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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dyson DC14 beater clutch

I've got a Dyson DC14 vacuum cleaner. See my other posting on general servicing.

of late I've noticed that the beater function often does not engage. The beater is the rotating bar of brushes that agitates the carpet. Most upright vacuum cleaners have this feature. on the Dyson it is enabled by rotating a large purple dial on the front left of the suction assembly. The idea is that you disable it for vacuming hard floors, but enable it for carpets. Even turning it forward did not always engage the beater/brush bar.

I decided to take the cleaner apart to see what might be the problem.

First I needed to remove the lower plate. This is held in place by 3 twist fastenings which can be undone with a coin. Once the plate is removed you can see the brush beater bar.

You can see that the beater brush device gets en-wrapped with hair, string and anything that is long and thin.

I routinely run a sharp knife along the edge to cut through all the hair and string to easily remove it. You can see on the right that the rubber drive belt emerges through a plastic housing before passing around the beater. You can also see that I have disconnected the suction hose. this is the white plastic hose which provides suction to the beater enclosure. It screws into place, it's wire bracing spiral providing a simple screw thread.

here you can see the purple beater selector knob. It controls a clutch mechanism. the vacuum cleaners motor drives one belt to a clutch unit, which then drives the beater via a second belt. the selector knob engages or disengages the clutch.

next I removed the beater bar by stretching the rubber band on levering the bar out. You can see the belt still in place.Next I removed the pivoting assembly that holds the beater bar in place. It is held in place
e by two three-quarters circular fittings on either side. It pushes out.It is now possible to also remove the entire front hood structure which is attached to the main body by two circular plastic clips which resemble plastic washers, These lever off quite easily and you can slide off the entire front section. You will also need to lever the drive belt to the clutch from the main motor shaft. this then means you have very easy access to the clutch mechanism. It's held in place by 3 Torx T10 screws and this requires a long necked T10 torx screw driver to access these . One is down a long tube, so a driver with replaceable bits will be too fat. I used a Stanley 67-494 driver. Once out I examined the clutch mechanism. Other than some slight wear to the plastic "click" cam it seemed OK. However both belts seemed extremely shiny on the side which engaged with the clutch. With some fiddling I was able to flip both belts around so that the unworn outside edge was facing inward. I did this by twisting the belt and carefully feeding the twist back through the clutch.

I reversed the above steps to put the cleaner back together. The clutch seems to work again. If I slip the purple knob forward into the carpeted position the beater engages immediately. Before it would need further pressure and would not always start. I think the problem is due to belt wear, so inverting the two belts has fixed that. I'm not sure that these belts are easily replaceable without a completely new clutch assembly. There appears no way to extract them from the clutch unit.

the clutch assembly (pictured)

Follow up January 2012 

Before Christmas I fixed up an old NAD 5120 turntable. The rubber mat had become scuffed and rather scruffy. On the suggestion of posts on the excellent vinylengine forum, I used  AF Platenclene liquid to restore it. This substance is used to restore the grip on the rollers of laser printers and photocopiers. Not only does it clean the rubber , it also restores much of it's grip. The next time the Dyson clutch starts to slip, I'll give the belt a squirt with this and  bit of a wipe. I have yet to try it, but I think it should help


Anonymous said...

popping the ends off of the beater bar will also let you clean hair and dirt from the ends, which when gets built up smells like something is burning

Anonymous said...

My DC14 was doing the same thing. I followed your instructions and it works great. I did find out if a person doesn't have the torx bit a small allen wrench will work since these are not super tight.

Mr Ives said...

Many thanks for the feedback, glad it worked

Anonymous said...

Just fixed mine using your instructions. Worked great and now I do not have to buy a new one. There was also some kind of plastic melted to the inside of my belt.

traindriver said...

Wow! You just saved me $70.00! I was getting ready to order a new clutch assembly and beater bar. Thank you for the post it pays to research!!

Anonymous said...

My problem was very little friction in the clutch - the hard rubber disk and the metal plate were sliding against one another with very little power being transmitted. The belts looked fine. I used coarse sandpaper to roughen the side of the metal disk that presses against the rubber disk and it seems to work now.

Mr Ives said...

many thanks Anonymous for sharing that. I didn't have that problem, mine seemed to be a hardening of the belt. I'm definitely a fan of platanclene rubber roller restorer, which I'm using a lot in the restoration of turntables (mats, feet, belts) but would also definitely help give the dyson clutch belts a new lease of life. at £3 for a bottle from amazon its an indispensable addition to the essentials cupboard along with duct tape, cable ties and epoxy putty.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have a DC14 that I've had for many years. At any given time I have 3-4 large, shedding dogs and I'm a clean freak so I vacuum my house almost daily and my van once a week. My bar stopped turning, but the belt was not loose or snapped. I called a local vac shop and they said this was too hard for me to try and would cost $80 for parts and labor. Naturally I took this as a challenge to do myself and didn't want to order parts until I was certain there wasn't something jammed or wound up with animal hair. I found this post by Googling. Sure enough, the culprit was a small, dense hairball lodged under the belt inside the clutch mechanism. I actually skipped several steps. For example, the step where you pop off the plastic washers and pull off the top/front of the vacuum, I could not get mine to come off so I left it on and was still able to remove the black piece with the 3 torque screws and access the area with the hairball. I didn't take mine apart any farther than that. My belt and clutch parts are in great shape (no wear, everything is still tight) so I didn't need any new parts. While I was working on this I rinsed each piece I took off and blew everything out. In our computer shop we have a compressor with 90psi so I was able to blow a lot of other dust and hair off and instantly dry the pieces I cleaned in the sink.

Anonymous said...

I flipped the clutch belt inside out just like you did and voila the beater bar is turning again. It only cost me the price of a torx screwdriver to repair.
Your post really helped. Much appreciated.