Problem with Kenmore canister vacuum motor

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Old 11-15-07, 10:18 AM
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Problem with Kenmore canister vacuum motor

All of a sudden, when we turn the vacuum on it smell like something is burning...like rubber or plastic. Also, the motor fluctuates...like loosing power, then comes back, and so forth.

It sounds like the motor is gone...took it to a local shop who is a Miele dealer and of course he told me that these Kenmore vacuums are piece of junk and it will probably cost me could of hundreds of $$ to change the motor, and that I should buy a $1000 Miele with 7 years warranty on the motor...

I was wondering if anyone has experience changing these motors by themselves. I opened the vacuum and didn't see anything on the motor that could suggest what the problem is, maybe it is an internal part.
I saw that the entire motor cost only $53 at Sears, but could it be that all I need is something smaller, like maybe the motor brush?

I appreciate your feedback.
 
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Old 11-15-07, 03:21 PM
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Could be. Brushes are usually quite visible, if your motor is of that type. My 60+ year old Electrolux periodically needs new brushes; sparks, power loss, etc. Also the cheap impeller blade (that is what the motor attaches to to make suction) gets wrecked from garbage flying through it from the times the bag has gotten a hole in it and junk flies directly into the motor/impeller.

If you are handy, working on such things as this is not very difficult unless of course everything was crimped shut at the factory.
 
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Old 11-16-07, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Could be. Brushes are usually quite visible, if your motor is of that type. My 60+ year old Electrolux periodically needs new brushes; sparks, power loss, etc. Also the cheap impeller blade (that is what the motor attaches to to make suction) gets wrecked from garbage flying through it from the times the bag has gotten a hole in it and junk flies directly into the motor/impeller.

If you are handy, working on such things as this is not very difficult unless of course everything was crimped shut at the factory.
Thank you for your response.

It is a pretty new vacuum...only 4 years old. I was able to get to the motor, did not take the motor itself apart though, something I intend to do tonight.
In any case (if I am able to take the motor out ) a new "motor assembly" (which I guess is the entire motor) costs less than $60, so it is definitely worth it for me to fix that...much cheaper than a new Miele
 
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Old 11-16-07, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by SBI View Post
It is a pretty new vacuum...only 4 years old.
But how much have you used it in 4 years. In 4 years I vacuum thousands upon thousands of square feet of rentals including basements. I have 6 old cannister Electroluxes. Some are carcasses I strip parts off of.
 
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Old 11-17-07, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
But how much have you used it in 4 years. In 4 years I vacuum thousands upon thousands of square feet of rentals including basements. I have 6 old cannister Electroluxes. Some are carcasses I strip parts off of.
Average home use...can't tell you exactly, it's 2000 sq. ft. house...
 
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Old 11-18-07, 10:52 AM
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Okay.

Let us know how you make out with this?
 
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Old 11-19-07, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Okay.

Let us know how you make out with this?
Sure. I was able to take the motor out, pretty simple...I took pictures of the process so that I will know which wire goes where ...the motor itself consist of motor fan which is pretty much the main part of the motor and two brushes attached to it. I looked at the brushes and could not tell whether they are the only reason for the burning smell, but inside the motor fan you could clearly see signs of burning. There are also signs and smell of burning on rubber gasket in the front of the motor fan.

Went to the Sears parts web site, I though I'd order just the motor fan, two brushes and the noise suppressor...one motor fan is $79, each brush is $25. If I buy the entire motor assembly it is $59...go figure.
So I bought the entire motor assembly, waiting for it to arrive and will update once the house is clean again
 
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Old 11-19-07, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SBI View Post
Went to the Sears parts web site, I though I'd order just the motor fan, two brushes and the noise suppressor...one motor fan is $79, each brush is $25. If I buy the entire motor assembly it is $59...go figure.
So I bought the entire motor assembly, waiting for it to arrive and will update once the house is clean again
When nice new midsized cars in the early 70's cost $3000, I was told that if you bought parts individually and put the car together, it cost more like $22,000. Something like that anyway. So, that's just the way it is, I guess.

And thanks for the update. Post back to let us know what kind of a (good?) surgeon you are.
 
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Old 11-28-07, 08:56 AM
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I promised an update, so here it is.

Motor arrived Monday and I tackled it that night. As I mentioned earlier I took some pictures (and notes) before and during the disassembly of the old one so that I won't screw up the re-wiring. Lesson #1 - make sure you make detailed notes about wiring. I was able to do it eventually, but it took too much time staring at the pictures and use common sense.

My first biggest problem was placing all the wires in the case where it belongs...that is no in the way of the top cover. Once I got that and screwed all the screws back I realized I have an issue with HEPA filter door...it didn't seal correctly. Another look provided the answer - there is a plastic tab on the side wall of the vacuum case that the motor should slide behind it, I overlooked it and the motor sat in front of it.
Lesson #2 - look carefully...look twice, do once...

The bottom line - my biggest straggle was dealing with repositioning the motor inside the case. But eventually it is sealed correctly, the wires are connected as they should and the vacuum is working.
A small issue that I found after everything was sealed was that apparently there was a tiny (I am talking 1/16 or less of an inch) gap that was left around the HEPA filter housing (plastic being plastic...tends to bend), so what happens was that when the vacuum is on, air is pumped out through this very narrow gap and it makes a very loud noise, similar to an elephant snoring....so I solved this problem with a piece of duct tape holding the HEPA door tight, as well as a small kick to the door

Overall, $70 ($59 for the motor, plus $11 s$h) and our beloved vacuum is on the roll again.

Thanks to everyone for your advise and interest.
 
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Old 11-28-07, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for sharing. I read your every word.
 
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