Thread Number: 36880  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
Classic Omega went from delights to dilemma.
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Post# 394400   7/5/2018 at 16:41 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Hi everybody, once again I got another Kirby, my 4th one, this is a Classic Omega I got just today at goodwill for $23.80 and I got excited when I saw it at the household section and took it to the front to test it out, it works and then after turning it on again the bulb went out and I noticed it needed a new belt too. Now to the dilemma, after I put a new genuine belt on, I plug it in to do a pickup test and all a sudden it went on for 1 second and stopped working!! I checked the cord making sure it was connected to the wall and vacuum and then I pressed the switch and it was trying to work but I happen to see what appeared to be electrical spark light from the inside. So I immediately unplugged it so I wouldnít cause a fire. At first I was figuring out how to get a replacement motor for it, but I had another idea! I happen to have another Classic III in the closet for parts and the motor works but the safety switch from it is discern grated. So maybe I can get some help from you very huge Kirby fans on how to replace a motor from any Classic series Kirby vacuums. Really donít understand how a Kirby like this in very good condition would have a motor that barely works at all with sparks. Piece of beauty!

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Post# 394401 , Reply# 1   7/5/2018 at 16:43 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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The bag is nice but not original, this is a 1981 replacement. Better than no bag!👍

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Post# 394402 , Reply# 2   7/5/2018 at 16:44 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Starting with the letter N on the serial number, this was made around January or September 1974!

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Post# 394403 , Reply# 3   7/5/2018 at 17:01 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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I spelled disintegrated wrong.

Post# 394406 , Reply# 4   7/5/2018 at 18:36 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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I am sorry to hear all of that concerning your Omega. I hope you can get her back on track!


Post# 394407 , Reply# 5   7/5/2018 at 18:43 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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You said it was working before, if it sounded ok, I doubt you need a motor. Likely the problem lies with the switch, safety switch, internal wiring or perhaps even the cord, as this one's cord plugs into the back of the motor, yes? The pins in those plugs can become loose over time.

So where exactly did you see sparks?

Only one way to find out, anyway. Tear it down and examine it, before you jump the gun and swap motors.

Post# 394411 , Reply# 6   7/5/2018 at 19:07 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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MadMan, I actually saw like a dimming spark lights through the side vents when I tried to turn it on.

Post# 394412 , Reply# 7   7/5/2018 at 19:31 by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

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It COULD be a bad motor. Kirby had a batch of defective motors that were installed in the Kirby Omegas. I heard tell of such from someone who bought one new, and thought it was an urban legend until it was confirmed on here. Your Omega might have one of those dud motors.

Post# 394415 , Reply# 8   7/5/2018 at 19:51 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

This could be as simple as worn motor brushes, which are simple, cheap, and easy to replace. The sparks you saw through the vents are a good indication. Make sure they are more than 1/4" long.

Post# 394416 , Reply# 9   7/5/2018 at 21:02 by vacman1961 (North Babylon, New York)        

Your machine is a "N" serial number, indicating an early model, possibly 1973 or 1974, you could have the black bell housing on the motor which was problematic with the early Omega's since it was plastic and was prone to heat damage. The later Omega's and all models after up until the Legend 2 used a white sort of ceramic bell housing which resisted heat. Don't worry, it can be fixed relatively cheap, you just need to buy an armature, carbon brushes and I would change the bell housing and carbon brush holders too, while your in there change the bearings and the fan if needed. It looks like it is in nice condition any Kirby can always be repaired. Good Luck.

Post# 394417 , Reply# 10   7/5/2018 at 21:04 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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I'm sure it is not the motor. If the motor had burned out or blew, it would have had a lot of smoke and your circuit breaker likely would have tripped. I remember when my grandmother's Electrolux blew, it looked like a bomb went off! The smell was nauseating.

The sparks and the vacuum not working are not related. All old vacuums, and old electric motors in general, will make sparks from the armature because the gaps between the commutator and the carbon brushes is wide from age and use. Replacing the carbon brushes can help alleviate the problem. If the sparks are huge and like, shooting out of the side or something or burning the wiring inside, that is an issue.

It also could be that the vacuum was used heavily enough to wear the carbon brushes down to nothing and the vacuum cannot make a good electrical contact anymore to engage the motor.

But maybe I just have dumb luck, but 90% of all "Kirby won't turn on" issues I have found are the brushroll nozzle not being seated properly to trip the safety switch, or the safety switch is stuck and/or dirty. It's happened to 3 of the Kirbys I have bought that the seller said was not working. Sounds silly, but it does happen.

Next I would inspect the power cord for any damage, feel for any breaks where the sheathing feels like it is sunken in or kinked, could be broken wires inside the cord. Also check the socket connections at the end of the cord. You can try rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and sticking it inside and twirling it around to clean the holes on the cord. Very common for lint and carbon to build up in there and make a poor connection.

Check the socket prongs on the vacuum and make sure they are not loose or damaged as well.

It is possible that the tension from the new belt is lifting the nozzle up off the vacuum because of how tight it is gripping the shaft and might be losing connection with the safety switch, or you didn;t re-seat the nozzle properly when putting it back on.

The light bulb, I would not worry about. The vacuum has likely been banged around a lot from the donation box to being loaded on a truck, and then into another truck, and then into a bin, and then into the store, and so on. The little filament was probably fractured and you turning it on in the store was its last bit of life before it snapped.

That's my best guesses at what could be wrong, it's a starting point at least. I actually do have a 1CR but I haven't touched it in about 7 or 8 years. It will be getting its overdue TLC and be back up to spic and span shape hopefully this year.

Post# 394421 , Reply# 11   7/5/2018 at 21:32 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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If you have enough money, I wish to recommend you ChicagoMike (he's a great Kirby guru) and have him look at it and see what is wrong with the motor. But I still hope you can try to resolve it yourself before you consider asking him about it.


This post was last edited 07/06/2018 at 03:54
Post# 395628 , Reply# 12   7/26/2018 at 14:41 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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I ordered new genuine carbon brushes that work only for Classic 1-CR to Legend II. Iím sure this is what this vacuum needs to work properly and normal again.

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Post# 395631 , Reply# 13   7/26/2018 at 15:59 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Well looky here! No wonder why! Very worn carbon brush. Me and my brain!

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Post# 395633 , Reply# 14   7/26/2018 at 16:10 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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I'm glad to hear you were able to get this situation resolved!


Post# 395634 , Reply# 15   7/26/2018 at 16:30 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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KirbyClassicIII, thank you and guess what it works like a charm again! Iíll post some pics of it in action later on. 😁

Post# 395635 , Reply# 16   7/26/2018 at 16:31 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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And it only cost $6!!!

Post# 395636 , Reply# 17   7/26/2018 at 17:43 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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Holy crap, I'd say that's pretty well worn, no wonder it didn't work! I will bet you that the cause of the sparks was because the motor was shorting itself to the spring since there was so little carbon left on it.

You can save the other one and put it in a salvage parts bin, since it still has life left on it.

Post# 395640 , Reply# 18   7/26/2018 at 19:57 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Like I said....
Seen it before. Long ago my mom's D50 got to the point where the spring got pulled in slightly before it died.
You should get a decade or two out of those new ones!

Post# 395642 , Reply# 19   7/26/2018 at 20:05 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Post# 395645 , Reply# 20   7/26/2018 at 21:51 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Post# 395646 , Reply# 21   7/26/2018 at 21:52 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Post# 395647 , Reply# 22   7/26/2018 at 21:52 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Kirbys were meant to be powerful as a beast!

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Post# 395648 , Reply# 23   7/26/2018 at 21:55 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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Beat dat!!

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Post# 395657 , Reply# 24   7/27/2018 at 08:13 by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        

Great find, I immediately thought brushes, like others directed you, when I read the OP. I am glad it was an easy fix.
Also glad to see that the Heritage II Miracle Head is working for your machine.

I have an Omega that I bought new, and have never had a motor issue.

Post# 395928 , Reply# 25   8/1/2018 at 14:06 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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I got a brand new 4 row brushroll to replace the old 2 row brushroll and this one works great!

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