How to disassemble a Dyson DC17 Animal for Cleaning
June 20, 2010
I reviewed the Dyson DC17 Animal vacuum last year and found it to be a very good vacuum. It's a beast of a machine that can tackle everything from dirt to pet sheddings. There's a reason Dyson called it the Animal. If you have pets eventually the unit will need maintenance beyond emptying the canister and rinsing the filter. I'm talking about the wet dog stench emanating from the vacuum.
The problem arises when dirt and grime accumulates inside the cyclone assembly. No amount of tapping or shaking will dislodge them. Rinsing the unit only makes the problem worse. When the trapped dirt inside gets wet they remain wet for days and then begin to harvest obnoxious pet odors. Eventually, everytime you vacuum, a musty, crowd-dispersing stench fills the air. It's not very pleasant I can tell you.
Carpet fibers and hair can also create blockages which can lead to weaker suction. There is no easy solution to this. Dyson warranty does not cover blockages or stinky vacuums. Taking the unit apart is not trivial. But if there's a will there's a way.
This tutorial is a step by step disassembly of the DC17 to facilitate a thorough cleaning of the cyclone assembly. It's a tried and true method which I want to share with fellow Dyson users.
Dyson does not approve disassembly of their vacuum by the end-user and they certainly did not make it easy. You may even destroy something in the process. So proceed at your own risk.
Tools you'll need are 2x4 wood, towel and a #10 torx screw driver at least seven inches long.
For ease of explanation I labeled the cyclone assembly into sections A and B as illustrated below. Section A consists of parts 1-5 which are held together by 14 torx screws. Section B consists mainly of part 6. A bead of silicone caulk seals any gap between sections A and B.
The first objective is to separate sections A and B. This entails pulling the two sections apart by brute force. There's no way around it. The two sections are held together by three internal tabs integral to part 5 and three latches on part 6 locks on to them as illustrated below. There is no easy way to access these tabs from the outside which makes this first step troublesome. When I warned about damaging something it is these tabs and latches that could break off.
Notice the signs of stress on the latches on part 6. Plastic tends to change a lighter color when bent to the extreme. Here you can see white streaks.
Here's another spot showing signs of stress. Notice the white color around the gusset for one of the screw holes.