Thread Number: 10906
Kirby 513 Changes
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Post# 117805   12/11/2010 at 11:18 (3,358 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I have three Kirby Model 513 vacuums and I've been planning to rebuild one of them. The 513 introduced several changes, including the 4 amp motor, the step on switch, and a redesigned rug plate and brush roll. Yesterday, however, I noticed that the spec plate on one of my 513s indicates that it has a 3 amp motor. Then I realized that it also has the older nozzle design, along with the old style toggle switch. So I guess it was an early production model and all the other changes weren't introduced until later in the model year.

Post# 117806 , Reply# 1   12/11/2010 at 11:19 (3,358 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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This is the spec plate from one of the 513s with the 4 amp motor. Notice the updated logo too.

Post# 117845 , Reply# 2   12/11/2010 at 22:10 (3,357 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Well, after careful examination, I've concluded that my "3 amp" 513 is a super duper bojack machine with a 4 amp motor! LOL! However, I have a good 3 amp motor from an old 508. So now I can build my 3 amp 513! After visiting with a friend, I now know the toggle switch is wrong too. He has a 3 amp 513 with an earlier serial number and it has the step on switch.

Post# 117851 , Reply# 3   12/11/2010 at 22:44 (3,357 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
How Can a 3-Amp 513 Be Considered Aftermarket?

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Charles Lester could have some thought as to this ... does anyone besides him know why a 3-amp 513 is considered bojack, like eurekastar is saying?


Post# 117856 , Reply# 4   12/12/2010 at 00:42 (3,357 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

I'm not sure myself. This is quite a mystery to me.

Post# 117870 , Reply# 5   12/12/2010 at 09:51 (3,357 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Actually, I need to back that up: what eurekastar really had said that his 3-amp 513 was actually refitted with a 4-amp motor from a 514/515. That is why he said his is bojack. Although I have to admit a higher-amperage motor actually makes the vacuum run stronger.

This makes me want to ask: were there any 516s-561s refitted with the 5-amp, 2-speed motors as used on the Dual Sanitronic series? Of course, there wouldn't be many of those around given the overall complexity of two-speed vs. single speed motor circuitry.


Post# 117882 , Reply# 6   12/12/2010 at 12:43 (3,357 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I think it was more common "back in the day" for bojack shops to strip down Kirby vacuums and put the various usable parts into bins. Then they'd take those compatible parts and rebuild a new vacuum. So you might get the motor housing from a 510, a 4 amp motor from a 515, a fan case from a 3 amp 513, and a nozzle casting from a 512, a handle from a 514, and the power switch from a 509, all trimmed out in aftermarket (bojack) trim in Tradition blue with a bojack bag and cord to match. Some of that still goes on today with the generation series where parts are interchangeable. You might get what looks like a G6 with a motor from a G4.

This post was last edited 12/12/2010 at 16:37
Post# 117908 , Reply# 7   12/12/2010 at 19:01 (3,357 days old) by Ohio_Tuec ()        

Keep in mind Kirby also did a fair amount of that as well. They'd restore a bunch of machines at once, and during the buffing process, swap out parts. They real shame is that many original black duvetyne bags were lost this way, as were builder's plates. I don't see as how a mom and pop vacuum shop could bojack an original builder's plate however. It would make alot more sense to say they made changes mid-production.

Post# 117916 , Reply# 8   12/12/2010 at 20:25 (3,356 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

The above hypothesis about parts being swapped out and interchanged does make perfect sense and, indeed did happen -- at vac shops, Kirby dealerships, and the Kirby plant in Cleveland.

However, that does not explain the two styles of Model 513 serial number plates shown above, and the fact that one indicates a 3-amp motor and one indicates a 4-amp motor.

I have a 513, and in an previous thread about mine [where 6- vs. 10-blade fans were discussed along with motor amperage], I wrote:

Post# 99380 on 2010-05-29 16:20:00
by electrolux~137 (Los Angeles)

Here's a photo of my 513 fan and serial number plate.


And in an previous thread about the 514, I wrote:

Post# 99492 on 2010-05-30 16:50:00
by electrolux~137 (Los Angeles)

....Here are photos of a 514 that was on eBay a few years ago. I did not win this one; it went sky-high for some reason.

Note that the serial number plate indicates a 4-amp motor, so that change must have occurred with the 514, or perhaps late in the run of the 513....


With all this information in hand, it does appear that the upgrade from a 3- to a 4-amp motor happened within the production run of the 513; when that occurred the serial number plate was also updated with the newer-style logo. And, very likely, that's also when the change to a 10-blade fan was made.

Post# 118066 , Reply# 9   12/13/2010 at 22:29 (3,355 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
Call me a nerd . . .

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but I became fascinated by the changes and motor upgrade in the 513. I tore apart a variety of machines and examined them carefully making note of the changes. I think I now have a better idea of what each version of the 513 should be. So I've decided to rebuild two 513s -- one 3 amp and one 4 amp. My plan is to rebuild them as closely to original as I can. The only thing I don't have for them is a six blade fan. One notable change is casting methods. The fan cases appear to still be cast in sand, but the motor housings seem to use a different method. The shell is thinner, making the casting lighter. One vexing question is which style handle grip is correct. Two of my 513s had the old style handle grip. But one has the new style with the flip down cord release. I also have a 1962 service manual which shows that the parts for the flip down cord release date back to the 513. So Kirby literature indicates that the new style was introduced on the 513. Maybe a late production change with the 4 amp motor?

This post was last edited 12/13/2010 at 22:45
Post# 118070 , Reply# 10   12/13/2010 at 22:37 (3,355 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Some rebuilders do a really CRAPPY job too. I found one bypassed safety switch. I thought that was bad until I found this armature with a missing cooling fan.

Post# 118995 , Reply# 11   12/22/2010 at 09:03 (3,347 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Karl & Kirby name plate tag...

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"...bojack an original builder's plate..."

Hello Karl.

As you have already hinted at, I would doubt very much they'd attempt bojacking the name plate tag; however, the fancase could very easily be interchanged between models, in this case, between any of the Kirby 505-515's. The same could be done with many of the 'other' components on each Kirby.

Even though these 'parts' may be genuine Kirby parts, they could be considered 'bojacked,' as they are not the same as was original to the model.

This is one reason it is sometimes tricky to make a 'model part specific' determination without much research & documentation. However, this is what makes it fun & interesting, for the 'purists' who want their treasures to be as original as possible.

I hope this helps.

Cheers & hagd all,


Ps: My apologies Karl for not responding sooner, been a little crazy (which is good, as it keeps me out of trouble). ~~lol~~

Post# 118998 , Reply# 12   12/22/2010 at 09:15 (3,347 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Bill & rebuilding Kirbys...

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Hello Bill.

You are oh so right!!! Many of the 'rebuilts' I see on eBay are so 'cobbled together' that it's crazy.

Fortunately, we all know you do NOT fall into this category!!!

Again, you do an incredible job when you restore your machines; as is the case with many others who've posted their treasures here on the forum.

[[ This would even include many of the NON-Kirby treasures. ~~lol~~ ]]

Even though I don't officially collect 'others,' some of you have some fantastic machines (& collections in general).

Cheers & hagd all,


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