Sapphire 454 the 1000 hour review | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

Sapphire 454 the 1000 hour review

Richard Baldwin

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Well it's pretty close to 1000 hours on my 454SS already so I thought I would post and update on the unit since Sapphire is still considered pretty new on the market and many of you want to see how they are working in the field. I shall condense this as it is more of an update than a full review.

At first there were definitely some bugs. An engine wiring issue was the worst one, causing a 3 day downtime whilst we diagnosed and had it fixed. This was a design error with the wiring right from Briggs and Stratton and didn't really have anything to do with Sapphire itself. Once the wire was rerouted and insulated the problem was solved. Hopefully Briggs has fixed the problem on their end with any more units. Sapphire support could not diagnose this problem over the phone and I had to pay a local mechanic to figure it out and fix it.

Then the unit was "thinking" it was running too hot. This was another design issue with the first units. In short, the temperature sensor was located too close to the thermal valve and causing the machine to shut down prematurely, even though it was at optimal temperature. Sapphire did send a modification kit (with no explanation) when I had ordered some other parts. Again, Sapphire support was unable to diagnose the problem with the engine shutdown but they did send the kit so someone there must have figured out what was going on and didn't send out the memo.

There was a rattling sound coming from the unit that I could not figure out what it was. Sapphire had no idea either. I finally figured out it was the two belt sheilds joined together by a capscrew bolt in the back. The bolt had fallen out and the sheilds were rattling. I needed to buy a special 12" long 3/16" Allen wrench to be able to put a new bolt in that spot but it fixed it.

There have been some other issues, but nothing too major. At least this unit doesnt blow through belts like the prochem peak did. To date I have never had a belt go, I have changed them with maintenance but they have never blown. This spring I did have a problem with the blower belt "glazing" but I had it changed and it was fine after that. My latest problem was a broken throttle cable which was pretty easily fixed by purchasing a new one at car quest and paying my mechanic buddy to install it.
the new cable is a lot stiffer than the original but it works.

Overall I can say the unit has been performing admirably now that most of the bugs have been fixed. I have been using it all day, every day for almost 2 years now and it runs like a top. I change the oil regularly and belts once a year as well as keep it clean and keep an eye on everything.

As far as tech support, It's a double edged sword with Sapphire. On the one hand, they will almost always get back to you to address your concerns, and they are pretty good about sending you parts if needed, however, the support staff seem to have little or no knowledge of the actual unit and how it works, so calling to troubleshoot a problem has proven to be futile. All in all, you are on your own when it comes to figuring out whats wrong with your machine and how to fix it.

I am happy with the performance of the unit, it provides good heat and vacuum and runs well. It is nice to have the higher PSI available for tile cleaning as well as I no longer have to scrub grout. I usually just spray and suck getting great results and that's how I want it.

Would I recommend a 454SS to a potential truckmount buyer? My answer is yes, if you are good with a wrench, or know someone that is, that can help you with little or no notice. As with any truckmount unit, there are always going to be maintenance issues from time to time and having the occassional breakdown does not mean you have a bad unit. In the case of my 454, I have no desire to trade it in or try another brand of truckmount. Should I ever get another truck going one day I would probably get another 454 and hopefully the new unit will have all the upgrades and mods as the manufacturers have been learning from the first batch of units.

Hope this review helps!
 
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Richard Baldwin

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Those photos are of when it was first installed. However the unit still pretty much looks the same. The treadplate isn't shiny anymore in the truck but I keep it powerwashed out on a regular basis.

The video I posted in another thread about 20 mins ago shows a long setup run. That was the machine today.

Oh, and I am just finishing up my second season, I got the unit in the fall of 2010.
 

sandstormli

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Yes those two are the most important. Honestly for normal cleaning companies the difference is size between sapphire and others should not matter the reason I am seriously interested in sapphire is that we are a house cleaning business and the carpet and tile is my long term side business that I plan to grow.
Now that the house cleaning business is almost at optimum efficiency I am very seriously considering getting a sprinter van or the new ford that's coming out and putting a sapphire unit with all the rest out the back door and having the front for me and a crew of 4 others, this way not only I am advertising all day long in neighbourhoods I want for work in but we would become a true full service company that can do all the cleaning at once, say you need just one room done while we are at your house no problem $30-$40 is all that's needed since I am there anyways or I can drop off the girls at a client's home and go do a room or two at the neighbour home and waiste no gas or time to get there... Something along those lines
 

Richard Baldwin

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There is a company like that in my area, housekeeping, construction cleanup and some carpet cleaning. Lucky for me they dont have a sapphire unit! I think they bring their "unit" to the job in the trunk of their car.
 

sandstormli

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Lol that's funny yes so many companies doing that, what I am talking about is high quality high end residential cleaning because that's what we do and I already offer all that but I have my 2011 Vienna for house cleaning business and my GMC savana with a truckmount with lots of cool toys etc but I can only drive one at a time so the cargo van sits on the driveway and makes no money nor does it do any advertising so what I mentioned would kind of solve the problem.
These days just providing great service is not enough, I want to be knows as the best and I mean well knows as the best company to call if you need something cleaned .
 

Steamin' Seaman

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Dealer tried to sell me one of those units (370/454), but I had my mind already set on the Diablo. Sooo... Diablo it was and I could not be happier.
I have never had to take it in for service. I had a couple of adjustments here and there and masterblend was able to tell me over the phone what to do. Just turned 300 hrs. on my Diablo and it runs like it is new, well it is new!
I clean part time so I do not put a lot of hrs. on the TM. Plus I use the porty on upholstery's, and rotary on rugs so the hrs. do not add up that much on the TM. My mainstay is commercial fishing, 1000-2000 a day offshore, makes it hard to quit the water! Thats a lot of carpets to be cleaned to hit that mark.
I would like to see Masterblend come out with a bigger unit turning a 47 blower. I tried dual wanding with my TM and was not impressed, it works but I thought the carpets were a little wetter than I like to leave them. Plus you had to leave the wand lips down or the other wand would just lose its bite.

Nice setup Richard! Hope it makes you rich !
 

Richard Baldwin

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Dealer tried to sell me one of those units (370/454), but I had my mind already set on the Diablo. Sooo... Diablo it was and I could not be happier.
I have never had to take it in for service. I had a couple of adjustments here and there and masterblend was able to tell me over the phone what to do. Just turned 300 hrs. on my Diablo and it runs like it is new, well it is new!
I clean part time so I do not put a lot of hrs. on the TM. Plus I use the porty on upholstery's, and rotary on rugs so the hrs. do not add up that much on the TM. My mainstay is commercial fishing, 1000-2000 a day offshore, makes it hard to quit the water! Thats a lot of carpets to be cleaned to hit that mark.
I would like to see Masterblend come out with a bigger unit turning a 47 blower. I tried dual wanding with my TM and was not impressed, it works but I thought the carpets were a little wetter than I like to leave them. Plus you had to leave the wand lips down or the other wand would just lose its bite.

Nice setup Richard! Hope it makes you rich !
I like the look of the Diablo too, I was hesitant because I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with a fuel fired heater, plus the Diablo is only available in the states. I later learned that one of my suppliers would have been able to ship one in. Regardless, should I get another unit one day I may try the Diablo, but the Sapphire is doing a fine job now that the bugs are worked out.
 

James the boss

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Glad that Sapphire is workin good for u ,, too bad thay can't give u tech support when I first got my el'Diablo my heater computer was giving me trouble and I called them ,thay knew every wire in the computer and talked me through it ,,,the wires were loose,,, I even broke the electrodes called them and thay sent me a new one
 
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Richard Baldwin

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Yeah, it's not that they didn't offer any tech support, they just didn't have a clue about how the machine works. The only guy that might know anything I could never reach by phone or email, just the sales guys who "think" they know everything but don't know squat.
Here is a few examples:
-He told me that I should run the machine on full throttle to clean upholstery (the manual says to keep in idle)
-He told me that the overheating issue was a wiring problem (it was location of the heat sensor)
-They would send modification kits with no explanation or instructions on how to install them or what they were for.
-The manual had a lot of incorrect data
-They told me it was incorrect belt tension when I asked about an incessant rattling. (It was the heat shield missing a bolt)
-It took them 7 months to pay my repair shop for a warranty claim, only because we constantly called.

There were other examples, but that gives an idea.
 

Richard Baldwin

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Dang,,,u wernt kidding about workin out the bugs
Well, there were more issues, but the main point of this thread is they are all worked out and the machine is running pretty good now, I ordered a new throttle cable from sapphire (91 dollars!) because the ones from car quest (40 dollars) had too thick of a cable. That's the latest issue. But overall I am still happy with the machine and it does perform well. I found a really good small engine mechanic who works at the tractor dealership who is a natural with machines like this. Once you find a guy like that don't let him go! It's worth the labor rate to drop off the machine and come back in three hours to a fixed machine. He never worked on truckmounts before, but in the past few years he has done everything on it from yearly maintenance to fixing a Briggs wiring defect in the engine to a complete reroute of the heat sensors, and his work has all been good, no callbacks. If I didn't find him I would have to drive over 7 hours to the nearest qualified truckmount mechanic that I could trust.