Thread Number: 36889  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
Top fill Convertible
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Post# 394458   7/6/2018 at 20:46 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

Hey all,

I'm not exactly a wealth of knowledge regarding vacuums in general.
When it comes to uprights, I'm even more in the dark.

I saw an ad recently for some bags to fit "top fill" Hoover Convertibles.
I'm guessing that means there are "bottom fill" Hoover Convertibles?

Aside from the obvious; "one fills from the top..." what can you tell me about the two variants?
Is one configuration more desirable or more efficient than the other?

I don't know why, but I'm thinking that some kind of Convertible might find its way into our home one of these days.
Well...I know why. Because I'm a hoarder.
I definitely could not justify getting anything extremely collectible or pricey, since I'm not even an upright guy.
I just realized that probably wasn't worded all that well. I don't mean that I walk on all fours.
I just don't normally buy upright vacuums, since I have no wall to wall.

But, if a Convertible happens to catch my eye, should I concern myself with whether it's top or bottom fill?

Thanks for bearing with my probably moronic question.


Post# 394460 , Reply# 1   7/6/2018 at 21:39 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
Personally I think they have their good and bad points for me.

The bottom fill Convertibles are the earlier design of them. They use the Type C bag that's basically a sleeve with an opening on the bottom that fits over the spout and secures with a spring.

Type later top fill machines use the Type A bags, which fill from the top via a long fill tube inside the outer bag and just push onto the tube. They are more efficient than the C bags because the dust settles at the bottom due to gravity and the machine doesn't have to keep blowing it up into the bag like with the bottom fill. Plus the C bag has nothing to stop dust from falling out the bottom like an A bag so they're messier to change.

It's really all up to personal preference. The top fill design is the more advanced design and more efficient. There are also more modern bags that can be used with the top fill setup instead of the single layer ones. You can probably use the newer HEPA bags and microfiltration bags typically meant for the Elite, Concept I/II, PowerMax, and Windtunnel machines because they all use the top fill setup.

The C bags have no workaround for this, so you're probably stuck with the single layer bags that don't filter very well. You could possibly use a HEPA Eureka F&G bag which would solve the filtration and bottom fill issues, because they have their own paper fill tube, but the outer bag would probably be too small to fit all that inside.

Although, I do like how the bottom fill C bags have a smaller outer bag and seem more vintage style than the top fill A bags. I personally like the older metal base and early plastic base style Convertibles more so than the later ones with the big "Ranger" style hoods, that typically use the top fill, but that's just my preference.

If it was going to be a daily driver type machine I'd probably pick the ones that allows better filtration, which is of course top fill.

Post# 394461 , Reply# 2   7/6/2018 at 22:00 by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Thanks Cole

That helps.

I saw one that I'll probably take another look at.
It's a top fill, but I didn't catch a model number or anything.
It has a headlight, and the hood is a dark red.
The outer bag has red horizontal stripes on it.

I liked the looks of it, but I didn't really know what I was looking at.
I think they wanted $20 for it.
I might pick it up, just to have something different from my usual canisters to play with once in a while.


Post# 394462 , Reply# 3   7/6/2018 at 22:10 by broomvac (N/A)        

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I have a Kenmore-branded Hoover Convertible with the top fill setup. It has the large "Ranger" style hood fan-of-fans mentioned. The setup works just as he described; a type A bag just pushes on the tube. I always use HEPA cloth type A bags which fit perfectly and perform even better than the paper ones. In case you were wondering what the setup looks like, there are some pictures of it below.

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Post# 394463 , Reply# 4   7/6/2018 at 22:18 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

Thanks for the pics.

I like that with that configuration, I would be able to use the HEPA bags.

I'm thinking $20 doesn't seem bad for a decent Convertible. I'll probably grab it.


Post# 394465 , Reply# 5   7/6/2018 at 23:41 by broomvac (N/A)        

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Word of warning: most top fill convertibles use the setup I showed above where the bag pushes on the tube. I think the very earliest ones, though, did not use the push-on connector. Rather, the type-A bag collar would slide into a holder on the end of the tube (think Miele bag). That is why paper Type A bags have a hemispherical bottom, in case anyone was wondering.

The HEPA bags do not work with this system because the rubber collar restricts the opening when it is not stretched around a tube. That is why Hoover did not bother making a hemispherical bottom for the collar on this particular HEPA bag. Hoover did not want people to attempt to use the HEPA bags on those machines.

I doubt the machine you found has that early bag docking system, but you can check before you buy if you want. Please do let us know what you find.

Post# 394474 , Reply# 6   7/7/2018 at 10:55 by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Convertible update

Well, I bought it.

My first Convertible.

If the wife has anything to say about it, it will be my ONLY Convertible.
And, since realistically, I didn't need an upright at all, I could probably live with that.

As you can see, it's a U4387.

I notice that the tag doesn't give amps for floor and tools like others that I've seen.
Despite being a Convertible; did this model not accept the hose and tools?

I just couldn't resist the, I'm guessing, 1980s look of the color and bag design, while still maintaining the classic Convertible look.
It does appear to have that newer style bag docking system like yours, so HEPA bags should be good to go!

The pictures were taken as soon as I brought it in from the truck.
It hasn't even been so much as dusted off yet.
It has a few obligatory scrapes on the hood, but I think it looks really clean in general.
I did plug it in and vacuum the braided rug in the breezeway.
Sounded great, and picked up all of our cat Chuck's fur deposits.
The headlight even works!
I'm happy with my $20 investment!

Thoughts? Comments?


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This post was last edited 07/07/2018 at 20:42
Post# 394485 , Reply# 7   7/7/2018 at 15:35 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
I'd say it's mid 80s probably. If it was made after late 1987 it would have a month and year code in the serial number. So if the serial number started with 0489, you'd know it was April 1989. But in this case it doesn't so it would pre date that. Based on the colors though I'd say mid 80s as you say.

It's a nice machine, I do like the bag pattern.

Next thing you know you'll be wanting the attachments kit for it. I know I would. LOL

Post# 394489 , Reply# 8   7/7/2018 at 18:19 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

That's funny. You're absolutely right!
I've already been looking at them on eBay!

It looks like it uses the tool kit U4901.
That probably explains why the tag doesn't show different amps for floor and tools.
It's the front conversion style.

There are several listings for that tool kit; most say they're new, and in the original box.
I guess they didn't come with a bare floor tool.
And some have a straight plastic wand, while others have the classic Hoover curved aluminum wand.

Knowing me, I'll end up buying a kit at some point. Lol


Post# 394505 , Reply# 9   7/8/2018 at 10:07 by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
Congrats on the new Convertible! It looks to be in excellent condition.

Yours and mine appear to have the same 5 amp motor. These cleaners always sounded great to me, with their slow wind up and wind down.

Post# 394526 , Reply# 10   7/8/2018 at 14:42 by JustJunque (Western MA)        


It is in really nice condition. And I just absolutely love the look of it!

I know it would be nice to have an older version, but this one still has the classic good looks, while being it hasn't seen as much wear and tear.

It does have a nice sound to it as well!
Makes me wish we had more carpet!


Post# 394544 , Reply# 11   7/8/2018 at 23:01 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Hi Barry,

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
Very nice Convertible! THAT one takes the "A" type or "top fill" bag. And, it takes the tools with "front conversion". They seal better than the "rear conversion". That is a high performance motor.... very different sounding than the ones in the metal base Convertibles. (They are my personal favorite). But, I LOVE them all!

Post# 394708 , Reply# 12   7/11/2018 at 18:45 by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Cleaning bumpers

I've been cleaning up the new-to-me Convertible.
Most of the scuffs polished out of the hood.
I'm just using polishing compound and elbow grease.
If I had a machine polisher or something, I could probably get it better.
But I'm going to use it. It looks good enough for a driver.

What I'm wondering, is if anyone can tell me how to get the scuffs off the colored rubber bumper, without damaging the surface.


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Post# 394718 , Reply# 13   7/11/2018 at 21:42 by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
For bumpers I usually use a Magic Eraser to clean them (you can use the generic ones that are cheaper). If I can take the bumpers off (which I see isn't the case here because they're held on with rivets it looks like), then I usually pull them off and soak em in hot soapy water and scrub with a sponge.

A toothbrush may help as well.

Then if you wanted, you could rub them with something like Armor All that would make them look supple again, and remove the dullness that the scrubbing left, but might attract dirt more, so maybe something else would be better.

Post# 394923 , Reply# 14   7/14/2018 at 13:00 by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
You sure did restore its shine! I'm glad to hear you have been enjoying using it.

Would you mind sharing with us which polish you used?

Post# 394929 , Reply# 15   7/14/2018 at 13:35 by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Hey broomvac

I can't take too much credit.
It was in pretty good shape to begin with.
Just some light scuffs/scratches.

For those, I used Turtle Wax white polishing compound.
After that, you're left with some fine scratches.
Step two, to remove the fine scratches, and polish up the whole surface, I used Novus #2 fine scratch remover.
And lots of elbow grease!
I'm sure there's an easier way, but I don't have the proper equipment.

Thanks again for the kind words!

As a side note:
I did buy a set of NOS tools for it.
They arrived today.
It's the "Standard", five piece set.
I knew I would cave and end up buying the tools! LOL
I ain't right.
I'll break them out and try them some time soon.


Post# 395132 , Reply# 16   7/17/2018 at 08:19 by TheSpiritOf76 ()        
actually your new convertible is from 1985...

Also, no one has mentioned the year or the early incarnation of the Type A bag. The type A system was intoduced in 1977 with the new Convertibles model U4101, and U4103 Estate. These and all other top fill Convertibles used a slide in type A fill tube and the cardboard bag collar had a rounded bottom. That was used untill the push on tube was invented in 1981. For the years between 1981 and about 1990, Hoover still made the bag collar with the rounded bottom. Then they made it square with a perferated line, and instructions to cut it for the early top fill Convertibles. I remember those well when I was young. Here are some example pictures of that early system.

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Post# 395134 , Reply# 17   7/17/2018 at 10:36 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Removing that plastic was a huge cost reduction.

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
Dick Pike told us about those cost reductions, as well as Ray porter, manager of Plant #2, the paper bag plant. We spoke with Angie and the other employees when Tom A and I brought donuts and juice to them on our visit.. I was so pleasantly surprised to hear that the green paper used came from the Poconos, my neck of the woods. I stood there and watched that big roll of paper just spin and spin.

Post# 395141 , Reply# 18   7/17/2018 at 12:37 by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Thanks Jae

I figured it was mid-80s.
I guess you can't get much more "mid" than that!
I'm glad I have the updated top fill configuration.
That allows me to try the HEPA Type A bags, as mentioned by another member earlier in the thread.
Thanks for the pictures of the earlier design.

You'd be pleased to know that the only bags I own for the Convertible, both HEPA and non, are genuine Hoover!
Of course, with how little it will be getting used, due to our lack of carpet, I may never need to change the bag!


Post# 395146 , Reply# 19   7/17/2018 at 13:53 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Genuine Hoover.....................

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
Good Man !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post# 395148 , Reply# 20   7/17/2018 at 14:01 by vacuumdevil (Denver)        

vacuumdevil's profile picture
Thanks for posting that I have always wondered what the D shaped bags went too .
All mine are too old or too new it looks like

Post# 395179 , Reply# 21   7/18/2018 at 00:22 by TheSpiritOf76 ()        
interesting thing is...

That long after the fill tube had been redesigned, and the bag collar changed. Generic companies still produced the old style rounded bottom bag collar on the generic off brand type A bags, companies like K Mart, HomeCare, Blue Lusture, DVC, Sears. Even still today when you buy a pack of Envirocare or DVC Microlined Type A bags, they have the rounded bottom collar. I wonder if it has to do with Hoovers copyright protection, and the fact that that was the only collar template that could be procured. I have cut many of the genuine Hoover collars from the 90s, so I am fine these days with using a DVC Microlined bag for the simple fact of not having to cut down the collar. After all I do have 3 Convertible's that have the early fill tube.

Since I am om my PC, I will include the original 1977 ad for the U4103 Estate showing the new "quick and clean" bag change feature.

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