Thread Number: 39492  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
Kirby Factory Rebuild
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Post# 419043   1/24/2020 at 11:11 (1,584 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
I know this topic has been discussed much here before, but I acquired a 513/514/515 from a little old lady's estate who passed away here in Nashville several months ago. It's pretty tired; spent many decades in a hoarded basement and, while I'm capable of rebuilding it myself, sending it off to Kirby for a complete rewire/sandblast/polish would make my life a lot easier--and well worth the $350+. I know it will come back tan-i-fied, but I have reserve trim pieces I can replace the tan with, and I've even used proper painting techniques to mimic the vintage stuff.

Problem is, somehow over the years, the serial number plate was lost off the bottom of the fan chamber. Will the Kirby factory even consider a model that doesn't have a serial number? If not, does anyone have a 513/14/15 fan chamber WITH a serial number they'd be willing to sell?

Post# 419044 , Reply# 1   1/24/2020 at 11:17 (1,584 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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I did see a Kirby Classic 1CR get rebuilt without its original serial number. The new nameplate would say "NO TAG" where the serial number would be printed.


Post# 419055 , Reply# 2   1/24/2020 at 12:24 (1,583 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
Perfect; thank you Ben. I didn't even want to reach out to Kirby if they wouldn't take it right off the bat with no serial number.

Post# 419072 , Reply# 3   1/24/2020 at 19:40 (1,583 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

If you are willing to pay the going rate of 350 for a rebuild, they really should not care what it is, as long as it is a whole Kirby.

The time not having a serial number tag would be bad is if you were the original owner with original manual/proof of purchase and you were wanting the rebuild for the now-low rebuild price listed in the owner's manual. For my mom's original D50, it would have cost only $50 or so but all identification would have to be present and legible.

350 is a lot to spend but it will be like a new machine to last many more decades. I have seen some sweet work from their rebuilds but personally disliked the non-original trim colors and good metal fans replaced with plastic.

If you go this route, post some before and after pics - would be fun to compare them!

Post# 419076 , Reply# 4   1/24/2020 at 21:03 (1,583 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
If you sent me $350 I'd make it own. The vacuum has not a large surface area to polish. I know you could do it. If you spend a little money upgraded buffer or whatever. I seen that vacuum you got the bag from me for. It's a nice machine.
I'm not a huge fan of everything sanitronic color.
If you got the money and you want to go ahead.
If you get her children to verify who they are. Basically telling Kirby I'm the dead ladies daughter/son and they sold you the vacuum Kirby might be able to look up her name and know the model and rebuild plate would have a model number on it. I'd try it but I'm not you.
Long post best of luck keep us updated.

Post# 419082 , Reply# 5   1/24/2020 at 21:27 (1,583 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
If they change the trim out for a different color.... why not just take the trim off and keep it while the rebuild it? I mean, they're just throwing it away anyway, right?

Post# 419085 , Reply# 6   1/24/2020 at 23:26 (1,583 days old) by Dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

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@TexasKirbyGuy I donít like the tan-i-fied versions of what they return either, but I have got a good technique for painting trim pieces that looks good. So, they could do the heavy lifting, and I just work on the cosmetics.

@Lesinutah Iím not trying to use the ladyís family I got it from. I intend to pay full price for it. Because there are some wiring issues with the rotten safety switch and all, I know I could do it, but I would enjoy seeing what they could do, and me just worry about making it look as original as possible after theyíre done.

@Madman Iíve read here that you have to send them a complete machine. Whatever you donít send in they charge you extra for. So I will make sure to send my most terrible and mismatched pieces and keep the good original trim I have to swap out with when it comes back.

Post# 419090 , Reply# 7   1/25/2020 at 06:45 (1,583 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I never said use the family. If you knew about the rebuild you would know.
If you are not original owner you can't get rebuild.
I said use them as a reference to give to kirby so your rebuild plate will have a model number. That is all I meant. Was just mentioning an option most people are not aware of.
I'm not ruthless heatless sole. I'm knowledge blunt and helpful.

Post# 419103 , Reply# 8   1/25/2020 at 14:36 (1,582 days old) by rodknock95 (Salem, Missouri)        

If you are the original owner you get a big discount on the rebuild...If you are not the original owner, then it is a flat 350 bucks. I called them on one of my Traditions to get a price.


Post# 419104 , Reply# 9   1/25/2020 at 14:44 (1,582 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        
Hi Dave

panasonicvac's profile picture
Please do share your experiences including the before and after pictures when you do send your Kirby in to get it factory rebuilt. I have a model 509 that Kirby is willing to rebuild and would very much like to see how yours will turn out before I send mine in.


Post# 419115 , Reply# 10   1/25/2020 at 20:54 (1,582 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I've called Kirby and inquired about a rebuild. I then seen threads on the sanitronic color on the 510. I did rebuild myself if you look at my profile pic. I spent well over $500 as everything I wanted original and power switch, hood, nozzle screws, black brush cap screws, height adjuster, rear axle, bearings, baffle etc. I wanted parts from 3 amp machine so it was costly.
Pic 9 is Mike baldos machine.
Pic 10 my model 3c
11 505 original bag and my bag next to it
12 my 1945 model 505 with belt cap
13 505 cap and 508 belt lifter
14 all original 509 with custom bag
Sorry for pics just thought some would like to see.
The 510 bag Paul now owns.

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Post# 419118 , Reply# 11   1/25/2020 at 23:26 (1,582 days old) by rodknock95 (Salem, Missouri)        
Black Diamond

Whats that Black Diamond thing?

Post# 419122 , Reply# 12   1/26/2020 at 00:48 (1,582 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Chicago Mike ska Mike baldos built it. It's powder coated. It's one of the coolest Kirby's I've seen. He recently sold the 505 from last year's convention for$1650. I know Kent oyler or kirbyneeds on eBay sold his for a little more.


Post# 419131 , Reply# 13   1/26/2020 at 07:50 (1,582 days old) by craig_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        
Black Diamond

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I brought the Black Diamond a few years ago and had it shipped here to England it's the nicest looking Kirby In my collection and probably the world in my Opinion! it's immaculate I only use it from time to time and keep it separate from the rest of my collection stored safely covered up in my wardrobe.

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Post# 419173 , Reply# 14   1/27/2020 at 09:24 (1,581 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Midwest)        
As was mentioned before

The Kirby Agreement to Rebuild Plan is for the original purchaser. Under that plan they agree to rebuild the machine as long as it remains in the possession of the original purchaser for a set fee. Example the Omega was $49.50 + shipping & Handling.

Kirby's refurbishment is still open for all Kirby owners regardless of original ownership for a fee, last I heard it was the $350. It is always advisable to contact Kirby's refurbishment/rebuild department for a quote and instructions on packing and sending your machine to them.

It states on the rebuild agreement that missing or broken parts will be replaced at an extra charge, but I have heard of several that have kept their bags and trim, as this is a normally replace item during the rebuild anyway.

Post# 419175 , Reply# 15   1/27/2020 at 09:38 (1,581 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        
Next Steps

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Well, I reached out to Kirby via their "contact us" link over the weekend, and someone called me this morning stating that the rebuild will cost $350 + shipping both ways and that my Kirby will be returned to me as if brand new from the factory. She also said it would take 40-50 business days for the work.

So, once I get back from vacation next week, I think I'm going to move forward. I've cobbled together a bunch of mismatched parts that I don't mind getting rid of to send back so that the unit is "complete."

I will snap some pics of my frankenkirby before I send it off, then I'll post the after glamour shots once it returns.

Post# 419190 , Reply# 16   1/27/2020 at 19:47 (1,580 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

rivstg1's profile picture
I think your approach of just using spare parts on the machine you'll send it vs the original is genius !!!! I REALLY want to see and hear your take on their end result that you'll receive. I've heard vastly different tales of the 'quality' of the restoration work. Widely different each one.

Post# 419221 , Reply# 17   1/28/2020 at 02:03 (1,580 days old) by pr-21 (Middletown, OH)        
Kirby 505 Rebuilt from Kirby Rebuild Dept

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Here is my rebuild from Kirby.  Probably 10 years ago....or so. They will tell you

the trim color,  it will come back in.....I think mine was $300 plus back then.





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Post# 419642 , Reply# 18   2/7/2020 at 12:44 (1,569 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        
Well, I did a thing

dandagreer's profile picture
I've already contacted Kirby and they're sending me a mailing address to send back the unit. I had already assembled a 513-15 model (tag missing), to send back, but, I went and found this on eBay.

Paid too much for it, but I really wanted a 505.

So, Ima wait for this one to come to me, then it's going off the Kirby for a full restore. Then, I will paint the trim and such to make it look as original as possible - maybe even a KirbyMike reproduction bag! So excited!

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Post# 419644 , Reply# 19   2/7/2020 at 14:05 (1,569 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

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very cool that you got the attachments and hose! I"m envious!

Post# 419657 , Reply# 20   2/7/2020 at 19:45 (1,569 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The hose is not from 513. It's a 505 or earlier hose.
The 505 looks like yours
The 508 is either grey or tan colored cloth kind of follows color scheme of bag and belt lifter.
The 508-512 is grey colored but not sure if it's cloth or not
513 I believe is grey rubber matching grey wheels.
Mike's 513 and 519 bags are better than Kirby's bags. I'm not a huge fan as they fade easily. Having a new vacuum with a new non faxed bag and painted wheels. It will look better than rolling off assembly line.
It will also have a new strong motor, coil and bearings. You may have your eye on a 505 but this will turn heads just the same.

Post# 419776 , Reply# 21   2/10/2020 at 10:12 (1,567 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
The Kirby in the pic is a 505 that was rebuilt by Kirby in 1971. I intend to send that one back (instead of the 513-15 I was thinking of earlier) so they can rebuild it a SECOND time, 49 years later, then I will un-tan it and try to make it look as original a 505 as I can. I'm really excited to get it off to Kirby!

Post# 419803 , Reply# 22   2/10/2020 at 14:46 (1,566 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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I like having things original too, so I always hated OEM or "Vacuum Store Dave" rebuilds, as it bugs me about the mismatched parts. I'd rather put my own time and labor into learning to repair and recondition that I can oversee and know is tip-top than mailing it off.

I have a 1980's rebuilt Kirby 500 series and they trashed the model tag and all the parts are that ugly peachy mauve color and it looks terrible. I'd love to find a original 500 series someday.

I know it's for liability protection that they have to change the color on purpose so people don't start a racket of "original new old stock" rebuilds, but it still sucks.

Post# 419814 , Reply# 23   2/10/2020 at 16:55 (1,566 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
Wow... never knew that about their rebuild policy and the changing over of trim pieces!


Post# 419827 , Reply# 24   2/10/2020 at 22:17 (1,566 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
The 505 I got rebuilt from the Plano Texas store look identical except it had the 505 belt lifter. If you send 505 and trim it yourself your going to have your holy Grail vac.
The 505 bag was duvetyne. I've read people question duvetyne durability. Duvetyne was used for black out curtains at movie theatres. It's very thick material. It's also 3 times as much as other fabrics.
Mike's 4c 505 bag is same material as the bag I sold you of his. If you have the money get his bag. The shape is hard to get unless you have a 505 bag. The screen print is 13-17 inches 4-5 inches wide. I prices it out. I made bags but not screen print.
Long winded speech basically buy Mike's bag it's spot on.
I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's done because you do great trim work.

Post# 420578 , Reply# 25   2/25/2020 at 12:00 (1,551 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        
Letter From Kirby

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I got the official letter today from Kirby outlining the cost for my 505 rebuild. The paper says 513, because originally, that was what I was going to send in. I called them today and gave them my credit card number instead of mailing this form back in.

The letter had a dot-matrix printed return label enclosed to send the envelope back. It's funny to me how, through this whole process, everything has been old-school--phone calls, physical letters in the mail--no emails or online forms here!

The Kirby rep I spoke with in the rebuild department said, "You're going to be so pleased. It will look like new!" Indeed. I'm excited!

I managed to find a 505 nozzle with belt lifter on eBay. So, once I get my 505 back from Kirby, I can swap out the belt lifter.

They've had my unit for exactly one week, so their turn around time, considering everything was done by snail-mail, has been pretty good. We'll see how long it takes to get my machine back now.

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Post# 420584 , Reply# 26   2/25/2020 at 15:10 (1,551 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
One thing about Kirby rebuilds is their polishing skills are on point. Do not put it in the sunlight or you will go blind! I wish I could get a job at their refurb center, then I could learn to polish up my own! I already have a bench grinder/buffer combo and the compound sticks, just need the skill.

Post# 420585 , Reply# 27   2/25/2020 at 15:11 (1,551 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I hope you took lots of pics BEFORE!!!

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
I've seen their work. It is amazing, although not my favorite vac. Were you ever there at Kirby? I was . It was VERY interesting.

Post# 420595 , Reply# 28   2/25/2020 at 16:05 (1,551 days old) by Kirbyg6 (York)        

kirbyg6's profile picture
Cool canít Waite to see what it looks like when itís done I think it will be amazing

Post# 420612 , Reply# 29   2/25/2020 at 20:59 (1,551 days old) by Dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
@Huskyvacs Yes! Thatís really the main reason why I wanted to send this one back to Kirby. Their polishing skills are second to none! And I agree; I have a bench grinder, wheel, and sticks too, but mine never seems to come out as good. I think itís because they start by sandblasting the castings.

@Gottahaveahoove Absolutely! Iíll post them below. Iíve always wanted to visit the Kirby factory. I even applied for a job there once. But, Iíve never visited.

@Kirbyg6 Yes sir! Iím really excited to see it come back all shiny. Then I get to make it cosmetically look like it should from 1945!

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Post# 420616 , Reply# 30   2/25/2020 at 21:36 (1,551 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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It takes a 11 or 14 inch high speed buffing wheel. It's not really a skill you can acquire. You can polish as nice but not in the same manner. I have a 9 inch buffing wheel my tradition nozzle and body where connected but nozzle wasn't hooked on.
The nozzle flung against the house took a chunk of stucco off. The housing flung I'm guessing 50 feet across the yard like a bullet.
If they use an 11 inch under control. It would be using a hose with flow of a fire hydrant.
There polish is unmatched.
Get some sunglasses because it's going to be bright.
Nice score on the belt lifter.

Post# 422165 , Reply# 31   3/25/2020 at 15:41 (1,522 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        
She's all finished

dandagreer's profile picture
She came back from the Kirby factory on Saturday, and I've had a fun time making her look like an original 505 from 1945. All told, I'd say the whole process of sending back to Kirby and getting it back in about 5 weeks went pretty smoothly. A little expensive, but considering what they did, I'm pleased.

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Post# 422171 , Reply# 32   3/25/2020 at 17:47 (1,522 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
That thing looks better than brand new.
You don't get better than that.

Post# 422172 , Reply# 33   3/25/2020 at 18:36 (1,522 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Simply stunning...

human's profile picture
'Nuff said.

Post# 422177 , Reply# 34   3/25/2020 at 19:09 (1,522 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Stunning work, by Kirby and from you!
Do you have pictures of how it looked direct from Kirby? I suspect different trim and bag colors. Would be helpful for others see what it would look like from the factory.
She is good for another century!

Post# 422183 , Reply# 35   3/25/2020 at 22:30 (1,522 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Looks pretty sharp. Was the trim originally black, or is that just what they happened to chang it to?

Post# 422186 , Reply# 36   3/25/2020 at 22:41 (1,522 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
The 505 handle and headlight trim is 3 piece black and a little inlay design on the sides of the grips.
Nine of mine shine like that. I imagine they put a 4 amp motor. They probably put amodel fan. I'd ask if you changed it back but I'm guessing no.

Post# 422187 , Reply# 37   3/25/2020 at 22:49 (1,522 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        

gottahaveahoove's profile picture

Post# 422195 , Reply# 38   3/26/2020 at 00:56 (1,522 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

rivstg1's profile picture
so you've got nine of your Kirby's that shine like that? dang, you've improved your polishing skills!! show them off!

David, looks superb, I've got a nice one but I now envy yours!!!! h congrats!

Post# 422208 , Reply# 39   3/26/2020 at 08:44 (1,522 days old) by Lux_Luthor (Tennessee)        

Now I want a Kirby. Thanks for that. 😆

Post# 422211 , Reply# 40   3/26/2020 at 09:26 (1,522 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
@TexasKirbyGuy - I do! I'll post them here. It came back exactly as I suspected - tan trim, tan wheels, black bag, bag guard, and cord. Through the magic of car dash board paint, all said tan trim became black, as it should have been! And I sewed my own lookalike 505 bag.

@Madman - The trim was all tan, and has now been special vinyl painted black

@Lesinutah - They did change out the fan to amodel and it now has the 4 amp motor. Its weird - it now sounds like a Heritage. It lost that characteristic whine from the old motors

~~Pics below are as it returned from Kirby

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Post# 422216 , Reply# 41   3/26/2020 at 13:26 (1,521 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        
May we

kirbycollector's profile picture
See a video of it running? I am curious as to how it sounds and runs on video.

Post# 422221 , Reply# 42   3/26/2020 at 15:42 (1,521 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
@KirbyCollector - Sure thing. I've uploaded it to my Youtube channel.


Post# 422245 , Reply# 43   3/26/2020 at 22:15 (1,521 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Nine meant to say none.
If you look at my avatar that's my ability showcased.
I have quite a few pieces like emtor, nozzle motor housing. There are some here some there.
The good thing is the motor and coil are strong. The fan isn't metal but it's more efficient. You could put a metal 11 blade metal fan but 6 blade is only in 3 amp motors. The fan housing is sealed and the amodel fan is better for longevity.
Other than hmc's 505 this is the nicest I've seen.

Post# 422246 , Reply# 44   3/26/2020 at 22:22 (1,521 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
I have another option. I'm going to show my bag topper. It's a rubber cover.
You could paint topper black or get a royal back topper that is black.
The 505 wheels had small washers behind them. I'm told they were painted red. I'm wondering if the screws were red too.

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Post# 422253 , Reply# 45   3/27/2020 at 00:00 (1,521 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
Wow! What a nice looking 505! I have a bunch of random Kirby G3 parts, and I wonder if I can send them in to be rebuilt into a like new Kirby if I pay them enough!

Post# 422284 , Reply# 46   3/27/2020 at 14:59 (1,520 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
She's a real looker!

Did they return it with the newer ball bearing brush roll? Just curious if you noticed any difference. Enjoy your new #505!

Post# 422443 , Reply# 47   3/30/2020 at 11:05 (1,518 days old) by dandagreer (Nashville, TN)        

dandagreer's profile picture
I don't think this is a ball-bearing brush roll?

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Post# 422486 , Reply# 48   3/30/2020 at 22:44 (1,517 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Check to see if height adjustment screws are the same on both sides. If they are not they were originally.
Dang a mint 505 awesome bag everything is mint shape. You have a new factory 4 amp motor, new bearings, amodel fan. You can get an LED light too.

Post# 422526 , Reply# 49   3/31/2020 at 18:49 (1,516 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Looks like you've got

the original style roller which is just fine. Nice and new! Period correct as they say. You have a nice looking machine there!

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