Thread Number: 44998  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
40th Anniversary Oreck XL
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Post# 466822   10/16/2023 at 12:22 (249 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Hi, all.

Well, from my thrifting thread, I figured I should start a new thread, just for this vacuum.
I went back and bought the 40th Anniversary Oreck XL2.
I'm sure I'll probably be posting questions about more things that need fixing. But, the first thing that I noticed is that the lighted power switch doesn't light up. That was one of the little details that I liked about this model. So, I was disappointed that it doesn't work.
Does anyone know if there's a bulb that can be replaced, or if I would have to replace the whole switch?
I'm hearing that Orecks are pretty simple to work on; which is good for me, because I'm all thumbs.
Does "easy to work on" include the handle? I see that the power cord goes into the handle as well. Normally, I like to stay far away from any and all wiring.
Thanks for your help!


Post# 466824 , Reply# 1   10/16/2023 at 13:40 (249 days old) by Powerstarenergy (Portland, Tennessee)        
Can we have a photo please?

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Is it ok if we can get a photo of it?

Post# 466832 , Reply# 2   10/16/2023 at 15:12 (249 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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This is the best I can do right now for pictures.
There's also one picture that I took in the store, in the thread about bagged thrift store sightings.
I included a close-up of the switch in question. Sorry it's dirty. I haven't done anything yet beyond removing the disposable bag.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 466835 , Reply# 3   10/16/2023 at 18:18 (249 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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I've never taken one of those lighted switches apart before but you might possibly can replace the bulb, I'd be curious myself if that could ever be done or not. But if not, I do know that those switches are inexpensive to replace which would be my recommendation anyways if you wanted the light to work. And yes handles are very easy to work on. Below is how to take apart the switch and the handle.

Post# 466846 , Reply# 4   10/17/2023 at 10:09 (248 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        
I have always been a sucker for illuminated power switches..

I have disassembled and repaired many switches.
Source a replacement BEFORE attempting repair, just in case things go wrong.
Looks like the rocker may just pop off of this one.
Take apart slowly and carefully.
BEWARE any springs or rods or other pieces that may want to pop out.
I suspect a neon bulb inside, but maybe a grain o' wheat bulb.
Let us know what you find.

And if you break it?
Well, it just needed replacing anyway. :o)

Post# 466847 , Reply# 5   10/17/2023 at 10:51 (248 days old) by kloveland (Tulsa)        

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I like the gold accents in that model. I think it's sharp looking..

Post# 466861 , Reply# 6   10/17/2023 at 15:33 (248 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Another thing that I'm sure isn't right.
The handle is loose in the bottom fitting. I can actually lift it out without undoing the twist lock collar.
Would that be just a matter of the rubber o-ring being bad, or am I looking at a bigger issue?

Post# 466876 , Reply# 7   10/17/2023 at 18:36 (248 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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The rubber ring is just a gasket, prevents from dust leaking out. Either the collar or the fan housing is stripped. Or it could be that the collar isn't twisted back on completely like somebody must've unclogged it before.

Post# 466900 , Reply# 8   10/18/2023 at 19:30 (247 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Never having worked on one of these before, I don't know what it's supposed to look like. So, I won't know if I'm looking at the problem.
Is there supposed to be a flange or flared end of something at the bottom of the tube/handle?
I don't understand what the lock collar is supposed to grip onto.

Post# 466914 , Reply# 9   10/19/2023 at 11:24 (246 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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The collar is supposed to lock onto the fan housing, basically the neck. The first and last park of this video should be useful.

Post# 466917 , Reply# 10   10/19/2023 at 13:51 (246 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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As I write this, I have the lower tube removed as part of the overall cleaning.
There was a ton of fine dust caked all around the collar and o-ring. I'm guessing maybe someone hadn't fully locked the collar in place. I gave all the parts a good cleaning, and I'll see if there's any improvement when I put it back together.
The threads of the collar and the fan housing all seem fine. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for the video, too. It's nice to see how, as you've all said, these vacuums are pretty simple to work on. I'm always reminded of the old caveman TV commercials. Hopefully, Orecks are so simple to work on; "Even Barry can do it!"

Post# 466926 , Reply# 11   10/19/2023 at 17:53 (246 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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I've gotten the base about as clean as I'm able to. I'm not going for museum piece. The vacuum has some battle scars, and it's yellowed some over the years.
I put all of the cleaned parts back together, and the tube seems to stay in place now. So, maybe the locking collar wasn't fully tightened when I got it. I still feel like the O-ring might have something to do with it, since that's really the only "grippy" part of the whole assembly. And it was so caked with dust, it just slid around on the metal tube. Now that the o-ring is clean, it stays put.
Once I have the whole machine cleaned and put back together, and I can give it its maiden run, I'll be sure to notice if any dust seems to be leaking around that point.
I didn't want to do it, since I got two or three brand new bags with the vacuum, but I ordered a package of the purple HEPA bags. I think there's six in a box. As infrequently as I use my uprights, six bags should last me the rest of my life!
I'll toss one in our XL Classic too, if I ever need to change that bag again.

Post# 466975 , Reply# 12   10/22/2023 at 17:25 (243 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Strange turn of events

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Well...a few weeks ago, I didn't know Oreck made a 40th Anniversary Edition XL2.
Then, I saw one at a thrift store, and brought it home.
Shortly thereafter, I found out that they also made a 40th Anniversary Edition XL2 Ultra.
Yesterday, I discovered one of those in a free listing on Craigslist, about an hour away from me.
I don't normally venture that far from home. But, this time, I made an exception. So, now I also have that version!
I got it from the original owner. It has some wear and tear, but it should clean up pretty nicely.
The reason it was free, is because it doesn't run. The previous owner said she was using it, and it just shut off. This happened a while ago, and, since she couldn't be without a vacuum, she just went out and bought a new one. The Oreck had just been collecting dust in a closet ever since. So, she decided to give it away.
I know, sometimes a wire in the handle can come loose, resulting in the vacuum not working. Does it seem like that would have happened while she was in the middle of using it though?
I haven't checked anything out yet.

Post# 466978 , Reply# 13   10/22/2023 at 19:12 (243 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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I like the black color on the Ultra better but could care a little less about the two speed switch. Anyways with that being said, it's very likely that one of the wires came loose from pulling the cord on the handle too hard or it might've fallen over at one point. It's a common thing to happen.

Post# 467001 , Reply# 14   10/23/2023 at 14:24 (242 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Thank you for the video link. I had actually watched that one, when I was trying to boost my confidence to open up the handle.
I finally did just that, a little while ago. I'm happy to report, as expected, one of the wires was disconnected from the switch, and the other one was loose. I was pretty sure that was going to be the problem. Especially, since I discovered a little scuffing and paint transfer on the handle. It must have fallen back and hit the floor or a wall or something.
It now runs just fine. On both speeds even!

Post# 467008 , Reply# 15   10/23/2023 at 15:42 (242 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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I know it's not a great picture, but I thought I'd show the two "siblings" side by side.
I'd like to have gotten the whole handles into the picture. But, if I try to post a vertical picture, it comes out sideways.
This will have to do for now.
I still want to wash the outer bags, and replace a few bits and pieces. The Ultra needs a new brushroll. It probably wouldn't hurt to put one on the other one too.

  View Full Size
Post# 467011 , Reply# 16   10/23/2023 at 17:22 (242 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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That'd be great for your picture profile on here and maybe on as well lol. If you had matching canisters with both of these, that would be a complete set for the collection:)

This is the infomercial of the white one if you're ever interested in watching it.

Post# 467017 , Reply# 17   10/23/2023 at 19:58 (242 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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I actually do have one black and one white "Buster B".
The black one came with our XL Classic, back in like '02. And the white one was given to me, many years ago, by one of my uncles.

Post# 467027 , Reply# 18   10/24/2023 at 12:12 (241 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        
More questions about these XLs

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I will need to replace the brushroll on the Ultra, at the very least. It's pretty worn, and has several spots where the bristles are missing.
That machine has white bristles. However, all I see available for replacements are the ones with red bristles. Is there any difference?
Also, those two wire guards or whatever they are. Neither of my recent acquisitions have them. And, I've watched a few YouTube videos where people have said that they always go missing.
Can they be replaced? Is it worth replacing them?
If I'm feeling frisky some time, I'd like to try taking apart the fan housings and replacing the felt seals and such. Even those; I see two different types available, and I don't know which one I need.

Post# 467060 , Reply# 19   10/26/2023 at 10:36 (239 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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The brushrolls are the exact same thing regardless which color of the bristles. Just be sure to order the one that has the metal pulley. The plastic pulleys are for the ones that uses a lifetime belt, they'll work but they're just more expensive so it's not really necessary to order one of those. The cord protectors help prevent the wires of the cord to come loose, that could be why your Ultra didn't work when you first got it. I'd recommend getting them. The seal you'd want to replace is the white one.

Post# 467064 , Reply# 20   10/26/2023 at 13:50 (239 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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Thanks, Alex.
I should have made that more clear. The wires I was referring to are on the bottom. I'm guessing their original function was to prevent area rugs or some items from getting sucked into the brushroll. They're missing on all three of our machines.
And, for the felt seal, I've seen two different types listed for sale. Probably about the same circumference, but one seems wider than the other.
Is there maybe another similar seal between the fan housing and the motor?

Post# 467110 , Reply# 21   10/28/2023 at 13:00 (237 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        
A little update

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For anyone who's interested in the continuing story of the Anniversary Orecks, it's kind of a big day in Junque land.
I finally got up the nerve to take the outer bags off and give them a bath. I went with hand washing, as usual. I was just too worried that the washing machine might damage them. It took every ounce of courage I could summon, just to pry the clips off the bottoms of the bags. I was sure I would break the clips. And, as we all know, finding the correct replacements would be next to impossible.
As I write this, they're both in the tub, in clean, cold water. I washed them in warm water and liquid Tide.
I was expecting a lot more dirt in the wash water! Maybe the Oreck inner bags do a pretty good job of containing even the fine dust. My Kirby bag, for example, made the water look like mud. I washed the two Oreck bags simultaneously, and there was hardly any dirt in the water!
While we have a few hours of daylight left, and the last 80 degree day we're going to have for the rest of the year, I'm going to set them outside on a drying rack.
When they're dry, I'd like to try to shave some of the fuzzy look off of them. I have one of those little battery powered clothes shavers, to remove pills and fuzzies. Has anyone ever tried that on a vacuum bag? I don't think it would do any harm. I'll try it in an inconspicuous area first.

Update to the update:
Before putting them outside on the drying rack, I put both bags in the washer, and gave them a low speed spin. It did get a good portion of the water out of them. Now, they won't need as much rack time as they would have if I had put them out there dripping.
Now, I'm off the give the bag docks and bottom clips a little wash in the sink.

This post was last edited 10/28/2023 at 13:47
Post# 467132 , Reply# 22   10/29/2023 at 12:58 (236 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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Oh I see what you're talking about now. Honestly if you're careful of not sucking up the cord or rugs, you should be fine.

The seal you should replace is the bigger one like in the video. The smaller one should be fine still.

Post# 467133 , Reply# 23   10/29/2023 at 12:59 (236 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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Post# 467231 , Reply# 24   11/1/2023 at 16:28 (233 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        
Lighted switch update:

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I'm happy to report that the first of my anniversary editions once again has a lighted power switch!
Sometimes, (most of the time) it takes me a while to get up the nerve to attempt something. This was one of those times.
But, having had success with opening up the handle on the Ultra, and getting it running again by reattaching the wires, I finally got brave enough to open up the handle of the white one.
Just like on the Ultra, I was greeted by a wire that was disconnected from the switch. I had hoped it would be something that simple, but I refused to let myself get overly optimistic.
I hooked up the wire, put the handle back together, and plugged the cord in. To my delight, (deLIGHT) there was the power switch, glowing away!
I'm relieved that I didn't have to take the switch apart, or replace it. Knowing me, I would have just lived with the disappointment of the switch not lighting up.

Post# 467240 , Reply# 25   11/1/2023 at 21:50 (232 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        
Glad to hear it!

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What bags have you decided to go for? The paper or HEPA bags?

Post# 467246 , Reply# 26   11/2/2023 at 08:24 (232 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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They were pricey, but I bought a box of six Oreck brand HEPA bags; the purple ones.
Since I have no wall to wall, and just a few braided rugs, and I have several vacuums to choose from, it will take a very long time to fill a bag. So, they should last me a while.
We also have a very basic XL Classic that we bought new. I thought we got it in '02. But, I dragged it out the other day, and the date code says '04. So, it's actually a year newer than the 40th Anniversary models.
I'll probably take the "Classic" apart for a good "spa day" at some point, and hand wash its outer bag, which has never been done. At that point, maybe I'll treat that one to a purple bag too.
I hated to buy expensive bags, since I still have spare CC bags, in almost every flavor they made. Well...maybe not "almost every". But, a few different ones.
Some even came with the two recent acquisitions. But, I wanted to try the HEPA ones. Oh well!
I'm pretty pleased with the results of the fabric shaver on the outer bags, if anyone was wondering. They're not perfect, but it took a lot of that fuzzy look off of them.

Post# 467263 , Reply# 27   11/3/2023 at 12:14 (231 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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I'd say those bags should last you a lifetime. I started buying my Oreck bags from a local thrift store because they're so dirt cheap.

Post# 467266 , Reply# 28   11/3/2023 at 14:40 (231 days old) by JustJunque (Western MA)        

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That's great!
That's definitely the way to do it!
I never find them at the thrift stores. The last time I saw any vacuum bags, it was a couple of packages of vintage Hoover bags. Maybe for a bottom fill Convertible; which I don't currently own. I have two top fill Convertibles.
Plus, in the case of the Orecks, I wanted to try the HEPA bags.
I've watched videos too, where someone mentioned getting their genuine Oreck belts dirt cheap, because they buy them in bulk. I've never run across that deal either. I'm assuming they meant online somewhere, but I have yet to find it.

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