Thread Number: 12139
A Vacuum I know nothing about...
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Post# 130058   3/31/2011 at 18:53 (4,719 days old) by connor (Michigan)        

A few years ago I saw what appeared to be an old vacuum in the garbage. Now typically I won't touch thrown out old vacuum's because I don't know where they were or who used them on what. However, this one looked to be older and was very solid and as such I picked it up.

I've used it quite a few times since then but as of late it's losing suction, not much but noticeable. I have doubts it's beyond fixing so I came looking for help.

It's a GE AVC-815 (swivel top?) as said on the bottom of it.

My thing is vintage radios, not vacuums so any info or help would be great. I'm quite good with fixing things so if I have to open it up I'm not concerned.


Post# 130086 , Reply# 1   3/31/2011 at 21:44 (4,719 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        


This is your area of expertise......

Conner needs your help!

Post# 130124 , Reply# 2   4/1/2011 at 09:04 (4,719 days old) by ge1969 (Jefferson, GA)        

Well, I don't know about much of an expert, but I'll give it a try. It sounds to me like it could be one of three possibilities, a seal going bad, worn motor brushes, or a bad cord. The last two of which will/ could cause the machine not to get full power to the motor, the bad seal will cause you to lose vacuum. BTW, the 815 is one of the first GE Swivel-Tops from the early to mid 1950's. Hope this helps and let us know how things turn out. Later, Trg

Post# 130143 , Reply# 3   4/1/2011 at 10:40 (4,719 days old) by kenkart ()        

This was the first swivel top, and the most expensive, introduced in 1952 it cost a whopping 99.95, it was made in two versions, the first had a metal step pedal switch, about mid year the switch pedal became grey plastic, these had very nice grey attachments and a long..8 foot or so, cloth braid hose,the rubber seal under the lid is notorious for leaking suction, but it is an easy fix, my Mother bought one of these new in 1952, and always liked it better than any other vacuum, they truly are a fine cleaner.

Post# 130181 , Reply# 4   4/1/2011 at 19:21 (4,718 days old) by connor (Michigan)        

Mine is the one with the metal foot switch, and I've got several of the original attachments. The cloth hose is still in very good shape too.

I never thought of the seal under the lid however, it does seam like an obvious spot for an issue, now that I think of it.

Even if that is not the reason for suction loss, it would be a good place for me to start. How would one go about fixing it provided it was leaking?

Post# 130182 , Reply# 5   4/1/2011 at 19:36 (4,718 days old) by kenkart ()        

If it were me, first you can get some stick on foam weather stripping, and put that on top of the gasket that is there, the best way is of course find a new seal, but since thats about impossible, the weatherstripping will work.

Post# 130187 , Reply# 6   4/1/2011 at 20:41 (4,718 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

collector2's profile picture
Just a off beat question but do you have the metal bag holder right side up? (it sits on top of the bag and creats a cone that seals against the top of the machine). I've seen alot of these put in upside down then the machine has very poor suction. Just a thought

Post# 130196 , Reply# 7   4/1/2011 at 21:22 (4,718 days old) by ge1969 (Jefferson, GA)        

Hey Conner! Another thought that occurred to me, the hose. If it's the original cloth hose, it may be leaking suction even though it still looks good. Those old cloth hoses were lined with heavy rubber, which deteriorated over time. This would cause the hose to leak even though the outer cloth still looked good. Clean the cloth bag good, then remove the hose from the vac. Turn the vac on and feel the suction at the swivel top, then snap the hose back on and feel the suction at the end of the hose. If there's a pretty noticeable difference between the two, your hose leaks. A simple solution is to have a new piece of vinal hose put between the original ends. Just another thought, and BTW, which of the original tools were you lucky enough to get? Later, Trg

Post# 130213 , Reply# 8   4/1/2011 at 22:00 (4,718 days old) by kenkart ()        

Thought Toby!

Post# 130246 , Reply# 9   4/2/2011 at 01:42 (4,718 days old) by connor (Michigan)        

"Turn the vac on and feel the suction at the swivel top, then snap the hose back on and feel the suction at the end of the hose. If there's a pretty noticeable difference between the two, your hose leaks"

I did this and the difference was very, very noticeable. I can easily change the hose with out much issue, theres a good change I have some lying around somewhere.

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