Thread Number: 35570  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
To keep or not to keep
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Post# 382159   12/4/2017 at 17:59 (316 days old) by Oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        

For a few years now, Iíve been the proud owner of my grandmaís old Kmart Hoover custom convertible. The machine has proven to be a wonderful workhorse for me. Iíve been aware of her flaws , but now Iím almost at a point where I donít know what to do with it. I recently had a good friend fix the zipper on the bag for the third time after it jammed and had to open it to free the zipper itself (thereís some bad teeth), and now the zipper is jammed in the same spot again (was like that when returned to me) due to a bad tooth blocking the way, making it impossible to do a bag change. The rear axle is a bit slanted, and Iíve got an endcap that has threads worn on to the shaft of the brush. Her base aslo has a small hairline crack, and her fan possibly has blades that are chipped near the center. Although all but 2 of these issues are minor, Iím afraid iíve reached a point where I may have to make a heartbreaking decision to get rid of my most prized machine, and one that has been part of my childhood. The machine is rare, but not too rare (Iíd say between a 7 and a 9 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of rarity), even if it wasnít part of my childhood it still might be a big loss for me. So now I ask, is it worth keeping anymore? Or might I be better off selling it? Should I have it looked at by a vacuum store if I keep it?

Post# 382163 , Reply# 1   12/4/2017 at 20:01 (316 days old) by FCS3 (Hawaii)        
Hi Oldskoolguy

If you can't find a replacement bag off an old
"for parts" machine, perhaps you could find a
similar zipper at Jo-anns, or some other fabric
store/sewing center. They might even be able to
suggest a regular customer who does alterations
to replace the bag's zipper entirely.
But then it wouldn't be completely original
anymore, if that's a priority with you.

What ever you decide, I'd try to keep the "old gal"
going for as long as she wants to work for you.

Post# 382292 , Reply# 2   12/7/2017 at 19:11 (313 days old) by oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        
made up my mind...

I am keeping this machine. under one condtion: I am able to care for it with no hassles (e.g. a fan replacement) I don't need to change the bag at the moment, so that's going to take a back seat. I just used her the other day, and she seems to be a little loud. she has been sitting in stoage in my air handler room where there's no AC and it's pretty warm in there. The brush was making a sort of grinding noise along with the normal purring when making contact with the carpet and also when it was raised. I took out the belt, and the noise was gone. I just greased and lubricated the bearings, and the noise still doesn't seem to be going away. Reversed the ends of the brush, the noise seems to be slightly worse. Do I need a new bearing(s) (especially considering that one appears to be on the shaft and unable to be removed)? Am I missing a washer or two? I'm afraid that if I keep using the old girl with her brush as it is at the moment, I might ruin the bearings and or the brush itself.

Post# 382294 , Reply# 3   12/7/2017 at 19:34 (313 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
The brushroll endcap housings on the body wear out on those plastic machines. Make sure the brushroll bearings were cleaned out with Carburetor cleaner before you packed them with grease.
As for the motor, you can force in some grease to the lower bearing, but the upper bearing needs its felt soaked in 3-in-1 MOTOR oil (blue label bottle).
These motors are a cakewalk to work on after you do one or two. I've done hundreds.

Post# 382335 , Reply# 4   12/8/2017 at 11:41 (312 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Glad to seee you're keeping it.

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
As far as the bag, yes, you can purchase a new zipper. if you can't replace it yourself, a good shoemaker can do it, as those sewing machines are a snap.
Best of luck.

THere's nothing like a Hoover Convertible.


Post# 382373 , Reply# 5   12/8/2017 at 22:40 (311 days old) by oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        

That might explain something... I didn't think to even clean the bearings with carburetor cleaner first handed. i just, took out the bearings, greased 'em up and put them back in. Not sure if cleaning the bearings with such cleaner after greaing them mqakes a difference or if I should just wash out the grease use Carburetor cleaner then reapply. I should have pics tomorrow, I have to take some.

Post# 382396 , Reply# 6   12/9/2017 at 12:43 (311 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
That Carb Cleaner will clean out grease.

Post# 382405 , Reply# 7   12/9/2017 at 15:00 (311 days old) by Durango159 (State College, PA)        

durango159's profile picture
A lot of your fixes are inexpensive and easy.

Fans are all over the internet and eBay. A new fan or used old metal 11 blade one from eBay will only run you about $12 with shipping, +/- a few dollars. That's roughly about the price of a large 1 topping pizza, but the Convertible will last you years! Brush rolls are also all over the internet and eBay.

The worn threads on endcaps of brush roll could be causing the issue. Additionally, the metal brush rolls can warp. It can be very hard and nearly possibly to see, but it happens. Standing the brush roll on its end and spinning it will tell you many signs. You may feel or notice if there a warp that way and you will also be able to see how smoothly the brush roll rotates in general.

Depending on your brush roll model there are 2 kinds of Hoover washers. The one kind is almost like a roller coaster track with a few ups and downs and either way it is installed will be find. The other style will stand on two ends with center raised up. That style must be installed in such matter. The raised center should be up closer to bearing and end cap while lower sitting ends rest on agitator body itself. Washers are installed below the bearings.

Others above have given solutions for the bag zipper.

The hairline crack is probably caused by handle movement over time and how the unit is carried. It's best to carry Convertibles by yolk of handle base rather than near the top by the cord. You may be able to fill the crack with some super glue,epoxy or other suggestion that perhaps someone else has.

I would not get rid of your machine but I would not use it as a daily driver either.... Keep it for your collection and use it on occasion.

If you need a brand new machine for a daily driver then I'd look to Maytag, Riccar, Simplicity, Miele, Hoover WindtunnelMax bagged upright, Sanitaire blue line S635 and Kenmore has some decent models too.

Post some pictures and we may be able to offer more advice. Happy Vacuuming!

Post# 382448 , Reply# 8   12/10/2017 at 09:42 (310 days old) by Oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        
As requested...

Here are some photos. Regarding keeping it in a collection, I actually donít collect. Iím just here to just strike up conversations, seek advice, offer advice, and share whatís going on with me and vacuums. My friend was finally able to repair the zipper by just removing a tooth. Sheís still my daily driver as my Kirby is a bit heavy to drag up and down stairs (I really only bring it out for big jobs or when itís been a while since I last vacuumed or before I have company over). Iíve really not noticed the performance being affected by the crack as it seems more hair line. Nonetheless, this machine just looks really cool to me, especially with the hood style!

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Post# 382451 , Reply# 9   12/10/2017 at 10:26 (310 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Chicago Suburbs)        

vacuumlad1650's profile picture
Man, those brush inserts are WORN!

Where is the crack? I looked I. The pictures and couldn't see it...

Post# 382473 , Reply# 10   12/10/2017 at 20:47 (309 days old) by TheSpiritOf76 ()        
That is a 1985....

K-Mart Exclusive Convertible. Doesn't look too bad. If you decided that you did not want it, I'm sure someone here would.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 382504 , Reply# 11   12/11/2017 at 11:57 (309 days old) by Oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        

I donít have the crack pictured, but it runs from part of the label to I believe somewhere where thereís an opening for the rear wheels.. I should make it a point to replace those brush strips, but I keep forgetting. I should also try and find an 8 piece u4903 attachment set as I think I might like it better than the u4901 set that I got a few years back off eBay

Post# 382520 , Reply# 12   12/11/2017 at 19:54 (309 days old) by TheSpiritOf76 ()        

Your welcome for the information and sales sheets.

Post# 382622 , Reply# 13   12/13/2017 at 22:22 (306 days old) by oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        

Forgot to thank you. I thought I put it in there but i didn't. I'm actually well aware that she is indeed a Kmart upright. I've seen old newspaper ads that feature her. butt i've never seen that booklet. I wonder why Kmart stopped doing Kmart-exclusive hoovers... Bad sales maybe?

Post# 382631 , Reply# 14   12/14/2017 at 10:52 (306 days old) by Ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

ultralux88's profile picture
I'm partial to soaking the bearings in degreaser for a few days and then greasing them up, I like to get all the old dried grease and any dirt that has collected out of there before I put grease in and run them.

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