Thread Number: 44541  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
Kirby 509 armature bearings
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Post# 463283   5/22/2023 at 11:07 (192 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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So im in the process of the tear down and rebuild of my Kirby 509, the front bearing was almost seized with old grease which I flushed out with some brake cleaner, need to still put some fresh grease in, however when it comes to bearings, should I use like car bearing grease or something lighter like white lithium grease? ideally id like the bearings to last as long as possible, also the rear bearing looks to be a sealed type, as it has a metal plate on the back, any way to grease this one or do I need to replace the rear bearing entirely? it spins but has some resistance in it

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Post# 463284 , Reply# 1   5/22/2023 at 12:01 (192 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

IF this is a machine which will see some good use and/or you want it to last as long as possible, then just spend the 25-30 bucks and replace them with original Kirby parts - they are still available.
This way they are well lubed for another 20-30 years. Also you do not know how worn the old bearings are anyway. If the unit was run with dried, tarry grease, then they may have worn more quickly and may be noisy.

The rear will require a puller, but you can make your own puller with bolts and scrap metal if you are mechanically inclined (I can show you how).
The front may take some work also if it is corroded to the shaft.

All of the Kirbys I restore get new bearings if they are original to the machine. This is the most 'difficult' repair on a Kirby so I only went to be in there once.

Post# 463285 , Reply# 2   5/22/2023 at 13:50 (192 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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This machine likely wont see alot of use, with it being 75 years old, the commutator is surprisingly in better condition then my 519's. but if I already have the motor torn down for servicing I might as well ensure this machine has a long life ahead of it even if I don't use it as my main Kirby, currently my Heritage II is my daily use machine

Post# 463326 , Reply# 3   5/24/2023 at 10:22 (190 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Also keep in mind that if you sell this machine later in the future, NEW motor bearings is a very good selling point, since this is the most involved repair of a Kirby. New bearings should be good for another 30-40 years, easy. And then you know exactly how much wear the bearings got so relubing later may make more sense if low use.
Let me know if you need any advice doing that job. I have some threads here on VL that can help you if needed.

Post# 463329 , Reply# 4   5/24/2023 at 13:59 (190 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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I ordered rear and a kirby bearing puller for that, this machine likely wont leave my collection, given my 519's commutator looks like its been well used for its life, which brings a question does running these old AC/DC motors on DC wear out the commutator faster then running them on AC?

Post# 463334 , Reply# 5   5/24/2023 at 16:11 (189 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Good question on the AC vs DC point - I do not have a factual answer for that one.

One thing I do know is that back in the old days, homes got dirtier faster then vs now, often due to draftier construction, no/fewer central HVAC systems, more open windows, more open land/fields resulting in more wind-blown dirt, more fabrics were linty cotton/wool, often more kids running in and out (desire to play outside), etc. This meant more vacuuming to keep the house clean.

It is possible that vacuuming was a ritual for the original owner, like my mom was with her D50. Maybe they had pets or allergies.
My mom always kept a clean, tidy home and us kids did have allergies but no pets. The groove in my mom's D50's commutator (from 1984) was half way through the bars in the year 2020 when I restored the machine for her.
She had used the D50 once a week for an hour or two until maybe around 1995 when she went to every 2 weeks. She had it rebuilt in 1984 or so. She is still using the D50 to this day, with its armature with a 1983 date code on it. I have a new armature and field for her when the commutator finally gets cut in half.
If it happens... She only vacuums once every 3 weeks, but her house (same one!) is still always clean and tidy.

BTW, I hope you got the front bearing as well, as it takes the most stress and dirt being close to the fan.

Post# 463343 , Reply# 6   5/24/2023 at 20:25 (189 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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even though the front bearing feels fine I will prob just replace it, like I said this machine is 75 years old, and with the commutator in the good condition it is, I cant tell if its been replaced once in its life as the rear bearing is a 87007 NTN Japan bearing, which makes me think its had its bearing replaced at least once

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Post# 463384 , Reply# 7   5/26/2023 at 17:25 (187 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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I seem to have trouble sourcing front bearings for the 500 series Kirby, if anyone knows of a generic replacement as well or model number it would be most helpful

Post# 463392 , Reply# 8   5/26/2023 at 21:54 (187 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Here's 2 options.
So 608 2RS is sealed, and 608 ZZ is shielded.
There a link to ones I bought recently.


Post# 463395 , Reply# 9   5/27/2023 at 06:33 (187 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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Thanks, I figured someone had found non Kirby brand bearings for their machines by now

Post# 463413 , Reply# 10   5/28/2023 at 10:41 (186 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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so the 608 2RS came in however they are about 1mm smaller then the original rear bearing, and half the size of the front bearing

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Post# 463423 , Reply# 11   5/28/2023 at 22:43 (185 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Could be the Canadian motor has a different armature.

Post# 463424 , Reply# 12   5/29/2023 at 03:56 (185 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

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well, that could make sourcing bearings for this a little tougher, Like I could repack these ones, might have to take the armature down to the local vacuum shop which does carry Kirby bags and fans at least

Post# 463425 , Reply# 13   5/29/2023 at 08:33 (185 days old) by myvacsrock (USA)        

It has nothing to do with being Canadian. You quite simply have the incorrect part.

You purchased a bearing for a model Classic Omega - Present Kirby


You need Part numbers 1155 / 1160

1155 is the Rear Bearing

1160 is the Front Bearing


I rebuild way too many Kirbys a week... let me know what else you may have questions about.





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Post# 463432 , Reply# 14   5/29/2023 at 14:52 (185 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

captchar's profile picture
the only sad thing about Goodvac is its 50$ in shipping fees for me, might as well bite the bullet, lol

Post# 463456 , Reply# 15   5/30/2023 at 10:42 (184 days old) by vaclab (Pickerington, Ohio)        
When Did Kirby Start Making Bearings?

vaclab's profile picture
To date, I've never seen "Kirby" stamped into any bearing in a Kirby Vacuum. As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as a "genuine" Kirby bearing because bearings are manufactured by a variety of companies in which Kirby sources them from.

Simply match the part number (i.e. 1155, 1160, 608, 6200, etc.) and purchase what you want on eBay with free shipping (mostly).

1155 Bearing

1160 Bearing

Hope this helps,

Post# 463458 , Reply# 16   5/30/2023 at 14:18 (184 days old) by CaptChar (Niagara Falls)        

captchar's profile picture
Thanks, I did order from GoodVac the other day, but knowing the bearing number does help for future repairs, im sure my other Kirby could do with some fresh bearings as well

Post# 463473 , Reply# 17   5/31/2023 at 00:13 (183 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Take your 2 bearings to the local hardware store. Tell them you want new bearings showing them the ones you have. You'll get the bearings you need and ya.
Everyone here is about kirby genuine parts and doing that helps keep vacuum shops running. I can drive to great vacs in 45 minutes from my house.
If come across needing bearings getting a whole new bearing plate with bearings. I'd put money down I could find a new bearing plate with bearing under $20.

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