Thread Number: 13839
Cracked Fan in my Kirby Heritage
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Post# 146599   8/11/2011 at 08:17 (4,587 days old) by craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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Hoovering yesterday everything going fine until I heard a horrible noise coming from the Kirby. I removed the front nozzle to discover the fan had cracked a quarter of the way around.It's a bit strange as to why it cracked, nothing unusual was sucked up- just one of them thing's.
I spent a couple of hour's stripping the machine, replacing the fan impeller and also replacing a bearing and taking the opportunity to give the motor a good looking at and cleaning.
All fine now and running sweet here's some picture's I took whilst repairing it...

Post# 146600 , Reply# 1   8/11/2011 at 08:25 (4,587 days old) by vinvac (Dubuque IA)        

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I have always been told that if you have pets in the house...the oil from their coat weakens the plastic in the I don't know if there is any truth to that..but a vacuum shop owner told me that he can always tell when people have pets...

This applies to other vacuums as well...


Post# 146608 , Reply# 2   8/11/2011 at 10:25 (4,587 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Those old grey lexan fans tend to start breaking up as they age, so, it may simply be that it's had it's day and is breaking up... :)

Sadly you can't get those fans any more, just the replacement white ones which I think reduce performance (but then, that's why I have a small stock of good used ones in my spares), but there's always aftermarket parts like this one, which appears to have the same design as the old grey Lexan fans (decent price too compared to other sellers!!):

CLICK HERE TO GO TO twocvbloke's LINK on eBay

Post# 146645 , Reply# 3   8/11/2011 at 16:36 (4,587 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

The lexan fans usually only last about 5 years. The heat generated while using the machine combined with the centrifical forces cause them to develope stress cracks and break up. That is what has happened on the one pictured here. I have replaced them twice on my Heritage II. I now have the Kevlar fan and found that one to be a better performer than the Lexan fan. The Kevlar fan has been on the machine for over 7 years.

Post# 146664 , Reply# 4   8/11/2011 at 17:59 (4,587 days old) by Craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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Hi Steve you say the lexan fan only lasts about 5 years, but would this be based on using the machine say once a day over that period? because is what I found strange this Kirby has not done a lot of work in it's lifetime, the original owner who I know very well only used it a handful of times from new, then stored it for many years untouched until I brought it off him 2 year ago. When I brought it off him I stripped the machine down checked it over and at the time the fan appeared to be in good condition, and also with having other Kirby's in my collection I tend to alternate which one I use and this Heritage has not been used properly for several months, it was only running for a couple of minutes when it broke also.

Post# 146772 , Reply# 5   8/12/2011 at 03:04 (4,586 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I had one of those grey plastic fans explode on me in a Heritage Kirby.bought it from one of the swap shops.The vacuum worked fine with the floor and carpet nozzle.The fan EXPLODED when I tried the hose.when looking at the peices of the fan-they had what looked like age cracks in them-plasticisers leaching out of the plastic as it ages.thats why I prefer the metal fans.

Post# 146775 , Reply# 6   8/12/2011 at 06:34 (4,586 days old) by Craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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I've seen several people mentioning metal fans on here is there a difference in performance from the other types? and also any disadvantages to running a metal fan in a Kirby.
Can these be purchased anywhere E bay etc?
Thanks Craig.

Post# 146776 , Reply# 7   8/12/2011 at 06:47 (4,586 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        

I have read that metal fans are over rated and that they do not perform as well as plastic fans. That all the rage about metal fans is basically a myth. Metal weights more so it's going to put more load on the motor and not spin as quickly or take longer to spin full speed. Wish I remembered the link where I read this. Any performance gain is just in your head (so they say). Personally I don't care either way, if one of my fans breaks I will just replace it with one of the new white (kevlar?) ones. My 510 still has a metal 6 blade metal fan probably still original and that vacuum is just ubber cool.

Post# 146788 , Reply# 8   8/12/2011 at 08:21 (4,586 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

The metal fans to work better, they act like the flywheel in a car, they provide that extra little bit of momentum to keep the motor spinning rather than suddenly slowing down when the vac picks something up that would normally slow the fan, and though I don't entirely understand the physics of it, the straight blades do seem to push more air through than the later plastic fans... :)

As for acquiring a metal fan, they're getting hard to find, I was lucky to get two (one via ebay, one from a friend), one is in my Tradition and the other is in my D80, and they're brilliant... :)

Speaking of the Heritage, time to pull out my Heritage84 now that I have some poly bags for it... :D

Post# 146900 , Reply# 9   8/12/2011 at 21:14 (4,586 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Hi Craig. I use my kirby at least 3 times per week. The two Lexan fans lasted around 5 to 6 yrs under that usage. I live in a 500 sq foot apartment. At the time I was also using the rug renovator often which has a much heavier belt and puts more strain on the machine.

I also have two Heritage "84" that I have yet to replace the fan on and those two are used in commercial cleaning. Both machines I got used. However I don't use them daily at this time as I'm a operations mgr. But still do plenty of cleaning inspite of it.

In reguards to the metal fan question. Yes older Kirbys perform much better with the metal fan than they do with the Lexan fan. on the lexan fan the blade pitch is differnt. If you put the hose on the machine and use it once with a metal fan and once with the Lexan you find there is a performance diffence you can notice if you know what to "look" for. It is especially true on the tradition machines and earlier. I have not yet tried the new Kevlar fan on the machines that originally had the metal fan installed. Therefore I'm unable to comment on the Kevar fan on older machines.

The Kevlar fan seems to work as well or even a little better on my Heritage II than the original lexan fan.

Post# 146959 , Reply# 10   8/13/2011 at 15:49 (4,585 days old) by Craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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Ok thanks for the info guys, if I can get hold of a metal fan ill try one and see what there like.

Post# 146960 , Reply# 11   8/13/2011 at 17:32 (4,585 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

You'll most likely need to buy the fan from someone in the US, I don't think they were too common here in the UK seeing how there were few Kirbys sold in the 70's (starting from the Omega onwards) when they used metal fans... :)

Do be careful with them though, they're hard to find making them even harder to replace if you break a blade off from picking up a coin or something.... :S

Post# 366078 , Reply# 12   2/3/2017 at 14:36 (2,584 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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I used my Heritage 84 with the hose a couple of times and so far the gray Lexan fan is still OK.


Post# 366080 , Reply# 13   2/3/2017 at 15:48 (2,584 days old) by craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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Ben, I had another lexan fan go in a similar way, In fact it wasn't so long ago, This was in Hose configuration and I wasn't even actually using it when it broke. I had left it running (hose draped over bag topper) whilst I moved some furniture around and whilst doing it I heard that horrible terminal noise, I replaced the fan with a Kevlar one which are in virtually all my older Kirby's now, looking at the old fan it looked very similar to the one in my first post just with a bigger crack. So now if I purchase a Kirby with a Lexan fan I change it when I do the restore or Inspection clean.


Post# 366092 , Reply# 14   2/3/2017 at 19:47 (2,584 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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I am keeping replacement of the fan on my machine in consideration.


Post# 366121 , Reply# 15   2/4/2017 at 12:53 (2,583 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        
No such thing as a Kevlar fan in a Kirby...

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Craig The new white Kirby fans are made of Amodel not Kevlar. That's good thing because Amodel is stronger and tougher than Kevlar. Amodel is actually tougher  and suffers far less breakage than the old metal fans Kirby used to use.



Post# 366516 , Reply# 16   2/10/2017 at 16:03 (2,577 days old) by craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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I read somewhere or about a salesman that used a coin as a fan/pickup test on Demo's I was amazed after reading this because once the fan on my Sentria got destroyed after accidentally hoovering up a coin, Obviously I try to avoid any large heavy objects going up any Kirby that I have so when this happened It was annoying but I thought it was a normal thing to happen until I read that about the salesman, bad luck? bad manufacturing who knows modern fans are a lot better than the old lexan ones but I guess like anything their not Indestructible.

Post# 366549 , Reply# 17   2/11/2017 at 11:44 (2,576 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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I think you had a stroke of bad luck with your Sentria. I have vacuumed up many coins, nuts, bolts, and small pebbles with my 5 Kirby's all of which have the white plastic Amodel fans in them. I have not broken a fan yet, but if I ever do, It is a fairly easy chore to replace the fan.



Post# 366550 , Reply# 18   2/11/2017 at 12:29 (2,576 days old) by craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

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It most probably was bad luck I have started using my Girlfriends Miele cylinder vac for the car and other areas where there's the possibility of large foreign objects, I agree with you on replacing the fan being a easy chore to do, in fact If I had to replace a fan at all I'd rather it be on a Generation model than a older model just seems so much easier to get at.

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