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  1. #1
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    Any Kirby vacuum gurus out there?

    I'd been looking for a used Kirby vacuum cleaner for some time. The Dirt Devil I've had since 2000 just doesn't do well with what happens in my house. Too many indoor cats, mixture of carpet and hardwood. I just can't buy a new Kirby or "nice" vac and don't want to spend the $ to get a new department store vacuum cause it would get beaten half to death over here.

    So, I found one at a local thrift store. It's a Dual Sanitronic 50 purchased for the princely sum of $10. Needs a little work, like some cleanup, a new belt, and a new zipper on the bag. Sounds like the bearings need to be greased as well.

    Trouble I'm having is finding much helpful information on repairing these vacs. An owners manual would be kind of nice as well, but so far, no luck.

    So, Foosters, can anyone out there be of assistance? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    -Bill

  2. #2
    on by skijor's Avatar
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    I'm no Kirby guru but I own a newer one. You may want to take yours to the Antiques Road Show.....j/k


    Here's a vid of the Dual Sanitronic 50:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/hoover10...89/b32TV8G0AVo
    If nothing else, contact this video's author since he rebuilt it and many other vacuums.

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  4. #4
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    Try the local vacuum repair parts store, there always is one somewhere. They are sort of like auto parts stores in that they are happy to explain how to fix something if they can sell you the parts to do so.

  5. #5
    Your imaginary friend. fuzzbox's Avatar
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    All the kirby vacuums here are scams. So.....

    Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Why scams? They are the most durable and highest-performing vacuums you can get. I only wished they came in a carbon-fibre version, all that steel & chrome gets a little heavy to move around sometimes.

    Here's some online-resources that should help with getting Kirby repair info:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kirby_vacuum_group_USA
    http://forum.doityourself.com
    http://www.vacuums.net/Kirby.Vacuums.html
    http://www.greatvacs.com/Vacuum_Research.shtml (DIY repairs at the bottom)
    http://www.fixya.com/support/kirby/vacuums
    http://www.kirby.com/Portals/0/rebuild_program.html (I seem to recall for $175, they'll completely rebuild and offer 1-yr warrantee)
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-24-09 at 12:36 AM.

  7. #7
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Why scams? They are the most durable and highest-performing vacuums you can get. I only wished they came in a carbon-fibre version, all that steel & chrome gets a little heavy to move around sometimes.

    Here's some online-resources that should help with getting Kirby repair info:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kirby_vacuum_group_USA
    http://forum.doityourself.com
    http://www.vacuums.net/Kirby.Vacuums.html
    http://www.greatvacs.com/Vacuum_Research.shtml (DIY repairs at the bottom)
    http://www.fixya.com/support/kirby/vacuums
    http://www.kirby.com/Portals/0/rebuild_program.html (I seem to recall for $175, they'll completely rebuild and offer 1-yr warrantee)

    Yep.

    I still keep a couple of clients under my belt who I clean for - and sure as ... snit ... I go in and usually clean out their vacuum cleaners - belts, etc - easy - worn rollers - not so easy but most equipment can have replacement parts via internet. However - unless you go do the <$100 versions of vacuums and then it's a "crap" shoot if you get the part you need or not - meaning the machine is a darn disposable item

    I know - I have one myself (my Mom worked on her own for probably 30 years - with some very nice clientele and vacuums - plus dealing with their *** hehe - she always has a couple vacuums of her own on hand at all times - but she likes canisters - I hate them, prefer upright) and dealing with a roller/brush that has gone off center (plastic) and so it makes a HUGE noise when I vacuum - but meh - I have young guys who live over me and they don't give a hoot when and whomever - soo me downstairs with loud vacuum ===== priceless.
    Last edited by Tude; 10-24-09 at 01:35 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    Not too long before we were married, my wife was still living with her parents and some Kirby salespeople showed up at their door. Seems they were canvassing the neighborhood. My father-in-law let them in so they could do their thing cause he knew no one else in the neighborhood would.

    The vacuum was pretty impressive, and had all those carpet shampoo attachments and could even be converted into a leaf blower. I arrived near the end of their presentation and their asking price was almost shockingly high. Seems like everyone I've talked to says they'll start at 1500 or 1800 then work their way down, but it seems like these guys were asking over 2k and talking about 90-days-same-as-cash financing.

    My wife almost bought one. For the most part, I'm glad she didn't cause I knew she would pay the high asking price. But at the same time, it would probably still be chugging along even though it's in a harsh use environment. When her grandfather died, her grandmother was cleaning out her house and preparing to move to a smaller place. I found a late 50s Kirby in a closet that looked to be in near-mint condition. She told me that her husband sold them for a short time when he was waiting for a new job to start and bought one for himself. It had been reconditioned about every 10 years by the Kirby company. Sadly, it got away before I could snag it.

    Now that my marriage seems to be on the rocks, I wonder if my wife would try and take that Kirby if she'd bought it then? By law, it probably would be hers. That's something I haven't shared with Foo yet. Maybe in my next post.

    Thanks for all the help thus far, y'all.
    -Bill

  9. #9
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    I guess I was lucky. It was late in the day for the guy and he must have been desperate. I kept telling him no because they were spensive but he came back at around 730pm and said he had to sell at least one for the day before he went home and let me have it for 800, NIB with the second box with all of the goodies.

    If he sold it to me that cheap and Kirby still made money, it makes me wonder what the cost is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  10. #10
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    I'll disagree on the shampooing abilities. Other objections I have to this over-priced brand including being out-dated in your case are less clearly defined.
    Cleaning carpets involves technology not addressed in the old Kirbys. If carpets are your focus, I wouldn't spend a dollar to spend in one of their kooky accessories.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Will G's Avatar
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    We have a 15 year old Kirby G3. I find all the parts on the internet. You can usually find instructions out there as well on how to replace the part.
    Flying a jet is no different than riding a bicycle. It's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.

  12. #12
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    The next Kirby salesperson who shows up at my house will be chopped up and fed to the dog. So obnoxious I don't WANT to buy anything from them even if it is the best vacuum on earth.
    --Ben
    Carrboro Bike Coalition - putting the "bike" in "CARrboro" :)
    2011 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 2009 Motobecane Fantom CX
    Previously: 2000 Trek 4500 (2000-2003), 2003 Novara Randonee (2003-2006), 2003 Giant Rainier (2003-2008), 2005 Xootr Swift (2005-2007), 2007 Nashbar 1x9 (2007-2011), 2011 Windsor Shetland (2011-2014)
    Current Linux Usage (by machine): Arch: I Debian: I openSUSE: II

  13. #13
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    I once answered a classified add which said, "ROCK AND ROLL $500/wk"

    When I called the number about it the woman answering the phones didn't even want to tell me what the position was.

    Turns out it was for a corporate or phone center sales position at the local Kirby vacuum office. Rock and roll?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shouldberiding View Post
    I once answered a classified add which said, "ROCK AND ROLL $500/wk"

    When I called the number about it the woman answering the phones didn't even want to tell me what the position was.

    Turns out it was for a corporate or phone center sales position at the local Kirby vacuum office. Rock and roll?
    I responded to what seems to be the exact same ad. close to 20 years ago !!
    The ad. was up for year after year, I relented & inquired, then... never took it though.

  15. #15
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tude View Post
    Yep.
    - I hate them, prefer upright
    So you have an uncommon familiarity with dirtbags?

  16. #16
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    g6, used on ebay, $125. needed a new belt. This thing is a great vacuum, and no salesperson!
    sigless at the moment....

  17. #17
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    I personally find Kirbys to be OK vacuums, but dreadfully overpriced, and sold through a horrid MLM system. They are also heavy, noisy, and not that good at filtration.

    If you want a good vacuum, look at the SEBO Automatic X Series. Don't be scared off by the apparent complexity, they are very well engineered, and unless your local dealer is a rip-off artist, consumables and spares are very reasonable. If looking for used, also look under the Windsor Sensor, or Javelin names. They are not cheap, but you should be able to find a new 12" model for <$800, maybe less depending on your bargaining skills or presence of a commercial dealer. I once used one of these on a floor that was littered with pennies, bottle caps, along with a complete range of "normal" debris. Ate it all like Homer going through a box of donuts. They don't jam easily, and are easy to clear if they do, the filtration is awesome, and they're pretty quiet as well. With a few pointers, or careful consideration and mechanical good sense, they are easy to work on. The belts almost never break in normal use, and you can change the brush roll in about 30 seconds without tools.

  18. #18
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    How do the SEBO vacs work on hardwood? I've got most of the carpet out of the house, so that will be one less dirt and germ trap. But with the animals, there's always pet hair around. Dust mopping might be cheaper, but I want as much of the hair, dander, cat litter crumbs, etc sucked away as much as possible so I don't have to handle it over and over again. I know this Kirby I have doesn't use a paper bag, but it still looks like it would be easy to empty.

    The Dirt Devil I have now won't pick up anything on hardwood. Scatters it all backwards behind the vac.

  19. #19
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
    How do the SEBO vacs work on hardwood? I've got most of the carpet out of the house, so that will be one less dirt and germ trap. But with the animals, there's always pet hair around. Dust mopping might be cheaper, but I want as much of the hair, dander, cat litter crumbs, etc sucked away as much as possible so I don't have to handle it over and over again. I know this Kirby I have doesn't use a paper bag, but it still looks like it would be easy to empty.

    The Dirt Devil I have now won't pick up anything on hardwood. Scatters it all backwards behind the vac.
    Being a single motor vac, the brush spins all the time, normaly, this would, as you say, "Scatters it all backwards behind the vac."

    SEBO X series gets around that by having a thin, flexible sealing strip behind the brush. Note: the manual adjust G series doesn't have that, as it is aimed at Hotels and the like, which have consistent carpet layers throughout. Alternatively, You can use the wand and purchase the soft bristle floor brush. Third option, get the C3 canister. If so, don't get the ETH power head, even the Engineers at SEBO screw up sometimes.

    On the subject of bag handling, have the salesman show you, and try it yourself, the bag removal and replacement. It isn't difficult, but if you don't get shown exactly where to squeeze the release catches, you'll curse it until you figure it out. The bag is positively fitted to the end of the suction hose as you close the bag door, this is one of the reasons the filtration is so good, ALL the air has to go through the bag/filter combo, no leaks. When removing a full bag, you have the option of sealing the bag with caps supplied, making disposal a very clean procedure.

    On the subject of carpet versus hard floors, there is a school of thought that prefers carpet, if you have a good vac and are conscientious about cleaning. the carpet tends to trap dust that settles, until you vacuum it away.

  20. #20
    Your imaginary friend. fuzzbox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Why scams? They are the most durable and highest-performing vacuums you can get. I only wished they came in a carbon-fibre version, all that steel & chrome gets a little heavy to move around sometimes.
    There are bunch of job listing for kirby vacuum and they pretty much dont pay the people and it is based on commision.

    Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.

  21. #21
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    As far as carpet goes, my family always had wall-to-wall throughout the house for as long as I can remember. Back when I was young, it seemed ok, but as I grew older, I started thinking how long it had been down, and how many animals we had, how the vacuum cleaner never seemed all that great, and wondered how dirty the carpet could be. Then, one of our dogs got terribly sick with some kind of cancer. She became very incontinent, and still had enough energy that she could sneak away and do her business in parts of the house. We wouldn't find it until it had been there awhile. So, thanks to a sick pet, I got turned off to carpet. Also, the allergy doc my wife used to see said that carpet was known for its ability to harbor allergens, so she wasn't fond of it either.

    It just seems that even the best vac can't get the really icky stuff out of a carpet, so it's only clean for about the first day or two after it's installed.

  22. #22
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamK1974 View Post
    As far as carpet goes, my family always had wall-to-wall throughout the house for as long as I can remember. Back when I was young, it seemed ok, but as I grew older, I started thinking how long it had been down, and how many animals we had, how the vacuum cleaner never seemed all that great, and wondered how dirty the carpet could be. Then, one of our dogs got terribly sick with some kind of cancer. She became very incontinent, and still had enough energy that she could sneak away and do her business in parts of the house. We wouldn't find it until it had been there awhile. So, thanks to a sick pet, I got turned off to carpet. Also, the allergy doc my wife used to see said that carpet was known for its ability to harbor allergens, so she wasn't fond of it either.

    It just seems that even the best vac can't get the really icky stuff out of a carpet, so it's only clean for about the first day or two after it's installed.
    In that case ( incontinent pets) you have point. On the other, if you just have hard floors, it's just gonna get stirred around all the time isn't it? If you have bad allergies, keep the pets out, have a good filter fitted to your air system, and use a built in vac that someone else empties.

  23. #23
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    You have already damaged the motor on the Dyson, it is not a wet dry vac. If it fails, there's a good chance you've voided the warranty.

    I've never heard of a lifetime warranty on Dyson before either.

    Bagless vacuums are a poor choice for allergy sufferers as emptying the can releases huge amount of dust.

    I've seen a Dyson worked on, and I've personally worked on all the SEBO line, going back 25 years. I've yet to see any vac, with the possible exception of Mielle Canisters, come even close to the engineering and sheer thought that has gone into SEBOs.

    I used to work for a SEBO, indirectly, and know what I'm talking about.

    There are a few cheap vacuums out there that are not a complete waste of time, but in terms of what you get for the money, there is very little that comes close to a SEBO.

  24. #24
    Senior Member WilliamK1974's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm hoping I can get an unbiased answer here. How does a SEBO compare to an Oreck? Looks in some ways that they're after the same type of market.

    I ask cause Orecks are made about 2 hours from where I live. They moved from near the Gulf Coast to an old auto parts plant after Hurricane Katrina. They ended up being unable to fully staff their factory until they made the move. They have a reduced-price outlet store up there too.

    Some people say that the Orecks have fragile plastic impellers and I wonder if SEBO might be the same way.

    Either way, they'd have to really convince me to bring a nice, new pricey vac into my house.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
    You have already damaged the motor on the Dyson, it is not a wet dry vac. If it fails, there's a good chance you've voided the warranty.

    I've never heard of a lifetime warranty on Dyson before either.

    Bagless vacuums are a poor choice for allergy sufferers as emptying the can releases huge amount of dust.

    I've seen a Dyson worked on, and I've personally worked on all the SEBO line, going back 25 years. I've yet to see any vac, with the possible exception of Mielle Canisters, come even close to the engineering and sheer thought that has gone into SEBOs.

    I used to work for a SEBO, indirectly, and know what I'm talking about.

    There are a few cheap vacuums out there that are not a complete waste of time, but in terms of what you get for the money, there is very little that comes close to a SEBO.

    how do they compare to kirby?

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