Hard Luck Cases

Hard Luck Cases

“Rusty” was another Goodwill find, a Hobart-era K5SS (bowl-lift, solid state speed control, 5qt bowl). This classic needed almost as much work as I’ve ever put into a mixer. Most of the time spent was just on getting through the layers of crud so that I could disassemble it and perform the necessary service. (I also learned a valuable lesson along the way, but that’s a story for another time.)

On top of the wear consistent with many years of hard use, this machine also had rust and corrosion in odd places. There must be a story, but the best I can come up with is that maybe it was stored in a damp garage for a long time. The characteristic wear mark under the bowl is rusty, and there was rust underneath the base; and the screws underneath securing the column were rusted in place, and wasn’t that fun.

Condition on arrival.

Inside, the gear case was in the condition you’d expect, with lots of old grease. The gears were factory-original, though, and apart from some irrelevant surface pitting, were fine.

The real challenge in this mixer was the motor. One of the nuts that secured the rear armature bearing bracket was missing. I replaced it, and found that when the bearing was properly secured, the motor wouldn’t turn! Oops. (There has to be another story there.) Time for a complete disassembly.

Out came everything: gears, bearing bracket, field coil, armature, all of it. Cleaned out the inside of the case, cleaned and re-greased the armature bearings, put it back together, no joy. Argh.

Did it all over again, because you can’t take the armature out without first emptying the gear case. This time I replaced the armature. (Most of the modern parts will work in old mixers; some of these designs haven’t changed in sixty years.)

Back together again, and now the armature spins like it should. (I still have the old one; I suspect the shaft is bent.) But the motor won’t keep a steady speed. Adjust the timing so that it’s correct from power-on, and it creeps. Wait for the speed to settle, adjust for correct RPM, and it stalls trying to start up. Can’t win.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” All that was left to replace was the motor governor, which is this crazy-looking little contraption that sits at the rear end of the motor shaft and helps regulate the speed. So, I replaced it. (Fun fact: I swiped the governor off an old 4C I had on the bench at the time.) Worked perfectly.

After repair and cleanup. That’s the original bowl, which is all it came with. Current-production attachments work just fine.

This is why it’s a hobby, not a business. I think I spent more on parts to make this thing run like new than I paid for it from Goodwill. The list of parts I replaced fills most of a page. I didn’t keep track of how many hours it took to get it back to working order and half-decent appearance.

But all that doesn’t matter; it’s a classic from before Whirlpool bought the consumer appliance line from Hobart. They don’t make ’em like this anymore. So it was worth it. And this is one less mixer that’ll be taking up space in a landfill somewhere.

Not a big fan of that color, though.

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