Thread Number: 12832
I am finally finished with my first Kirby; Whoot Whoot!
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Post# 137139   5/21/2011 at 00:13 (4,659 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

That might be a bit of a lie, I would guess that I will always tinker with it somewhat. Still, I am relatively pleased with the results:
• It did not burst into flames or trip a circuit breaker when I plugged it in for the first time.
• It sounds a lot nicer, the bearings were shot.
• Thanks to electrolux~137’s guide to polishing I still have all of my fingers and both eyes. Yes I wimped out and just did it by hand. It was good therapy for the past month…
• I had very good experiences with Kent Oyler ( Kirbyfans on eBay) and Thank you to the posters on this forum that mentioned these two sellers.
• The information found here is invaluable, thank you for taking the time to share it with others.

Here is my somewhat cleaner than the last time you saw it, Kirby 518…

Post# 137141 , Reply# 1   5/21/2011 at 00:16 (4,659 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Due to a stupid move on my part the front cover is new and was polished by wheel. You can defiantly tell the difference between that shine and the hand job the rest of the parts have. Do not remove the big screw from the front cover you will strip out the cover and get to spend $40.00 more than you wanted to on your Kirby…

Post# 137142 , Reply# 2   5/21/2011 at 00:18 (4,659 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

I need to figure out how to make the bag look nice like others here have…

Post# 137143 , Reply# 3   5/21/2011 at 00:19 (4,659 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

I am not wild about the wheels. I should pick up some red ones soon.

Post# 137144 , Reply# 4   5/21/2011 at 00:20 (4,659 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

See, there is no smoke billowing from the vacuum.

Post# 137146 , Reply# 5   5/21/2011 at 00:33 (4,659 days old) by Kirbyotronic ()        

It looks very nice, you did a great job!

Post# 137154 , Reply# 6   5/21/2011 at 02:03 (4,659 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
Those gray wheels (and Sani Em-Tor bottom) are original. In fact, they made their debut midway through production of the 515 and continued through to the model 561.


Post# 137157 , Reply# 7   5/21/2011 at 03:56 (4,659 days old) by thermokid (Casper, Wyoming)        
Oh My Gosh!!!!!

Your Kirby is absolutely beautiful. I wish all of my Kirby's looked that nice. What did you use on the aluminum to make it so shiny??? I have used Mothers mag polish and 0000 steel wool and then buffed it with a soft rag, and my Kirby's never turned out that nice. A friend of mine said he had a G4 that looked awful and he used something in a can called Never Dull, and then the Mothers after that and his came out really nice too. And where ever did you get that bag it is cool..I have a lot of Kirby's about 50 now so I have a lot of hand polishing to do. Thanks in advance for all of your suggestions guys..... Dan

Post# 137170 , Reply# 8   5/21/2011 at 08:21 (4,659 days old) by luxg ()        

Ralph, what a fantastic job!!  You should be very proud!!!!

Post# 137172 , Reply# 9   5/21/2011 at 08:29 (4,659 days old) by vinvac (Dubuque IA)        

vinvac's profile picture
Awesome Job Ralph!

Those were truly beautiful machines!

I think the bag looks good as well.

You won't find a better vacuum!


Post# 137177 , Reply# 10   5/21/2011 at 08:59 (4,659 days old) by henry200 (Saint Paul MN)        

That's a fantastic polishing job, and all the more because you did it by hand!  I would have thought it was machine buffed.  I like the new bag.  I should get one for my 515 before they're all gone.  A red bumper/cuff around the base of the bag will finish it off nicely.



Post# 137183 , Reply# 11   5/21/2011 at 09:27 (4,659 days old) by HooverCelebrity (Germany)        

That's absolutely stunning! Such a beautiful machine! Thanks so much for sharing!


Post# 137184 , Reply# 12   5/21/2011 at 09:37 (4,659 days old) by kenmore81 (Warwick, RI)        

kenmore81's profile picture

So shiny! What's wrong with the bag? I think it looks very nice.


Post# 137195 , Reply# 13   5/21/2011 at 10:48 (4,659 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

Where did you locate that BAG? I love it!

You did an incredible job on that kirby!

There are still a couple places that you can buy the grey wheels. Will look beautiful with new ones!

Post# 137200 , Reply# 14   5/21/2011 at 12:47 (4,659 days old) by whirlpolf ()        
holy Mother!

This is unreal!
The Kirby looks shinier than a freshly bought one would look like.
Just supernatural!

Man, you are a genius! Kudos and an admiring shamalama bow.
I am blinded.

How the heck...? I am stunned! Wow!

Post# 137201 , Reply# 15   5/21/2011 at 12:52 (4,659 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Thank you all for your kind words.

Brandon_W_t; the bag came from It is their part number K501 and was $15.00. I purchased a second one for my 509.

I like the bag, I am just not happy with the way it hangs on the vacuum. I think the new bag holder/chain might be a bit longer than the original one. If this is the case I will shorten the new one to match the old one. The other issue is the bag needs to relax a bit perhaps I should steam it to help get rid of the fold creases.

Thermokid, I first used sandpaper 220, 320, 400, 600, 1500, then 0 and 00 steel wool. Then I used Mothers, Simichrome and Blue Magic with liberal amounts of elbow grease in each case. I would agree with electrolux~137 in his post a few weeks ago, do not use sandpaper. You can see scratches in the motor casing near the on off switch in the above photo.

KirbyClassicIII, I guess I got luck with the Sani Em-Tor bottom, it came with an ugly grey bottom and I thought the red would look better. Looks like I will be ordering new gray wheels shortly!

Vinvac, I have been bitten by the vacuum bug pretty hard and do not know if I can agree with your last statement. On one hand I agree with you but the word better is hard to define and there are so many vacuums out there. LOL! See the picture below…

Post# 137202 , Reply# 16   5/21/2011 at 12:53 (4,659 days old) by kirbyvacuum (Long Island New York)        
New Kirby

Hi Ralph Being a KIRBY lover for almost 60 years ( Boy am i old)You did a WONDERFUL JOB Thanks for the pictures. Was this all hand done or machine and hand. Enjoy Doug

Post# 137207 , Reply# 17   5/21/2011 at 14:48 (4,659 days old) by vacumaniac ()        

Awesome job!!! Looks showroom worthy :)

Post# 137230 , Reply# 18   5/21/2011 at 18:50 (4,659 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        

djtaylor's profile picture
Ralph, you machine looks stunning. Great job.

Post# 137251 , Reply# 19   5/21/2011 at 23:39 (4,658 days old) by kirbyloverdan (Egg Harbor Twp . NJ aka HOOVERLOVERDAN ❤️)        
My Grandmothers 518

kirbyloverdan's profile picture
when she died I sent it back to Kiry to have it rebuilt and wasn`t too happy the they changed the color . I had no idea thye did that but I think I paid $26.00 to have it rebuilt as per the factory agreement . I don`t use it anymore I just keep it on display in my living room to remind me of her as she always had it in her living room ready to use . And no it doesnt stay in that spot lol . I really like yours Ralph a lot as that is what hers used to look like.You did a great job .

Post# 137635 , Reply# 20   5/25/2011 at 12:20 (4,655 days old) by animebsd ()        

very nice work! i just posted my d-50 that restored

Post# 137649 , Reply# 21   5/25/2011 at 15:29 (4,655 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        




I echo everyone else's praise -- you did a fantastic job!!

Post# 137670 , Reply# 22   5/25/2011 at 21:10 (4,655 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Just beautiful!!! I don't see nothin' wrong with the bag either. What a contrast between the newly finished unit and the dual-sani.

Great Job!

Post# 137685 , Reply# 23   5/25/2011 at 23:09 (4,654 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Thank you all again for your kind words of encouragement. I spent the day before the end of the world using the Kirby to clean the house and boy did it need cleaning! After many hours and inflation deflation cycles of the bag the folds from storage are starting to relax, the bag looks much better now . I must say that this vacuum kicks ass on the 2 year old Kenmore we have! It is sort of fun in an odd way to see the crud it picks up when you empty it too.

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