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Istobal Washes? Who owns one? FLEX5??

WashSingh

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Hi everyone!

I visited a site today that had a newly install FLEX5 Istobal Roll-over - man was this thing sweet! I’m consider getting one for my bay, but I have never owned a Istobal unit before. Can anyone provide feedback on Istobal products? Are they hard to maintain, or order parts for? Do they have a “Carwash College” like Ryko, where I can go learn how to maintain my own wash? ANY feedback on your Istobal Roll-overs would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks!
 

mac

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Hello Wash Singh, I don't own a Flex 5 but do sell them. So yes, I am biased towards them. Just wanted to get that out in the open. The Flex 5 is a new version of their M22. And it is sweet. The main difference between it and the M22 is that it has four vertical brushes, which will reduce the wash time. Since it looks cool, it also has that gee whiz effect. When choosing any automatic, the distributor can be key to your success. Not all are created equal. The plant in Bristol, VA does, or did anyway, offer a 3 day class on maintenance. A lot of that is spent on getting familiar with their electrical drawings. Since Istobal is based in Spain they use a different format for the drawings. Spare parts should not be an issue. Bristol stocks all of the parts, and the distributor will have the common ones. I could literally bore you to death by going into the technology involved, but what you saw is what your customers will see. And it seems to have impressed you. If there is a machine that will out perform these, I haven't seen it. They have a standard two year parts warranty. And since Jesus did not build these, things will break. That's when the distributor shines. Or should shine anyway. One of the features that we like is the machine sending us emails when it has an issue. It will tell what's wrong. I have seen many times where an owner gets a fault message, and resets the machine while the customer is still there, and it finishes the wash. If it is simple customer related issue, you can reset it from a smart phone, or fire up a free wash to placate an irate customer. You know, those times when you get a call saying he lost a buck in a vacuum, now you can say, sorry, how about a free wash in the automatic? Another important factor in buying a machine is the parent company. They have 70 full time engineers on staff. Google Istobal and Lamborghini and you will see their machines washing new $600,000 Aventadors coming off the assembly line. Ask a lot of tough questions to the owner and the salesman. And please don't try to beat him up too much. Good luck.
 

soonermajic

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where do you go to see the wash perform, via internets? YouTube...?
 

soonermajic

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BALLPARK figure for installing one? Without dryers & paystation?
What Paystation would be best?
 

robert roman

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Hi everyone!

I visited a site today that had a newly install FLEX5 Istobal Roll-over - man was this thing sweet! I’m consider getting one for my bay, but I have never owned a Istobal unit before. Can anyone provide feedback on Istobal products? Are they hard to maintain, or order parts for? Do they have a “Carwash College” like Ryko, where I can go learn how to maintain my own wash? ANY feedback on your Istobal Roll-overs would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks!
I have clients with Istobal rollover.

One guy was real estate developer with no wash experience. After one year, he was able to handle 90 percent of problems over the telephone. No wash college.

This guy has two side by side. Site does enough business to have attended so there are few problems to fix.

This underscores old notion that a mediocre innovation with great business model is usually more profitable than great innovation with mediocre business model.
 

mac

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Here's a link to their web site: https://www.istobal.com/usa/rollovers/flex5/ Istobal now uses the same gantry for the different configurations. The prices will depend on the options selected. A basic three brush machine without tire scrubbers and blowers will run around $85K. Put all of the options on and it can get close to $140K. Installations depend on whether there is an existing machine to remove or a new site. I've had some installs go for around $7K, and some around $14K. They work with any of the paystations out there. I like the newer Hamilton and Unitec ones with the touchscreens. And they are like most all of the other machines out there in the way you configure the wash programs. You can do a basic wash in slightly under 3 minutes, or if you put a lot of passes in there, it can take over 7 minutes. They also have a machine that was primarily designed for auto dealers. That machine, the M1, starts a little over $50K. You can't get any high pressure options with it, but if your budget gets dizzy over $100K, this is a good option. I put one in a self serve with auto and it's doing nicely.
 

wash4me

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It's all about the dealer in your area. mac I'm sure is great. You are better off with a mediocre machine and a good service tech. When I checked on it Istobal would not commit to phone support directly to an owner. Hopefully people will pm you with their experiences. No one can afford to alienate their distributor so it's difficult to get the truth at times. Also, whatever you do get a turn key quote with a detailed written quotation.
 

mac

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Good points wash4me. The distributor really is the key to making an automatic profitable. And Istobal is not immune to the vagaries of hiring good distributors. Basically there is no shortage of unqualified people out there. Their service policy seems to resemble what some other companies in the business are going to. It greatly simplifies things for a manufacturer if they can deal with a distributor who knows the machines and a particular company. Any manufacturer with more than a hundred units in the field can get swamped easily if everything breaks at once. I have seen automatics that were doing unbelievable numbers, and where the machines were ancient almost junk. But because the owner knew how to set up the chemicals, and the location was good, it worked. Just as buying the most expensive machine won't help much if you feed it cheap soap and have a poor location. The maintenance issues have really declined for us since all of the machines we install have the remote access. We handle more than half the calls now over the phone.
 

Greg Pack

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That's all good Mac but distributors come and go in my area. If I can't get factory tech support from someone that knows what they're talking about I would have to mark the unit off my list.
 

wash4me

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Buy a machine where the factory will talk you through problems and sell you parts directly.
 

WashSingh

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Buy a machine where the factory will talk you through problems and sell you parts directly.
Do you know if this is available through Ryko? Sell you parts directly? Give you phone support?
 

robert roman

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Ryko/MacNeil College of Clean is mostly an attempt to keep up with Sonny’s, now with a college on the west coast, in the conveyor segment.

“I’m consider getting one for my bay”

What kind of bay, wand? Or have you never owned an in-bay before? I ask because your questions make this unclear.

For example, if you owned an in-bay, you would know phone support is essential whether it has to be paid for or not.
 

WikiWash

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Has anyone purchased a FLEX5 yet? I'm curious about the FLEX5 and a FLEX5 Combo. Does Istobal offer free customer tech support and sell parts directly? IF you do own the same or a different model of Istobal how do you like the machine and the company?
 

robert roman

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Istobal makes good equipment, and I have clients that are satisfied with the product.

I like FLEX5 because it mirrors classical 5-brush design (simple) but has added benefit of contour drying.

Use high quality chemical and water and right combination of wash material, and a five minute wash will produce almost the same quality as mini-tunnel.

If you need more than 10 cars an hour, I would look into Istobal’s express in-bay M’NEX27 which has two rollovers working in separate bays (wet and dry).

WashTec has also entered the express in-bay segment with SoftCare² Takt which has two gantries placed in series that allow two vehicles to be washed and dried in parallel.

I’m not sure either is available in U.S. but looks intriguing.
 

Roz

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Anyone have experience with the Istobal M1 machine? I think it is less expensive version of the flex 5 without the ability to flex (between 3-5 brushes).
 

mac

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The M1 was designed with the car dealership in mind. Has the same components as the M22, but on a lighter frame, and there are no high pressure options available.
 
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