I recently interviewed Meg, Marty, Russ and Big Jim and Jimmy Ladwig about their CleanCo owning experience.
Here are the answers that I felt helped convey their satisfaction..
Butler, Sapphire1200, Hydramaster CDS were your other choices for a PTO unit, why did Cleanco come out on top in your decision making process?
I was on the hunt for a Butler. I found a newer, pretty low hour Cleanco for sale a couple hours away from us. I asked around on Mikey's Board and found only good things to say. Someone said that Cleanco used to make the PTO for Prochem. That lended credibility to a brand I was unfamiliar with.
This was our first direct drive. We looked at the Salsa slide in (Jon Don) and a few others. We purchased the cleanco in 2009. Ultimately we had a very good relationship at the time with another local distributor (Schapers/Interlink). They had just become a distributor of cleanco and it came highly recommended by the distributor who we trusted. The warranty was much better (longer) than the other ones we were considering. It was positioned to us as similar to a "butler" which was out of our price range at the time.
Do you want to see my Carolina Panthers NFL ring?
I did want a Butler, but did not choose one for 2 reasons- 1- no body up here In Canada had serviced them. 2- they lacked storage room.
What truckmount did you own before the Cleanco and is the Cleanco proving to be more reliable or productive?
I owned a Chemtex Panther 20 prior to the Cleanco. The Cleanco is better in every way. I felt like I was always changing the oil and tinkering with the small engine and Mickey Mouse parts of an underpowered and LOUD machine. I just push 2 buttons and go. I'm alone and don't have the time or energy to be wrestling with inferior equipment.
Entry level Steam Genie Slide in. Cleanco is night and day ahead but its not a fair comparison; different level units.
Hydramaster Maxx 450. Still have it.
Cleanco is more powerful. It has been more reliable. Only thing we've had to replace since 09 are the drive belts for the blower motor.
We replaced and fixed more things with the Maxx (had more down time) in the same time period (8 years) then we have had to with the Cleanco.
Dual cleaning with Cleanco is much easier to do. Easier to set up, better power compared to Maxx 450
Before the Cleanco, I had an Aquatech. ( basically the same unit as a Cleanco. I also own a Prochem Everest 650HP
I hate how finicky slide ins are.... So no, I wouldn't buy another slide in.
Are you happy with the GMC platform or would you rather have the machine mounted in a box van or one of the new Euro Vans?
I've been working out of the classic American work van for 17 or 18 years. It has worked really well. I'd like to see what kind of space and configurations I could use in a Euro van though.
We have a Chevy. We don't like it. Lots of mechanical issues from day one. We never had issues with our ford. Issues have been transmission replaced at 3000 miles. Rear differential gear system sheared. Lots of rattle with direct drive (complained for years about it and distributor said nothing could be done. When out of warranty and we went to Jon Don since we like them better and is easier to get to, the were able to fix).
My Chevy Militia T Shirt gets me lots of attention from good looking chicks.
We would do a Euro van next time around. We are mostly residential so it would be easier to drive. We don't have need for all the space of box truck, but find we don't have enough space in the Extended chevy. Keep in mind, we have the older water tank, not the one that fits under/around the hose reel. If we had that set up, we would have more room in the chevy. Euro van over GMC even if we didn't have issues with the Chevy due to size and ability to move around in van, fuel efficiency and take more gear with us.
Do you ever see yourself using a slide in unit after seeing the benefits of a PTO design?
I really don't. A PTO just makes more sense with our cold Winters too.
Much prefer the PTO because I like my hearing. Much better than a slide in set up for many reasons.
at 4 jobs a month this machine should last me ten life times. Can you pass the bowl of nuts please, I like those brown ones.
Yes. but only for the right price. But all things being equal, we would always choose a direct drive from here on out.
Is there anything you would change about the machine to make it more productive or enhance performance?
I had a hole patched in the waste tank a couple months ago. It looks like it formed where one of the "baffolds" is welded to the inside for structure. I wish the waste tank was beefier or stainless. There are also a few small issues I believe may have been install related. Weird shelving bracket, hole in the wheel well where the fresh tank is screwed into the floor...little things that add up and make me envious of the finished Butler platform.
Heat; even with the extra heat exchanger I think the Butler and others seem to be able to maintain a higher constant temp at a higher flow rate (7-12). Clean manual recommends only a 4 flow rate.
a helicopter launching pad on the roof could be handy in case they find me.
Only thing is more heat. We average 230-240. This may be a non issue with newer models. Keep in mind ours is 8 years old. We haven't lost heat over time, so it's been consistent, but would like more heat in general.
One thing I have changed with it, is the fact that Cleanco has put 90 degree bends @ the waste tank. I did the same thing as Jimmy L. and put 2" curved into the waste tank.
Are you able to perform the regular maintenance yourself?
I can wash the windows and turn it off and on. My son has to drain the tanks and fill the chem jug.
My auto mechanic has changed the belts, just as a precaution. I'm sure I could do it but I want them to be familiar with the machine in case I ever need help. One of the techs at my mechanic said he grew up around farm equipment (surprise...it's Iowa). The machine seemed simple to him although it is pretty foreign to me still. I have the oil changed a lot. The clutch has been repaired and replaced at least twice in three years. It's not terribly expensive to have them repair and replace but it is something that requires me to be without a truck for a day.
Regular Maintenance has not been a problem.
at hour number 40 at year 12, shes still running like a charm.
Yes - we check filters and clean them. Only had to replace back filters once in 8 years. Check levels of cat pump and blower motor oil. Easy to do. WE have changed this ourselves, not easy to do, but can be done. Drive shaft belt for clean co is easily checked and we can change belt ourselves if needed. Really no other maintenance than this.
How far has you longest hose run been and how was your heat and vacuum?
250' 220 heat (new unit)
I'm rarely farther than 150 feet and almost never longer than 200. Heat and suction at these lengths are very adequate.
The longest hose run I've done so far is 300 feet. Vac was still good, and once i was working steady, the heat was there aswell.
Longest has been fairly short maybe 200. Heat and vac were fine.
The heat is ok, you aren't going to get 225 @ 1000 psi, but you will get 175-190... For some reason, whenever I use my Everest, the seems to become my yardstick for heat and vac....
Longest run has been 550 ft. We did loose some vacuum and heat, but still had more than we would with the sane run using the Maxx 450.
It was noticeable to us, but didn't really effect anything. Maybe longer dry times, but then again this was pre devestator wand. Likely would be a non issue with a run that long now and the devestator.
to my back bed room, so 75 feet.
How are you setting up the back of the van for storage?
Shelves on the right for chemicals, poly fresh tank on the left. Lots of room in the center. Even the Cimex fits with quite a lot of room to spare!
a hammock and microwave and 70" flat screen
We do wish we had more room. Very hard to pack in tools for multiple services (can't take the cimex or mini max and hardwood floor cleaning equipment). If we have multiple services scheduled, there have been times we've had to take both vans just to haul everything. Typically we can schedule so that doesn't happen, but every once in a while it happens.....especially in the busy season. But then we are running both trucks anyway so it's not really an issue.
There is so much space in the back of that van, I keep changing things around.... Work in progress...
How does your machine keep up with heat demands while cleaning tile at high pressure and flow?
It does just fine. Pressure is kept below 1000 psi but that seems to be sufficient with some agitation.
Its more consistent then the Maxx for temp. We use more water to clean tile than carpet and the Cleanco keeps the temp to water flow ratio much hotter than the Maxx 450.
I thought Lady GaGa showed true red blooded American spirit at half time
Does our GMC dealer or mechanic have any concerns about working on the van due to the modifications made installing the unit?
My mechanic is happy to work on the van. Mine is in a Ford but I haven't had it into a true Ford dealer.
Haven't had any maintenance issues
my ex wife works there so I'm not allowed within 400 feet of the property.
Had one small glitch in computer module from chevy and cleanco communicating. Chevy said it was a cleanco thing, Cleanco said it was a chevy issue. Went around for a bit and it ended up being a chevy issue. It was a warranty issue on Chevy end, but they tried to claim it was because of the unit and it voided warranty so they didn't have to make good on warranty, but in the end they did.
Would you buy another Cleanco?
I just did..
I'd seriously consider it. It has never let me down and the performance is excellent. It allows me to focus on cleaning and being profitable. I would be far more picky than the previous owner, concerning the mounting of the shelves and fresh tank, solution reel, beefier bedliner, I'd probably want the water pond or whatever Cleanco calls their version...
I would consider it based on experience but would seriously look at Butler instead. Can't complain at all about the Cleanco; good company back up so far.
With out a doubt. Dream unit would be a butler, but cleanco is a close second.
I know it to be fact, my next unit will be a Cleanco.....