As covered a few times on my blog already, I do like Dyson products. They’re engineer and tinker-friendly.
A colleague got in touch with a poorly DC14 which had worked well. She’d kept the filters clean and generally looked after the appliance with care, which makes a nice change. However, despite all this, nothing was being collected with the floor beaters. The hose worked OK, but that was it.
Time to do some screwdriver wealding. Despite the filters being in good condition, I washed and dried them anyway, just in case.
Up ending the vacuum cleaner revealed the problem straight away. The bottom foot hose had become disconnected from the interference fit compression joint and was flapping in the breeze. Usually when this happens, it’s because the hose has split, but this one was in good condition. What seemed to have happened was that the hose had become untwisted from the joint, so all that was required was careful reassembly.
While the cleaner was in pieces, I gave it a thorough service, paying attention to all of the machine’s seals and moving parts, especially where the cylinder joins the vacuum pipes from the motor as these can leak with age.
Once spruced-up, the cleaner was back to full health once again. Another Dyson saved from the tip.
Cost of replacement: £150 and up. Cost of repair: Time, tea and biscuits and silicone spray, a bit of washing-up liquid.
Starting a new job is always fun and when a new colleague of mine mentioned that the office vacuum cleaner had packed up, I rose to the challenge.
I’m quite fond of Dyson products as some of you know, mainly because:
They’re well-engineered, by engineers
They’re designed to be repaired easily with simple tools, which is better for everyone
Parts are readily available at reasonable prices
The DC01 was launched in the early 90’s and was Dyson’s first market clean-up, competing with the established market leaders. Although this machine is over 20 years old and Dyson no longer supports it directly, reasonable quality pattern parts are available on eBay. If you have one, love it and keep it going.
This one is actually an ‘Antarctica Solo’ model (grey and light blue instead of yellow), which commemorated Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ solo trek across Antarctica and raised money for Breakthrough Cancer. It had been abandoned and was moments away from the skip. I felt quite sorry for it.
Faults reported included; no suction, excess noise and smell!
The first thing to check on the DC01 is the filters, as like many other Dyson products, people forget to clean or change the filters. Both filters were totally choked and full of all sorts of detritus. A quick shake out and wash with warm soapy water and they were as good as new. Following that, I inspected the seals around the join between the cylinder and the main body. All the seals were dirty, so a clean up and quick spray with silicone spray and they were as good as new. Great.
The noise seemed to be coming from the front beater/ rollers which usually means, noise bearings. The beater on this model uses a two bearing set up. One was fine, but the other was seized. As I didn’t want to spend any more than I needed, I cleaned the bearing, after removing it and the dust cover, re-greased it with LM High-Melt Point grease (general automotive stuff) and it was ready to roll and beat again.
Once the filters were dry and re-installed, the Dyson ran like new again. Very satisfying.
Cost of replacement: £15 second hand, £100’s for an equivalent-ish new model.
Cost of repair: Patience, washing up liquid, two cups of tea.
A neglected DC24 gets some badly needed maintenance…
I really enjoy working on Dyson products as they’re so well thought out. The designers seem to take great care factoring-in easy maintenance for longevity. There’s also a great sense of theatre when using Dyson products. Take the roller ball on this design for example, a throwback to the earlier Dyson Ball Barrow which allows better manoeuvrability when combined with an upright vacuum cleaner. There’s also the exposed mechanism which automatically switches suction between the roller pick-up and hose when using the foot pedal to select the desired mode. Genius. All of these design touches encourage the user to care for and enjoy using the product.
Sadly though, sometimes these touches are a bit lost on people and the design flares that appeal to some become misunderstood and neglected to others.
This DC24 had two problems. It didn’t stand up properly when left and it didn’t really pick anything up that well either, failing as a vacuum cleaner on two fundamental points.
The first job was to find out why the DC24 was a little unsteady. It seemed that all of the mechanism was intact and that nothing had snapped off. Strange. The red foot pedal operated lever that releases the latching system to move the main body from its locked position was stuck. It seemed to be linked to a lever which operates the diverter valve, which switches suction from the roller beater foot to the flexible hose. On closer inspection the lever on the diverter valve had come off its pin, probably by force. The mechanism itself was also dirty which made operation rough. The red lever is spring loaded with guides and pins which were also dirty and a little rusty. I suspect this vacuum cleaner had been left somewhere damp.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24 diverter lever and valve.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, red foot lever.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, cleaning the lever mechanism.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, cleaning a lubricating the mechanism springs.
After re-attaching the diverter valve leaver back on and giving all mechanisms a good clean-up with a light coating of silicone spray, it was as good as new again.
Once the mechanism was working, it was time to assess the vacuum’s performance. It wasn’t that good. As with most Dyson vacuum products, there are two filters. One processes blow-by air from the motor and the other controls dust particles from the cylinder. These filters can usually be cleaned with mild soap and water, but this set was well past it, requiring replacement and for under a tenner, it’s rude not to. Dyson have made filter replacement very easy on the DC24 with good access to the motor filter via a small door on the roller ball itself and the lid on top of the cylinder. I think there should be a massive sticker on these vacuum cleaners that says ‘don’t forget to clean the filters’ as I suspect that many of these products are chucked away by owners who forget to do the necessary. Bag-less cleaner doesn’t mean maintenance-free!
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, cleaned up rubber seals.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, motor filter cover.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, motor filter cover.
FixItWorkshop, April’18, Dyson DC24, cleaned up rubber seals.
With a couple of new filters, a clean-up of all of the rubber seals with silicone cleaner and this DC24 was fighting fit, ready to clean another carpet.
Cost of a replacement Dyson product: £000’s. Cost of new parts: Under £10 plus my time.
My brother-in-law popped in to see us for a cuppa recently and mentioned he was off to the tip with an old VAX cylinder style bag-less vacuum cleaner, in pieces, not the carpet washer type. It was on its way to the great scrap yard in the sky. Luckily, I was on hand to divert the sick VAX via the workshop.
It was being disposed of due to the flex having gone faulty together with the opinion that it wasn’t working that well before the mains cable failed. Well, I hate to see good machinery go to waste.
On this VAX, the mains flex is stored within the vacuum cleaner housing and is wound up on a spring-loaded coil during storage. When in use, the user can pull the mains plug until the desired cable flex length is reached. When the user is finished cleaning their carpet, a foot operated button causes the flex to speedily disappear back in to the vacuum cleaner. My brother-in-law had already looked at the spring-loaded mains flex winding mechanism, which had resulted in the bi-metallic coil spring escaping from the enclosure, freeing itself in to an orbit. It’s quite a shock and sometimes dangerous when this happens!
What to do. I was very nearly tempted to dump this vacuum cleaner too as the build quality of the whole thing reminded me of the plastic toys one gets in Christmas crackers, but that’s not really in the spirit of The Workshop.
Then I remembered I had a defunct Hoover Telios that was minus a motor, perhaps this would be a suitable parts donor? I liked the idea of making one working vacuum cleaner from two unhappy ones.
The Telios had a working mains lead flex, but the automatic spring loaded mechanism on that was past its best, so I decided to use the working lead on the VAX. The VAX would be without its flex winding mechanism, but at least it would work. I adapted a cable tie to make a cable grip, to prevent a user from pulling the cable from the VAX, when in use. The cable would have to be stored, wrapped around the vacuum cleaner, after use, a small price for working machine.
The other job was to address the poor performance.
This product is clearly an inferior Dyson rip-off and therefore has a couple of filters; one for the intake and one for the exhaust, like a Dyson. As suspected, both of these were virtually blocked! The filters on this model were not as easy to get at nor as easy to clean. I’m not sure whether these filters are meant to be washed, but wash them I did and after 24 hours of drying on the radiator, they were as good as new. Once refitted, full performance was restored, for the price of a bowl of warm water and Fairy liquid.
Finally, the VAX was missing its cleaning head for the hose, so I decided to use the Hoover one (which was quite a nice design) with the VAX’s hose. After some jiggery pokery and some electrical tape, it fitted.
What we’ve now ended up with is a working VAX vacuum cleaner, using some parts from a beyond economical to repair Hoover. Whilst it’s not the most elegant repair I’ve ever completed, I now have something working from two nearly condemned items and surely, that’s good thing?
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.