This Dyson DC14 came into the workshop with a couple of problems. The first was a lack of suction power and the second was a horrible noise from the front of the vacuum cleaner. It got to the workshop just in time.
A bypass valve is fitted to most vacuum cleaners without a bag and is there to prevent damage if a blockage exists somewhere in the airways or the owner has neglected to empty the collection bin. In this case, the valve seemed to be stuck open, causing suction power to be lost.
The valve on the DC14 (other Dyson models are similar) is a small device situated near the exhaust filter. the valve itself is a clear tube with a rubber sealed cap controlled by a spring. In normal operation, the cap seals a hole to the outside world, but if there’s a blockage, the pressure of the spring is overcome and air is allowed past the cap.
In this case, the valve was dirty and stuck. Repair required dismantling with normal household tools (small screwdriver and pliers) and cleaning using a damp cloth. A small squirt of silicone spray on the rubber seal ensured a smooth operation upon reassembly.
The noise was traced to the front of the vacuum cleaner. The roller/ beaters were making a horrible noise when in use and it wouldn’t have been too long before complete failure would have occurred.
Spare roller/ beaters are readily available from Dyson directly and from many aftermarket suppliers at reasonable prices. Since the beaters were in good condition, it seemed reasonable to have a go at a repair. The small ball bearing races at each end of the beater are easily removed and upon inspection, both were very stiff in operation. Fortunately, the bearings used by Dyson were of good quality and as the dust covers were easily removed, all that was required was a clean with solvent cleaner and a re-grease. Once refitted, the roller/ beaters sounded as they should again.
Cost of a replacement Dyson vacuum cleaner, circa £250, cost of repair £1 (bit of cleaner, grease, silicone spray.
This Dyson presented with a pretty terminal case of ‘no go’. The owner had run this relatively new machine in to the ground with little maintenance so it was little wonder what happened next.
Whilst in use, the machine spectacularly went bang and tripped the main fuse board of the house. The noise and following smell was quite something I was told.
The owner had nearly rushed out and bought a new machine and was budgeting between £300 and £400 for a replacement.
I was glad I could help since I was fairly certain I knew what the problem was without seeing it. After giving the cable, switches and casing a visual inspection, it was time to delve deeper. The filters were in poor condition and the general smell of it indicated that overheating had been an issue, probably leading to premature wear on the motor.
With the motor out, the true extent of the damage became apparent. Both motor bushes had worn away to nothing and part of the brush holder had broken up inside the motor, probably while it was running, causing the noise.
I suspect that the owner had ignored the warning signs of burning smells and occasional cutting out (as the thermal overload circuitry performed its fail-safe role).
Being only a few years old, the owner had a couple of options; either replacing the faulty part with a genuine Dyson replacement (a very reasonable £40) or pattern motor kit with filter pack for under £25. The owner chose the latter on the basis of the machine’s age and the fact that both filters in the machine were also ruined.
The job took an hour, including testing before the machine was back performing its cleaning duties once more.
A note to all vacuum cleaner owners (that don’t take bags): Keep your filters cleaned every couple of months or so. Your machine will last much longer if you do.
Sadly, I’ve seen loads of these older Dyson machines at the tip in recent years. I suspect, with a bit of fettling and cleaning, they could be brought back to rude health.
This one was one a high-mileage example and needed some tinker-time to get it back to a serviceable condition.
It was working of sorts, but failing to ‘pick-up’ as well as it used to. It turned out that the roller had two problems. The main bearings were worn, making a squealing noise and the brushes had worn low. This part used to be available from Dyson, but due to the age of the machine, they quite reasonably, stopped selling them. However, the net is awash with reasonable pattern parts for Dyson machines and while I tend to stick to original equipment wherever possible, a replacement roller from ebay for under £10 was a reasonable choice for this 15 year old vacuum cleaner. A replacement Dyson vacuum cleaner would be at least £250 for a basic model at time of writing.
Just a note on Dyson machines: Having studied the company at school and following their progress for a number of years, they seem to be a firm believer in providing accessible and affordable parts to keep their products alive. They’re an excellent example of a company that truly believes in product sustainability.