Thread Number: 15209
Upgrading my Kirby Classic Omega
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Post# 161527   12/9/2011 at 09:35 (4,467 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Hi everyone,

I use a Kirby Classic Omega that my parents originally purchased in 1975. It took a beating for 35 years but still worked. I decided to give it a rebuild treatment, and used the Kirby factory rebuild program (which was kind of a hassle, as only the original owner (my mother) could call to set it up. Had to get her to personally call to set it up).
-- Anyway, I wasn't happy with the results. I had to send the Kirby back 3 (yes, THREE) times over the next year to fix stupid motor bearing issues and an issue where the wheel axle came loose. I'm not that rough with this thing. I know how to use it and have read the manual inside and out. I've never had so many issues with this thing as I have had after the factory "rebuild".
-- Anyhow, now I think they finally got it right. The rebuild guy at Kirby knows me by name and he's a good guy, I think I just had bad luck with this one. It's been working fine for about 9 months or so with no problems, and I hope it stays that way.

I've been contemplating an upgrade now. I know how amazing the G series Kirby vacuum are performance-wise (I saw a demo when I was a teenager in our home.) And have been researching the G series and Sentria a a lot.

I'm about to move in to a brand new home, and wanna keep the carpets in tip-top shape. The Classic Omega gets a lot of fur and fuzz out of the carpet, but it does *not* get very much sand out. I don't think it's cleaning as deep as something newer would. I've tried adjusting the brush roller per the manual, and it's all correct. I think that this Kirby Classic Omega is nice, and built to last, but the FACT IS - it was made in 1975. Kirby has most likely made improvements over the past 35 years, or they wouldn't be in business. I've read analysis and comparisons between old and new Kirbys, and I know that the main weakness of the newer Kirbys is the transmission potentially going out. I'm willing to take that risk, as replacement transmissions can be found on the used parts market for 50 to 75 bucks.

There's no way in heck I'm paying more than a few hundred bucks for it. I'm going to get a used one second-hand, so that I won't feel buyer's guilt. I realize that I'm "banned" from Kirby's warranty service and rebuild service by doing that but HEY - based on my prior experience with their rebuild program, I'm NOT HEARTBROKEN ABOUT THAT!!!!
-- I'm pretty technical, and good at fixing things, worst-case, I know some shops in town that can repair the thing if something goes amiss.

I'm also concerned about the complete lack of HEPA filtration on the Classic Omega. I'm excited about having a HEPA filter. I know that you can install HEPA bag kits for the Classic Omega, but I don't want to put any more money into the Classic Omega than I have to.

I'm fairly certain that I want to sell the Classic Omega, and try to get a little bit more than the amount of cash I've put into it. I don't have the space to keep both of them around, and I need to commit to one unit.

I'm excited about having something with more cleaning power, HEPA filtration, better ease of use (with the Turbo Drive transmission), and all of that. I guess I kind of want your opinion on if I'm crazy or not. I am very fond of the Classic Omega, but the fact is that I can't justify continuing to use it if a newer Kirby performs better, and has better filtration.

Am I crazy?

Post# 161542 , Reply# 1   12/9/2011 at 13:46 (4,467 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        
Up-Grade or Trade UP...

djtaylor's profile picture
If you don't want to put more money into the Omega, then I suggest that you get a used G Series. The Transmissions are NOT that bad, they are not going out left-and-right. If you remember to put it into 'neutral' BEFORE you turn off the power the transmission will last many years. It is the people who forget to switch into 'neutral' that strip out the gears and have to have the Kirby fixed every other year.
You will do just fine with a G Series. If you get a G5 or newer you can put the newer style brush roller into it and it will clean the carpets in your new home very nicely.
But, if you want to keep the Omega you can put a Heritage II Mini-Emtor system on it, use the HEPA bags and put in a brush roller with ball-type bearings on the ends and four rows of bristles. The Mini-Emtor, HEPA bags and brush roller will make the Omega do a much better cleaning job.
Your choice.

Post# 161544 , Reply# 2   12/9/2011 at 14:01 (4,467 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
Hi. Justins gave you some good points!:o)
Let us know what you do:o)


Post# 161545 , Reply# 3   12/9/2011 at 14:21 (4,467 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

To upgrade your Omega, get a HeritageII-style bag setup and use the white Poly. bags, and replace the 2-row brushroll with the Heritage style brushroll, thus resulting in higher and more efficient filtration AND better sweeping for less money than a G-series, aswell as being lighter to carry than a G-series... :)

Post# 161546 , Reply# 4   12/9/2011 at 14:23 (4,467 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

And yes, I just realised I missed djtaylor's post stating what I just posted... :P

Post# 161548 , Reply# 5   12/9/2011 at 14:49 (4,467 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Will it take HEPA bags? You said "Micron" bags, are those different?

I'm not too thrilled about having to buy bags on a regular basis - it's nice to dump the cloth bag out once every few weeks and be done with it. I think if I'm going to have a regular monthly consumable cost for bags, I'd rather put that money towards operating a newer unit...

Thanks for the feedback!

Post# 161551 , Reply# 6   12/9/2011 at 15:00 (4,467 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

There are two types of HEPA bags for Kirbys, there's the Brown paper based MicronMagic bags, and there's the White Polypropylene based MicronMagic bags, all the bags use a Style-3 opening, or for the later Sentria, the F-style "fast fit" bags (said filltube adaptors can be fitted onto the HeritageII type mini-emtor)... :)

See this ebay listing to see how one's put together:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO twocvbloke's LINK on eBay

Post# 161593 , Reply# 7   12/9/2011 at 21:04 (4,466 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Will the Heritage II disposable bag and mini-emptor kit fit on a 1-CB?

What about a Heritage II brush? Do I need to find a particular brush roller, or will any Heritage II brush roll do?

Post# 161602 , Reply# 8   12/9/2011 at 23:30 (4,466 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

It's funny, last night I decided I was tired of my daughter (almost 3) being scared of the Kirby. So I showed her how it worked, and treated it like a puzzle game. I had her help me take it apart, put it together, etc. Then tonight, out of nowhere, she blurts out "DADDY I WANT TO VACUUM!!" ..... "OK!" so she helped me plug it in, power it on, lower the nozzle level, and push it, vacuumed the whole house (she insisted).

And then I got to thinking that it was something that this is now the third generation that this Kirby that's been in the family. Maybe I should hold on to it... hmm.

I think I found the bag I need, and according to the item description, the top may be a red Classic III one, which is not perfect, but MAYBE I can change that out.

As for the brush roller, you said to look for one with "ball-type bearings on the ends and four rows of bristles. "

Is that the right kind? Will it fit in the Classic Omega as-is?

If these parts are correct, this would put me out about $130. Wondering if I can justify that cost...

Post# 161604 , Reply# 9   12/9/2011 at 23:57 (4,466 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Callie & Kirby Omega parts...

a007kirbyman's profile picture
Hello Callie.

First off, I would like to welcome you to the forum/club.

When I was doing some vacuum searches, I happened upon the forum/club myself. There are a lot of nice people in the club & a lot of helpful info.

I am somewhat limited on assistance w/ other brands; however, with Kirbys, if there's any way I may be of help that you're not familiar with, 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.

If you want to shoot me an email regarding your Omega, I can definitely save you some $$$ on those parts you are L@@King for [vs. the links you posted]. And, as long as the machine is in good condition, it wouldn't be bad decision. (mho) It won't make it a 'G-Series' machine, but definitely a better performing Omega.

And again, welcome Callie.

Cheers & hagwknd all,


Post# 161614 , Reply# 10   12/10/2011 at 06:59 (4,466 days old) by kirbykid63 (Wilmington Delaware)        
We carry kirby parts.

My eBay store new2youvacuums has a good selection of good used and reconditioned Kirby vacuum parts.I have been in business for 12yrs.and have rebuild many kirby vacuums, my wife and I are power sellers and have earned 100% positive feedback check us out.

Richard Groski
new2youvacuums on eBay
phone num. 520-260-1364

Post# 161619 , Reply# 11   12/10/2011 at 07:50 (4,466 days old) by luxg ()        

Welcome to the forum Callie, There are some really great people here.  My advice would be to keep the Omega.  It holds a lot of memories and should remain in the family.  Both Bill and Richard are great guys and will be able to help you with the needed parts.  Why don't you give some thought to joining the VCCC as well.  We would love to have you as part of our family.  Joining is so easy just check the home page for details.  



Post# 161636 , Reply# 12   12/10/2011 at 13:31 (4,466 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

I try not to be too emotional about these types of things.

I can maybe save on used parts and get the same stuff for about $75, but I just don't know if it will be worth it. An improvement to the Omega, yes - but, for just a little bit more, I could find a used G series or something like that. That's probably what I'll end up doing here.

Thank you all for the feedback!

Post# 161690 , Reply# 13   12/10/2011 at 22:06 (4,465 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Maybe I'm changing my mind.

I might get a brush roller since that's not too much money, and may make it perform better. Will a Heritage style brush fit on this model as-is? Or do I need additional parts/modifications?

Post# 161693 , Reply# 14   12/10/2011 at 23:17 (4,465 days old) by thevacuumman (Borger, TX)        

It will fit as is i have a Heritage style brush roll in my Classic 1CR

Post# 163434 , Reply# 15   12/27/2011 at 08:17 (4,449 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

4-row brush roller is on its way. Then later, I'll get the bag kit...

2 questions:
1.) Are all pre-G-series emptors cross-compatible? (aside from the physical size of the emptor, does the opening that attaches emptors on all pre-G-series Kirby models fit across-the-board? That link above where that person is selling that bag shows that a Heritage-style mini-emptor was used, and claims that it will fit on 516 - D80.)

2.) My brush roller is rattling a lot currently, and I think it's because the factory rebuild did a poor job of installing the brush roller gasket. It's making the sound of metal-on-metal when the roller is really getting into the carpet, so I know it's the brush roller gasket. Looking at it, half of it is misaligned, showing areas where it's hitting metal-on-metal. Are these easy to reinstall? Can I just scrape off the current one and re-glue it, or is it best to buy a new gasket altogether?

Post# 163442 , Reply# 16   12/27/2011 at 09:12 (4,449 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

And.. as a token of appreciation for your guys's help, here's a few pics of the thing:

Post# 163443 , Reply# 17   12/27/2011 at 09:13 (4,449 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

One more...

Post# 163445 , Reply# 18   12/27/2011 at 09:14 (4,449 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Last one..

Post# 163512 , Reply# 19   12/27/2011 at 17:46 (4,449 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

I'm happy to report that the 4-row brush roller is a significant improvement!! Not only does it clean better (through sheer extra vibrations and contact with brushes), but the thing is slightly easier to push, and the annoying rattling sound went away. I guess that the brush roller now vibrates more rapidly and evenly, so that offset gasket isn't causing any bother.

I'll try this for a while, and keep an eye out for a bag system.

So far, I only can find four options in the way of color:
1.) The blue from a Tradition
2.) The deep-red from a Heritage I
3.) The gray with red Kirby logo from Heritage II
4.) The red checker pattern from the Legend II

I really really like the current bag that the factory sent it back with - solid black. It's simple, and sleek. I'm not a huge fan of the groove brown colors anyway... Any way that I can find a solid black bag, or maybe modify the current bag with a fill-tube so that it is disposable?

Post# 163738 , Reply# 20   12/29/2011 at 14:19 (4,447 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Interesting. I used the Rug Renovator today. I'm used to getting a huge amount of nasty crap (fur, and unspeakable goo) trapped on the inside of the rug renovator during use. But THIS time, after a thorough vacuuming with the new brush roller, I used the Rug Renovator, and there was hardly anything on the inside of it when I was done. In fact, the sponge filter was almost completely spotless.

Which means either the Rug Renovator is a piece of crap, or the new brush roller is actually doing its job when I vacuum. Must be the latter :)

Post# 163744 , Reply# 21   12/29/2011 at 15:45 (4,447 days old) by jfalberti (Visalia, CA)        
Omega bag options

jfalberti's profile picture
Kirby has conversion options on their web site for Classic - Classic Omega cleaners that include a mini EmTor, fill tube, bag hanger and zippered outer bag. You should also be able to piece it together from Kirby dealers here on the site or eBay.


Post# 163753 , Reply# 22   12/29/2011 at 16:33 (4,447 days old) by sopranojam85 (Austin, TX)        

Thanks! Turns out that the one Kirby sells comes in solid black! Bag only is about $38... the whole kit is about $134 though so...

Thanks for that!

Post# 163777 , Reply# 23   12/29/2011 at 18:51 (4,447 days old) by kirby (passadena md)        

i own my great grandmothers kirby as it was passed down to me. i love it and it works like a champ

Post# 432283 , Reply# 24   9/22/2020 at 13:43 (1,257 days old) by Ilovehoovers (England)        

ilovehoovers's profile picture
Do they still sell those conversion kits 9-years on?

Post# 432310 , Reply# 25   9/22/2020 at 20:59 (1,257 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Conversion kits idk. It's basically a heritage mini emtor bag topper is type f. I don't think kirby sells pre g series bags.
You get your bag via eBay and have a zipper installed. You could by a heritage bag and emtor. They run $30 and up on eBay.

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