Thread Number: 11958
Replacing Kirby Classic Omega bearings
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Post# 128225   3/22/2011 at 20:29 (4,721 days old) by gtp ()        


Hello all-I am new here and I currently am a happy owner of a Kirby Gen III and now I have a (new to me) Kirby Classic Omega with all the extras. It was used by the previous owner very little, matter of fact most of the utensiles and even the brush bar look almost new.

Can someone talk me through evaluating the motor bearings (sealed or manual lubed), what else should I look for when going over it? I am rather accomplished at small engine repair (my other hobby is restoring lawnmowers-LawnBoys) and can't wait to get this Kirby tip top. Is there a downloaded serviec manual anywhere?

Thanks for any help.!

Post# 128234 , Reply# 1   3/22/2011 at 21:19 (4,721 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
Kirby's of that era are generally easy to work on for the most part. Replacing bearings, front or rear, can be a challenge unless you have a bearing puller and the correct tools.

The motors, like all electric motors, consist of an armature, field coil and carbon brushes. As you know, those items turn the motor and in this case the fan.

The front and rear bearings are two different sizes and the best way to determine if they need to be replaced is by listening to the vacuum. If you hear a, "roar", on the onset, operation or spin down, most likely they are shot and should be replaced rather than lubricated.

A reputable vac shop can do this for you and should allow you to watch and explain what they are doing. On a vacuum that old, you most likely will want to clean out the motor casing, replace the brushroll & belt and turn the bag inside out for a really good cleaning.

I just received a Kirby Classic that is mint condition and am in the process of converting it to a disposable bag. You learn as you go and that is the best way to learn! I still tape parts/nuts/bolts to a piece of paper and write down where they came from so it all fits back together. Kirby's have a lot of screws and they are of different sizes and functions.

After you do it several times, you will begin to remember. However, the model changes create some changes in dismantling and putting them back together. When the power drive models came out, it was back to square one on the learning scale.

Charlie W.

Post# 128290 , Reply# 2   3/23/2011 at 13:26 (4,721 days old) by gtp ()        

Thanks Charlie. It runs rather quietly start up, running and shut off. I don't hear any "roar" and actually it runs a bit quieter than my Gen 3 that was refurbished. It's in excellent condition and came with the tools and the unused butler, polishing sticks buffer wheels and the (dremel) cable grinding wheel, shampooer etc. All unused. Its a bit dusty from sitting and I will begin cleaning it. Previous owner converted to the disposable bag.

Where can I/best place or order the bearings from as well as brush bar and belts etc.? The light bulb even works, the previous owner (original) even gave me the warranty paperwork from 1974.

Thanks for any more advice on getting this cleaned and running tip top again!

Post# 128292 , Reply# 3   3/23/2011 at 13:27 (4,721 days old) by gtp ()        

Oh additonally I have many bearing pullers from my lawnmower tool box, just need to get to it I guess and order the bearings.

Post# 128303 , Reply# 4   3/23/2011 at 15:15 (4,721 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
You can buy the parts from your local vacuum store or you can get genuine Kirby parts by calling Kirby directly. They are located in Cleveland, OH and have a parts department that can help you.

Their toll free number is: 800-494-8586.

I'm not sure what a bearing puller for a lawnmower is like but give it a try! The bearings for the front & back are similar but different sizes.

I would also suggest that you request the, "inside track", or gnarled belt instead of the smooth belt. Also, if you upgrade the brush roll to the 4 brush strip versus 2 brush strip, you will get far better vacuuming results. Kirby may try to tell you otherwise but trust me, most of us on this site have done what I have mentioned and have had noticibly better performance.

Good luck!

Post# 128340 , Reply# 5   3/23/2011 at 17:51 (4,720 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Welcome George...

a007kirbyman's profile picture
I would like to welcome you to the forum/club.

I'm somewhat limited on assistance w/ other brands; however, with KIRBYs, I'm here to assist, & feel free to contact me directly at the office by phone [or, thru my email in my profile]. These are many times, much quicker than thru the forum with me.

I did send you a direct email.

And again, welcome.

Cheers & hagd all,


In case my email doesn't show in my profile, here it is [change the: at & dot]:


Post# 128494 , Reply# 6   3/24/2011 at 11:07 (4,720 days old) by gtp ()        

Thanks Bill and Charlie for your help and support. I am looking forward to diving into this Kirby. I am an avid Lawnboy restorer as well and welcome the opportunity to restore a piece of this country's finest tools and appliances.!

I look forward to posting updates and pics as I go, and hopefully moving on to other projects as I get to know these machines.


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