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Diagnostic: Over the phone?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In an ever changing world, the once simple sweeper or scrubber was just that, a sweeper or a scrubber. In the year 1985 all that changed. Power Boss introduced the first true sweeper/scrubber.

Today, even though you can still buy just a sweeper or a scrubber, combinations are becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. Let’s list what is available today:

1. Sweeper
2. Scrubber
3. Commercial Sweeper/Scrubber
4. Intermediate Sweeper/Scrubber
5. Total Sweeper/Scrubber
6. Scrubber with Pre-Sweep

With all of this to digest, it’s easy to understand why mechanics in other fields, let’s say forklifts, has great difficulty repairing sweeper/scrubbers. Let’s face it, there is a lot to comprehend and unless you’re trained in this field, you can do your customer a great disservice.

Which leads me to the topic of today; Diagnostic: over the telephone. In almost thirty years, I have seen or heard about everything. In all of that time, I can tell you the number one problem, above all, is not having any parts or service manuals to refer to. I can’t imagine working on a unit (let’s say an American Lincoln Model ATS 46/53) without a manual. This machine is a hydraulic and an electrical nightmare. It’s hard enough to figure out problems WITH the manuals.

There are, however, problems that are basic and consistent with what the machine performs. For example:

#1 The sweeper is leaving debris on the floor going around corners:

Probable Cause                                  Remedy

Brush is not touching the ground        Adjust the brush parallel per your
completely parallel to the floor.         owners manual. When the main
                                                         brush makes a mark on the floor
                                                         1 ½ inches wide & the length of the
                                                          brush is correctly adjusted.

The skirts around the brush chamber   Replace all the skirts.
are worn or damaged.

The hopper is completely full and         Empty the hopper.
needs emptied.
The hydraulic vacuum pump is not        Repair or replace vacuum pump
working;                                               per specifications of owners manual.

#2 Problem: Cleaning solution or water spills from the squeegees leaving water behind:

Probable Cause                                      Remedy

Squeegees not correctly in contact         Adjust the squeegee with ½”
with floor.                                             angled on the floor.

Squeegees worn or damaged.                Replace squeegees or flip them
                                                           (e-mail me and I’ll explain)

Rotation of brushes incorrect.                Correct the brush rotation.

Apply too much solution around              Shut off solution valve 5 feet before
the turns.                                              turning.

#3 Problem: Main hydraulic pump making excessive noise:

Probable Cause                                       Remedy

Suction line or strainer clogged.              Clean lines Drain reservoir and flush
as well.                                                  Use hydraulic fluid per your
                                                              owners manual.

Low fluid                                                 Fill, checking the level gauge. Also,
                                                              check the system for leaks.

Pump is worn                                           Repair or replace pump per your
                                                               Owners manual.

#4 Problem: Main brush will not turn:

Probable Cause                                        Remedy

Main brush hydraulic motor is worn           Repair or replace motor.
or damaged.

String or clear plastic skid wrap or            Remove brush and remove area of
other foreign material is wrapped             foreign material. Reinstall brush and
around the brush and or pump area.         adjust if necessary.

#5 Problem: Sweeper/Scrubber performs everything fine except moves slowly:

Probable Cause                                         Remedy

Low hydraulic fluid                                   Check level and add as required.

Worn or damaged hydraulic wheel             Repair or replace hydraulic wheel
motor.                                                      motor.

Foreign material wrap around drive           Remove foreign material.
wheel and pump area.

Possible brakes drag (this is rare).              Check brakes.

I hope this has given you more insight into the world of Sweeper/Scrubbers. Even though I have had good response to Creamer’s Corner, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Let me know what you think. E-mail me your questions or comments at or call me at 800/346-2319.

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