Thread Number: 15814
Is this worth it? Tristar.....
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Post# 168405   2/5/2012 at 15:05 (2,975 days old) by Vacuumfreeeke ()        

Hey guys... I found a Tristar for very cheap near me but there seems to be a few issues. There is tape on the hose/handle and there is no power nozzle or attachments and those are things I'd want. Is the machine worth this amount in that condition? Are the extras that make it workable readily available and reasonably priced? Here's a link to the CL ad..... I've never had or even used a Tristar before and while I'm curious about their legendary power, I'm apprehensive because they seem bulky and hard to maneuver and and don't have a retractable cord.... Here's a link so you can see what I'm talking about.... what would your advice be?

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Vacuumfreeeke's LINK on Orlando Craigslist

Post# 168407 , Reply# 1   2/5/2012 at 15:16 (2,975 days old) by massagemiracle ()        

I'd buy that up asap! You can get everything for it, and they are worth it!

Post# 168417 , Reply# 2   2/5/2012 at 15:53 (2,975 days old) by kenkart ()        
They are!

NOT bulky, on the contrary, they are just about the most manuverable vacuum ever made!, Try it You will like it!!..Oh yeah, its not all that old either!! the name changed from Compact to Tri Star in the 80s!

Post# 168418 , Reply# 3   2/5/2012 at 15:53 (2,975 days old) by sarasvacshack ()        
You cant lose

with a deal like that! You can get a new hose cheap on eBay, any fit all attachments would fit, and most older Eureka power nozzles fit too!

Post# 168425 , Reply# 4   2/5/2012 at 16:15 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

,,,,On what you expect from a vintage vac once you get it. If you're looking for a driver, and do not care about putting it back in collectible condition, then this one would be fine. It's also a great parts machine at that price.

But if you have dreams of owning one in really original condition, keep looking until you find a more complete one. The reason is that TriStar replacement parts can be EXPENSIVE. Mine came without a hose and missing a few tools. I ended up putting about $400 into it to get it into the shape you see below. The rug tool alone was over $100. My goal was to get it absolutely complete and correct, and I paid dearly to achieve it.

So, know what you're expecting and don't go thinking "Oh, I'll just buy what it needs," because that will cost a lot more than you might think it would, okay?

P.S. - The TriStar is one of the most maneuverable machines around, much more so than any Lux you've ever used, trust me.

Post# 168433 , Reply# 5   2/5/2012 at 16:23 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Forgot to Explain:

Bobby, what I meant by the cost of putting a TriStar back in shape was putting it back in shape using only genuine TriStar parts. Obviously, you can get one usable again for a lot less than I spent if you don't mind using fitall parts. Wanting only genuine was what cost me so much. Heck, the cord alone was $30, but universal ones were not the right color.

Post# 168436 , Reply# 6   2/5/2012 at 16:32 (2,975 days old) by ge1969 (Jefferson, GA)        

Hey Guys! Just my two cents worth. If the pistol grip is the only thing wrong with the hose, that can be replaced without replaceing the entire hose. It's a bit of a pain, but still very doable. Also, if you're not in a big rush to get it complete, I would think you could come up with a decent set of used stuff for it realitively cheap. Good luck, Trg

Post# 168441 , Reply# 7   2/5/2012 at 16:44 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

Been there, tried that.

Didn't really work; used TriStar stuff at a real savings just doesn't surface very often. The floor and rug tools are the problem; they're big-bucks items and everyone knows it. Ditto on the wands - $50 a pop for genuine.

Post# 168460 , Reply# 8   2/5/2012 at 18:13 (2,975 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I'd buy it in a shot, the hoses aren't that much on ebay, and if you can, get the "gas pump" hose, they're not a s awkward as the pistol grip... :)

As for lacking a cable rewind, just thing of it this way, one less part to break, and you get a longer cable compared to the retractables on most cannister vacs, with my tristar I can plug it in downstairs and vac upstairs it's that long... :P

Post# 168463 , Reply# 9   2/5/2012 at 18:33 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

You get used to winding the cord back up on a TriStar, and the vac has a winding hook on the bag door that's actually pretty convenient.

There's nothing quite so disheartening as an automatic cordwinder that has decided to stop doing its job. Ones for vintage Luxes are repairable, but it's not a fun job, and there's a hazard from the winding spring to boot.

Here's a pic of the winding arrangement on a TriStar:

Post# 168468 , Reply# 10   2/5/2012 at 18:55 (2,975 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I wrap my Tristar's cable up under the footswitch pedal, keeps it all together without a risk of it falling off when moving... :)

Strange that I can only find this pic of it with the 'taire S663 though... :\

Ah well, I have others, somewhere... :P

Post# 168471 , Reply# 11   2/5/2012 at 19:01 (2,975 days old) by kenkart ()        
Dont Cuss..BUT!

I bought one just like the last photo at the Goodwill for 15 bucks and all it needs is a dusting brush!! it even had the tag hanging on the machine handle, NOT A SCRATCH, the dummy at the store said she was sure it was very old...I said oh im sure it is too!!!as I gave her the 15 bucks!!

Post# 168472 , Reply# 12   2/5/2012 at 19:02 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        


Using the switch pedal as a winding point is not good practice. What happens is that it puts strain on the pin that is driven through the body to hold the pedal in place. Eventually the pin will work loose or break - and actually, breakage is the better of the two outcomes. If it works loose, the holes in the body may have worn a bit large and a replacement pin won't stay in readily.

Learned this one the hard way! The proper winding point is the underside of the afterfilter.

By the way, your TriStar is an EX-20, same as the one in the ad at the beginning of this thread - the last model before the new MG series.

Post# 168473 , Reply# 13   2/5/2012 at 19:03 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

I am not cussing.

But I shall hate you til' I die. ;-)

Post# 168477 , Reply# 14   2/5/2012 at 19:25 (2,975 days old) by twocvbloke ()        
"By the way, your TriStar is an EX-20"

Says CXL on the base, it was a later one so had the DXL paintjob rather than the paintjob in yours, it was made sometime in 1992, the serial is 9212206, if anyone can decipher that...

As for the cable wrapping thing, that's what I was told to do, and what I have seen many other Tristar & compact owners do, it prevents someone accidentally pressing or even intentionally the power button (handy for me as my nephew liked to try!!), it's not done my tristar any harm, the pedal's still attached after 20 years, so it can't be doung anything bad as far as I can tell... :)

Post# 168481 , Reply# 15   2/5/2012 at 19:30 (2,975 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        
Electric hose

I got this one here & have been VERY happy with it since. It has a more comfortable grip, ON/OFF switch for PN, & doesn't have the 'bulky' cuff at handle end like the genuine pistol grip hose does.

I don't know why none of these electric hoses have suction control? Or is there at least one TriStar CXL hose that does?

Post# 168483 , Reply# 16   2/5/2012 at 19:36 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

It's your machine, I'm just saying I broke one that way.

The later TriStars are a bit confusing; there are different paint schemes and the CXL designation on the bottom appears on machines sold with other model numbers on the packaging. I usually go by the paint scheme and date, if known. 1992 is the year the CXL/DXL model changed to the EX-20. Yours could have been sold as either one.

Post# 168485 , Reply# 17   2/5/2012 at 19:38 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Suction Control:

I don't know of a TriStar hose with a suction control, even from the aftermarket. And it's a machine that could really use one - very powerful.

Post# 168486 , Reply# 18   2/5/2012 at 19:45 (2,975 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I don't think any of them come with a suction relief control on the hose, I too wouldn't mind one, but I don't think anyone's out to make an aftermarket hose with one unfortunately... :(

And I'm not wrapping the cable as tight as a duck's arse as some do, so, there's not much chance of a PVC coated copper damaging metal parts on my CXL... :)

Post# 168492 , Reply# 19   2/5/2012 at 20:48 (2,975 days old) by Vacuumfreeeke ()        

Thanks for the feedback guys. I e-mailed the guy and he said he doesn't know if he has the power nozzle or parts but I can come take a look if I want to. I would really like to know that because that will help me determine if I want it or not. How can someone sell something and just not know if they have all the parts?

I actually prefer a pistol grip to a gas pump grip.... just as I prefer straight open handles on uprights to loop styles. The gas pumps get in the way and are just too bulky and I like to think of the dirt going through my hand!

The same white aftermarket hose you have pictured below.... I have that one in black (at least the grip part, I know the hose is different) for my Rainbow SE and I hate it. I'd much prefer the original.

Sandy, yours looks great! I'm not too anal about all original, I prefer it, but I'm not obsessive about it. Is this the one that came with the glittered tools?

I would want an original power nozzle though!

We'll see... I looked around on Ebay and the accessories do not look cheap. I used to have two old Eureka power nozzles that would have worked... one from a Rainbow D2 and one from the exes Mongomery Ward canned ham, but I threw them both away!

Post# 168493 , Reply# 20   2/5/2012 at 20:53 (2,975 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

U shouldn't have thrown out the PN! I NEVER throw anything out, ever. I don't care about the condition or anything; I just keep it.

Post# 168495 , Reply# 21   2/5/2012 at 21:16 (2,975 days old) by Vacuumfreeeke ()        

If you have a mansion that's OK.... a one bedroom apartment not so much!

Post# 168514 , Reply# 22   2/6/2012 at 03:24 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
Clear/Glitter Tools

Yes, the tools are clear/glitter; a pic of them is below. The tool caddy that clips to the wands is also pictured. These tools are not too bad to find or replace; the floor and rug tools are the expensive ones at around $100 each. They're solid cast aluminum, with natural horsehair bristles, so that's why they're so spendy.

The effort I put into making the machine complete and correct was because this TriStar was intended to be a "memory machine"; it is the closest modern machine to the Compact C-2 we had when I was a kid. That C-2 was horribly mistreated (and eventually killed) by my mom, something I always regretted. This CXL gets treated with the respect it deserves.

I hear you about the "gas pump" hose; I prefer the pistol grip of the original myself.

Post# 168515 , Reply# 23   2/6/2012 at 03:28 (2,975 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
And Here's.....

....A pic of the tool caddy clipped in place on the wands, with the tools on their holders. The dusting brush and upholstery tool are on the top holders; the crevice tool (which isn't clearly visible here) hangs down from the bottom holder:

Post# 168528 , Reply# 24   2/6/2012 at 09:20 (2,974 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
my cord has been wrapped around the switch cover since '59, seems ok still.

Post# 168551 , Reply# 25   2/6/2012 at 12:38 (2,974 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I haven't got the clip thing for the tools to sit on the tubes, it has a hard enough time staying stood up on the PN as it is without adding extra weight (with the demo-tool/bag saver fitted, it's even worse!!)... :P

As for Eureka-type PNs, yes you can use them, but, they do not lock onto the Tristar or Compact tubes so would not be secure, they used to have an adaptor for Eureka PNs before they designed & supplied their own. The easiest way to get them to stay put though is to wrap some electrical tape round the end of the bottom tube in order to make it friction-fitting, it's not perfect, but it makes use of a PN that isn't 100% compatible... :)

Post# 168602 , Reply# 26   2/6/2012 at 19:37 (2,974 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

I also live in a 2-BR apt; but I still have plenty of room for all. However, it's NOT really safe when the kids are there & so is the 'pile' of parts due to entrapment, choking & laceration hazards.

btw, I attach the tool holder onto the handle of the vac & not the wand.

Post# 168632 , Reply# 27   2/6/2012 at 23:15 (2,974 days old) by Sanifan ()        

Do the old Eureka PNs fit on the Tristar wands as-is, or do you need an adapter? I have a Rotomatic and a 50th Anniversary CXL. It would be cool if it just fits.

Lucky find, that new and spiffy Tristar for $15. Congrats! That's very lucky!

Post# 168633 , Reply# 28   2/6/2012 at 23:25 (2,974 days old) by djkain2007 ()        

if anybody is interested... i have an extra tristar hose from the cxl/c80 that i'm not using. i have the 'gas pump' style and the other one. if anybody's interested email me.

Post# 168640 , Reply# 29   2/7/2012 at 01:27 (2,974 days old) by Sanifan ()        
re: Eureka PN

Doh! I just saw your post re: the Eureka PN, twocvbloke. It answers my question that I posted afterward. I missed your comment about the Eureka PN until just now.

Post# 168654 , Reply# 30   2/7/2012 at 05:16 (2,973 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

The best investment I made for my TriStar was an extra set of wands, for use with the floor and rug tools and the dusting brush. What that means is that I don't have to disassemble the wands from the PN when I have other jobs. It also means that the tool caddy can sit on the second set of wands, causing no difficulty whatever.

And in my old house back in Atlanta, it meant I had four wands for use on those occasions when spiders had built webs on the ceiling over the stairs. That ceiling was nearly sixteen feet off the floor, and having four wands made it possible to reach those webs.

Post# 168680 , Reply# 31   2/7/2012 at 11:19 (2,973 days old) by Vacuumfreeeke ()        

Flooramatic.... I'm not trying to qualify for an episode of hoarders here now!

I already have a bare floor tool that someone gave me years ago so that's covered.... I would want the glittered attachments though.... and the original power nozzle....

Post# 168691 , Reply# 32   2/7/2012 at 14:07 (2,973 days old) by twocvbloke ()        
"The best investment I made for my TriStar was an extra

Kind of difficult to do that here in the UK, proper 240V Tristars (CXL, DXL, EXL, MG1/2 etc.) are hard to come by, so parts like wands isn't an easy find cos they'd have to come from the states, and as I'm now paying the energy bills in this house, I'm short on free cash now... :(

Anyway, I gave the tristar a run around the house today, damned fin vacuum, and I glanced at my wattmeter when it was running, and with the washing machine going too, the thing was reading 860 Watts (about 70 for laptops, 200 for the washer's motor (wasn't heating), so about 590 was used by the CXL!!), which was pretty low for a vac with a 1000 Watt motor AND a 150 Watt PN motor running... :D

As for cobwebs, I just dig out a spare Kirby tube and shove it on the end for the tall ceilings (about 10 feet high in this house), it's worked great before now... :)

Post# 168714 , Reply# 33   2/7/2012 at 17:55 (2,973 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

If you need spares for your TriStar, I heartily recommend TriStar Canada over any U.S. source. I've ordered from them several times, and have always been pleased with the service, even if it does take a bit of extra time for things to be checked through border security nowadays.

Is there a special postage rate from Commonwealth countries to Britain?

At any rate, TriStar Canada is in Woodbridge, ONT and they're very nice people - much more efficient than the TriStar people here in the States. Here's a link to their Website, which has extremely helpful parts diagrams. My CXL's PN was noisy when I got it, and careful study of the parts diagrams revealed the problem; two little felt dust seals were missing from the brushroll bearing assemblies, allowing dirt to enter and cause problems. Big help!:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO danemodsandy's LINK

Post# 168716 , Reply# 34   2/7/2012 at 18:26 (2,973 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I don't think Canada has any special treatment when sending stuff over, but even so it'll cost more money than I have, plus I know a guy who knows where to get parts... :)

Post# 168718 , Reply# 35   2/7/2012 at 18:57 (2,973 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Generic wands...

For end users like myself who don't need genuine replacement parts, do you have any suggestions for generic wands for use with a generic dusting brush or unpowered bare floor tool? I have a bunch of random plastic wands lying around. Haven't had the time to try it out, though. Any thoughts before I dig out the parts box? Will cheap generic plastic wands fit on the handle OK?

I'm totally in agreement that having a dedicated set of wands for attachments is a good idea. Saves wear on the cord from pulling it in and out of the guide channel.

Post# 168719 , Reply# 36   2/7/2012 at 19:05 (2,973 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

"Saves wear on the cord from pulling it in and out of the guide channel."

Well, even more importantly, it saves wear on the guide channel. Because if you break one, the only cure I know of is a new wand. Until then, the cord hangs loose and flops about, which is annoying. I've come upon wands with broken guide channels more than once.

Post# 168845 , Reply# 37   2/8/2012 at 16:18 (2,972 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

"I'm not trying to qualify for an episode of hoarders here now!"

btw, I'm hoping me neither! If that was to happen to me, the kids would get taken away. :(

I'll have to get rid of some things, too.

Post# 168908 , Reply# 38   2/8/2012 at 22:32 (2,972 days old) by kirbyvertibles (Independence, KS)        

kirbyvertibles's profile picture
Id get it, they are one of the easiest vacs to use and repair. Very powerful a durable. Will last forever and around here we had an office selling them for 2999.99!! I think that's crazy but it is a great vac.
( p.s ) our TRistar dealer is now gone lol hmmm I wonder why

Post# 168965 , Reply# 39   2/9/2012 at 11:44 (2,971 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Generic Wands....

Well, I just popped on a pair of hard plastic generic wands I have and it friction fits on the pistol grip handle like a dream! There's no hole on the wand for the locking button, though. I suppose I could drill one into the wand (easy enough in plastic), but the friction fit alone seems quite secure. Now I can save my origial metal wands and keep them permanantly mated to my Turbo Brush nozzle. Yea!

Post# 169133 , Reply# 40   2/10/2012 at 18:14 (2,970 days old) by floor-a-matic (somewhere)        

When my parents bought the TriStar back in '85, they bought extra wands for the floor brush & above-floor tools/vacing & the ones that came with the vac only for the Power Nozzle. :)

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