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The way your Dyson DC17 is designed, there is a suction divert mechanism that diverts the suction to floor when the vacuum cleaner head is pushed down, and then back to the hose when the vacuum is in the upright position. If you are getting suction from the hose when the vacuum is upright, but no suction after the handle is reclined, this is actually the normal function for the Dyson DC17.
You can check to see if the filter is dirty. The washable filter on your Dyson DC17 is located directly underneath of the dust bin of the vacuum cleaner. After removing the dust bin, lift straight up on the part the bottom of the dust bin rests on. This is where the pre-motor filter is located for the DC17 models. If this filter is not cleaned on a regular basis, then it can start getting clogged, and you'll notice a loss of suction on the vacuum cleaner.
If you have further questions, please visit the link below where you may download the instruction manual. There are some trouble shooting guides at the back of the manual that you may do to try and diagnosis this further.
Dyson DC17 All Floors Instruction Manual: http://media.dyson.com/downloads/us/floorcare/manuals/dc17_opmanual_usa.pdf
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The problem is that your belt is stretched and worn. This causes that burning smell and it also causes the vacuum to not pick up well. You need to replace the belt. Here is the belt you need and the manual with instructions:
According to the manual on your machine, you can either have a broken belt, or the switches to the self-propel switch, and brush switch are in the off position. I have included a link to your manual. Please look at pages 13-14 under troubleshooting.
You say it lost its suction, then you also say this is plenty of suction power, seems you cant figure out the prob. Try cleaning the fan on the suction blower. The blades can get chocked with dust which will give you a reduced suction.