Motor considerations...

Discussion in 'General Carpet Cleaning & Upholstery Discussion' started by Duane Oxley, May 29, 2008.

  1. Duane Oxley

    Duane Oxley MIA

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    Honda:
    (My direct experience comes from working on a customer's who had a system with a Honda 24. I learned all about the valve adjustment "stuff" where Honda is concerned, because Honda wouldn't honor the warranty, because he didn't get his valves adjusted. So I learned how and did it for him)

    They're good motors, but...

    The valves have to be manually adjusted periodically (one dealer recently told me that it's every 300 hours) hours (by an authorized repair center), or the warranty is null and void. (Briggs and Kohler use hydraulic lifters, which are self- adjusting, so this isn't necessary with their design.).

    In my experience, someone who works full- time as a cleaner puts about 25 machine- hours a week on their system. That's just over 100 hours a month. So, at 300 hours, in order to keep up the condition (and warranty), it would have to be taken in every 3 months.

    And, at least over here in the U.S., if there's a problem with one, they take the position that it must be operator error, because they build "such good motors", that it's very, very likely not a problem that can be traced back to Honda.

    If you have one, keep meticulous maintenance records and get the valves adjusted as required. You'll need to prove it all if there's a warranty problem.


    Briggs
    (My experience is from building systems with them for 5 years, and was with the 16, 18, 20, 21 and 23's.)

    Briggs (and Kohler) is much better in the area of warranty. But one of the things in my experience (I quit using Vanguards and went to Kohler in 2001) about Briggs is constant oil leaks. They leak early on... like as early as 3 weeks out. But as long as you keep oil in them, they run.

    For some reason Vanguard 16's are an exception. I don't know if they're made in a different factory or what. But they last longer and have fewer oil leaks, than the other ones I've had experience with.

    They also have weak starter solenoids. They were in denial of it in the late 1990's, then said that "some" near the ocean were giving problems and started to look at the problem. From what I hear, it's still a problem. If the solenoid goes out, it's inexpensive ($15.00 or so) to replace and easy to jump across with a screwdriver.


    Kohler
    (My experience comes from building systems with them (18, 20, 22, 25 and 27 HP models) from 2001 until now...)

    Very few oil leaks. (I've seen 2 on new motors. One was a loose clamp on an oil cooler (10 seconds to fix). The other was a rear main seal that apparently got damaged on installation at their factory.) On older motors, leaks are still rare.

    Their starter and starter solenoid rarely, RARELY have any problems.

    And Kohler, for heat exchange systems, delivers more heat than Briggs or Honda. Kohler runs at higher compression, has a longer stroke and has more cast iron in the motor than the others. Higher compression causes it to run hotter. Longer stroke gives it more CFM (more BTU's). And more cast iron means that it retains more heat, vs. losing it to the air more quickly.


    Kawasaki:
    (My experience comes from experience with a PowerClean Victory that used to use them. And, from a good friend of mine who is a certified mechanic for Briggs, Kohler, Robbins, Kawasaki and Honda.)

    For some reason, they simply haven't held up well in this industry. I think it has to do with their back pressure tolerance. They don't seem to do well working against back pressure typically found in heat exchange systems. As a result, they suffer blown head gaskets, burned valves, bent push rods and a myriad of other things.

    My friend Rob says they they're very good motors in the lawn care industry. And he doesn't know why they wouldn't do well in ours. Nevertheless, to my knowledge, no manufacturer of truck mounts uses them at this time and some have in the past.


    Water cooled...

    I was speaking with my Kohler rep about water vs. air- cooled. And I asked him about the two things that people say about them.

    1.) They're quieter

    2.) They last longer.

    He chuckled and said, "Not in my experience.".

    The piston goes up and down in the cylinder only a certain number of times. If you want to lengthen the lifespan. Reduce the RPM, so that it goes up and down less in a given period of time. But you can't do this if the motor is "matched" to the torque requirements of the system. It has to have more than necessary, so that running it slower will not drop the available power below what is required.

    In my opinion, the reason water- cooled motors are common in our industry is because they have heated coolant which can be used in a liquid- to- liquid heat exchanger setting, providing more available heat and one that is more or less, "automatic", since the temperature of coolant is typically lower than (190 to 210) the desired temperature of cleaning solution.

    Also, larger motors tend to be water- cooled. And with the big push for more heat in systems, engineers often look to larger components (blowers, which require larger motors) for more available heat.

    But for single wand systems... ? I don't see the merit of running a 30 HP / #5 blower system for one wand.

    More study should be spent on how to scavenge heat more efficiently, instead of simply rough- trailing it with bigger components for a single- wand system.
  2. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    What about Nissan Duane? Seem to hold up best out of all my tm's through the years. And I do like water coooled for several reasons.
    About the larger engine issues, I agree. My WM's have 60 hp Fords and that seems to be overkill. I mean that is what they use to drive a Ford Tempo. Does a carpet machine need that much???

    Rob.
  3. VCS

    VCS Active Member

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    Duane, why can't things be simple? There just seems to be too MANY choices in life that can drive us crazy. But if you can answer them then you are far beyond the crowd!!!

    Keith.
  4. Duane Oxley

    Duane Oxley MIA

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    Rob:

    The Nissan that has been used was discontinued. In fact, as I understand it, it was discontinued a while back. New ones were in stock and available, however, until recently. (Crate motors are probably still available, but they're not considered "new", so manufacturers don't want to use them.)

    No, a machine doesn't need that much, unless it's designed to run 2 or more wands.

    Anything that can run a 47 or smaller blower well, is plenty for a single- wand system. (Personally, I see a 47 as too much for a single- wand system.)
  5. Duane Oxley

    Duane Oxley MIA

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    There are many choices because there are many engineering philosophies present. You have everything from the most complicated, over- engineered systems (I won't mention names here, but I'm thinking of one old, national brand in particular.), to the most simplistic, that you have to have a bypass on the wand or they'll overheat... and everything in between.

    Personally, I just don't go along with the idea that a system should be so complicated that it "must" be taken to a factory- authorized service center. (That's what I call the "GM approach"... named after General Motors.)

    A system that's that complicated, needs to be taken to an authorized repair place more as time goes by... not less. And parts for it are not available elsewhere, as a rule.

    Why not build a system that can be understood at a glance (or quick study), has "proprietary" parts that are designed to not wear out (so they last) and has commonly- available parts otherwise...? The only thing that makes sense is: "To generate more income in the future.".

    Why build a system that is too complicated for the averagfe owner to understand and work on...? Same basic answer... That, and to provide additional income for a distributor network.

    It seems to be that if a system is built like a tank and easy to work on (therefore less work having to be done), distributors would be all over carrying it.

    Time will tell... :rolleyes:
  6. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Amen brother!:D
  7. pHilh

    pHilh New Member

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    Why aren`t there more diesel motors in truckmounts???
  8. Duane Oxley

    Duane Oxley MIA

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    Because there aren't as many diesel- powered vans in use. Having a diesel truckmount would require a secondary tank in a gasoline- powered van. And that's a sales obstacle.

    ... And, right now, diesel costs significantly more than gasoline. (One of my customers called me last week to tell me that he's about to sell his Dodge Sprinter while he can, because of the added cost of the diesel it runs on.)
  9. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    Yes. After using a Vortex for almost 5 years I will never use a machine with out tons of power and cfm. You don't think you want it until you have it.

    My rule now is, if I'm not at least a little scared of a truck mount I don't want to use it!
  10. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    I'm only using diesels form now on. The fuel cost does not scare me. I save more money in the long run. I have seen too many fuel pumps go out on gas powered truck mounts w/ PTO systems. Not to mention it completely screws up the van's coolant and belt systems, and can void the factory warranty. They are just too finicky.
  11. VCS

    VCS Active Member

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    I like hearing both sides. I really like this point "My rule now is, if I'm not at least a little scared of a truck mount I don't want to use it!' Q:Eyeball

    KS
  12. Duane Oxley

    Duane Oxley MIA

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    Building a system that's pushing performance far enough to raise your adrenaline level (or scare you, etc.), is pretty simple, really. I had to turn the heat output down on the systems I made when I first started in 1996, because they were burning the solution hose up within a day or two... a week at most.

    Building one like that now wouldn't be difficult, but I'm not so sure I'd like the liability factor.

    What makes one capable of "scaring you", by your definition...?
  13. TheEyeball

    TheEyeball Guest

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    Well it was mainly a joke, so let's not take it too literally! :) I have a Vortex that is a snarling, vicious beast of a machine that makes me just a little nervous when throttling it up. If you haven't seen one up close the blower is bigger than most 4 cyl engines. You can feel it thumping in your chest 50 yards away. So it's a little intimidating when you fire it up and you're standing 4 feet away from enough vacuum to suck your eyes out of your head.

    And my buddy has a massive diesel Steamaction slide in that sounds like a band of gypsy bikers from Hades when it fires up. Same principle: it just gets the blood pumping, much like a Chevy 350 with headers.

    Overkill? Maybe on small jobs. But not at 3 o'clock in the morning when you're running two wands in a restaurant full of filthy carpet and tile and all you want to do is get done and go home.
  14. Duane Oxley

    Duane Oxley MIA

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    I've seen a Vortex close up. Shawn York came to my place in Atlanta in 2000, at a mini fest we did. Super nice guy and impressive machine.

    We showed the SplitSteam there. It's a system I built with 2 blowers and a 350,000 BTU propane heater. It measured slightly less airflow per wand (190 CFM and 205 CFM for the Roots and Tuthill blowers, respectively) and more heat 265 degrees and still climbing, with both wands fully keyed, at 600 PSI, with a #6 jet or equivalent in each.

    Talk about "adrenalyne"... :eek:)
  15. VCS

    VCS Active Member

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    Good points again guys.
    KS.

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