60 Day review of my Sapphire 870

Nomad74

www.apcarpetcleaners.com
Premium VIP
Apr 26, 2013
8,453
4,898
113
46
Redding, Ca
Real Name
Damon
Business Location
United States
I was asked to write a 30 day review of my thoughts on my SS870. Well, I am terrible with homework assignments, so here is my 30 day review. 30+ days late. So now it's a 60+ day review :) Sorry in advance for any typos.

On Oct 5th,and 6th 2015 I took delivery of my new SS870. I'll admit I purchased it out of frustration (for reasons I will not go into here). I didn't have the money to purchase a new unit but with a call to One Degree Capital, they had me approved and before I knew it my machine was on its way to Medford Oregon. I could not believe how fast things happened once I made that call, almost too fast.

When I arrived at Cleaning Solutions to meet my machine for the first time in Medford, I could not believe the size of the unit. I honestly was a little sick when I first saw it. It looked way bigger in person. I took out my measuring tape and I must have walked back and forth from my van to the new 870 no less than 5 times to make sure it would fit. I thought I had done my research, but it seemed to be bigger in person. One thing I did not account for was the filler neck protrusion inside the van. I thought for sure that would get in the way of the waste tank fitting against the wall of the van. I felt my heart sink. I then noticed that the back of the waste tank was angled in at 45° making it possible to fit the tank over the filler neck bump. Good job Sapphire!

The install of the new unit can be seen in the following thread, so I'll spare you the details of that. :
https://www.truckmountforums.com/threads/from-dragon-to-sapphire-from-van-to-box-truck.76311/


One of my issues is that I have always been honest with my opinions. I get a lot of flack. I don't plan on changing anytime soon. So this review will be honest. I will tell you the issues I had as I did with my former TM. Even if the company calls me and yells at me. I am here to exchange experiences and ideas freely with my fellow cleaners. If I can save another guy from a headache because of my bad experience, then good for me. I'm willing to take the phone calls and get nasty emails. So here it goes.

As I write this my SS870 has 95 hours on it. So far it has been a true blessing to work with. I have had a few little issues with it but nothing big. When I got it home and fired it up, I noticed that the water pressure regulator was set way low, allowing water to come out of the overflow tube. That was adjusted with a wrench and problem was fixed. I do notice that when I clean at higher altitudes it will start to leak a little, but not enough to worry about. My home is about 100 ft above sea level. When I get a call to clean up in Burney or other areas in the mountains, like weed or Mt Shasta, the altitude can get up to 4,000 ft ASL.

I had a pressure sensor also leaking. I had that corrected when I took it in for the 50 hour service.

ImageUploadedByTMF Forums1449979200.860391.jpg


The HGS on the vac relief valve were at about 10 hgs when I got the machine. We adjusted it to a higher setting. Very easy to do.

The LED light burned out on my third job. Not a hard fix. From what my dealer tells me it seems like the led's that Sapphire uses on the 870 all seem to burn out. I bought a replacement at AutoZone for $12. It's working fine. It's not as bright as the original, but it will do until my replacement gets to me.

From the first day I had a belt screeching problem. Only on the first start of the day I would get a screeching sound that lasted for about 3 to 5 seconds. After that, the machine ran quite the rest of the day. It turned out that the belt on the alternator was a bit loose and was corrected by loosening 1 bolt and then pulling the alternator back a bit to increase the belt tension. I have not an any screeching noises since.

Those are really the only issues I have experienced. I think one reason why things came so loose with the regulator, VLV, and sensor is because the Sapphire units are assembled at an altitude of 5,400 Ft ASL. I think the expansion and contraction during the shipping may cause some things to come out of adjustment.

Now for the good parts. The SS870 is absolutely a kick ass machine when accounting for its size and abilities, it runs quiet. I walk out to it and it sounds like a jet engine humming away. Smooth and quiet. Operation is easy as can be. There is no choke, no flow valves to worry about, everything just works. Turn the key to start, select your engine speed and temp (low, med or high) and your off.

I clean with a 8 flow Devpro wand. The TM holds a constant 220°+ on the engine/heat setting of medium. On high it will put out over 235°.

It takes about 2 to 3 minutes for it to warm up to cleaning temperature. But once the machine gets warmed up, its ready to go for the rest of the day. The puppy holds the heat. Getting it to cool itself below 170° during the shutdown process is a challenge. to cool it down, put the engine on the Low setting and turn off the heat. Then open the bypass or the courtesy line until 170° or below.

Cleaning Upholstery:

The SS870 is a bit overkill for upholstery cleaning, but what the heck, I use it anyway. I clean the upholstery on the Idle setting. I recently discovered when I forgot to turn the heat onto "low", that I didn't need the heat on to clean upholstery. The machine was holding 170° to 180° at the mount with the heat off and running on idle! I was pretty impressed by that.

Vibration:
The 870 is smooth. I was so used to things falling out of my van with my former TM. Now I can place my measuring cup on my step, and its there when I return. Things stay on my shelf in the van, and I am not finding mysterious nuts and bolt on the floor. Watching the blower belts is something else. It just looks so precision with the polished stainless pulleys turning under those big belts. Maybe I need to get out more, but I just love watching the machine in action. It is like watching a Swiss clock. Everything running smooth and balanced.

Interior heat and fit:

I got so sick of people telling me that the SS870 would not fit in my van, and the heat would be too much for the machine in such a confined space. Most of the people telling me this had never run an 870 before. So here is my take on it from a guy that is actually using the machine. Yes, the machine is big, but guess what, I got it to fit in my 2001 Chevy express 3500 non extended van. I have about 2mm of room between the barn door pillar and the edge of the 870. Very close!

The hoses from the blower to the tanks are massive 6" hoses. A real bear to deal with on install but we eventually beat them into place with a rubber mallet and a screwdriver.

ImageUploadedByTMF Forums1449979302.387907.jpg


ImageUploadedByTMF Forums1449979319.604633.jpg


As for the heat. Come on guys! I had an Amtex Dragon in my van before this baby. I think I know heat. My former unit melted my lights, itself, and my wiring for my lights. The SS870 gets warm, but not so hot that it's causing damage to itself or my van. When I clean I have all the windows open and the back doors open. The front radiator fan pulls a ton of air when running. I can lay a spotting towel on the front of the machine and it will stay because of all the airflow that thing sucks in. It also has a secondary fan that cools the belts. The air is piped through the frame rails. Pretty slick setup. There is enough airflow in and out of my van to keep it cool. People keep telling me I need a roof vent on my van. Nope. I'm fine.

The dealers seem to keep pushing the SS570 on guys. I have been told this by more than one person and have experienced it myself. I think the main reason they are pushing the 570 so much is because they have them sitting on their showroom floor. Of course they want to move them out. I had one dealer tell me that the 570 was not good for tile cleaning and the 870 was better for hard surfaces. Whatever, that just showed me dealers are full of crap. The 570 is more than capable of hard surface cleaning, so is the 870.

Guys, if you want the real story on things, ask the people in the field using them every day. Not the dealers. If you ever watch the movie Freakonomics, you will understand why I say this within the first 30 minutes of the movie.

Fuel Consumption:

I love not having to fill up with diesel anymore. I love that I have a heat exchanger unit that can produce as much steam as I will ever need with only one fuel. I love that my van stays clean and that my hands are no longer black at the end of the day from diesel soot. I love that I don't have to spend all my off time cleaning and wiping down my equipment.

I usually clean everything on the Medium setting for engine speed and heat. I can clean about 5 houses on a tank of gas. I am guessing that the machine sips about 2.5 gal per hour. Yes, the fuel injected water cooled Ford 4 cylinder engine uses a bit more fuel than my former 30hp Kohler, but now I am not burning additional diesel and am running a true performance machine. The fuel seems to be a pretty close draw. The difference hasn't been enough to make me regret my choice. Just knowing I have enough power, heat, and suction to tackle any job is of great comfort to me.

The engine does not bog down. The monster blower just keeps running and the Ford engine keeps it powered consistently no matter the load I put to it.

Chemical Injection:

What can I say, it just works as it should. No issues or messing around with it. Once you get it burped, it just works. No fuss.

Ok, there is my review so far. I love my machine and I don't regret buying it. The payment is a little much, but it is motivation to keep working. When I bought the machine I also upgraded my chem shelf, electric hose reel, and a real APO system.

Please feel free to hit me with any questions. As time goes on, if I hit any issues I'll post them. So far its like flying a lear jet.

@the organic cleaner @TConway @See Spots Run @Blacktiedetailing @DJCarpetService @Rob Allen
 
Last edited:

the organic cleaner

Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2014
1,009
593
113
California and Central Texas
Real Name
Glenn Stewart
I was asked to write a 30 day review of my thoughts on my SS870. Well, I am terrible with homework assignments, so here is my 30 day review. 30+ days late. So now it's a 60+ day review :) Sorry in advance for any typos.

On Oct 5th,and 6th 2015 I took delivery of my new SS870. I'll admit I purchased it out of frustration (for reasons I will not go into here). I didn't have the money to purchase a new unit but with a call to One Degree Capital, they had me approved and before I knew it my machine was on its way to Medford Oregon. I could not believe how fast things happened once I made that call, almost too fast.

When I arrived at Cleaning Solutions to meet my machine for the first time in Medford, I could not believe the size of the unit. I honestly was a little sick when I first saw it. I looked way bigger in person. I took out my measuring tape and I must have walked back and forth from my van to the new 870 no less than 5 times to make sure it would fit. I thought I had done my research, but it seemed to be bigger in person. One thing I did not account for was the filler neck protrusion inside the van. I thought for sure that would get in the way of the waste tank fitting against the fall of the van. I felt my heart sink. I then noticed that the back of the waste tank was angled in at 45° making it possible to fit the tank over the filler neck bump. Good job Sapphire!

The install of the new unit can be seen in the following thread, so I'll spare you the details of that. :
https://www.truckmountforums.com/threads/from-dragon-to-sapphire-from-van-to-box-truck.76311/


One of my issues is that I have always been honest with my opinions. I get a lot of flack. I don't plan on changing anytime soon. So this review will be honest. I will tell you the issues I had as I did with my former TM. Even if the company calls me and yells at me. I am here to exchange experiences and ideas freely with my fellow cleaners. If I can save another guy from a headache because of my bad experience, then good for me. I'm willing to take the phone calls and get nasty emails. So here it goes.

As I write this my SS870 has 95 hours on it. So far it has been a true blessing to work with. I have had a few little issues with it but nothing big. When I got it home and fired it up, I noticed that the water pressure regulator was set way low, allowing water to come out of the overflow tube. That was adjusted with a wrench and problem was fixed. I do notice that when I clean at higher altitudes it will start to leak a little, but not enough to worry about. My home is about 100 ft above sea level. When I get a call to clean up in Burney or other areas in the mountains, like weed or Mt Shasta, the altitude can get up to 4,000 ft ASL.

I had a pressure sensor also leaking. I had that corrected when I took it in for the 50 hour service.

View attachment 57299

The HGS on the vac relief valve were at about 10 hgs when I got the machine. We adjusted it to a higher setting. Very easy to do.

The LED light burned out on my third job. Not a hard fix. From what my dealer tells me it seems like the led's that Sapphire uses on the 870 all seem to burn out. I bought a replacement at AutoZone for $12. It's working fine. It's not as bright as the original, but it will do until my replacement gets to me.

From the first day I had a belt screeching problem. Only on the first start of the day I would get a screeching sound that lasted for about 3 to 5 seconds. After that, the machine ran quite the rest of the day. It turned out that the belt on the alternator was a bit loose and was corrected by loosening 1 bolt and then pulling the alternator back a bit to increase the belt tension. I have not an any screeching noises since.

Those are really the only issues I have experienced. I think one reason why things came so loose with the regulator, VLV, and sensor is because the Sapphire units are assembled at an altitude of 5,400 Ft ASL. I think the expansion and contraction during the shipping may cause some things to come out of adjustment.

Now for the good parts. The SS870 is absolutely a kick ass machine when accounting for its size and abilities, it runs quiet. I walk out to it and it sounds like a jet engine humming away. Smooth and quiet. Operation is easy as can be. There is no choke, no flow valves to worry about, everything just works. Turn the key to start, select your engine speed and temp (low, med or high) and your off.

I clean with a 8 flow Devpro wand. The TM holds a constant 220°+ on the engine/heat setting of medium. On high it will out out over 235°.

It takes about 2 to 3 minutes for it to warm up to cleaning temperature. But once the machine gets warmed up, its ready to go for the rest of the day. The puppy holds the heat. Getting it to cool itself below 170° during the shutdown process is a challenge. to cool it down, put the engine on the Low setting and turn off the heat. Then open the bypass or the courtesy line until 170° or below.

Cleaning Upholstery:

The SS870 is a bit overkill of upholstery cleaning, but what the heck, I use it anyway. I clean the upholstery on the Idle setting. I recently discovered when I forgot to turn the heat onto "low", that I didn't need the heat on to clean upholstery. The machine was holding 170° to 180° at the mount with the heat off and running on idle! I was pretty impressed by that.

Vibration:
The 870 is smooth. I was so used to things falling out of my van with my former TM. Now I can place my measuring cup on my step, and its there when I return. Things stay on my shelf in the van, and I am not finding mysterious nuts and bolt on the floor. Watching the blower belts is something else. It just looks so precision with the polished stainless pulleys turning under those big belts. Maybe I need to get out more, but I just love watching the machine in action. It is like watching a Swiss clock. Everything running smooth and balanced.

Interior heat and fit:

I got so sick of people telling me that the SS870 would not fit in my van, and the heat would be too much for the machine in such a confined space. Most of the people telling me this had never run an 870 before. So here is my take on it from a guy that is actually using the machine. Yes, the machine is big, but guess what, I got it to fit in my 2001 Chevy express 3500 non extended van. I have about 2mm of room between the barn door pillar and the edge of the 870. Very close!

The hoses from the blower to the tanks are massive 6" hoses. A real bear to deal with on install but we eventually beat them into place with a rubber mallet and a screwdriver.

View attachment 57300

View attachment 57301

As for the heat. Come on guys! I had an Amtex Dragon in my van before this baby. I think I know heat. My former unit melted my lights, itself, and my wiring for my lights. The SS870 gets warm, but not so hot that it's causing damage to itself or my van. When I clean I have all the windows open and the back doors open. The front radiator fan pulls a ton of air when running. I can lay a spotting towel on the front of the machine and it will stay because of all the airflow that thing sucks in. It also has a secondary fan that cools the belts. The air is piped through the frame rails. Pretty slick setup. There is enough airflow in and out of my van to keep it cool. People keep telling me I need a roof vent on my van. Nope. I'm fine.

The dealers seem to keep pushing the SS570 on guys. I have been told this by more than one person and have experienced it myself. I think the main reason they are pushing the 570 so much is because they have them sitting ion their showroom floor. Of course they want to move them out. I had one dealer tell me that the 570 was not good for tile cleaning and the 870 was better for hard surfaces. Whatever, that just showed me dealers are full of crap. The 570 is more than capable of hard surface cleaning, do is the 870.

Guys, if you want the real story on things, ask the people in the field using them every day. Not the dealers. If you ever watch the movie Freakonomics, you will understand why I say this within the first 30 minutes of the movie.

Fuel Consumption:

I love not having to fill up with diesel anymore. I love that I have a heat exchanger unit that can produce as much steam as I will ever need with only one fuel. I love that my van stays clean and that my hands are no longer black at the end of the day from diesel soot. I love that I don't have to spend all my off time cleaning and wiping down my equipment.

I usually clean everything on the Medium setting for engine speed and heat. I can clean about 5 houses on a tank of gas. I am guessing that the machine sips about 2.5 gal per hour. Yes, the fuel injected water cooled Ford 4 cylinder engine uses a bit more fuel than my former 30hp Kohler, but now I am not burning additional diesel and am running a true performance machine. The fuel seems to be a pretty close draw. The difference hasn't been enough to make me regret my choice. Just knowing I have enough power, heat, and suction to tackle any job is of great comfort to me.

The engine does not bog down. The monster blower just keeps running and the Ford engine keeps it powered consistently no matter the load I put to it.

Chemical Injection:

What can I say, it just works as it should. No issues or messing around with it. Once you get it burped, it just works. No fuss.

Ok, there is my review so far. I love my machine and I don't regret buying it. The payment is a little much, but it is motivation to keep working. When I bought the machine I also upgraded my chem shelf, electric hose reel, and a real APO system.

Please feel free to hit me with any questions. As time goes on, if I hit any issues I'll post them. So far its like flying a lear jet.

@the organic cleaner @TConway @See Spots Run @Blacktiedetailing @DJCarpetService @Rob Allen
Nice to see you got that homework assignment done.
D' thanks for the honesty and the phone call we had earlier.

By the way. Have you cleaned T&G yet?
If so how'd it perform?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Johnny Bravo

Nomad74

www.apcarpetcleaners.com
Premium VIP
Apr 26, 2013
8,453
4,898
113
46
Redding, Ca
Real Name
Damon
Business Location
United States
Nice to see you got that homework assignment done.
D' thanks for the honesty and the phone call we had earlier.

By the way. Have you cleaned T&G yet?
If so how'd it perform?

Yes I have. It performed flawlessly on tile. Really nothing to say about it because it just worked good. Almost boringly well. :)
 

matt30577

Premium VIP
Dec 21, 2009
10,573
3,412
113
georgia
Real Name
matt wood
Business Location
United States
Damon, it's time to pump up that flow on on your wand. Hook up a 12flow and tell us what your dry times will be at 500psi and high heat. You'll probably save gas because it will be easier to flush the carpet out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wec

rob allen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Sep 5, 2007
38,643
19,928
113
Va.
www.drynclean.com
Real Name
Robert Allen,Jr.
Business Location
United States
This is why you are one of the most trusted members on TMF Damon. Great review.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jimmy Hitt

Nomad74

www.apcarpetcleaners.com
Premium VIP
Apr 26, 2013
8,453
4,898
113
46
Redding, Ca
Real Name
Damon
Business Location
United States
Congrats to you Damon, questions when do they recommend you use the TM on high speed. Is it just for long hose runs. And why are you fixing things on your own, it has a warranty I would let them fix it.
The only thing I fixed on my own was the pressure regulator adjustment. I saved everything else for the dealer. I did try high speed on a rat nasty I was doing and also a 250 ft water claw job, but it still seemed like overkill to me. So, really I don't know when to use the "High "setting. There always seems to be enough heat and suction on Medium. Maybe @Blacktiedetailing can answer this.
 
Last edited:

Blacktiedetailing

www.crsurfacecare.com
Premium VIP
Mar 30, 2011
5,208
3,040
113
Las Vegas
WWW.CRSurfaceCare.com
Real Name
Jeff Kondra
Business Location
United States
The only thing I fixedc onmy own was the pressure regulator adjustment. I saved everything else for the dealer. I did try high speed on a rat nasty I was doing and also a 250 ft water claw job, but it still seemed like overkill to me. So, really I don't know when to use the "High "setting. There always seems to be enough heat and suction on Medium. Maybe @Blacktiedetailing can answer this.
I will do my 400 hour review tonight. But for the time being, I run my unit on medium most of the time too. 5TTd kills it but I do run on high for carpet quite often. You do need to up your flow to at least 12. I have 15 flow on two wands.
 

wuznmee

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2014
1,082
715
113
Real Name
Mike
Congratulations on your upgrade to the 870. That Amtex looked pretty scary. To help you keep the 870 running as it does now, let me make a couple suggestions....

1. When your unit goes in for it's 500 hour service, or sooner, have Lee's tech pull ALL the ground wires from the frame, grind off the powder coating where they are attached and reinstall them. It takes about 10 minutes and could save you from big electrical system headaches that will show up in about a year.
2. If you look at the incoming water supply right where it attaches to the pump you'll see a brass y-strainer. Clean the filter in there at least monthly. There's no mention of it in your manual and, if not serviced, it could starve the pump.
3. Reconsider the roof vents. You won't experience any issues now but, when you get into the summer climate in Redding, you will. In fact, put in two.
4. There are some technical service bulletins out on your unit, call Lee and find out if they apply to you. Especially the ones involving the radiator cap and vac relief.