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Reclaim Specialist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I get asked about this a LOT..
so, here's a bit on belt drive vs.direct drive..
"Long-Term-Low-Cost"
in the difference between direct drive and belt drive..
involves HOW they are plumbed,
How good is the water supply,
and how you manage the "maintenance".. but..

Here's a direct answer, based on over 25 years of actual "reliability-study" in the service department..

Direct drive pumps.. were designed to be pressure fed..
they can last 4 years between seal kits, IF plumbed with a high-volume bypass, ..and IF properly treated.
..that's only about $275 in pump parts n labor in 5 years.
..just keep your fingers crossed you can separate pump from motor when you need to.
But..
Running more than 50ft of suppply hose..
..or using cheap 5/8" id hose instead of contractors' grade 3/4" hose..
I've seen direct drive pumps get 2 years on a set of seals, but the average is only 12 months,
even if you never let it overheat in bypass (with the trigger-gun off).
On "repair day", expect to also repair shaft-key damage,
and replace a check valve set every other time..
that's over $1000 for 5 years, IF the pump isn't tossed into the "bone-yard" before.
I didn't even add the possible cavitation-damaged ceramic plungers or cracked head at a valve-seat.
... that can be another $200-400. each time !

Belt drive..
I've seen 5 years out of a set of seals, used several days per week,
but 3 to 4 years is more likely,
to a system that isn't always getting the "perfect water supply".
Unloader-Valve replacements every 4 to 5 years.. 3 years is most common.
Shaft repairs are only a "direct drive problem"
.. but do add a set of belts.
Cost for 5 years, on average..
$ 375. including labor.
..and the pump can last 12 to 20 years, depending on how you treat it.

These numbers are based on a 4gpm pump with competitive parts pricing..
Newer models are coming out with more "model-specific" kits..
with "elevated prices".
Some are now double or triple the above costs !
..Stick with the AR and Comet models..
Especially Comet HW and RW series,
AR's RK and XW series, or
General's good ol' TS2021 and EZ series are fine,
..just don't let'em run low on oil..
aluminum-alloy is NOT as heat tolerant as forged bronze rods.

Also,
I didn't add unloader valves to the above numbers..
high-speed pumps eat TWICE the unloader-valves, or more ! Cavitation KILLS !

NEVER buy with a built-in unloader valve..
they are made to TAKE your money. period.

And..
if you "invest in" belt-drive, like you should..
MAKE SURE it has an external bypass hose,
MORE than 2 feet long, and MORE than 1/2" id.
We use 5/8" x 5ft on 4gpm systems..
and seals last several years, because you can set the wand down for a few minutes without overheating the seals.


e-mail detailed questions if you like

[email protected]
 

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I bought a direct drive rig through Bob W at Pressure Tek a few years ago and havent had a problem with it. We use the heck out of it every year. Maybe just luck, or maybe painters dont use them as much/as hard as full time pw contractors. I love mine. Its a brute.
 

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Reclaim Specialist
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dragster vs. Cadillac

Good post.
When I sold them I kept it short and sweet.
Direct drive = Dragster
Belt drive = Cadillac
What one is going to get more miles :)
Best reguards
I like the analogy..
Running hot it is even more critical to plumb it for reliability,
and don't let your neighbors use it.

the belt drive vers. (Cadillac) has a much better cooling system.
..and plumbed correctly, belt drive is best for multiple-users. :thumbup:
 

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Reclaim Specialist
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
with SO many new guys asking the same old questions..
and they deserve the explanations they came here for..

..the point in having a blog is education..
I'm willing to share for those interested in learning..
I just don't have time to rewrite the same techinical info week after week.
 

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Curb appeal specialist
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Direct drives have no provision to cool the transmission. That heat increases the heat of the motor and the pump respectively. Belt drive is better for long hot days. Another thing worth considering..
 

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I have both direct drives and belt drives - I like 'em both. Direct drives can be a little challenging if you don't like to plug directly into a water source - I don't.
 

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PinheadsUnite
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with SO many new guys asking the same old questions..
and they deserve the explanations they came here for..

..the point in having a blog is education..
I'm willing to share for those interested in learning..
I just don't have time to rewrite the same techinical info week after week.

Funny, I missed all those same old questions by SO many new guys

This is a blog?. DAMN, and I thought it was a forum. No wonder I never got the hang of it.
 

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with SO many new guys asking the same old questions..
and they deserve the explanations they came here for..

..the point in having a blog is education..
I'm willing to share for those interested in learning..
I just don't have time to rewrite the same techinical info week after week.
People are not asking for this info week after week, so it should not be too much of a burden. When it comes up maybe twice a year, it can be answered again or pointed to an existing post.
 

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Reclaim Specialist
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Long-Term-Low-Cost.. you gotta "hear" this

People are not asking for this info week after week, so it should not be too much of a burden. When it comes up maybe twice a year, it can be answered again or pointed to an existing post.
..
when someone asks "what's the best" of any equipment,
and all you get is "this is what I use" or "I have a fleet of these"
that does not answer the question in what has the best chance at Long-Term-Low-Cost..
I'm not saying in any way that "opinion" of equipment users is irrelevant.. In fact.. it is important in the obvious way, but even more important to techs and manufacturers as the "voice from the field". ..so pushing us out of here is counter-productive to your own community.

What I have been trying to do here, .. firstly,
is show that a manufaturer, with a strong technical inclination,
and enough spine to strive for what a customer actually needs at his jobsite is your best chance the VERY best of profitable workspeed.
Soft-Washing a house of mold and mildew is different from blasting greasy-smog-fallout from a building in a desert city
.. so one man's honest opinion can be misunderstood VERY easily.

Long-Term-Low-Cost..
is about having equipment with the right components,
assembled for the best possible relaibility, and serviceability,
so when it needs to be maintained, it can be done esily, and inexpensively. That requires explanation from "the service department".

Long-Term-Low-Cost..
is about knowing the sensitivities of the components and options,
..for the best insurance against downtime.

Long-Term-Low-Cost..
is ablout knowing how to choose equipment that matches the jobsite requirement..
not only for "user comfort", but actual productive and profitable workspeed..
Some of those are the tricks-of-the-trade that contractors are frequently reluctant to tell eachother.. I guess that could make the knuckle-heads in here real sensitive, but the majority of any community wants education.. in fact.. that is why certifications exist.. in almost every other industry.
"Credentials" can seal a deal much quicker than "I can do that" salesmanship.
The average painter could use some help here.

Long-Term-Low-Cost..
is about finding the balance between "doing it yourself" and having someone WITH experience do it for you, but "keeping the reigns tight" on cost including the management time.
.. you need to get and KEEP contracts.. that means you need to be out selling and demonstrating your work, instead of "tinkering with equipment".
But.. you MUST have a firm grip on maintenance schedules,
process proceedures, knowing the tricks of the trade in managing the equipment, or you could be very disappoiunted at your very next jobsite,
by what you thought was the very best machine on the planet.
Is your buddy with a crew of 5 for 20 years a better source of "technical info" than a service manager with his head in the quirks and tweaks of hundreds of machines per month ??

your BEST chance at Long-Term-Low-Cost..
Is to invite the experience of technical guys,
listen to what they say, compare it with your own practical experience and the wisdom of others, refine it down for EVERY ounce of common-sense it could possibly contain, and when you have time and opportunity.. share it for the good of community.

If I was in here to generate leads,
I would simply milk the list of leads, and contact every one.
I came to interject constructive educated, experience at a level you are not going to get from even a contractor that is extremely profitable..
He's busy getting your next contract,
He's managing his crews to show-up on time with their shirts tucked in,
and NOT leave messes.
He's following up with suppliers to make sure they deliver on time,
etc.

If you like what I have said here.. please hit the "like" button, so I can feel you,
otherwise this has been a very cold place so far.
..except for the people that have called me for help over the past year..
the quiet majority is who I'm here for.
I am a teacher that likes to teach, and I'm fascinated with making machines reliable,
and actually match your jobsite nneds.
 

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I don't know much but, there are a few folks that participate here with some very thought provoking and education filled posts and I consider you to be one of them. I agree that albeit many are not asking directly, at least some are seeking the information you are providing. That was a very well put response and I for one am included. Nothing beats being educated.
 

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Jerry,

Thanks for the in depth explanation. Your are very articulate. And knowledgeable. I bought my first p/w around 82 0r 83.
It was a mi-t-m belt drive. I beleive it had a cat pump. Which you never even mentioned i'm surprised. Is it because they have gotten so pricey to own and repair?
I probably bought my first DD around 98 or 2000. I just put a roofer freind into a new Mi-t-m DD with a general EZ4040. Nice machines. I may some day bite my words and regret it and switch back to BD for all the reasons you mentioned. But for now...

I hear what you saying and don't disagree one iota. Somwhere along the line about 15 years ago I made the switch to DD. And quite honestly I have no regrets so far. And I am kinda like the other poster who siad I guess I have been lucky. No more problems encountered than with belt. Now I am a painter too. But we do some rather big P/W only jobs where we might be using 2 or 3 machines for 2 weeks straight. But then we go on a streak where we are just washing houses and buildings we are painting. They get quite a bit of use. Typically its the same 1 or 2 machines doing all the work. ( I own maybe 8)

I guess the whole point i am making is that even though I do agree with you I have been very particular about several things and have had great suceess with DD.

For 1 the engines(Honda only guys, Jerry i think will confirm that) and

2. The pumps ( the ones jerry mentioned) i purchase.

3. And how I train my guys to use them.
I do point out that we do most of my own repairs valves, seals, unloaders, rewinds. Carbs if needed. Most any thing that comes up we can do. Its the same 3 things most of the time anyway. I just don't like the down time and worse yet they hold your machine hostage when u need it. I had a go to guy I could pay a bump fee if I needed it fast. But now that situation changed.

The main reason I think i switched ( I currently own no belts out about 8 machines) is because the first one turned out reliable. But the cost savings( the price differential got wider and wider) and the ease of one man lifting the DD. They are not so much that more heavier. They are a little heavier for sure. But they are also longer and bulkier and a pita to get your arms and back into the lift.

Just my 2 cents worth for what its worth. Thanks again Jerry Nice post. UDAMAN!!!
 

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the paintman - " the engines(Honda only guys,"

Please.. there's a lot of good engines out there. Nothing wrong with a Briggs V twin, then there's diesels.. I was thinking about trying out a Chinese diesel: http://www.runsungroup.com/bbx/712870-712870.html?id=19180&pid=476708

Honda is hardy the only game in town.
You had me at hardy. :yes: LOL! Seriously, i know that vtwin is a winner. I have owned them. But... if i got ten machines and i got one problem it will be on a briggs. And you can have all the chinese engines you want. Not me! I'm specifically or mainly talking about the 13hp Honda. I can have one sit for 2 months and pull it once twice at the most and it will start. Not so with any other engine. And if it does sit longer and not start when i pull it I can usually empty the bowl and carb and start it. If i have to R and R the carb in 30 mins usually and start it. Not so easy with any other carb. its the best one. I know thier are chinese copies. But not for me. They have the best small gas engine.

Come on dude you can't even compare gas with deisels. Thats another species altoghether
 

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"Engines" covers a lot of ground, my point. I've used a 13 HP Honda extensively and I don't think it compares with a 16 HP Vangard. Not in ease of starting, smoothness of operation or even fuel economy. Briggs wins hands down. That's why they use them in so many emergency home generator sets..they can sit their forever and start right up. The carbs are harder to service I guess but I don't work on 'em.

I don't know how good Chinese diesels are, but they aren't copies, they are original designs being used to power stuff all over the world. The world is flat, and getting flatter. I can get a 20 hp air cooled diesel w/exhaust and any shaft and my choice of pulleys for $1,100 delivered. About the same as a Briggs or Honda w/o exhaust. ..and about $350 is shipping.. it may be worth a shot, ymmv.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Belt drive vs. Direct drive.. for safety

OK.. juices flowing ! ..
examples and comparatives ! .. here we go..
Engines really belong in their own thread.. let's go there later.
..for now.. back on the pumps..
a good/ important point was made by PaintMan..
CONVENIENCE.. plays an important role in the equation..
Lifting a belt drive unit is "less safe" than a direct drive unit..
To painters, and masonry contractors, we have always sold more direct drive than belt drive.
I started this thread on the point of Lont-Term-Low-Cost..
but a single workmans' comp claim can wash all that away in a single incident.

When I am asked what I recommend.. I generally say what it takes to achieve Long-Term-Low-Cost, but ..
"THE JOBSITE tells you what you need" ..relatively..
YOUR jobsite..
"paint-prep" is generally like this..
1. Loading and UNloading from site to site, sometimes several sites a day.
2. Pressure-feeding with a water hose is almost always the case,

"commercial sites", or high-volume house-washing..
is where you will probably be towing a trailer, with water tank onboard, and with bolted-down pressure washer.. which should be BELT drive.

So.. belt drive is best where you DON'T have to lift out the system at each site,
BUT.. I have many customers that want the best of both worlds..
They get the belt drive units, and position them to run IN the back of the truck.. = NO LIFTING !!
..just make sure you have an exhaust deflector facing UP, away from flammable stuff in the back of yer truck ! :eek:

Here's the WHAT'S DIFFERENT part for reliable seals and unloaders..
remember.. the water flowing OUT of the trigger gun is what carries AWAY the friction-heat from the water seals..
BUT.. when you let off the trigger-gun on the portable system.. the water bypasses back to the inlet side of the pump, allowing heat build-up..
THAT is WHY seals fail on pressure washers..
SO.. the MORE water bypassing, the longer it takes to overheat the seals..
SO.. if you did good, and purchased a system with an EXternal unloader, with EXternal bypass line..
you can UPgrade it to a big 5/8" x 60" line (like we do on our systems), and you have LOTS of water bypassing with the gun off, and whilst "dude" BS's on the cell phone,
instead of holding the trigger open.
Also, the "Thermal Relief Valve" is MUCH more accurate, and relaible in protecting the pump when the water DOES hit 145 degrees F.

IF you have a system bolted to a trailer, and there's a water tank feeding it..
simply bypass the water to that holding tank, and the pump can NEVER overheat bypassing.

This is how to plumb a pressure-fed pump with a "High-Volume Bypass line"..

(but if you have a pump with a built-in unloader..
you can try again next pump, because the one you have won't last very long.)
 

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