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Low Budget? You Can Still Save

Thursday, January 1, 2009

With this economy floundering, it is increasingly becoming difficult for companies to maintain their equipment. They are challenged daily on finding new ways to do this consistently with less funds in the budget.

Having said that, it is almost unimaginable the questions and requests I receive as how to fix some of the sweeper and scrubbers cheaply. Some questions are reasonable, such as “Are hoppers repairable, mine has a hole in it?” The quick answer is that they are, unless too heavily damaged. Another question which, in all honesty, was asked, “My Company wants a scrubber, can I turn my sweeper into a scrubber?” Of course the answer is, no!

Recently, I received a number of requests from one company, I thought intriguing. He writes, “I have a Tennant Model 355 Sweeper with low oil pressure. The oil pressure switch was bad and they ran it with low oil heavily damaging the engine. Do I have to buy a new or can I have it repaired?” Also, “I have a Tennant Scrubber Model 527 Series II, the rear bumper is gone and the scrubbing deck is in need of replacement. It is very expensive from Tennant. Do you have any suggestions?”

Wanting to remain anonymous, I will call this person Dave. First I needed additional information. I needed to know what engine was in the 355 Sweeper. The sweeper will have one of three choices.

  1. A Ford VSG411
  2. A Ford VSG413
  3. A Diesel Engine

He e-mailed me a day or so later stating that he had a VSG411/LPG Engine. I quickly responded, “Let me see what I can come up with.”

I started to go through the process of elimination:

  1. The VSG411 is no longer available
  2. It is unreasonable to rebuild the engine because of freight, downtime and the probable high cost.
  3. Replace it with a larger VSG413. Yes, this can be done.

I had to double check that the flywheel housing is the same. What this means is that the larger VSG413 would bolt up the same as the VSG411 would bolt. This means, simply, it would fit without complications. Okay then, with the VSG413 being very popular I thought that maybe I could find a used piece of
equipment with this engine in it. That’s a good possibility. Once I found a sweeper with a good Ford Engine, removed it and installed it in a small train in an amusement park (true story).

So, this type of thing is possible I contacted Dave and asked for another day or two and I should have my recommendations. He said “Sure!”

So, while lying in bed one night, I rose after having an
epiphany! Yes, I have it. I will find a used 528 and solve both machine problems. Wow! Of course, a Tennant Model 528 is a scrubber with the Ford VSG413 and is an updated version of the Tennant 527 II Scrubber. I contacted Dave, with the recommendation and said that I would try to find a good machine we can part out. So, to make a long story short, below are the results and the estimated savings.

We found a Tennant 528 used in good shape and running.

The cost was $1,200.00
355 Engine Replacement would have been
$5,800.00 quoted
527 II Rear Bumper $1,200.00 quoted
527 II Rear Deck $800.00 quoted
$7,800 Estimated Cost
$1,200 Actual Cost

The VSG413 Ford Engine fit perfectly into the Tennant 355 Sweeper like I said it would. We did have to also use the wiring harness out of the 528 because it was a distributor-less engine. So, he actually got an updated engine for his sweeper.

Next, the bumper off of the 528 fit the 527 II Scrubber without modification. The rear deck as well fit, but we had to drill two extra holes for the hydraulic hoses.

About two weeks later, he picked up the phone and gave me a call. He said that I saved him over $6,000.00. “What do I owe you?” he asked. After thinking a minute, I said, “How about your parts business?” His response was, “Yes, of course.”

So, you see, one can still save. You just have to have a little imagination , and perhaps, contact me. Of course!

Please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail at or call at 800/346-2319.

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