March 10, 2012

Carpet deep cleaner throes

by dwm — Categories: Tools, Yard ToolsLeave a comment

For about 15 years, I’ve had a Hoover F5853-900 carpet cleaner. It has served me well up until recently when the motor started screeching and emitting a bad smell. I disassembled it, and found the main motor shaft bearing to be worn out. It looks like the bearing housing is pressed onto the shaft, then the housing flanges are riveted to the main mounting plate. Hoover doesn’t make any of the individual parts available; you have to buy the whole motor assembly. Lubricating the bearing provided only about 20 seconds of improvement. The bearing is worn out, there’s too much radial and axial play.

I ordered a replacement motor from eBay, since the new SteamVac models look like they’re less robust. However, my SteamVac should probably not be counted on for serious work going forward, even with a new motor. The gaskets have all seen better days, and I don’t know how many more uses I will get from the brush assembly before it will need replacement. I broke off one of the hose holders many year ago, which can make it a pain to transport. Everything has loosened over the years.

I have needed something beefier for a while. I’d prefer one that works well on the cars (various crevice accessories), requires fewer solution refills and waste water disposal each time I use it, and is built to last. From research, it looks like there’s really only one model worth my consideration: the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine. It is a commercial-grade machine, with several hose accessories available.

The main part of the Big Green is significantly larger than a typical consumer carpet cleaner. It’s not much smaller than the Rug Doctor you’d rent at your local store. Size is a tradeoff… a larger unit is heavier and more difficult to maneuver, but is generally more powerful (greater suction, more vigorous brushing) and faster to do a full room because the solution and wastewater tanks are larger (requiring fewer stops to empty and refill tanks).

The handle folds down over the top of the base unit to allow easier storage. There is no provision for storage of the hose or any hose attachments. However, given its color scheme, it makes a lot of sense to me to use a Festool Systainer T-Loc V to hold the hose and some attachments. A second Systainer could hold more attachments and bottles of cleaner.

The street price… $450. That’s high for a home unit, but it comes with a 5 year warranty and it’s designed to take more abuse than the typical homeowner will dish out. For me, the higher capacity, the various attachments, the greater suction, and the quality of construction make it a good choice for someone who will use it fairly frequently, and often on larger jobs (full room). I don’t clean full rooms very often (I don’t have much carpet), but I do like to clean the carpet in the cars and the ragtop on the roadster fairly regularly and I haven’t been able to do that recently due to my SteamVac being out of commission. If I’m not taking the seats out of the car for the cleaning, I need really good crevice tools (I didn’t have one with my SteamVac). To clean my cars’ carpets today is more work because I’ve not had a carpet cleaner that lets me get all the water out of the tight spots; I have to drag out the small ShopVac with crevice tool. That’s a bummer when I’ve just used it to vacuum the car, since I use a bag. To use it for water, I have to take the bag out, which is a dirty job. And applying water with the SteamVac and removing it with a ShopVac is clumsy.

Finally, truth be told… I’d like to clean mom’s carpets for her.

Here’s a picture of the 204-6655 spraying crevice tool.

A picture of the 203-0116 spraying sliding brush crevice tool. This would be a huge boon when cleaning car interiors.

A picture of the 203-6654 4″ upholstery tool. This is the tool I’d use on ragtops and cloth seats, and of course home upholstery.

A picture of the 203-6654 6″ stair tool.

A picture of the 203-6652 TurboBrush tool.

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