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DAmn drive clutch!

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DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:09 pm

The jobs had really dried up after the flood work and it was starting to really make me nervous. Things are still pretty fragile with this venture cleaning full-time and having dead weeks are scary, but as we all know, it can change in a hurry.

This week, I have 3 theaters to clean with the first one being tonight. It was setting up to save my month and I was already looking ahead to making some equipment updates. Well, that was how I felt 8 hours ago....not so much now.

Despite all the service updates on my machine (fluid changes, greasing) and over-hauls of both the wands and sprayers, I was just 2 hours into the job when disaster struck. The wand felt odd, like a vac hose was getting kinked. There was just an odd feel to the vacuum and spray levels, so I went out to the truck about 400 feet away to investigate.

The butler drive clutch was toast and was cycling in and out every few seconds. You could smell the hot metal and the pulley was ash white. At least it wasn't smoking this time around like the last time it went out, but it still meant that I was done for the night.

I let it cool down and then fired it up again to see if I would be able to finish the other half of the job since I was 90 minutes away from home and really needed this job done, but it was no use, it was slipping badly when I fired it up. I had to cut the drive belts off to dismantle it in order to drive home.

Just like that, my week went from great to disaster. These are costly repairs on a butler and will not be back in service for the rest of the week at least. That leaves the box truck, but I am still not fully comfortable with the heating system on that set-up and have never tested it on a 7 hour straight run before.....not really wanting to run into other bad surprises right now.

So, I will have to hire a helper to baby sit the box truck's heater while I clean tomorrow night and keep my fingers crossed. The really crappy part is that I will be cleaning basically just to pay for the clutch replacement on my butler, so this looks like the makings of another poor month for the business.

Hate taking hits like this......really needed a good run of luck this month. I am starting to seriously consider going back to a day job right now, I am that angry. Mad
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mo on Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:26 pm

Equipment failures always seem to happen at the worst possible times. Don't worry about the heater, The worst that will happen is that the pilot light will go out and you'll know because your qd at the wand will cool off.

What would worry me is dry times with 400 feet of hose with my TNT. I would have my tech post padding the furthest areas to prevent wicking

Dont worry about the jobs they will come especially this time of year. You probably had a slow down cuz of the holiday
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:34 pm

Thanks Mo, I appreciate the sane advice as I am still kicking holes in my drywall. Devil

That butler is just so useful on commercial jobs.  The vacuum runs about 450 cfm, it has a 210 gallon waste tank, fits under all the awnings with ease, and I never feel nervous about an open flame when I am 400 feet away.  I guess that is why I keep sinking money back into it.

I don't see the TNT pulling the same from 400 feet and it sure will not fit next to the door of these buildings.  The smaller waste tank will also be a challenge.

Still, I never have to worry about the TNT breaking down much either...super simple and easy to repair with common parts which is why I installed it.  I just can't get over the propane heat part yet.

I think I need to go out for a long run to calm down.....will never get to sleep with all this crap dancing around in my head right now.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mo on Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:09 pm

I know I felt the same with the LG when I first started using it. You have a very sage LG set up Rob. I don't recall the size of you tank. Do you think you'll have enough propane for the job.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:24 pm

That is part of the problem still for me. I am still set-up with dual bbq tanks, but I have been planning on installing a belly tank next week as well.

One bbq tank should get me about 4-5 hours hopefully, so with 2, I should be okay. I will have to dump probably after the first tank anyway so changing them out shouldn't be a big deal.

I will probably pay an attendant to sit in a chair next to it on the first long job just so that I can relax enough to clean.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:29 pm

I could probably band-aid the van and just replace the clutch local like I did the last time, but it only lasted 2 years instead of the 12 that the original lasted. Still cost me almost $400 bucks installed.

To do it correctly, I will have to pull the shaft, have it machined or replaced, install new bearings, and replace the clutch.

The bearings are only like $15 each, but the factory clutch was over $500 and who knows about the shaft. Plus it is a van, nobody wants to work on one.....me neither.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by dp1 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:56 am

@milspec6 wrote:I could probably band-aid the van and just replace the clutch local like I did the last time, but it only lasted 2 years instead of the 12 that the original lasted.  Still cost me almost $400 bucks installed.

To do it correctly, I will have to pull the shaft, have it machined or replaced, install new bearings, and replace the clutch.  

The bearings are only like $15 each, but the factory clutch was over $500 and who knows about the shaft.  Plus it is a van, nobody wants to work on one.....me neither.

IfI were you, I would do the "quickie" repair for now and then plan to do it right in just a little under 2 years from now.
Like Mo said, it's always breaking in the wrong time, I remember my blue line Thermalwave broke down on Saturdays 90% of the time, and unlike some of you guys here I'm not good with mechanical stuffs, all I did was bit my fingers real hard and called some of my friends hoping they can swing by to help me finish the job.

Also don't forget to tell that attendant you are paying to sit right next to the TNT to not smoke there dancing
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:32 am

A little update:

The clutch bearing was fried, but I was able to source a heavier duty replacement from International Trucks of the same size. That was a victory.

The shaft didn't have any play in the bearings at all...up/down, side/side, no wiggle at all. That was a big victory.

The bad part is that the shaft appears to be bent. Mad It is the strangest thing, but even though there is no play in it, there is a little oval to the rotation.

I called Butler about it and they told me that it can't be bent. They told me that they have NEVER heard of a shaft being bent. A replacement shaft would be $1100, but they would give $400 back for the old shaft....they rebuild them.

So, I asked what the price was for a rebuilt shaft....not an option. They also said that a bent shaft isn't rebuildable anyway, so no core return on it.

I ended up replacing the drive clutch (pretty easy job actually) since I have no idea how long this shaft has been bent. The last clutch was a cheap China offering and it lasted 2 years, so who knows?

The last hurdle were the belts......couldn't get them today. I called 22 shops (trucking, Farrm stores, air compressors, etc.), but nobody could get them until tomorrow. So, I am running 2 automotive fan belts right now that were just a little bit longer until the proper belts arrive.

I fired it up and took it to speed. There was slight belt slip on first start up, but none once up to speed. Things appear good, but there is still a slight out of roundness to the clutch rotation which will eat it up over time.

I just don't know if I trust it enough to run it tonight? I would hate to have another failure and be unable to finish the job again.....and destroy another $225 drive clutch.

I guess I will go out and get the box truck ready and run it for about an hour to see if I trust it. Maybe even bring both trucks....of course, then I have to worry about the other guys driving. Shocked

Not my favorite day in the world right now.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:28 pm

AND WE ARE DONE!

I went out to get the box truck ready for work since there is little reason to trust the Butler repair over a 6 hour cleaning run. That out of round shaft and incorrect belts do not scream confidence.

Well, guess what? The box truck is out of commission as well. I fired it up and decided to give it a good run before firing up the heater, but I wasn't getting any water pressure. confused

Checked the lines....good. Clutch is engaging. Cleaned out the inlet filter in the water box....still nothing.

So, I started tracing all the lines and surprise surprise....water is dumping out of the little giant heater. I just ran that thing a week ago with no problems and now, it is a water fall.

I ripped the cover off the top and took a look. Couldn't see anything and all the coils were dry on top down to about 6 inches. Further review shows water is running out from behind the drain plug bung.

I can't freaking believe it!!!! How the hell does that happen? How? I haven't pulled that drain plug in 2 years and the heater sat next to my couch every winter and still here I am.

So, let's tally this up. It will cost about $3000 and a week to properly repair the butler van. It will take a new damn LG heater for the box truck....if I decide to go with another one, which I freaking doubt! That is what....another $1800 -$2800 shipped? Still need that belly tank as well...there is another $700 with regulator.

So, this is it. Tonight is Alamo night. If I can't get through the 6 hours of cleaning tonight with the make-shift Butler van, I am shutting down. It doesn't make any sense to keep bleeding like this with only a few months left until the winter.

IF I don't succeed tonight....actually, I will still need to get through the 2 theaters on Sun/Mon as well with this van. Fat chance of that one. If it fails, I will not be on the forum for awhile and likely selling everything off by August.

Just feel sick right now. Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by dp1 on Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:28 pm

Wow, sorry Rob :-(
Can you contact some cleaners in the area and ask them for help to get through the theater job ? 25 - 30 % commission ?
You should call Dave ( Cracker ), he's good with repairing LG heater, may be he can tell you some tricks to patch the leak ?
Let me know if you need his #.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:59 pm

Oh %@*#*=&#**@*@*#*"$***%#%#%=*%=&!!!!

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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mark D on Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:41 pm

I have repaired many of those heaters. It can be done. Do you have a local welder that can look at it for you? Maybe Eddie with Aces can give some insight.

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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by ACE Services on Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:06 pm

Rob give me a call. I might can help with the clutch
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mo on Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:00 pm

LG heaters are a pain in the ass.

Go to harbor freight and pick up one of adjustable link belts as a back up for tonight
http://www.harborfreight.com/vibration-free-link-belt-43771.html
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:21 am

New clutch lasted one hour, then flames. Lost my air cleaner and throttle cable as well in the flames.

I was able to find a cleaner near by who did provide his truck so that I could finish tonight's building, but it cost me twice what the job paid. I needed to get it done to buy me some time and avoid looking unreliable.

I will be pulling the LG coil in the morning to see if it can be repaired, but my luck doesn't seem to be holding out, so it probably can't.

As for the Butler and that drive shaft situation? I really don't know if I want to pursue it or not at this point.

I cancelled my residential jobs for this week, but I am going to try and salvage the 2 remaining theaters on Sun / Mon, but it doesn't leave much time.

The last 24 hours have pushed me to my breaking point....I can't take much more surprises, hopefully there will not be any.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Freemind1 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:25 am

Wow.....

I understand how you feel. That's exactly why I never could afford to go full truck mount in carpets here. I couldn't make enough money to afford a TM and afford repairs and all the other costs associated with it.

Hopefully things will get better for you. Maybe there is a machine shop locally that can straighten the shaft for you or even build you a shaft for less?

Either way, I do hope it gets better for you.

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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mo on Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:23 am

Send me your address and Ill ship you the heet exchanger I was messing with last year. You wont get as much heat that your getting with the butler or LG but it could be a temp fix.

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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:25 pm

I dove into the LG heater today.....not good.

I was optimistic at first after pulling all the insulation out and finding the top without issues (most common location).



Once I was able to lift out the coil, it was a different story.....DAMN!



Mind you, this is the #4 High Psi model, but it sure didn't look like it was all that robust to me.  Actually, this whole heater feels quite cheap for a heater that costs close to $3000.

Clearly, this isn't going to be fixable and I do not have much time.  I will be forced to check with the local distributor for a replacement LG heater or else buy a NorthStar heater and convert it to work.

Both options suck!  The hits keep coming.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by dp1 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:16 pm

There is always light at the end of the tunnel, hang in there Rob Sad
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:26 pm

Now that I have sat there staring at this coil assembly, maybe it can be fixed?

The affected section is actually a welded span instead of the continuous copper coil that makes up the rest of the assembly. So, if it could be added that way at the factory, maybe it can be segmented with a new span now? There was no other visible damage anywhere.




There is nothing more I can do until the welder looks at it tomorrow anyway, so that will be the end of my day.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mo on Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:39 pm

At the very least it will a temporary fix so that you cab get back to work but a high PSI it is no longer a high psi model. Dont forget silver soder
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:23 pm

I agree on the high psi, but really, I only need 500 - 600 psi for 90% of my jobs. I guess I will know more in the morning. What bothers me is that even after a repair, it might quickly fail on the next job and then I loss big.

I will be checking all my options in the morning.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Freemind1 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:25 pm

@milspec6 wrote:I dove into the LG heater today.....not good.

I was optimistic at first after pulling all the insulation out and finding the top without issues (most common location).



Once I was able to lift out the coil, it was a different story.....DAMN!



Mind you, this is the #4 High Psi model, but it sure didn't look like it was all that robust to me.  Actually, this whole heater feels quite cheap for a heater that costs close to $3000.

Clearly, this isn't going to be fixable and I do not have much time.  I will be forced to check with the local distributor for a replacement LG heater or else buy a NorthStar heater and convert it to work.

Both options suck!  The hits keep coming.

If it's just that pipe that swelled and burst, find a HVAC guy that knows a little about commercial HVAC.

You should be able to cut that burst out, replace with rigid copper pipe, and braze it in with silver solder.

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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by milspec6 on Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:34 pm

That is what I am hoping for Freemind since it is not part of the continuous coil and is just a straight piece. The problem is that it gets my hopes up which has not worked out well the past 48 hours.
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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

Post by Mark D on Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:49 pm

A HVAC man can fix your problem. My parents own a HVAC company for 40 years. That's how I have been able to fix many LG heaters. There's really nothing about that coil that the right man can't fix. If its done right the repair will be stronger than the rest of the coil. Wish I was close by you, I would help you get your heater back up and running.

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Re: DAmn drive clutch!

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