Advice and considerations on setting my (small) van

TillertheJohn

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Hello everyone,

I decided to be a carpet cleaner but Im not quite sure what to look out for when setting up my van. It' s a little overwhelming :)

I am running a generator and a diesel heater and the Mytee air/water hog. I have 100' of 2" vac hose and 100' of solution line. I am also carrying 100' of red garden hose to bring water to the machine and a 100' of black hose to pump out on site into toilets, sanitary sewer drains, etc. (Wondering if I should skip the toilet and get a waste tank? Can my van handle that extra weight?)

I can see setup and takedown is going to be key in being efficient but I just want to make sure each piece of equipment is situated in relation to others with out causing problems like melting hoses, or generator heat impacting the diesel heater. If I am over thinking this please tell me so I just want to be mindful not to destroy equipment starting out.

Another concern is setting up the air/hog units. Im trying to figure out the best way to orient them so that I can either leave the auto fill hose always connected while leaving the water out line facing the van doors if that makes sense. Or not have to struggle to connect the auto fill hose or leave it with a bend to that back of the unit.

Admittedly, this post isn't asking direct questions (except some in parenthesis now), rather sharing my setup (I'll attach a few pictures) and seeing what more experienced perspectives can share regarding these thoughts.

Another big one is hose reels, I've seen the 150' 38" high hose reels and the 49"H 200' hose reels. They both seem to accept bolt on solution/garden hose but I haven't figured out where everything can go and what sides of the reel I would bolt smaller reels onto. Plus with my setup if all hoses had a reel that would be 4 reels. Seems kinda nuts, especially for an Astro Van. Then I have to figure out HOW I can bolt stuff down in my van.

I appreciate any feedback you can give and thank you for taking the time to read the post. If more information or pictures would be helpful I am happy to provide that if that helps you.
 

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Ymetimme

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Hello everyone,

I decided to be a carpet cleaner but Im not quite sure what to look out for when setting up my van. It' s a little overwhelming :)

I am running a generator and a diesel heater and the Mytee air/water hog. I have 100' of 2" vac hose and 100' of solution line. I am also carrying 100' of red garden hose to bring water to the machine and a 100' of black hose to pump out on site into toilets, sanitary sewer drains, etc. (Wondering if I should skip the toilet and get a waste tank? Can my van handle that extra weight?)

I can see setup and takedown is going to be key in being efficient but I just want to make sure each piece of equipment is situated in relation to others with out causing problems like melting hoses, or generator heat impacting the diesel heater. If I am over thinking this please tell me so I just want to be mindful not to destroy equipment starting out.

Another concern is setting up the air/hog units. Im trying to figure out the best way to orient them so that I can either leave the auto fill hose always connected while leaving the water out line facing the van doors if that makes sense. Or not have to struggle to connect the auto fill hose or leave it with a bend to that back of the unit.

Admittedly, this post isn't asking direct questions (except some in parenthesis now), rather sharing my setup (I'll attach a few pictures) and seeing what more experienced perspectives can share regarding these thoughts.

Another big one is hose reels, I've seen the 150' 38" high hose reels and the 49"H 200' hose reels. They both seem to accept bolt on solution/garden hose but I haven't figured out where everything can go and what sides of the reel I would bolt smaller reels onto. Plus with my setup if all hoses had a reel that would be 4 reels. Seems kinda nuts, especially for an Astro Van. Then I have to figure out HOW I can bolt stuff down in my van.

I appreciate any feedback you can give and thank you for taking the time to read the post. If more information or pictures would be helpful I am happy to provide that if that helps you.
Well that is going to be an awesome set up bud looks like magic wand did a good job for you
When you can afford them I would recommend hose reels it'll keep you from pounding your head against the ground.
I would go with the 200 they both take up a lot of space.

The AirHog waterhog I always recommend going through the side doors like a traditional TM if it's left in the van


As far as a recovery tank most areas consider our water to be gray water and can just drain onto the grounds? At least in my area we can as long as were a hundred yards from a water source. So for now I would recommend draining into the toilet or finding brush your bushes and drain into there you'll be okay ( unless you're in a state that throws a fit).
I don't worry too much about reels for the garden hose it's not too bad to wind up especially if you get hoses from

American truck mount.he's a great guy and can help you get hoses that will make your life a lot easier

Order from magic wand and let them help you along the way

I hope this is helpful

Remember success is up to what you put into it be willing to fail. failures proof that your you're trying your hardest.

You're going to make it just fine there's enough dirt for everyone!
 

TillertheJohn

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Well that is going to be an awesome set up bud looks like magic wand did a good job for you
Yes, I do like how Magic Wand has a tech support number and they can help you through what you are doing.

When you can afford them I would recommend hose reels it'll keep you from pounding your head against the ground.
I would go with the 200 they both take up a lot of space.

Willing to continue making the investment just not sure about best fitment place. Is hose melting a concern if near diesel heater or generator? Can you usually mount solution reel on either side of the vac reel?

The AirHog waterhog I always recommend going through the side doors like a traditional TM if it's left in the van

Yes, I just have to hope that with hose reels there and everything else I can fit the air/water hog there. Auto fill in rear and line out in front I'm thinking might make permanent mounting and setup difficult? I guess I just may have to try different configurations.


As far as a recovery tank most areas consider our water to be gray water and can just drain onto the grounds? At least in my area we can as long as were a hundred yards from a water source. So for now I would recommend draining into the toilet or finding brush your bushes and drain into there you'll be okay (unless you're in a state that throws a fit).

Despite my research I have not been able to conclude how my state (PA) feels about this or if they will throw a fit. Imagining running a pump out hose to a toilet stresses me out thinking either if its leaking all in the truck or god forbid the hose comes out of the toilet and floods the customers house. Not to mention hoses getting dirty on the way in and stresses me out trekking in a mess. A little actual experience might confirm this is not a real issue to worry about.


I don't worry too much about reels for the garden hose it's not too bad to wind up especially if you get hoses from American truck mount.he's a great guy and can help you get hoses that will make your life a lot easier

Whoops. I bought 100' of each red (water in)and black rubber hose (pump out) from HD the other day.

Order from magic wand and let them help you along the way

Yes, I am open to building a relationship with a supplier and asking them for help when needed. As I mentioned their tech support line seems to be a good option in terms of them being available and being helpful as well.

I hope this is helpful

Remember success is up to what you put into it be willing to fail. failures proof that your you're trying your hardest.

You're going to make it just fine there's enough dirt for everyone!

Thank you for your help, Tim. I appreciate you taking time out to respond and offer your encouragement.

I love the quote about failure being proof you are working hard. It's not going to be easy but things worthwhile usually aren't.
 
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Luky

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Hello everyone,

I decided to be a carpet cleaner but Im not quite sure what to look out for when setting up my van. It' s a little overwhelming :)

I am running a generator and a diesel heater and the Mytee air/water hog. I have 100' of 2" vac hose and 100' of solution line. I am also carrying 100' of red garden hose to bring water to the machine and a 100' of black hose to pump out on site into toilets, sanitary sewer drains, etc. (Wondering if I should skip the toilet and get a waste tank? Can my van handle that extra weight?)

I can see setup and takedown is going to be key in being efficient but I just want to make sure each piece of equipment is situated in relation to others with out causing problems like melting hoses, or generator heat impacting the diesel heater. If I am over thinking this please tell me so I just want to be mindful not to destroy equipment starting out.

Another concern is setting up the air/hog units. Im trying to figure out the best way to orient them so that I can either leave the auto fill hose always connected while leaving the water out line facing the van doors if that makes sense. Or not have to struggle to connect the auto fill hose or leave it with a bend to that back of the unit.

Admittedly, this post isn't asking direct questions (except some in parenthesis now), rather sharing my setup (I'll attach a few pictures) and seeing what more experienced perspectives can share regarding these thoughts.

Another big one is hose reels, I've seen the 150' 38" high hose reels and the 49"H 200' hose reels. They both seem to accept bolt on solution/garden hose but I haven't figured out where everything can go and what sides of the reel I would bolt smaller reels onto. Plus with my setup if all hoses had a reel that would be 4 reels. Seems kinda nuts, especially for an Astro Van. Then I have to figure out HOW I can bolt stuff down in my van.

I appreciate any feedback you can give and thank you for taking the time to read the post. If more information or pictures would be helpful I am happy to provide that if that helps you.
May I ask question without you getting offended?
You've spend around 6 grands for portable unit wannabe TM and there is more funds to be invested, when for about 10 K you can have a fuel fired TM unit. It is the area you going to serve or other reasons that prompted you to go
" electric".
I had similar concept going on in my Astro, even with bigger genset (13KW), but exhaust was situated in the back of the genset and I was able to reach all important components located on its side
( on/off switch, plugs, fuses, etc.) I had Mytee Escape (230V) hooked up to it. Along with it I had 65 gal. over the wheel fresh water tank
( if you need one, I still have it) It is also possible to utilize 65 gal. vertical fresh water tank ( I have that too, brand new , you can have it for $50, but it wouldn't be worth it because of freight charges) I'll try to find older pictures so you can see it firsthand.
Champion is very nice, just have to figure out exhaust. You can't have it positioned the way it is on the picture, because you'll have to reach over or from the side to turn it off /on.( hot, very hot) The best way, after you decide on final position, would be to vent it trough the floor
( see picture) and you'd have all your controls available on your right hand. The only other way to place genset is side door. Your cleaning unit and generator would be side by side, vacuum hose and solution hose reels would be in the back of the van. Your heater should be near side doors, so you can vent it outside trough a duct system or cut hole in the roof ( more trouble, more expenses).
Obviously, your scenario is different, but I provide pictures for illustration only.
When @Jim Davisson comes back from clamming, he might chirp in on your situation. He has great insight and ideas. I'll try to dig up some pictures from my old setup....
Welcome to the carpet cleaning world. You're gonna love and hate it at the same time, whichever cones first, haha.
 

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Luky

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In the first picture is electric " truckmount" in my new Chevy Express 2500, second picture is showing the same setup in Astro. I didn't have fuel fired heat in Astro, only Mytee Hot Turbo . I couldn't fit any of the reels in Astro. Escape was 280 lbs with a water in it, genset 340 lbs, full water tank over 500 lbs, bunch of tools, rolled up hoses. With a Astro's limited payload ( around 1400 lbs) I was very close or exceeded its limits. You shouldn't have this problem with your lightweight equipment.
Hope, this help a little.
 

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TillertheJohn

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@Luky

May I ask question without you getting offended?
You've spend around 6 grands for portable unit wannabe TM and there is more funds to be invested, when for about 10 K you can have a fuel fired TM unit. It is the area you going to serve or other reasons that prompted you to go " electric".

No offense taken. Ive learned to live with my decisions. :) This was the best setup I could find at the price point that I could also run bring in a building as well based on my research. Granted Ill have to get heat a different way inside. Having said that, it doesn't make it the right (best) decision!

I had similar concept going on in my Astro, even with bigger genset (13KW), but exhaust was situated in the back of the genset and I was able to reach all important components located on its side (on/off switch, plugs, fuses, etc.)
Champion is very nice, just have to figure out exhaust. You can't have it positioned the way it is on the picture, because you'll have to reach over or from the side to turn it off /on.( hot, very hot)

I agree, this position might not be ideal but very tall I can reach everything now, but that might change since I may not be able to continue to crawl in the van to plug everything in once its full and setup.

And, did you just leave things plugged in or unplug and replug every time? (I imagine you might be able to leave them plugged in since you would be turning components on after the generator started - although this goes against what the instructions state)

The best way, after you decide on final position, would be to vent it trough the floor (see picture) and you'd have all your controls available on your right hand.

I don't think I see the generator vented through the floor in the pic? Would you just use a hole saw to cut through the van floor and run something similar to dryer ducting from exhaust out the van? And how to secure ducting to the generator?

The only other way to place genset is side door. Your cleaning unit and generator would be side by side, vacuum hose and solution hose reels would be in the back of the van. Your heater should be near side doors, so you can vent it outside trough a duct system or cut hole in the roof ( more trouble, more expenses).

So, genset and cleaning unit (air/water hog I assume?) at side door and the heater by side doors as well? I ran the water hog and heater once and I noticed the occasional puff of smoke going nicely out the back door of the van as it is setup now. Do I still need to vent the heater?


I had Mytee Escape (230V) hooked up to it. Along with it I had 65 gal. over the wheel fresh water tank (if you need one, I still have it) It is also possible to utilize 65 gal. vertical fresh water tank ( I have that too, brand new , you can have it for $50, but it wouldn't be worth it because of freight charges) I'll try to find older pictures so you can see it firsthand.

The idea of having my own freshwater and waste water would certainly make setup much easier I think and it would also I think appear more professional, reducing water input hose and especially the auto dump hose to customer toilet. Maybe, deciding to include a waste tank would be the way to hog to avoid running to customer toilet. Payload is a concern. I think your close with adding 1400lbs. to the astro. Quick math (some numbers assumed)I think would put me over 1400.

generator: 200lbs
diesel heater: 200lbs
water hog: 50lbs
air hog: 50lbs
100' - 2" vac hose: 40lbs
100' - 3/8" solution line: 30lbs
wand: 15lbs
chemicals: 50lbs
vacuum: 20lbs
CRB: 45lbs
me: 320lbs
misc. tools: 20lbs
200' garden hose: 40lbs
waste water tank 50 gal: 400lbs
TOTAL: 1470lbs*

*Might have forgot something and my estimated weight might be incorrect.



Obviously, your scenario is different, but I provide pictures for illustration only. When @Jim Davisson comes back from clamming, he might chirp in on your situation. He has great insight and ideas. I'll try to dig up some pictures from my old setup....
Welcome to the carpet cleaning world. You're gonna love and hate it at the same time, whichever cones first, haha.

Ha ha, thank you for your input, I appreciate it.

Additional input from guys like @Jim Davisson certainly welcomed.
 
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TillertheJohn

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In the first picture is electric " truckmount" in my new Chevy Express 2500, second picture is showing the same setup in Astro. I didn't have fuel fired heat in Astro, only Mytee Hot Turbo . I couldn't fit any of the reels in Astro. Escape was 280 lbs with a water in it, genset 340 lbs, full water tank over 500 lbs, bunch of tools, rolled up hoses. With a Astro's limited payload ( around 1400 lbs) I was very close or exceeded its limits. You shouldn't have this problem with your lightweight equipment.
Hope, this help a little.

You can see my payload estimated calculation above. Curious to hear thoughts on that.

I measured the inside of the astro and it seems I could easily fit a vac hose reel with 38"H and the 49"H seems like it might fit too but Im hesitating to buy one because Im not sure how it will impact spacing and / or ability to fit other things.

And, the picture with the generator is the Astro I imagine.
 

Jim Davisson

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Because you have limited space, here's my thoughts:
I would start by choosing the location for the vac reel. I like the vac reel on drivers side rear door for many reasons. The rokan slim line 200' with the stack bracket can still mount 3 live 17" reels on the side with a small footprint. Mosmatic or superswivels on the 3 live reels, 3/8" size swivel for the reels at a minimum, bigger on the APO if you can fit it. You can fit 225' 1/4" solution line or 130' 5/8" garden hose for your freshwater or APO on 17" reels.

Having a bracket fabbed to put the air/water hog on top of each other behind the front cab seats would save valuable real estate. Doing the same thing with the generator, mounting it over an off the shelf aluminum 55 gal fuel tank for freshwater on another stout steel angle iron bracket will also save valuable space.

Having everything plumbed big enough on QC's to operate as an ETM or to easily and quickly go portable would be a focus for me. You have all the right items in place and with some thought and effort and mocking things up with cardboard you will definitely find your best and most productive layout. Hope this helps some or inspires some new ideas.
 

TillertheJohn

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Because you have limited space, here's my thoughts:
I would start by choosing the location for the vac reel. I like the vac reel on drivers side rear door for many reasons. The rokan slim line 200' with the stack bracket can still mount 3 live 17" reels on the side with a small footprint. Mosmatic or superswivels on the 3 live reels, 3/8" size swivel for the reels at a minimum, bigger on the APO if you can fit it. You can fit 225' 1/4" solution line or 130' 5/8" garden hose for your freshwater or APO on 17" reels.

Having a bracket fabbed to put the air/water hog on top of each other behind the front cab seats would save valuable real estate. Doing the same thing with the generator, mounting it over an off the shelf aluminum 55 gal fuel tank for freshwater on another stout steel angle iron bracket will also save valuable space.

Having everything plumbed big enough on QC's to operate as an ETM or to easily and quickly go portable would be a focus for me. You have all the right items in place and with some thought and effort and mocking things up with cardboard you will definitely find your best and most productive layout. Hope this helps some or inspires some new ideas.
Some really good suggestions and ideas. Just one question now though: do you encourage a freshwater tank or wastewater tank more if could only choose one?
 

Mama Fen

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Some really good suggestions and ideas. Just one question now though: do you encourage a freshwater tank or wastewater tank more if could only choose one?
Unless you want to get popped for dumping into places you oughtn't, the waste tank is a MUST. Customers may not necessarily want you dumping into their toilet or utility sink.

Yes, lack of a fresh tank means you're limited to servicing structures that have a water source available, but the potential damage to your business without a waste tank is significantly greater.
 

Jim Davisson

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A cleaning van is always wet lol the floor is coated in white durabak marine coating and the anti fatigue mats are removable, super handy to pull one for working on something next to/under the van too.

Honestly, in the Long haul you will need to have a waste tank more than a freshwater tank. Having vertical square tanks for both would be ideal. I can solidly recommend this tank outfitted with float for auto filling the freshwater tank.
Screenshot_20190506-101457_Chrome.jpg
 
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TillertheJohn

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Unless you want to get popped for dumping into places you oughtn't, the waste tank is a MUST. Customers may not necessarily want you dumping into their toilet or utility sink.

Yes, lack of a fresh tank means you're limited to servicing structures that have a water source available, but the potential damage to your business without a waste tank is significantly greater.
Thank you for your input. It also brings up a point I have been holding inside. Both here and in the iicrc class I intended was find a supplier to work with and let them help you.
Unfortunately, suppliers have told me not to worry about dumping in toilets, it’s accepted, and you just have to educate customers.
I can see that flying to some extent but also a pia having to run a garden hose through their house, etc.
 

TillertheJohn

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A cleaning van is always wet lol the floor is coated in white durabak marine coating and the anti fatigue mats are removable, super handy to pull one for working on something next to/under the van too.

Honestly, in the Long haul you will need to have a waste tank more than a freshwater tank. Having vertical square tanks for both would be ideal. I can solidly recommend this tank outfitted with float for auto filling the freshwater tank.
View attachment 84637
With my payload capacity and rough math ^above I think I can get away with one tank. I think I am leaning toward the waste tank..
 
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Mama Fen

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Thank you for your input. It also brings up a point I have been holding inside. Both here and in the iicrc class I intended was find a supplier to work with and let them help you.
Unfortunately, suppliers have told me not to worry about dumping in toilets, it’s accepted, and you just have to educate customers.
I can see that flying to some extent but also a pia having to run a garden hose through their house, etc.
In some areas, I'm sure it's standard practice. But around here, where so many people are dependent on septic tanks that may be damaged by dumping, it's a toughie.

Not to mention I personally find it extremely unprofessional to have someone ask me to handle their garbage. ;) For example, when I had my popcorn ceilings scraped, the company that did the job used MY vacuum cleaner to suck up all the dust... ruining it in the process.

I'd think many customers feel the same way about wastewater, but are too polite to say anything about it. They remember, though.
 
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Jimsteam

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A couple pics of how I handle those hoses . Husky Velcro straps.
I work year around in Michigan always from the truck . In the winter Dump waste water on the ground all you do is create a true black ice pond and IMO its disgusting to do so in the summer .
Fresh water ? Spigots are usually frozen or shut off .I carry both Waste and fresh water tanks .
Customers have commented that they appreciate both of the above and the last cleaner did not do that . Ditto for air movers.
A step above the other man (company) will get you returning clients and referrals.
Pics taken
IMG_7615.JPG
IMG_7616.JPG
IMG_7617.JPG
from our morning job.
YKCC7931.JPG
 
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Luky

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You can see my payload estimated calculation above. Curious to hear thoughts on that.

I measured the inside of the astro and it seems I could easily fit a vac hose reel with 38"H and the 49"H seems like it might fit too but Im hesitating to buy one because Im not sure how it will impact spacing and / or ability to fit other things.

And, the picture with the generator is the Astro I imagine.
Yes, it is, but I had my setup with generator for a while in Chevy 2500 also.
No matter how you slice it, Astro is going to be packed, no doubt. Over loaded too. You can get leaves from Auto Zone to support rear suspension , but as you can imagine that this is just temporary fix, would be really hard to stay withing payload weight limits( wands, spinners , hoses, chemistry, etc.)
If van is stil empty, try to cut up cardboard box to a pieces picturing your layout. You won't see 3 D image, but you'll have an idea about footprint. Just an idea to mull over...
 

Jimsteam

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Yes, it is, but I had my setup with generator for a while in Chevy 2500 also.
No matter how you slice it, Astro is going to be packed, no doubt. Over loaded too. You can get leaves from Auto Zone to support rear suspension , but as you can imagine that this is just temporary fix, would be really hard to stay withing payload weight limits( wands, spinners , hoses, chemistry, etc.)
If van is stil empty, try to cut up cardboard box to a pieces picturing your layout. You won't see 3 D image, but you'll have an idea about footprint. Just an idea to mull over...
I would consider pulling a small enclosed trailer behind the small Astro for the generator and a waste tank.
 

Anderson

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i have run an astro van for 16 years....
great engine great gas mileage easy to park.....

ran with a portable then a TM....
tight fit ...but it works .....

get a hose real....
depending on your state just run a hose to the flower bed or the sewage port outside......

for commercial get a 100' dump hose.....or longer...
get the compact stainless steel water hose.....

wont have room for a waste tank.......

dont need a water tank unless you are doing apts.....
you already have a small bypass tank in your water hog....
or really small jobs....
 
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