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Re: Kenmore Powermate Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Depending on which model, there is a couple of scres on the bottom, then on each side and back are release catchs that you pry up to release the top, then you can get to the belt. The other model you take off the light cover, it just snaps in place, then you can take out 2 screws from the top, on each side there is a slot, put a screwdriver up into the slot and pry out to release the tabs, then the cover comes off and you can get to the belt.
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If the noise is coming from the canister motor, you probably have bad motor bushings. I had the same problem, replaced the motor and all was fine - only for one year. The problem is back and is due to the fact the motor is very high speed (to get good suction) and should be made with bearings, not bushings. I will not be repairing a second time as a $70 motor annually is a bit pricey, and yes it will get VERY hot. I will buy a new vacuum - not another Kenmore.
Another potential problem for the increase in difficulty in turning the beater bar (drum) could stem from extremely dirty bearings, located at each end of the beater bar. I've seen hair knotted up to the point it chokes the bar and significantly reduces its ability tpo turn.
Turn the vacuum cleaner over and pop off or unscrew the bottom plate. The most common things are broken belt, clogged beater bar (usually hair), bad beater bar bearings, or the beater bar and belt is just plain worn out and needs replacing. If the brush nubs are very worn, replacing the belt alone won't help much.
Clean as much debris, hair etc as possible out of the unit. If you have a can of air like the type used to clean computer key boards, blow out the area and the motor if possible. Do this in a ventilated area or somewhere where it will not mess up your house.
The newer models have plastic end caps that will melt when the bearing heats up. This will cause the cap to go "off-centre" and the roller will vibrate badly. If this is the case, you will have to replace the roller.
If the belt is a geared drive, check the belt for any missing teeth.