Thread Number: 37399  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Robs Kirby G6 Y2K Edition Expresto!
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Post# 399080   10/1/2018 at 20:26 (2,063 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Well, it seems many things in life are totally unplanned, just like this machine…

Last week was a normal stop at Goodwill. As I had walked in, a lady was dragging an Oreck XL to the checkout (she must have forgot it had wheels). She tested it and bought it. Dang I thought, as my neighbor had been wanting one of those and I would have got it for him. Oh, well…
I continued my shopping, finding quite a few things for my ladyfriend. When I got home I had told her about some things I did not get and one of them she really wanted. I told her I would get it the next week when I would be in the area.

So that brings us to today. I go in and search for what she had wanted, but it was nowhere to be found. I did find two other things for her though.
I glanced at the electronics and when I went around the corner, there it was! A Kirby G6 2000 Limited Edition for 21.99. I really did not want a newer Kirby but it was in decent shape and the color scheme was in my top 5 likings. I walked away but ended up coming back. While it was dirty, it was not disgusting at all. It had some spider webs and grass on it, so it looked to have been stored in the garage for a while. It had a brown micron-magic paper bag which was about ¼ full. It did not smell bad and had some minor hair accumulation in the rotating parts. Brushroll looked okay but belt was stretched. Motor sounded healthy but there is some very minor play in the front bearing. It had a week 39 tag on it, so it was out this week (and today is Monday).
I tested it and it seemed to work okay, including the Tech-Drive, and even the headlight. There were no attachments, but I would use this only for carpet. So I checked out and it was in the back of the truck on its way home.

Below are the before pictures… I even broke the nozzle down and cleaned it some since it did not need tools.
Not sure when I will get to this unplanned project, but I will update the thread as I go along.
I do not see myself tearing this one down to every last screw like usual, so it will be a limited, express restoration which will (hopefully) go faster.

Just when I thought I would get no more vacuums………………………

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Post# 399091 , Reply# 1   10/2/2018 at 01:07 (2,063 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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Great find! It's a nice Kirby and they look great in this color. I have the 2001 edition myself. It still has a great finish on it so it should clean up good. You don't see these as much as any other G-series Kirby, there isn't many videos on YouTube of them either. I guess people didn't understand the "limited edition" gimmick and passed on it. I got mine for $40 from a pawn shop over eBay. Only things wrong are someone didn't know you had to put bags in it, and the transmission lever has come off (common problem).

Post# 399124 , Reply# 2   10/2/2018 at 20:22 (2,062 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

I am sure the only 'limited' part of this edition is the unique design on the handle decal. However, I have to admit that slight coolness factor did leverage me to buy it...
It does work well. Since its bag is only 1/4 full, I could not justify trashing it yet. Therefore I have been cleaning up the small leaves on the patio with it (straight suction, no brush roll) and it does a great job at it! It will reside there until I can get time to tear it down and clean it up a bit, hopefully this weekend.

Please post a picture of your 2001 edition here - would like to see how it looks! Were there any more special editions like these?

Post# 399126 , Reply# 3   10/2/2018 at 20:32 (2,062 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Yeah, I would have had a hard time walking away from that one for that price. I've got two Gsix Kirbys, a 2001 Limited Edition and a Gsix Performance. The various 'editoins' were a gimmick. The only difference between one edition and the next was the sticker on the handle.

My 2001 Limited Edition was my first Kirby, rescued from beside a dumpster on a drizzly December evening in 2012. It only needed a bag and a belt but that apparently was enough to prompt somebody to toss it. Oh well, their wastefulness was my gain.

Post# 399486 , Reply# 4   10/13/2018 at 19:44 (2,051 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Finally got some cooler weather and some free time to work on the Gsix. I worked on the patio and battled the mosquitoes as I went…
I pulled the nozzle, handle, and bag assembly off and tore them down completely. All parts were washed with simple green, a few brushes and the garden hose.
That all went well so I pulled the top off of the motor unit, the headlight, and plucked some other easy-to-pull parts and washed them as well.
The bag inside was pretty clean. Actually, VERY clean for an eighteen-year old vacuum! They were using the tan paper micron magic bags so apparently they do not leak too much dust.
I washed the bag in a bucket outside with warm water and some Tide. The water turned a little gray but not much. After an hour soak (while I worked on the other parts), I rinsed it a little and ran it through the washing machine. This looks to be all synthetic materials so it was quite dry after spin. I put it in the dryer for about 5 minutes on low to finish it up.
So now I have a pile of nice clean parts. The aluminum parts stay in the garage for polishing, the rest are in the dining room out of the way.
It was getting dark on me so I finished up for now. I still have a carcass to pick and may work on it tomorrow inside where it will be more comfortable.
I have to say this machine is not bad at all! Looks to have been used in a clean house and not abused. I see normal wear and tear and that’s about it. I can see this being a very nice machine when I am finished with it…
Check out the 11 progress pictures below:

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Post# 399508 , Reply# 5   10/13/2018 at 23:54 (2,051 days old) by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

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What a great find!
Give it a good polish these machines have such a cool look to them!

Post# 399738 , Reply# 6   10/18/2018 at 20:39 (2,046 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
More progress...

I had only a half hour of free time today before dinner so I finished the major disassembly of the Gsix carcass.

First off was the top frame assy, then the tranny, then the motor brushes, then the power switch, then the fan case, then the fan, then the motor itself.
Overall it was pretty easy and there was absolutely no drama. The T20 torx screws make it easy, no power tools were needed, nothing was frozen and nothing got stripped.
Inside it was pretty clean for the most part. Most of the dust and dust cakes were trapped within the plastic fan case baffles. Seemed like most of this was the dreaded carpet-fresh powder as it smelled that way.

The commutator looks very good, and with no groove at all. The carbon brushes are both a full 7/8” long, the length of new ones. This thing is really looking like a very-low mileage original.
The armature is very clean and it spins very silky smooth. However I hear the faint sound of a ball clicking (moving about some) in the front bearing. I am still on the fence on replacing them since I have it apart… It is 18 years old, grease dries out, and I do not plan on opening this thing up again any time soon. Full cost would be only $15.
One thing that really caught my eye is the 2007 41 date code stamped on the power switch. One of the date wheels in the plastic case is 06, so looks like the switch was replaced in 2008 or after. Anyone know if this is a common failure part?

Also some pics of the original bag are attached. Is this a date code on the side? If so this unit may have been sitting a while. It is only 1/4 the way full.

I look forward to more parts washing this weekend, and perhaps even some metal polishing!

Vacuumdevil, welcome to the '2000 Club'! :o)

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Post# 399748 , Reply# 7   10/19/2018 at 01:11 (2,046 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I always say replace and clean up everything that sounds or looks worn-out now while you have it open, rather than having to re-open the vacuum to the degree in your photos to do it again. You can put the new parts back in as you are in the reassembly stage in a single fluid process. Sometimes, especially with vintage vacuums on their plastic parts, you only have a certain amount of times you can unscrew a screw before either the threads strip or the screw post breaks apart. $15 for a vacuum that originally sold for something like $800 new, but is built to outlive you, is not a bad cost.

For the mismatched part dates, the vacuum might have been repaired at a vacuum shop, authorized dealer or not. That time frame, adding a couple years for parts distribution (the date wheel is only when they left the injection mold, not when they started hitting the street) is when the Sentria came out so that is probably a good indicator of when it was repaired, 2009/2010 maybe. For someone that is rough on the vacuum and stomps the pedal, or turns the vacuum on and off a lot during a vacuuming session, it might prematurely wear the pedal out. Same happens to the transmission switch.

I admit I've been rough on my Ultimate G sometimes in setting it on the floor or carrying it to the basement, and the front wheels have fallen off, and keep falling off the axle, which is why it's been in the garage for the last couple years. That is not a common failure part, but it does happen. I know how to fix it now since I've become a collector so it should be no sweat.

Post# 399772 , Reply# 8   10/19/2018 at 18:52 (2,045 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Today I took a few minutes to disassemble the motor unit. Removed the four front screws/nuts and the rear tranny drive gear.
Below are the pictures without any kind of cleaning being done, aside from some of the dust falling off from handling. Compare this with my 505 where I could not even see any part of the motor windings!

Date stamp on the fan is early 2000 so it should be original. Like I had said before this really seems like a low mileage unit! So far just the switch has been replaced that I could see.

The rear bearing is very good.
The front bearing has a very slight amount of play, and the loose ball that I had heard before. Could be normal or could be slightly worn. Regardless, I just ordered a set of bearings and 3 belts for a total of 19.23. I could not see being this far into it and not replacing the bearings. Grease does dry out and it is 18 years old now. Luckily the expenditures for this one are below the acquisition cost!

Husky, I could not agree more. Replace now while it is apart. When it is all back together, it will practically be a brand new unit. Who knows, I may really like this thing and use the heck out of it later.
I remember my Tradition having a bent rear axle, and I was thinking that it was handled roughly. I was able to straighten it though. Kirbys can take quite a bit of abuse. Those plastic vacs would just break.

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Post# 399919 , Reply# 9   10/22/2018 at 21:34 (2,042 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The motor housing on g series is sealed. Tradition and every other model lint could get to motor no matter what. You will find motors in immaculate shape. They have like 3 layers of protection. There bearing plates i don't like. The carbon brushes are easy to change. The safety switch got me when i was putting my first g6 back together this summer. The aluminum is alot easier to polish. Older vacuums haves more curves and vent lips. G series flat edges. Your sandpaper doesn't hit vent and tear. They polish up easy. The nozzles have challenges but nothing too hard. I dislike the belt lifter. I like the belt lifter but I would keep on for polishing. That damn wavy washer the plastic inner washer. They get me every time. I choose to not mess with it.
I have a second g6 2001 se i picked up. I had to get bpi sensor back wheel cover and new axle. The axle was bent. If you lowered it thde axle flexed and toe touch became stuck. I will be getting it Wednesday.
I finally got a phone so ill post pics when i work on it. Ill show both g6s. I dropped my body after polish on first g6 making small ding.
I got mine for $15 at thrift store. I got a sentria for $15 a year ago but g series you never see. I seen the g 6 was shocked. We went to salt lake and hit up about 8 thrift storez and found it. Major score.
I also got a sanitronic 7 this past weekend. Ive got a junk d80 a legend a tradition and a legend2.
I love going to check out with them. They always ask if they work. I go it's a kirby of course it works.
The sentria was a score. I love the g6 color scheme. Its bezt looking vacuum since tradition.
I rambled on enough but im excited to finish g6's and see how it compares to sentria.
Good luck with rest of reno. I know you will do well. I have 2 g6s tradition classic and sanatronic 7 562 and 560 im doing. I should do one at a time. Classic c has screws stripped on field. The tradition i need to solder wires on sanitronic nic nic 7 needs bearings packed legend 2 just needs amodel l fan. I plan to polish all at same time. I wNt to fix mechanics before cosmetics.

Post# 399929 , Reply# 10   10/23/2018 at 00:39 (2,042 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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Out of curiosity, exactly which bearings did you select? IIRC, Kirbys use 608 size bearings (as do most vacuums), but there are many grades of such bearings available.

A while back while I was climbing the learning curve, I made the mistake of using cheap-o non electric motor grade 608 bearings in a vacuum motor. They didn't last long and got noisy fast. I think they were actually low-grade bearings intended for a skateboard or something, not a high speed/high temperature application.

These are the bearings I trust to use in vacuums now. They are C3 electric motor grade and from a trustworthy brand. The link I posted is for the ZZ bearings fitted with "labyrinth steel shields," but if you want removable rubber seals, both non-contact and contact rubber sealed versions of the same bearing are available.

If you found equivalent 608 C3 grade EM bearings for cheaper, I'm all ears.


Post# 399970 , Reply# 11   10/23/2018 at 22:16 (2,041 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

While the G series does have a rubber seal between the fan case and the motor shaft, the cooling fan in the motor is still vented in a similar way that the previous generation was. The air intake is higher off the floor under the headlight hood) which helps a lot.
This machine is very low hours given the minimal wear on the commutator. All my older ones had groovy grooves in them. I am fixing to give it a few more decades of service!

I only get genuine Kirby bearings, either from my Kirby service center or Kirbyfans on ebay. While Kirby does outsource production to Peer (in China no less), they have been designed and made to a very high standard, suitable for high speed motor use. If Kirby want to stand behind them, then they should be good. The cheap skate bearings may be okay for skates but not motors, especially running over 10k RPM for hours!
These bearings for the newer machines are only $5 each, the vintage ones $12 each. Small amount to pay to add another few decades to your Kirby!
And if I decide to sell any of my restored machines (for any unforeseen reasons), new bearings will be great selling points.

I have made more progress on the Gsix, just need to get the pictures up. All has been torn down, aside for the actual tranny unit. Axle was removed, dismantled, and cleaned. There was not a lick of oil or dirt in the slide bearings!
I am just a couple screws and a label away from tearing the actual tranny unit down.
I got the bearings and belts in yesterday, and need to polish the metal. The headlight has some DEEP gashes and will need a lot of sanding. Looks like a job for this weekend!
Stay tuned!

Post# 400026 , Reply# 12   10/25/2018 at 01:24 (2,040 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
Thanks for the info. Indeed, it seems Kirby (at least currently) turns to Peer for their bearings. I’ll have to get ahold of some and compare them to the NTN EM bearings. Perhaps i’ll Like them even better.

If this is your first experience with a G-series machine, you are in for a treat. They are well thought out. I actually like my G-series Kirbys better than my older ones because, among other reasons, they are easier to work on. It’s a very modular vacuum.

I had a 2000, but I gave it up for a 2001. My 2000 was not as nice as yours; it worked well but clearly was used a lot. My 2001, on the other hand, has seen barely any use.

Enjoy the new machine and be sure to share the final outcome of your restoration efforts!

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Post# 400040 , Reply# 13   10/25/2018 at 19:26 (2,039 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
Disassembly and cleaning complete, I think...

A few days ago I completed the disassembly by tearing down the top frame/handle mount and the power drive unit.

The handle mount was left on the adjustment plate because, well, my regular screwdriver would not loosen the screws. Also I wanted to see how well it works as-is without messing with the adjustment..
There was not a lick of lube of any sort on the roller bearings – is this right? They were as clean as could be, but I washed them up like the rest of it.

The power drive unit was fun, as it reminded me of a model car. I pulled the axle and gear-train off and washed it up, too. Very minimal lube here also. Anyone know what Kirby recommends for these? Oil? Grease? Nothing?
So now I am just one screw from pulling the gearbox apart. Should I go for it? The side label says I will void the warranty if I do.

Wait, this thing is 18 years old, and I have no documentation, so the warranty is long gone. Hmmm... Take apart or keep together..........

Broomvac, yes this is my first G series. Never wanted one but I could not pass this one up for the price and condition. I will see what I think when I start using it. My sister has a G7 like yours and I tried it out a short time. Was not impressed by the self-propel, but perhaps I need to do the whole house to judge, rather than just a throw-rug!
Nice looking clean machines you have there! You know, these may be close to 20 years old but the lack of styling changes seem to have made them ‘timeless’. By first glance one may think they are just a few years old!
Of course there are ones who whine that they are old, outdated, un-hip, low-tech, bla, bla, bla… However these machines are just so well designed that it is hard to improve on them at the risk of making them higher maintenance, unreliable, and short-lived. Talk about vacuums for life!

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Post# 400046 , Reply# 14   10/25/2018 at 22:49 (2,039 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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I’m glad it’s coming along well for you.

Reattach that assembly to the chassis and use your Torx bit on a stout socket wrench if you really want to undo those screws. That’s about the only tool I’d recommend for the job. They are tightened down firmly for a reason; if those screws come loose, your tech drive will act up. Improper adjustment of that slide mechanism will cause the forward/reverse to be unbalanced. Speaking from experience, I say it’s tedious to put back into adjustment. I have had both a G3 and a G5 whose previous owners or perhaps a repairman messed with. Readjusting each was a tedious, iterative process which I would not recommend doing unless absolutely necessary. If you do decide to take it apart, be sure to use your socket wrench to re-tighten it or it may come loose again. Long story short, if the vac propels in a balanced manner, I’d leave it alone. If not, then you might as well dig in.

I usually put lithium grease on tech drive axles and its gears, and it hasn’t failed me yet. I think a lot of different lubes would probably work here, though, since the axle turns relatively slow compared to most other bearing applications. Just don’t pick something so thin enough to drip out of the machine and into the carpet.

As for disassembling the tech drive...those are sealed units. So far as I know, nothing inside is replaceable, and it would almost certainly never be the same once you crack it open. Get lubricant on the friction disks, and I’d bet it would become a paper weight. If it works fine, I wouldn’t mess with it. And if you are truly curious to see the innards, maybe try to find a junket and take it apart with the intent of never getting it back together again. There are also pictures on Google.

You are correct; the G7 DE does not propel itself as strongly as the G6 does. Although the transmissions are the same between the two vacuums, the drive ratio between the armature and the transmission input is different between these two models. Ever since the G7, Kirby vacuums have had a lower armature:transmission drive ratio in an attempt to eliminate the strange eigenmode(s) that the older self propelled Kirbys would encounter on some low pile carpets. You can retrofit these newer parts to your G6 if you want, but it will not propel with as much gusto as before.

Good luck!

Post# 400047 , Reply# 15   10/25/2018 at 22:53 (2,039 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
Oh, and thanks for the compliment! I’m sure your G6 will end up like-new if it turns out anything like your other Kirbys.

Post# 400048 , Reply# 16   10/25/2018 at 23:27 (2,039 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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Man, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but looking back through your pictures I see that you removed the two little black hex end screws from the pivot on the back of your tech drive. Those are set at the factory and can be real buggers to calibrate. I believe their intended use is wear compensation. Much like those on the slide, the adjustment setting of those little screws can have a pretty big impact on transmission performance. You may have to spend some time fine tuning those. I found that if they are too tight, the transmission will “fight” against itself even when the slide is centered. Too loose, and the tech drive hardly has hardly any pulling power.

I tell you this so that if the tech drive seems to act funny when you get the vacuum back together, fear not; your transmission likely is not defective. The adjustment settings of those screws is the most likely culprit.

If I ever have to remove those screws, I mark them with a silver sharpie and back them out while counting each turn, much like you would for adjusting the mixture on an old carburetor.

These transmissions are actually quite robust. I suspect folks replace a lot of them unnecessarily simply because they have been put out of adjustment.

Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Post# 400053 , Reply# 17   10/26/2018 at 00:08 (2,039 days old) by royalfan (Chicago)        

royalfan's profile picture
@broomvac That's hysterical he's going to be in for a big surprise!

Post# 400054 , Reply# 18   10/26/2018 at 00:45 (2,039 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
I’m sure it’ll be fine. All it may need is some adjustment.

However, glancing back (again!) at the pictures for a second time, he may not have actually removed the black screws. At first they appeared to me to be removed, but they may actually be untouched. If all that was removed was the central screw about which the aluminum arm rocks back and forth, then all is well. That screw doesn’t serve for any kind of adjustment. The arm can be reattached and the previous settings should remain unchanged.

Post# 400057 , Reply# 19   10/26/2018 at 02:14 (2,039 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
broomvac, is there any way to tell if a Kirby's transmission needs to be tuned up? Is there certain things to look for, or is it just by a trained feel? I have experienced Kirbys that have different movement speeds than others, I always thought it was something to do with the wheels being worn out.

Post# 400070 , Reply# 20   10/26/2018 at 14:03 (2,038 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        
Kirby transmission adjustment...

sptyks's profile picture

I have adjusted those two black hex transmission screws many times. The top one adjusts forward motion and the bottom one adjusts reverse motion. They are very sensitive so only adjust 1/4 turn at a time, then test to see if your Kirby feels right for forward and reverse motion.

Post# 400091 , Reply# 21   10/27/2018 at 07:56 (2,038 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

The two hex screws on the pivot plate were left in as I knew exactly what they were for. Those are definitely not ones I wish to play with.
I also left the slide on the adjustment plate for the same reason. If I find it needs adjustment, I will deal with it then.

Anyone know what lube (if any) to use on the handle slide bearings?

Below are the pictures of the carnage so far, at least most of it.

I need to polish some metal this weekend!

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Post# 400672 , Reply# 22   11/11/2018 at 19:09 (2,022 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
So I finally got around to polishing the metal pieces.

I had broken it up into a couple weekends and I wanted to post it all at one time.
Last Sunday I did the top motor housing, rug nozzle, and fan case. I used my typical Kirby polishing recipe, which is Mother’s mag and aluminum polish, apply and buff with a 4” cotton wheel on the cordless drill, wipe off and buff with Viva paper towels, then repeat with a hand application and buffing. Overall it came out very nice; some before and after shots below. Not perfect but good enough for me. The handle was so nice that it only needed a hand polishing. No before or after shots as it looked the same both ways, which is great! I did forget a before of the fan case though...

Now I noticed that the metal is thinner on this model, compared to all the pre-G units I have done. I have also noticed that there appears to be sanding marks in all the aluminum parts, as if at the factory, they did not sand them with fine enough paper long enough or something. A very heavy hand on the buffing wheel got out many of the finer sand marks, but the deeper ones remain. Anyone else notice this? Given the symmetrical pattern, it could not have been done after it was put together. Regardless, it looks very good.
The headlight was in such bad shape it would be done later.

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Post# 400674 , Reply# 23   11/11/2018 at 19:13 (2,022 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
Today the nasty headlight was done.

It had some serious scratches and gouges, some over 2 mils deep. Gotta love how people force these things under beds and such…

I wet-sanded in the direction of the scratches with 400 grit 3M wet-dry paper, using a tiny amount of dish detergent as a lube. I used a minimal amount of water, just enough to kepe the paper from clogging. After 54 minutes of hand-only sanding, the scratches were gone.

I had jumped to 2000 grit next, as I had lost my 600, 800, and 1000 grit in my messy garage. However, after 30 minutes of going the opposite direction, then going back in the direction of the scratches, I was done. Not bad time-wise considering I had skipped some grits. It came out very nice.

After another 30 minutes of polishing with Mother’s mag and aluminum polish with the 4” cotton wheel on the drill, it looked great. I did a hand polish and called it good enough.

So two hours were spent on this headlight, but it looks like new now. Some before and after shots are below, some in different lighting as surface detail is sometimes hard to see.

Hopefully next weekend I can start the reassembly!

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Post# 400965 , Reply# 24   11/16/2018 at 18:57 (2,017 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
Last disassembly...

So I had forgot the last bit of disassembly, the rear motor bearing.

The process was slightly different than the older machines because the rear motor shaft is longer to hold the PTO gear to the transmission.
As a result, the bearing has to be pulled the entire length of the motor shaft, a full 15/16".
I had to add longer bolts to my (non-Kirby-approved) bearing puller to start with and replace them with the short ones near the end.
No big deal, but it took 10 minutes instead of the usual 3...

Next the real fun will start - reassembly!

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