Question about Bissell SpotBot Robotic Wet/Dry Vacuum

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Bissell SpotBot gears jam.

The SpotBot seems to be poorly designed!  The gears between the small gear and the large cleaning head are too far apart and as a result they jam and make a loud crunching noise.  Solution:  twist the cleaning head so the gears mesh again.  Operate for a few seconds.  Repeat. 
I took off the bottom cover (5 screws) to adjust the clearance.  No adjustment. 

The factory person was flighty - couldnt remember a whole sentence front to back and did not help other than to say to go to service center. Since the unit is out of warranty this is an income item for the repair center!

Anyone know how far into the machine you have to go to make this adjustment? 

Or is this a bad design with no provision for adjustment?

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  • SylvieO Nov 08, 2007

    Same problem! And Bissell says it is not their poor design and I have to pay to fix the problem. ARGGGHHHHHHHHH

  • Anonymous Dec 21, 2007

    Same problem. Also found that there is not adjustment. Tried lubricating the gears with silicone - no help. I'm about ready to take the whole thing apart. Can't find a repair manual that tells you how to do that. Repair store is 40 miles away - one way. Just gas at $3 per gallon adds to the cost. If the gears are not adjustable, then a repair person can't fix it either!

    I think Bissell needs to fix this themselves through a recall. All it would take is a slightly larger "small gear".

  • Anonymous Dec 26, 2007

    I have the same problem and it is annoying to pay this much money for something that breaks and the factory refuses to admit to a flaw in the design.

  • bbsavchik Feb 02, 2008

    I'm not sure the gears are actually jammed, but the Large brush head no longer rotates. Neither does the small one. I can't figure out what's wrong. The fan on the motor is still blowing strong, but for some reason the motor is not turning the small gear. Does anybody recommend a compact cleaner that ACTUALLY WORKS???!!!

  • BissellJunk Apr 01, 2008

    Same problem here and it continues to get worse. Barely turns in one direction now and doesn't turn at all in the opposite direction. What a piece of junk - it's unfortunate, because when it worked it worked very well. Now it's basically useless. Bissell needs to admit their mistake and recall this piece of junk.

  • Dale8420 Apr 21, 2008

    I am having same problem. Gears slip and sometimes they completely jam. Makes a lot of noise like gears are stripping.

    I took off bottom plate but could not get find anywhere to adjust gears or replace. Need schematic to take this thing apart a possibly replace gears. Please email me at [email protected]



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Okay, guys.... I solved the problem. The answer lies in "solution #2", above. Indeed there are sockets for 16 plastic ball bearings in the SpotBot, and it's outfitted with only 8. Why? Who knows?

So, I ordered additional plastic balls from McMaster-Carr in Atlanta.

You want part #9613K24. They'll send you 50 - 1/2" nylon balls for about $17, including FedEx shipping.

My SpotBot previously behaved as poorly as anything previously described, but now purrs like a kitten.

You'll have lots of balls left over -- if you'd rather get 10 from me for $10 instead of 50 for $17 from McMaster, email me at [email protected] and we'll work it out.


Posted on Apr 14, 2010

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  • reinertgary Apr 03, 2011

    Thanks for the tip. You basically have to disassemble the unit to get to the balls but I found the same situation. I have ordered the balls we will see if this does the trick.

  • kennybob908 Apr 24, 2011

    Just wondering if it worked for you as it did for me??? Mine still works!


  • AGSantos
    AGSantos Jan 30, 2018

    How is the disassembly done to get to the plastic ball bearings? I cannot remove the big disk with gears all around it.


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I'm having the same problem. Loud buzzing noise and the head doesn't rotate. Looks like this is a major problem for this unit. Perhaps it's worth spreading the word so others can avoid buying it until Bissell fixes the problem.

Posted on Feb 03, 2008

  • Anonymous Feb 03, 2008

    Before disassembling the SpotBot, I could see the source of
    my problem was a loose fit between the drive gears. Once the brush head
    is turned the gap would close. I disassembled the unit and found that
    there are supposed to be 16 roller balls which keep the rotating brush assembly
    rotating smoothly and without excess play between the gears.

    My unit was outfitted with only half as many roller balls as the unit is
    designed for. There are 8 additional empty slots for the roller balls.
    So, as soon as the 8 overloaded roller balls begin to wear, the spacing between
    the gears becomes excessive. If the 16 balls had been installed as
    designed, it’s unlikely they would have worn so quickly and caused the unit to
    stop working.

    In short, it doesn't appear to be a bad design but it does appear the required
    number of roller balls were not installed at the factory as they should been.

    I attempted to find a source of parts for the SpotBot but was unsuccessful.
    Bissell sells attachments on their web site but no parts for the SpotBot. Nor could I find
    other sources online.

    Bissell needs to foot the bill for these repairs due to improper assembly,
    warranty or not!

  • Anonymous Mar 07, 2008

    I found a solution for the excessive gear space problem. The bad news is that unless you're mechanically inclined, it's outside the realm of the average Spotbot owner. I fixed my wife's Spotbot by removing the small gear (held on with a snap ring) then removing the drive motor and enlongating the holes on the motor mount. Then I reinstalled the motor while pushing it towards the large gear ring on the brush and tightened the mounting screws. This fixed the problem but, I suspect it's temporary. The unit really needs the additional roller balls.


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ERepair, good job. The motor gear is too far from the brush-head teeth no? LOL And no provision for adjustment. Dumb. Either provide an adjustment or a tension spring to keep the teeth adjusted automatically. Take your pick, Bissell.

Now for the serious stuff. What is the address of the head of Bissell? Anyone know or do we have to dig in until we find the president? And the president's address too.

We need to find that out and post it here on this forum so the president gets to see our comments/bad experiece. I will send my comments in a registered letter, then see what happens and whether we need to employ stronger measures to get Bissell to mend their ways.

To add insult to injury the Bissell authorized service company seems to have needed replacement parts so they told me that the unit was not repairable when I called. I went to the store and he told me that the parts to make the repair were not available! I insisted on seeing my spotbot. He tried to refuse to let me see it but finally dragged it out - 95% disassembled!!! He had disassembled it way way past the point needed to locate the problem (which I had already shown him when i arrived with the assembled unit - all I had to do is turn over the machine and point with my finger.)

I intend to tell the Bissell executive about that too - it was certainly strange -this whole problem is most "strange". (Polite wording considering how we have all been treated!).

I intend to contact their local Better Business Bureau and make a strongly-worded complaint.

In general it seems like there is some serious trouble throughout Bissell. Serious. Pity.

Posted on Feb 04, 2008

  • Anonymous Feb 04, 2008

    My last seems to have been lost. Here is the president's information. To make sure that he gets my message I will send my letter registered mail.

    Mark Bissell, President
    2345 Walker Ave.
    Grand Rapids, MI 49544

    I hope that info is correct - note the far different zip code as published in the Bissell web page.

    Headquarters, BISSELL Homecare, Inc

    PO Box 3606

    Grand Rapids, MI 49501

  • izzy1222 Apr 01, 2011

    I took the top off of the base and loosened the 4 screws that go into the top of the large white rotating piece. It has worked perfectly since!


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Upon disassembly there half as many ball bearings as there were provisions for...
Close inspection of the 8 that were there revealed 2 were flat spotted. i ordered a bag of fifty from an industrial supply house, added the missing 8, replaced the 2 flat bearings and re-assembled it and it is better than new because it has 16 bearings now. if anyone has the same problem I have 40 of these bearings left. contact me @ [email protected], and i'll send them along for postage and your 'BOT will be fine.

Posted on May 18, 2012

  • AGSantos
    AGSantos Jan 29, 2018

    Please advise on how to remove the big disk with the gears around it. I believe that my SpotBot will work properly if I can add the missing bearings.


I'm having the same problem with my Spotbot and it's less then 6 months old. This was my first Bissell product and it will be my last.

I'm not surprised that it broke so soon, because the shoddy design was evident upon first use, but it's disappointing, because it could have been a decent product.

Posted on Jun 03, 2008

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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