Replacing the 3 Motor Bearings in the Rainbow D4, D4C, and D4-SE Vacuum Cleaners: PAGE 1



These illustrated instructions attempt to show how you can replace the three motor bearings on a Rexair Rainbow D4 or D4SE canister vacuum cleaner. The author assumes no liability to any damage you cause to your vacuum or yourself by making use of these instructions. I am not a professional vacuum service-person, but have replaced motor bearings on numerous Rainbow D4 units, and have always had great success. R-5238 (and/or R-1981) bearings can be purchased economically from various parts suppliers online. I tend to prefer to use bearings that are double-sealed, to help protect them from moisture intrusion. Some of the parts suppliers online also have .pdf exploded parts diagrams for all Rainbow models available for free download. Some aspects of these instructions may also apply to the Rainbow D3 and D2 series, but as I have never worked on those vacuums, I really have no idea.

In some instances, your vacuum may have suffered enough corrosion and damage that it cannot be easily repaired. In other instances, you may have to spend extra time trying to loosen bearings that are stuck in place on the motor shaft.

Potential does exist to ruin your vacuum by attempting to work on it yourself, if the work is done improperly.

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With your Rainbow vacuum unplugged (never work on it plugged in), start by removing the Separator, which is the gray basket shaped fan. It is attached with a brass nut that is removed by turning it counter-clockwise with a screwdriver. It is important to use a properly fitted screwdriver, be it either slotted or Phillips, when removing screws in this unit, since it keeps the screw heads from being ruined, making it difficult or impossible to properly remove the screw.

With the Separator removed, you will next remove the brass nut that secures the Spider (the gray plastic part). This nut also removes normally, by turning it counter-clockwise. You will need a large slotted screwdriver for the slot in the motor's shaft, to keep the motor shaft from turning as you attempt to loosen and remove the brass nut with a wrench. This is a common part of the unit that is damaged by using a poorly fitted screwdriver that is too small.

In the image above, the rubber sealing baffle has been carefully removed by pealing it away from the contact adhesive that secured it to the unit. If you remove it carefully you can re-use this baffle without having to buy a new one from a Rainbow Vacuum parts supplier. Underneath this rubber baffle are the 8 screws that secure the metal motor gasket flange to the vacuum, although the screws are often concealed under some of the contact adhesive (as in this image). To remove these Phillips screws, you will need a screwdriver that fits them very securely, or you will risk ruining the screw heads, which will make it very hard to remove these screws to complete this project. In some cases you will need to use a metal pick/probe to remove adhesive from the screw heads, and from around the circumference of the screw head. With the screwdriver in place, you want to bear downward very hard as you turn the screwdriver, to keep the screwdriver from slipping out, and chewing up the screw head's slot. If the screw resists turning, clean it up some more, or perhaps use a pentrating lubricant to help loosen it. You can also tap on it to help the threads of the screw to unfreeze. It you are not physically strong, have someone who is help you to remove these screws. The key is to have a well fitted screwdriver properly seated in the screw head's slot.

Next, with the metal flange, spider, and lower aluminum plate removed (this plate is under the plastic spider), next remove the four Phillips screws that hold the brown Plastic Baffle Plate to the vacuum. Carefully lift this plastic plate up and out of the way.

With the metal motor gasket flange, spider, and plastic baffle plate removed, you will need to remove the Bearing Retainer Shield and the Slinger Ring washer underneath it (although it may be stuck to the Bearing Retainer Shield's grease, and you might not notice it). Pry the ring up by placing small screwdrivers in the openings provided, and pry up carefully on both tabs at the same time. The Shield should pop loose as seen in the above image.

The Slinger Ring washer is then carefully slid up the motor shaft to remove it (if it was not already stuck to the Retainer Shield).

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Copyright 2009 Thomas Penrose