Lightning and Cyclone XT that could fail, not the case for the Fury and Thunder. Fantoms had lots of ďlittleĒ pieces of plastic that broke off often but the general integrity of every Fantom
Iíve come across has remained solid. Most of Fantomís problems broke down to this: no or poor pre motor filtration caused excessive particulate (sometimes hair) to pass through motor, tapered cyclones cut down on airflow which caused lower separation efficiency. The design of the Lightning hose, wand and powerhead was also questionable. You can keep a Fantom Thunder in good shape and it will last thirty years if the motor is serviced every so often. Thunder and Furys arenít hard to find parts for yet, but to find a NOS Fantom brushroll is becoming difficult.

Post# 395006 , Reply# 4   7/15/2018 at 15:14 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

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I think the reason they're so collectible as they were so bad.
Back in the day most of these that were checked in for service we will throw out.

I would consider them on the same level as Dirt Devil built to sell to the masses and disposable.

However if you have one now these days, it's an anomaly and worth saving. Just to remind us of how bad things were.

Post# 395015 , Reply# 5   7/15/2018 at 17:08 by man114 (Buffalo NY)        

Iíve got over a dozen Fantoms. The Thunder, especially the earlier ones are actually quite durable. I donít see why people have such issues with them. My mom still uses the Kenmore destiny I bought at their liquidation 17 years ago on a daily basis. Unless youíre really abusing them they last very well. The hose is usually the problem I run into, it tends to rip.

Post# 395280 , Reply# 6   7/19/2018 at 14:24 by myles_v (Fredericksburg, VA)        

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I will say, my Thunder is in surprisingly good condition compared to most of the others I have come across. No plastic pieces broken or anything, all I had to replace was the motor since it had been sitting outside in the rain for a week before I acquired it. Thunders hold up well. I also used to have a Lightning, I miss that thing. Mine had too many issues to keep though.

Post# 395284 , Reply# 7   7/19/2018 at 14:42 by Ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

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I have a Furt anf Thunder in my collection mostly because I was so fascinated with them as a child. Once I got more familiar with them, I don't consider them to be particularly good vacuums, they weren't the worst built, but they weren't anything special for the quality either. My only real attraction to them is sentimental to be honest.

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