Thread Number: 37055  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
Questions on Mid-40s Electrolux Model XXX
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Post# 395913   8/1/2018 at 07:52 by jadney (Madison, WI)        

I'm new to this forum, but I have an Electrolux Model XXX that I've owned for about 50 years. I believe it's about as old as I am, probably made around 1946. It works great and gets regular use around our house; I expect it to outlast me.

It's got the light vinyl top, dark gray painted bottom, chrome rear and alum front. The runners are attached to the body but are neither elliptical (early) nor round (late); they are sort of elliptical with a hump on top. The original handle was black rubber but I foolishly broke that years ago and had to replace it with a later gray one. Back in the '70s it was chewing thru brushes until I replaced the armature. Since then it's been trouble-free.

It came with a lot of original attachments, including an original hose, but the original hose eventually died and I had to replace it with an ugly vinyl one using the original end fittings. I have one more replacement vinyl hose, but would love to find an original. Anyone got an original to sell?

Lately it's been running much hotter than before. The switch used to get warm, but now the whole rear cover gets hot, so I've pulled it apart to see if I can find the cause of the overheating. The exhaust filter was at least 50 years old, but I have new ones. The old one looks pretty bad, so I'm wondering if that could be part of the problem, by making the motor work too hard.

The armature commutator still looks great. I've pulled the motor out and taken the blower apart so I could blow everything out. I don't have it all put back together yet, and I'm not sure I've found the cause of the overheating. I'll spread the prongs on the cord connector to make better contact with the cord. Should I also tweak the shape of the motor connectors to the switch? Or is it likely that the switch itself has developed poor internal contact? I haven't looked closely at the switch, so I wonder if it can be taken apart and serviced, or should I be looking for a new switch? Nothing I have seen so far shows any signs of burning or local overheating. I'd welcome other suggestions.

The motor brushes still have about 1/4 - 1/3 of their life left in them, but I've got a new set coming. I'd also like to find a replacement black handle so I could put this back to OE condition. Anyone got one to sell?

So here are my questions:

The rear cover is attached by 2 long hooked stud/bolt things that seem to have #6-32 threads. I was expecting metric from a Swedish company, but I now understand that the Model XXX was made in the US, so US threads are understandable. Was the design also done in the US? Those threads extend thru the rear cover and also attach the filter holder/outlet body. Between the rear cover and the outlet body there are tiny little brass nuts on those hooked bolts. Those seem small for what they do, and there's plenty of clearance under the outlet body for normal sized #6 nuts, so these tiny brass nuts seem like a poor choice.

Are the little brass nuts original? On my XXX they sit in concave recesses, like countersinks, in the rear cover, even though the nuts don't appear to be made to fit in a countersink. Are these recesses original or have they been caused by stress from the tiny nuts? Should there have been some sort of conical washer under those nuts?

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.

Post# 395915 , Reply# 1   8/1/2018 at 08:34 by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

suckolux's profile picture
I think the date is on your switch

Post# 395920 , Reply# 2   8/1/2018 at 10:47 by jadney (Madison, WI)        

I don't see a date on the switch. The only thing there is this, in a round molded-in label:


Possibly a replacement?

I just had this apart to inspect it, and I LOVE the 2 little brass slides that hold the switch in the switch cover. When I had it apart I measured the diameter of the holes in the cord compared to the pins on the switch, and it was clear that the split pins needed to be spread a bit to be snug. The holes in the cord were also dirty, so I cleaned them with some lacquer thinner and a small paint brush. All that seems like it should help the overheating.

Another note on the dating: This Model XXX has the double exhaust doors.

As I was reinstalling the motor, I also noticed that the 3 studs that hold the motor in place are actually screws with nuts on the motor side of the motor mount flange. Those nuts appear to be the same tiny brass nuts that I was asking about above. Looking at my rear cover, the holes for the long hooked screws that hold the cover are nearly as large as the tiny brass screws. In fact, one of those holes now has a hex opening that the brass screw can fit thru.

So what was there originally? A larger nut? A nut with a cone washer? A nut over a much smaller hole in a flat panel?

Inquiring minds want to know. ;-)

Post# 396199 , Reply# 3   8/4/2018 at 16:15 by jadney (Madison, WI)        

I've flattened the area around the holes in the rear cover of this XXX and am trying to put the cover back on the main body. This is harder than I expected. I've glued the rubber gasket in place and trimmed 1/8" from one end to prevent overlap. Now it fits perfectly. I've applied a very small amount of silicone lubricant to the gasket to make it easier for the cover to slide over it.

So far I have not succeeded in getting the cover back on.

Got any hints or tricks?

Post# 396215 , Reply# 4   8/4/2018 at 19:12 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I am assuming the motor is in tip top condition and is well oiled and greased right? I'm thinking to try putting a new filter in there first. This problem plagues early 2000's HEPA filter vacuums as well. The filter gets too clogged, the motor has to work harder to suck so much air through the filter, and thusly makes more heat. Cord would heat up too.

I have an XXX too that I believe has never been tampered with, but I'm not daring or experienced enough to open it up yet!

Post# 396268 , Reply# 5   8/5/2018 at 11:24 by jadney (Madison, WI)        

Well, that's embarrassing. I'm usually very good about lubrication, but I was completely focused on other problems and didn't think about anything else. I had everything apart and didn't think about lubricating the motor bearings. For the record, however, the armature spins freely. IIRC those are ball bearings. Are they shielded or open? Should I clean out the old grease and put in new? Any special grease recommendations?

It's not all back together yet, so I guess I should pull the motor back out and take a good look at what's in there. The motor hasn't had any attention for the past 40 years, so a little preventative maintenance is certainly appropriate.

Thanks for the nudge,

Post# 396272 , Reply# 6   8/5/2018 at 13:42 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
No worries. I bet some TLC on the motor will help it out a great deal!

Post# 396385 , Reply# 7   8/7/2018 at 15:16 by jadney (Madison, WI)        

Okay, took the motor farther apart, cleaned out the bearings, and added fresh grease. The old grease wasn't completely dried out, but this was its time. I replaced it with some Lubriplate Disk Brake Grease that I had an old can of. Interestingly, the replacement armature had a date of manufacture on it: Jan 1987. So the previous work I did on it was later than I remembered.

It's all back together now, except for getting the rear cover to fit onto the body. That remains hard, but I'll try a different approach when I find time to return to this project.

Post# 397306 , Reply# 8   8/25/2018 at 22:03 by jadney (Madison, WI)        

It's all back together now. The motor brushes are new, the bearings have fresh grease, the electrical pins have been spread to make better contact with the cord end sockets, and I got the rear cover on. The only problem I had was that I got the second stage blower fans in backwards the first time around and had to take it back apart when it didn't pull any air. Now it's all back and running properly.

Thanks for all the help.

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