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Kirby Model 513 -- 4 amp
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Post# 118736   12/19/2010 at 21:08 (3,457 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Yesterday, I posted a few photos of the Kirby 513 -- 3 amp. Here's the 4 amp Model 513. I used a 10 blade metal fan, since I have no 6 blade fans. The 3 amp has a 10 blade plastic fan.

Post# 118738 , Reply# 1   12/19/2010 at 21:15 (3,457 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I'm experimenting with brush rolls too. The 3 amp has a two row brush roll, while the 4 amp has the newer 4 row brush roll. I'll swap them tomorrow to see how they perform on a machine with different amperage. I must confess, I updated the rug plates with a newer style Kirby eventually introduced. The rug plate designed for the 513 doesn't have lugs for the end caps on the brush roll to fit into, thus making it harder to mount the brush and keep it stationary. I don't know when Kirby redesigned the rug plate, but the newer design is much better.

Post# 118739 , Reply# 2   12/19/2010 at 21:16 (3,457 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
10-Blade Metal Fans Are Needed

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You really need part #1189 which is a 10-blade metal fan compatible with all Kirbys going back to the 4C. However, until the economy is in order again we will have to wait.


Post# 118740 , Reply# 3   12/19/2010 at 21:21 (3,457 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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On the left is the 3 amp Model 513. I sprayed out a handle grip in gray and used a handle with a stationary cord hook. That style carried over from the earlier models. Later in production, Kirby introduced the larger handle with a red grip and the new flip-down cord hook. Therefore, I installed one of those on the 4 amp 513. I really prefer the replacement bag on the 4 amp model too.

Post# 118743 , Reply# 4   12/19/2010 at 21:50 (3,457 days old) by luxg ()        

Bill, both of those machines are just beautiful!! You do amazing work!

Post# 118776 , Reply# 5   12/20/2010 at 08:12 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Terry

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Thanks, Terry! I have a lot of fun working on each machine. I have every Kirby model from the 4C to the Legend II (plus a few G series machines too). About half of them still need restoration. I'd planned to begin with the oldest unrestored model I have (currently the 508) and work my way down, but the 513 intrigued me because of its different motors. After I got this 4 amp machine put together yesterday, I noticed that I need to tighten the handle spring. But I need to stop my tinkering and get ready for Christmas! I'll have a house full of people, plus my oldest son is getting married on Christmas Day!

Post# 118780 , Reply# 6   12/20/2010 at 08:48 (3,456 days old) by kirbyvacuum (Long Island New York)        
Beautiful job

Hi Bill What a wonderful job i love those 500 series they were real class. Bill what year did the 4 row brush roll come out in. I would love to get the Kirby 505 if you have one you would like to sell all shined up please let me no.Take care Doug

Post# 118788 , Reply# 7   12/20/2010 at 10:10 (3,456 days old) by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

They do look beautiful, great work. I have been wondering about the relative rareness of some of these machines. Is the 3 amp harder to find? I also noticed on another thread that someone thought a 511 was rare, (BTW was that due to the cost of living in '51 or the Korean war or something?) Just curious in case I run into one versus the price. Thanks

Post# 118792 , Reply# 8   12/20/2010 at 11:29 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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@ Doug -- I have a Model 505 that I recently acquired. And unfortunately, I don't have a spare! LOL! If I did, I'd certainly fix it up and sell it to you! Also, I think Kirby introduced the 4 row brush roll sometime in the 80s. That was during the Heritage series and Kirby started making the small head (500 series) nozzle available on the Heritage. But again, I don't know exactly when that was. I have one of those small 500 style nozzles for a Heritage AND I also have a Heritage II Legend that I'll put it on some day when I get around to restoring it. But I'm pretty sure Kirby started making the 13 inch 4 row brush roll for the Heritage models.

@ Brian -- I don't know how rare the 3 amp 513s are. The one I have was in really awful shape when I got it. It had been sitting in someone's barn AND it was seriously bojacked with all kinds of awful blue trim. When I tore it down in order to rebuild it, I discovered that the motor in it was actually a 4 amp motor, even though the spec plate clearly says "3 amp". Fortunately, I had a spare 3 amp motor in good shape, so I installed it. Regarding the Model 511 -- I think you read my post on that. According to Charles Lester's website (, the 511 is rare. In fact, he says that Kirby literature indicates that it wasn't built. Perhaps because of the Korean War? I don't know. All I know is that I own two! LOL! But I have a friend who also rebuilds Kirby vacuums tell me the same thing that the 511 is pretty rare. But the funny thing is that recently on Ebay, I've seen three different 511s, including the one I came upon in all original condition. So again, I can't say for sure. I think Charles Lester can shed far more light on that question.

Post# 118794 , Reply# 9   12/20/2010 at 11:52 (3,456 days old) by kirbyvacuum (Long Island New York)        
Kirby 505

Hi Bill Thank you if you do come across one and rebuild it please let me know. That 505 was the Kirby that got me started collecting many years ago. It also has memories as my parents had one .Thank you Doug

Post# 118795 , Reply# 10   12/20/2010 at 12:05 (3,456 days old) by thunderhexed (Edmond, OK)        

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<------- JEALOUS!!!! Those are gorgeous machines! You do amazing work!

Post# 118809 , Reply# 11   12/20/2010 at 15:34 (3,456 days old) by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

Thanks, I must say that one really is shiney, and it was in poor condition! How did you do that? That Mother's polishing compound is great but it must take multiple passes to get it to look that good.

Post# 118811 , Reply# 12   12/20/2010 at 16:08 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Brian

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First, I disassembled the entire vacuum and washed all the castings with degreaser. Then, I sanded out the heavy scratches, starting with a coarse grit and working my way down to a very fine grit sand paper. The final couple of sandings were with wet sandpaper. After the sanding, I used a bench polisher using polishing compound that Kirby sells to its distributors. The first polish is called cutting. The compound for that part of the process is designed to "cut out" any imperfections and discoloration in the casting. Once that's done, you complete the polishing process with a "color finish". A soft cotton wheel is used with a green compound. That's what brings it up to a mirror shine. I also polish every screw head too, because many are either rusted or have oxidation on them. And once you've done all that, you might as well change the bearings and motor brushes too! LOL!

Post# 118839 , Reply# 13   12/20/2010 at 19:03 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Today, I swapped the nozzles on my two 513s. I wanted to see how the 4 row brush roll would perform on the 3 amp model and it did extremely well. With the 10 blade plastic fan pushing more air than the old 6 blade fan and combined with the 4 row brush roll, the 3 amp Model 513 is a vastly improved vacuum. My analysis is purely subjective, but I would say that combination is quite adequate. It is far easier to push, even feeling light. It also maintains it's seal to the carpet and grooms extremely well. All in all, I'd say it's a winning combination!

Post# 118840 , Reply# 14   12/20/2010 at 19:07 (3,456 days old) by tom519 (Long Island, New York )        

Great job! I was wondering if you do anything with the metal conduit that runs from the foot switch to the safety switch. I tried polishing mine by hand on the 505 I renovated but it doesn't seem to help. I even tried to look around for a piece of conduit that size but could not find any. I would have liked to replace it with a shinier piece. Fortunately it is on the bottom so you really don't see it.

Post# 118848 , Reply# 15   12/20/2010 at 20:08 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Tom

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The conduit is a bit of a challenge. I do put it on the cutting wheel. I try to get inside the grooves too by running more polish on the edge of the wheel and then holding the conduit at an angle against the wheel so that it gets down into the grooves more easily. I'm not sure it makes a huge difference, but at least the top segments look good! I then feather it on the color wheel. That all seems to help, but it's not perfect.

Post# 118867 , Reply# 16   12/20/2010 at 22:29 (3,456 days old) by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

That is so cool, I'll have to look into getting that compound, I'll try googling it or can the local Vac shop get it? Would love to see a "before" picture. BTW I picked up a 3 amp 513 a few days ago and am about to shine it up. It works great. Thanks for the inspiration.

Post# 118869 , Reply# 17   12/20/2010 at 22:52 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Brian

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Hey Brian, I sent you an email about the polish.

Post# 118871 , Reply# 18   12/20/2010 at 23:04 (3,456 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Brian

eurekastar's profile picture
Your 513 looks like it's in good shape too. I don't see any heavy scratches either. I just read your post more carefully, so please disregard one question in my email! LOL! It is a 3 amp! Where did you find it?

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