Introduction: Sonicare FlexCare - Tighten Metal Shaft

Picture of Sonicare FlexCare - Tighten Metal Shaft

This process will demonstrate how to remove the internal assembly and tighten the metal shaft on a Sonicare FlexCare toothbrush.

To complete this, you will need 5-10 minutes and the following:
Standard flat head screwdriver
#0 Phillips screw driver
A little common sense

Step 1: Disassembly

Picture of Disassembly

Remove brush head
Using a standard flathead screwdriver
Gently twist the bottom plug until it releases
Gently remove the plug

Please note the tabs holding the plug in place are soft plastic and look like they will easily break.

Holding the body, push down on the metal shaft. Because of the seal it will take a little effort so I used side of the handle on my screw driver to break the seal and push it down.
Pull the internal assembly out

Step 2: Tighten Metal Shaft

Picture of Tighten Metal Shaft

Using a #0 Phillips screwdriver, tighten the screw that holds the metal shaft

Step 3: Battery

Picture of Battery

Though this is not a step to replace the  Li-Ion battery, I thought I would post a photo.

It appears that the battery is glued in place, but I think others have posted instructions on how to remove it.

Step 4: Reassembly

Picture of Reassembly

 Just the reverse of step 1
 Push the internal assembly back into the body until rubber seal is flush with the top of the body
 Push the plug straight in until it snaps into place
 Attach brush head

Step 5: Test Your Work

It should be pretty obvious, but try brushing your teeth!
If you really need brushing instructions you probably should not be using a Sonicare

That said, if get all the way to this step and are stuck, click the link below and scroll down to page 7



Stifting (author)2013-03-09

Hi, followed your instructions, tightened the screw. powers on, but no vibration. Any other suggestions?

davejohnson01 (author)Stifting2013-03-15

It is possible that maybe there is something else that is broken? For me it was just a loose screw.

If you locate the problem, please post a reply.

Good luck!

jwh1975 (author)davejohnson012015-03-29

I had this problem on mine. It ended up being that the coils had slipped forward and come in contact with the metal base that makes the head vibrate. Basically, there needs to be a small air gap between the end of the electromagnetic coils and the shiny metal peice just in front of them. If they make contact, the vibration is greatly reduced. There are two slotted screw holes on the assembly at the base of the coils. One of them is under the circuit board, so you will need to remove the entire assembly to get to the other screw. Loosen them up and pull the coils all the way back, and i used a piece of thin plastic between the coils and the metal piece to maintain the gap when I pushed the coils back up. Tighten the screws and remove the plastic, and reassemble.

inc0gnit0 (author)jwh19752016-01-15

Thanks for the tip jwh1975! My battery was dying on my Flexcare+ (it stopped holding a full charge) and then right after I ordered a replacement battery the shaft stopped vibrating even though the battery had power and I could hear it whining but not vibrating. After replacing the battery I struggled to figure out what was wrong since the shaft seemed to be fine and I couldn't find anything broken. I found your advice and moved the coil back down and that got the shaft vibrating again. I guess with the handle vibrating the coil eventually gets loose and makes it's way up.

JamesD280 (author)inc0gnit02016-05-27

I figured it out and fixed mine, thanks to getgoing100 and JWH1975 and others. The first small phillips screw at the base of the coils is easy to find. The second one is directly opposite to the obvious one on the other side of the brush underneath the circuit board. To expose the second hidden screw at the base of the coils you have to bend the brush head and the red coils very hard away from the circuit board to expose the hidden screw. You have to bend it nearly 90 degrees to get a screwdriver on to the hidden screw. It certainly feels like the whole fragile contraption might break apart. But mine didn't. As you can see from the photo I stuck a screwdriver into the gap at the top of the coils to create the air gap. The gap remained after I re-tightened the two coil screws, unbent the head and pulled my small screwdriver out of the gap.

MarkB683 made it! (author)JamesD2802017-12-03

Many thanks JamesD280. Invaluable info and money saver. I've fixed 4 today but on 2 of them the coils / top half of the mechanism separated from the plastic bottom half by itself, exposing the difficult screw easily. The coils metal frame is on 2 plastic sliders that slot into the back of it. There are 2 tiny plastic tabs stopping it sliding all the way up. (see photos) I took out the spring and rubber, lifted the circuit board to get a small screwdriver in the slot and lift the tiny tabs just enough to let the metal frame slide up and off the plastic. Once the coils are moved (push the tiny tabs back also) just relocate the frame on the sliders and put the spring back in.

CarolM156 (author)JamesD2802016-08-13

Thank you for the clarification...I followed your instruction and finally fixed my sonicare. I almost tossed it out! Thanks for saving me the $120 plus!!

JamesD280 (author)inc0gnit02016-05-27

I've also had the same problem on two different brushes. I threw the first one out and then I found this instructable. I think I had the same problem as JWH1975. I just can't figure out how to get at the second screw under the circuit board.

budokaiboy (author)jwh19752017-08-15

Thanks!! This worked for me too!!

DavidF15 (author)jwh19752015-11-17

Thanks. This seems to be the problem with mine. Making the electromagnet-mechanical gap bigger helped it.

If anyone is interested, I measured the voltage at the coils during operation to be about a 260Hz, 10Vp-p, modified sine wave with the pulse widths being 1.5ms on high, 1ma on medium, and 0.5ms on low.

JamesD280 (author)DavidF152016-05-27

Can you tell me how you accessed the second screw under the circuit board?

getgoing100 (author)jwh19752016-01-24

just for the benefit of some of us who are a bit dumb, when jwh1975 says that "the coils had slipped forward," he means the entire module comprising the two electomagnetic coils and the plastic bits holding them together(not the coil wires :)) shifted upward when seen in an erect tootchbrush. See pic of the module in ihart's post below, when outside the metal enclosure (in which it tends to shift up in a faulty brush), we do not need to open this metal enclosure, just maneuver the module up). Also,the small air gap is rather large (probably 3-4mm) when the coil module is moved all the way down in the metal enclosure. You need physically pull the module down till it reaches the bottom of the enclosure and hold it there while you stuff a stiff strip of metal of plastic in the gap at the top to keep the module from shifting back. then put the screws back, tighten, and then pull the stuffed strip out.Also for removing the crew at the back, no need to disassemble fully. Just flip the head forward, away from the parallel switch unit till it is at 90 degrees. if the black rubber housing and steel coil at the bottom fall out, just remember their position so as to put it back while assembling.

Thanks to JWH1975 for figuring this fix out and sharing it here. My 2.5 year old $120 unit HX 6911 which had both issues of vibration and loose shaft is good as new.

AndyR31 (author)jwh19752015-11-26

Thank you. I had this same problem on two sonicare brushes. Perhaps this is a common problem..

ihart made it! (author)Stifting2015-10-01

I had the same problem. Battery power is fine but when you turn it on, you hear a slight vibration. I took it all apart and found that the metal piece that goes between the electromagnet and the top rotating shaft had sheared off. (see picture) It is permanently busted. You cant order these parts. It might be possible to get a "parts only" broken one off e-bay and cannibalize it.

ihart (author)ihart2015-10-01

Also, I found it easier to get the bottom off by wrapping it in a paper towel and squeezing channel-lock pliers at the widest part of the oval near the bottom. After that I used a thin screwdriver to pry out the bottom assembly.

mhoeffner (author)2012-02-25

Thanks. You just saved me from having to buy a replacement for an otherwise fully functional brush. Unfortunately I was impatient and made a mess of the soft plastic base so I'll need to find something to seal it to make it waterproof again.

jrj90620 (author)mhoeffner2017-09-25

Try Goop or E6000 to seal.

mhoeffner (author)mhoeffner2013-11-25

It lasted another year and a half before I had to tighten it again. This time I had a little trouble getting the inner component out but I turned it upside down and pushed the top down on to the top of a table and it came out easily.

DaveSonicare (author)2017-08-24

Awesome thank you jwh1975 and cwalger you guys just saved me a bunch, I was able to repair BOTH Sonicare handles that I have used for over 6 yrs now. After your fix both are as good as new.

GlenS49 (author)2017-02-17

Took mine apart and both screws are tight. Has anyone found other issues that might cause the metal shaft to be wobbly?

cwalger (author)2016-11-07

Thanks for the writeup. you don't need to bend the coil away to get at the screw behind the coil. You simply need to pull the top and bottom half of the brushed apart. The black plastic has two plastic tabs that slide into the metal - if you pull the top and bottom of the brush away from each other, the tabs 'click' down an eight of an inch or so and the two halves come apart (held together on ly by the two coil wires). The it's easy to get at the back screw.

JamesD280 (author)2016-08-13

I figured out how to tighten both screws and fixed mine. (Much thanks to getgoing100 and JWH1975 and others). The first small phillips screw at the base of the coils is easy to find. The second one is directly opposite to the obvious one on the other side of the brush underneath the circuit board. To expose the second hidden screw at the base of the coils you have to bend the brush head and the red coils very hard away from the circuit board to expose the hidden screw. You have to bend it nearly 90 degrees to get a screwdriver on to the hidden screw. It certainly feels like the whole fragile contraption might break apart. But mine didn't. As you can see from the photo I stuck a screwdriver into the gap at the top of the coils to create the air gap. The gap remained after I re-tightened the two coil screws, unbent the head and pulled my small screwdriver out of the gap

Eleanormcdaniel (author)2016-08-10

I opened mine and fixed the looseness, but now the power won't turn on even though its fully charged. Does anyone know what might have happened with the electronic part? Photos preferred. Thanks everyone!

KyleS148 (author)2016-07-20

Thanks for this excellent post. My screw near the shaft was not loose, but the gap between the coils and metal base was gone. Probably we had been pressing the toothbrush against our teeth too hard. My dentist warned us that these are absolutely the best toothbrushes as long as you brush lightly and let the vibration occur to the fullest extent. Anyway, I followed the instructions and photos below to increase the gap and fixed the problem completely, saving $120 or so. Great thinking.

vaderag (author)2016-04-24

Thanks for this instructable - i have a slight observation from what I did.

I moved the coils down (the screw as not loose) and padded with plastic as suggested above. However, the plastic actually absorbed the vibration.

Ensuring a gap was there meant it worked again :)

Pascal666 (author)2013-03-15

Twist the bottom plug in which direction?

DavidF15 (author)Pascal6662015-11-17

I twisted the plug about 1/4" CCW, but I don't think it matters which direction. You just need to turn it far enough so the black tabs in the 2nd pic on the first step (near the bottom end) twist out of the slots in the shell. The other method of squeezing the oval of the body so the sides bulge out away from these tabs works well too. The tabs are easy to see in the step 3 battery picture too-- they are lined up with at the left end of the battery at the green band and fit into little slots inside the sides of the shell.

davejohnson01 (author)Pascal6662013-03-15

I don't recall, but generally it is righty tighty lefty loosey (counter clockwise).

PDMeat (author)2015-11-15

It would be helpful to mention that the bottom plug detaches from the main body and the hole which appears to take a flat screwdriver blade in fact does nothing and there is no need to rotate the plug. I just ended up destroying the plastic a little for nothing.

Don't worry about the plug, it's just a plug not attached to anything really. You want to remove the inner assembly and THAT is what has two little plastic tabs that fit into recesses in the outer body shell that surrounds it.

To get the body out, as another poster said, it easiest just to use channel lock type pliers and squeeze the outer shell/body at it widest point about 3/4" (2cm) from the bottom.

In doing this you widen the body where the tabs sit in their recesses and you can just push firmly on the metal tip of the device and it should fall right out. If it doesn't come right out, perhaps remove the bottom plug first with a small flat screw driver by prying between it and the body, trying to pull it straight down.

Some overseas folks are selling internals for these brush bodies on eBay. Might be worth looking at if you have physical breakage.

hlohmeyer (author)2015-10-21

I basically took it very carefully and got the end cap off by prying with screwdriver, plus holding the end with a pair of channel locks. Once I got the cap off, I pulled out the entire mechanism and discovered that the screw holding the metal tip was loose. I simply tightened the screw and put it all back together. It works liked a charm now.

steven.boehm.714 (author)2015-05-01

SnehalP (author)2015-04-28

The screw in my toothbrush doesn't seem to be loose. However my metal shaft has detached from the main body of the toothbrush and the rubber seal around it has broken. Any ideas what to do or where replacement parts could be obtained?

twidgren (author)2015-03-13

I got it out (use a very broad tip screwdriver!) and tightened it up, but then when putting it back in, the toothbrush turned on for a bit, then turned off and now will not turn back on again....did i short something out somewhere? I put the core on the basestation and it charges, but can't get the thing to turn back on again... Any suggestions?

markus773 (author)2012-09-30
Thanks for your ideas! I had the same problem but in my case there is a part broken: So too late...
RalfR (author)markus7732014-12-22

Yup, same with me. Dropped mine accidently and the part of aluminium-cast seems to be broken. Anybody has an idea where to get these as replacements?

davejohnson01 (author)RalfR2014-12-22

Bummer. Pretty sure our friends at Phillips does not consider this a serviceable item.

If you have all of the pieces you could try a 2 part epoxy or something like that? If that doesn't work then it is probably time for a new unit.

RalfR (author)davejohnson012014-12-23

Hi Dave, right, Philips just wrote me... "please send it to one of our repair-shop for exchange"... at a cost naturally. I really hate this mentality of non maintainable products.It's awful.

Epoxy will not work IMO because of the mechanical stress this part is suffering.

cmajors (author)2014-09-08

Very helpful tip and good instructions. Worked like a charm. And then I fixed it again 2 days later, and today the screw came out again. I would like to know if there is a way to get a replacement screw -- or possibly the threads are loose where it is going. Has there been success with locking washers or any other fixes to hold these pieces together? Tx.

luvzforplay (author)2014-09-04

The repair worked perfectly , worked for a while then stopped again I took it apart again , put red lock tight on the threads of the screw and will try again ..I would however wright a small disclaimer telling people to be very carful unscrewing the end cap for the 1/4 turn , cause if you break the plastic locks you'll have a problem getting it back together !

lemarais88 (author)2013-12-18

Thanks, you saved me from a bunch of inconveniences during an already hectic time of year; greatly appreciate you posting this. My husband fixed it within 3 minutes for me (tightened a couple of screws). I also realized that a new brush head also was needed.

dspek (author)2013-04-17

Thanks! Worked for me. Great instructions.

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