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Optima is Eureka's line of small lightweight upright, reasonably full-featured and inexpensive ($40 - $80) vacuum cleaners. Included in this line are the following models: 430, 431, 431A, 431AE, 431AX, 431AXZ, 431AXZE, 431B, 431BX, 431BXZ, 431F, 437AZ, 439AZ, UK431A. Some of these are older, refurbished or models unavailable in the US and Canada. Current model numbers for USA are only Optima 431BX (available from Amazon.com), Optima 431F (available from Target), Optima 437AZ (available from Walmart) and Optima Pet Lover 439AZ (available from Best Buy).

Unlike some of the more expensive vacuums, Eureka Optima line uses multi-use paper filters that can not be washed, but must be replaced at least every 6 months. This can get quite expensive, especially if you buy them at Bed Bath and Beyond or Best Buy - two national chains that carry replacement filters for Eureka vacuums. However, a wide selection of compatible replacement filters is also available mail order at a substantial discount. I got a 2 pack of genuine Eureka DCF-14s shipped Priority Mail from Geyser Vacuum Center in Albany, New York for a total of $22.80 and they arrived in just a few days. At Bed Bath and Beyond I would have paid about that much for one filter!

All of the vacuums in the Optima line can use either the older Eureka DCF-10 (part numbers: 62396 and 62731) or the newer Eureka DCF-14 (part number 62731A) filters. Some outlets also advertise a version of the DCF-14 filter with Arm & Hammer Baking soda for deodorizing, while others may still refer to the DCF-10 filters as Electrolux Home Care 62396-2. In addition, 3M makes an after market DCF-14 equivalent filter known as the 3M Filtrete 67800 (available from Best Buy). Please note that the outdated DCF-10 is not a HEPA filter, while DCF-14 is. Nevertheless, only the Eureka Optima 437AZ (from the currently available new US model line), comes with the DCF-14 filter, while the rest include the non-HEPA DCF-10.

Performance-wise Optima is a nice little vacuum - much lighter than the full size upright vacuum cleaners, but just as powerful as many of them. It works well on bare floors, as well as on carpets. What is sacrificed, however, is capacity and the container must be emptied quite often to maintain performance, avoid filter damage and prevent overheating. This last point is especially important. If you keep vacuuming, while the dirt plugs up around the filter, air will get cut off and the vacuum cleaner will overheat and turn off by itself. If this happens to you, do not panic. Optimas have an electronic safety switch built in that protects the motor, so all you have to do is clean out the container, the filter, make sure that nothing is stuck in the base (for whatever reason, Eureka calls the base - the nozzle) and elsewhere along the dirt path, allow the unit to cool 10 - 15 minutes and viola - you are back in business - vacuuming. Just make sure that you don't do this too often - eventually the safety switch may fail and you will burn out the vacuum motor!

There is, however, one very big issue with this model line that is not so easy to overcome. In an effort to reduce production cost, Eureka designed this model of vacuum cleaners with a single molded piece that both wheels simply snap on to. The problem is that as you use your vacuum, wheels rub against the plastic center piece upon which they are mounted and eventually wear off the plastic that holds them. When that happens, the wheels fall off one at a time, you generally don't notice right away, continue to vacuum and scratch your beautiful hardwood floors in the process. Worst still, there is no way to fix this problem, except to replace the plastic piece, which you can only get from Eureka and only as an assembly together with the rest of the base unit base unit for about $58 - yikes, but there is a warranty...

New Eureka Optimas come with a 1 year manufacturer's warranty and as luck would have it, wheels falling off is a defect covered under the warranty. So, you call Eureka's Customer Service Department at 1-800-282-2886 (8 a.m. - 7:30 CST Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. CST Saturday-Sunday), choose option 7 (other services) and sooner or later a live human picks up your call. You give the representative your vacuum's model and serial number, tell them the problem. They don't even ask you when you purchased the vacuum, tell you that as long as this is your first warranty call on the unit they will send you a free replacement nozzle and give you an order confirmation number. So far so good...

Six to eight weeks pass and as dust piles up ankle deep, you begin to wonder where your replacement part is. You call customer service one more time and after the requisite time on hold, get to speak to a representative who tells you that there is no record of your order and that they will process it for you now. The part is in stock and because you have been waiting patiently for so long, they will ship it to you tomorrow, by second day air, no less! You get another confirmation number and go back to the wait mode.

And not even an hour later the postman brings your a new base! Well, at least that is what happened to me yesterday. I suppose, I'll now be getting another base in a few days. If I do, I'll be sure to save it for the next time the wheels come flying off. I expect that to happen before another year is up - six months seems to be the average among other users posting reviews. Once I run out of the free replacement bases, I'll have to upgrade to a vacuum cleaner designed for 250 or more hours of use (not 25, like this one).

BTW, the new base does not come with directions, but it is a simple matter to replace it. Just tug on the old base pulling it away from the rest of the vacuum. Note the metal pin in the back of the old base in the attached picture - that's a stop. If it prevents you from accomplishing your task, use a pen to push on it while continuing to pull the base - it will come out easy enough. Now insert the new base, making sure that the metal stop clicks into place. You are done!

Eureka Optima 437AZ vacuum cleaner and an old base with wheels fallen off

YES THE WHEELS FALL OFF, IT'S BROKEN. I Found one of these and figured out how to put both wheels back on 10 times better then brand new!! I amaze myself sometimes, just kidding, I HAD THE RIGHT IDEA.

How did you fix your wheels?

Hi there,

I'm having a suction issue. My hose works fine, a little weaker than before perhaps, but still sucking. The floor function, however, gives no suction at all. The brush still spins when in that mode, but no suction. I've cleaned the filter and the hose connection, so I don't think it's a blockage problem. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance, Jason.

There really are only two things it could be:

1. The floor/hose knob is stuck in the hose position inside. It may still appears to turn on the outside, but is not turning inside the vacuum cleaner.

2. Something blocking the flow in the base unit above the spinning brush.

In either case, you will probably have to take these sections of the vacuum cleaner apart to find and fix the problem.

I love this little machine as I used it for more than 4-5 yrs now.
My brush rotating motor burnt out, (it smells funny) and/or possibly the thyristor or...?
I took it apart. Now I need the part to fix it. Where can I get the brush little motor and the printed circ. panel that controls it?
Thanks for your suggestions.

The Eureka Optima vacuum cleaner has circuitry protecting the motor from overheating. This limits opportunities for it to burn out. Nevertheless, it is possible for the motor to fail.. It is less likely that the protective circuitry itself fails.

Most of the time, you can simply let the vacuum cleaner cool off, clean out the clogged air paths and filter and be back in business. If the motor or the circuit board did in fact burn out, the only place you can get them is from Eureka directly.

US consumer protection laws require manufacturers to have parts available for purchase long after discontinuing manufacturing of the model. However, there is no regulation of prices for such replacement parts. At this point, you may find it to be less expensive to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, then to buy parts for your old Optima.

Generally, electronic parts used in vacuum cleaner control circuitry are off the shelf with very long life-cycles. If you are able to trouble shoot the circuitry and can identify, unsolder and replace an electronic component, such as a thyristor that has failed, you can usually find an exact replacement online reasonably inexpensively. You are very unlikely to find a suitable replacement motor in this way.

I've been buying this model for a while now, like it a lot. Esp. the lightweight easy to use. However, just came across a problem that I am having troubles finding out how to fix it. The switch will not go into the "Floor". Stuck in the vacuum part. Does this mean the motor is burned out?

While it is possible for the main Eureka Optima vacuum cleaner motor to burn out, it is rather unlikely that this is what happened. What are the exact symptoms you are experiencing?

From what you said, it sounds like the unit is still fully functional in the "Hose" mode. In which case it may be a purely mechanical issue. Can you still physically turn the switch? If not, you may have to take it apart and clean it. If, on the other hand, the switch still turns, the nozzle (the bottom part) is properly plugged in, but the brush does not rotate in the carpet mode, the problem is most likely the nozzle.

First, see if you are still able to rotate it by hand. If not, you must clean out the little rocks, hairs, sticks or other debris stuck inside. If it turns freely by hand, but does not budge in normal carpet cleaning operation, the nozzle will most likely need to be replaced.

i have a vaccum that the brush no longer works it appears that the bearings had melted where it slides into the vaccum to spin would the warranty cover this?

Steven,

I completely disassembled the nozzle (bottom piece) of the Eureka Optima when it broke. The design is very cheap and thus entirely bearingless - no bearings anywhere. There are several issues, which can cause the brush to stop turning. Most likely, the vacuum was not emptied often enough. If it gets too full, it will overheat. If it overheats, a thyristor will stop the brush from spinning. If you completely empty the container, dislodge all trash collected around the brush, clean the entire air path (including the section where the trash container hooks up to the unit) and wait 15 - 20 minutes before turning the vacuum back on, you will have most likely fixed the problem. If not, give Eureka a call, tell them that the brush is not spinning and request a warranty replacement. If your vacuum is still under warranty and teh brush motor burnt out, Eureka should be able to send you the replacement nozzle for free.

Good luck,
Jake

Thank you Jake!

Thanks so much for posting this information about your Eureka vacuum! We had the same wheels falling off issue and was about to purchase a new vacuum when I ran across this site. I contacted Eureka and they sent (FREE) out a whole new head assembly and received it today! AWESOME!

Thanks again!
Robert and Shelly
www.evansrvadventures.com

Why is it that they had no record of shipping the first replacement?

I did receive a second free replacement base (nozzle) for the Eureka Optima 437AZ vacuum cleaner by mail last week. It wasn't exactly second day, but it was pretty darn quick. (Ordered on 5/26/09, processed the following day and shipped by regular mail. BTW, the original replacement was ordered on 4/08/09, but the order did not get processed until 5/18/09.) The second replacement nozzle was packaged differently and could have come from a different location than the first. Why is it that they had no record of shipping the first replacement and how many more free replacement bases could I get? I will probably never have the answer to the first of these questions and I hope to never find out the answer to the second!

I just noticed that they misspelled my last name on the first warranty replacement order form, so that would explain why they didn't have a record of sending me the first base, when I called for it the second time. But shouldn't they have figured it out by the serial number? Hope this doesn't happen too often, or else their are wasting way too much money on warranty service, which couldn't possibly be good for their stockholders.

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