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Thread: Bissell vacuum sparking and smelling terrible.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member RealRobD's Avatar
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    Default Bissell vacuum sparking and smelling terrible.

    My vacuum suddenly acted as if something got stuck in the brush and began to make a terrible noise and smell awful. I figured it was a quick pop it open, free the brush and I'd be on my way. Nope! Turns out the motor is sparking more than normal at the armature and brush contact point. And the motor acts as if it's under a lot of stress. I disassembled it, cleaned the armature, inspected everything and it looked okay. Plugged the motor in and gave it a brief whirl and quickly off as I could see the same issue persists. A new motor is about $50 but I'd rather keep that in my pocket and do a minor repair. If the armature is bad or hell even if it's just the brushes, I don't believe you can buy them. You're forced to buy a new motor instead. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    You can clean out between all the bars where the brushes contact the armature and it may help but I doubt it. If this is something you are going to use all the time then buy the new motor.

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Many times the beater brush assembly (Not Motor brush) will get something in its bearings and that can stress the motor and belt.

    You have to disassemble to clean and lube the brush bushings. I use sewing machine oil.


    It may not be worth a new motor, Unless it is a high end model. It could have a bad bearing.
    Last edited by DonL; 08-14-2013 at 07:00 AM.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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    DIY Junior Member RealRobD's Avatar
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    Motor bearings are fine, clean between bars on armature.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Did you take the brushes out and see how much was left? That gunk between the bars on the armature probably came from wear on the brushes...they don't grow back!
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Did you take the brushes out and see how much was left? That gunk between the bars on the armature probably came from wear on the brushes...they don't grow back!

    Very True.


    If the old brushes are good and they are used, they should be installed in the same position / direction.

    They do make a special cleaner bar for cleaning the armature, That you can get from a motor rebuilding company.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member RealRobD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Did you take the brushes out and see how much was left? That gunk between the bars on the armature probably came from wear on the brushes...they don't grow back!
    Brushes were removed in my original tear down and inspection. They each have about 1" of carbon left on them.

    The armature's communicator bar slots are "gunk" free.

    Resistance tests between communicator bars at 180 and bar to bar resulted in equal measurements all the way around.

    Resistance between communicator bars and armature stack is 100%.

  8. #8
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealRobD View Post
    Brushes were removed in my original tear down and inspection. They each have about 1" of carbon left on them.

    The armature's communicator bar slots are "gunk" free.

    Resistance tests between communicator bars at 180 and bar to bar resulted in equal measurements all the way around.

    Resistance between communicator bars and armature stack is 100%.

    You may just have a motor overload problem, something binding.

    What is the smell that you get ?

    Does that motor have a capacitor ?
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member RealRobD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    You may just have a motor overload problem, something binding.

    What is the smell that you get ?

    Does that motor have a capacitor ?
    Best I can describe the smell as a phenolic material burning.

    No cap on the motor.

    I'm pretty much down to it's a bad armature. I may get good reading out of service but it may be failing under power.

    I'll just have to replace the whole thing anyway. Seeing as I can't buy just one part for this particular motor. I knew this from the beginning, I just like to solve the puzzle

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