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Purchasing A Self Service Wash - Advice On Equipment

prostock

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I am purchasing an existing self service car wash that has magic spray pump stand and bay stations. The pump stand is in working condition but the bays will need to be upgraded with new bay stations, wands, brushes. My question is the although the pump stand is working it is 25+/- years old....am I asking for a lot of headaches if I continue to use it? Should I bite the bullet now and upgrade it all to new equipment? Trying to minimize money spent to get up and running but also don't want to be repairing equipment every day. Current owner claims system operates without much maintenance.
 

Roz

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Self service equipment if maintained can last for many years. I would run the place for 3-6 months and see how things work, determine what works, what does not work, etc and build a plan. Visit other SS car washes. New is nice as I totally renovated a place down to the walls but took time to figure out what brand of equipment to purchase by talking to other owners and visiting trade shows. There are many options on the market so figure out that is important to you and your customers.

I was in your position in the beginning of 2017. Don't rush, plan and figure out what changes to make.
 

MEP001

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Do you have any interest in working on it, possibly making improvements, or are you wanting to do a "clean sweep" to keep things reliable? Could you post some pictures of the equipment?
 

Earl Weiss

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If everything turns on when it is supposed to keep it. You can replace working components - motors, pumps etc. as needed.
 

Rfreeman

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Ditto to everything that has already been said but if you do want to buy new or I should say new to you since where I am going is buy used. Take your time and find some good used equipment out there yeah you may have to overhaul it but personally I think the savings justify it. I am about to be in your same position with my 3rd location.
 

Randy

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I am purchasing an existing self service car wash that has magic spray pump stand and bay stations. The pump stand is in working condition but the bays will need to be upgraded with new bay stations, wands, brushes. My question is the although the pump stand is working it is 25+/- years old....am I asking for a lot of headaches if I continue to use it? Should I bite the bullet now and upgrade it all to new equipment? Trying to minimize money spent to get up and running but also don't want to be repairing equipment every day. Current owner claims system operates without much maintenance.
I wouldn’t be too concerned with using pumping equipment that 25 + years old. My pumping equipment is 38 years old and works just as well as it did when it was new. A couple of my Cat 310 pumps are the original pumps. The bay booms and the foam brush booms are about 30 years old. The bay boxes have been replaced. As long as everything works every time it’s all good. It’s all about maintenance. We keep enough spare parts to repair or rebuild one bay. Hoses, motors, motor contactor, pumps, pump repair kits, guns, wands, nozzles, solenoid valves, hoses etc. We replace our high pressure boom hoses up in the attic every 5 years whether they need it or not.
 

Car-Shine

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I wouldn’t be too concerned with using pumping equipment that 25 + years old. My pumping equipment is 38 years old and works just as well as it did when it was new. A couple of my Cat 310 pumps are the original pumps. The bay booms and the foam brush booms are about 30 years old. The bay boxes have been replaced. As long as everything works every time it’s all good. It’s all about maintenance. We keep enough spare parts to repair or rebuild one bay. Hoses, motors, motor contactor, pumps, pump repair kits, guns, wands, nozzles, solenoid valves, hoses etc. We replace our high pressure boom hoses up in the attic every 5 years whether they need it or not.
Do the HP lines go bad? Recently bought my first site. It’s older 1988 and replaced some low pressure hoses that were spliced in many areas. Seemed to help but wondered about HP lines. They all “looked” ok? How do you know they need replaced?
 

Rfreeman

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Yes they go bad and eventually will spring a leak. When I bought my first site first thing i did was replaced all the lines so that I know I won't have to worry about it for a while.
 

Randy

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Do the HP lines go bad? Recently bought my first site. It’s older 1988 and replaced some low pressure hoses that were spliced in many areas. Seemed to help but wondered about HP lines. They all “looked” ok? How do you know they need replaced?
Yes the high pressure hoses go bad. The outer jacket tends to rot and crack, once this happens the hose is pretty much shot. We replace our high pressure hose every 5 years whether they need it or not. We replace the bays hoses when they start to crack or leak at the fittings. If I just bought the wash I'd replace all the high pressure hoses and start new. Freshen up the bays, new signs, coin box decals etc. Make sure everything works 100% of the time.
 

MEP001

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I prefer Synflex instead of steel braided. It's expensive, but it usually lasts at least 20 years, it can withstand repeated freezing, and it rarely breaks for no reason. It also smooths out the normal vibration of the pump so the whole building doesn't hum. It just needs to be protected from rubbing through, which shouldn't happen as long as the pump isn't left pulsating. The lines in my wash are almost 20 years old, and I've replaced one because of a pinhole leak and another has started a pinhole leak. They rarely just burst and leave you with a bay down.
 

Greg Pack

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You said magic spray, did you mean magic wand?

At my main wash the Parker brand HP hose is almost 19 years old with only one repair in that time. Its in an attic with no UV exposure though.
If your pump stands are stainless steel and you don't have a lot of proprietary stuff its hard to justify the cost of a total replacement
 
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