Pressure Washer Selection

Walt_Pittsburgh(6)June 7, 2005

OK my friends. I have read every message people have posted about buying a pressure washer, but I am still confused. I am looking at Sears, HD, and Lowes at a gas unit. PSI between 2000 to 2600. But no matter what model I consider, I seem to be able to find a terrible review of it on the internet. I am leaning towards the Troy-Bilt 2550PSI at Lowes that has several optional accessories and the B-S 6.75HP Quantum engine ($349). I have found that it is not made by Troy-Bilt. Apparently, starting in 2003 it is made by Generac (Briggs & Stratton).

Help!!! Has anyone out there bought one of the Troy units from Lowes in the last year or so, and are you satisfied with it? Would you have another suggestion in this range that is reliable? I would like to limit my cost to $350.

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If you really need a pressure washer to get work done fast you will eventually end up with one in the $1000-1200 price range. If you really don't need one that often you would be better off renting one for a day.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 12:59PM
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troybilt makes one for Lowes with the Briggs intek OHV engine at the pressure/gps your looking in the $460 range..

I just bought a 1.5 year old Mi-T-M 2703 on Ebay for $375. It has the Honda GX200 engine and an Anrovi Reverberi triplex pump that has solid ceramic plungers. Came with 5 nozzels and a 50ft. hose with a pro gun. Works great. I watched sales for about a month before a good model that was close enough to pickup came to auction.

I'd say rent, or learn what makes a good machine and watch for a used one to come up. Although before this one, I'd been using an11 year old coleman electric that bit the dust this year.

Sams Club sells one with the specs you want at $299, but it uses the Honda GHC engine with a cheapo pump. I'm more of a mind to find a used machine that is well made and has been properly cared for, you save quite a bit. Plus, they are designed for easy repair. You can rebuild the pump with a kit.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 3:13PM
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FWIW, I know lots of people with inexpensive gas powered pressure washers and they've worked great. I borrowed one several times, it's a "Generac" and works perfectly well.

I bought an electric (Campbell Hausfeld) and it has served my purpose well, mostly cleaning equipment, boats, etc. It's light, quiet and portable but it remains to be seen how long they last.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 4:58PM
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reed_nj(Central NJ 6A)

Walt, don't get hung up on the make of the unit. All they do is assemble the components. Whether it Generac, CH, Porter-cable, Troy-bilt, whatever, it's the manufacturer of the components (mainly the engine and pump) that's important. And of these two components, I would think the pump is the more important to make sure you get a quality make, as it has to sustain a lot of pressure.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 10:02PM
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twosevenright(central MA)

If you purchase any brand of pressure washer with a CAT pump and a Honda engine on it, you can't go wrong. I got mine online from Higher Power Supplies and saved a bunch over the big box stores.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 7:23AM
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A honda GX series engine....

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 2:04PM
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Anyone had experience with Northern Tools Northstar pressure washers, I am looking at a 2500psi, honda, Comet pump for around $400. Can't find any reviews or opinions.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 6:31AM
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Consider the Ryobi sold at HD. I bought one this summer and have been very pleased. From what I've read about the Subaru/Robin engine, it should be around for a long time. Long enough to justify marrying it to a CAT pump when the stock AR goes bad.

Good ergonomics as well.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 4:44PM
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I have a 1 yr old troy bilt 6.5hp 2450 psi model 020207,last year I had a problem of not sucking up chemicals after takeing it apart and puting it back togeather it started takeing chemical from the injection this year the same thing I have disassembled the chemical injection section and made sure it was clean and still nothing.everything else is runing good. any Ideas.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 8:13PM
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The Northern Tools pressure washer mentioned a few posts up is a decent one for the money. The Honda engine is not a GX series but good enough for home use and at least it has a Comet pump.

Here is a link that might be useful: washer

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 11:02PM
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What do you guys think of this, w/ the Cat pump selected as an option?

Here is a link that might be useful: Pressure Washer

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:00PM
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I was also looking at this one. Doesn't have the Cat pump but it fits in my budget nicer.

Oh, it would probably help if I posted what I wanted to do w/ it:

A. Clean my concrete walk-way
B. Clean my brick porch
C. Clean my cars
D. Clean my siding

I don't do anything commercially and I don't see this item being used every weekend. I don't need the best, I just want something that will last.

There is also a 300 dollar Troy Bilt at Lowes w/ a Honda motor in it. I'm guessing the pump is the lowest end, which would explain the price? That was the one I was GOING to buy until I read the forums here.

What say you, the experts?

Thanks guys.

Here is a link that might be useful: Northern Tool 400 dollar Pressure Washer

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 7:55PM
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castoff(Z5 Ontario)

Go with the Honda/Cat combo. It isn't the GX motor but for what you want to do, the GC will last you a long, long time.

Yep, it's a bit more but the cost of quality is forgotten as the years go by.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 9:17PM
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I went with the Troybilt from Lowes.I looked at the Northern tools you metion above.But $50.00 to ship plus the extra $100.00.

I will use pump saver and keep my fingers crossed.No more then I will use it I dought I will have a problem.Im betting the majority of the cheaper pumps fail because there not treated with pump saver?

My theory is the more expensive pumps the owners take better care of them.Then the owners of the cheaper models?I also think some just have to have the best of everything?Especially when there spending someone elses money to advise them what they should get?I here the more expensive pumps are servicable with replacement parts.But just how cheap are the parts compared to a replacement cheap pumps?

I might be wrong but im going to take my chances and buy a few extra cans of pump saver.That I would have gotten with expensive versuse cheap just the same.It has a 2 year warranty so I will not loose any sleep over it thats for sure.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 9:20PM
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I have used that troybuilt unit from lowes for a day and it worked fine. The pump is really the weak link in these. I dont know how many hours it will last..once the pump goes its easier to buy a replacement pump but they are not cheap. But if you want one to last many years a Cat or General pump is the way to go.
I have an electric motor powered Cat pump that was made back in 1989 and with heavy use its still going strong.
If you only need one once in a while, rent a good one.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 12:16AM
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I'm wondering if the Northern Tools pressure washer I noted above would be a 'compromise' purchase between the Troy Bilt and the 630 dollar model w/ the Cat pump? In a perfect world you buy the best, but in the real world you buy the best you can afford. I dunno. I don't envision using this every week, but cleaning the cars w/ it would be awfully nice. I just don't want to buy something that dies I guess.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 8:33AM
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I will not be using mine to wash my cars.I take them to the local car wash for that.Because after I wash the cars I like the spot free rinse cycle.Plus I like there soap and hot wax.I use the bay and wash it my self.Not the automated wash bay.

I will use my Troybilt to wash my deck.I will have to be careful not to splinter the wood doing that.So I did not need more then 2500 psi.Probably just one time per year

I will use it to wash my vinal siding again I do not want to blow water behind the siding or cut it or blow holes in it.So 2500 psi seemed fine.Again one time a year.

I will use it to wash out my mower decks on a few pieces of equipment a few times a season.

Maybe wash the siding off on my shed while its out.

I will pressure wash lawn furniture a dog house and a BBQ grill and maybe a trash can and possible a misc piece.

I dought I will use the low pressure soap siphon feature.Not sure about that yet.More then likley all chemicals will be in a 5 gallon bucket and applied with a scrub brush on a handle.Plan to get a nice one with a telescopic handle.So chemical damage more then likley will not be a issue with the pump?I might use the siphon on the vinal siding possibly using a simple green product from Lowes because of reach reasons.Would probably be the only time chemical would be going through the pump.

I highly dought I would put a true 5 hours on this pressure washer a year.So if the pump can run 50 hours thats 10 years.Im sure the pump could make it 100 with reasonable care?

I could not see spending more for my needs?I will use pumpsaver keep my inlet garden hose at 50ft maximum as recomended and use a not kinked hose.I will also flush the hose well before hooking it up to the pump.Keep it spraying rather then having to bypass water and hope for the best.

My super cheapo electric 1600 psi lasted 4 or 5 years and I did not do anything to it after using it.It was a Mccollouch $100.00 special and a store return.Hard telling what it went through before I got it.

If I was going to use mine daily or weekly or even bi weekly.I could see going with a big dollar pressure washer with a Cat pump or other ceramic rebuildable pump.But not for my needs.

Your needs might be different then mine.As you mention washing cars.That alone could put your needs up to a higher priced better pump needs.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 1:58PM
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Hey, given what I want to do, if I ran this thing for like 5 hours a year as the fella above mentions, how long do you guys think this rig would last me? Assuming I follow maintenance of course ....

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 3:32PM
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castoff(Z5 Ontario)

At minimum, that Honda should last you a thousand hours if you look after it by changing the oil in it every year.

Therefore, the engine should last you about.......200 years or so. Not sure as to parts availability after the first 100 years though. Something to consider, I suppose.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Its not the engine I'm concerned w/. Its the pump mechanism (as I've learned). I'm probably over analyzing this far too much for my own good. I'm spoiled after a fashion. My Dad still has tools that work after 25-30 yrs. I don't believe anything has lived up to its fair end of the bargain if it dies under 10. Especially given the light load I'm planning on throwing at it. :P

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 7:15PM
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dmullen(Southern CA)

I was looking at them at Home Depot one day and an employee offered to help. He pointed out the various pumps and even within their power washers, there were some that he said were excellent and others that he did not recommend. After he showed me the pumps and the differences, I could see that some were much better than others.

If you get lucky and find someone there who knows about power washers, they could help select one that will last. Lowes would probably be the same.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 8:07PM
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jopopsy there is nothing wrong with researching.

I buy things according to there use and I get many years use out of them.I have all kinds of power equipment and I have highend products and lowend products sharing the same shed.

I will not buy a low end Box store lawn tractor because I have a large lawn I have two because we have a lot to mow.

I have a comerical use Simplicity snow blower.Not because we get a lot of snow.But because when we do we get drifts out here in the flat land.

I have a cheap MTD Yardman push mower that is my trim mower yet gets worked very hard.But its basically a trim mower.It is 10 years old and has held up well.I can see getting another 10 years plus out of it.Its suppose to be a cheap throw away.Has a cheaper Briggs engine.According to many it should be in a land fill long ago.

I have a Sears Craftsman chainsaw that is doing well.It gets very little use.Would a Stihl last longer spending most of its life on a shelf?Of course if I cut a lot of trees the Stihl would have been a better choice.But I seldome use it.

I use a String trimmer just about daily during the growing season.So I went with a Stihl pro model.If I did not use one often I would have bought a Craftsman.

My point is you have to decide how often you will use it.Then decide how hard you will use it.If the answer is very little and light use.Why spend alot?If the anwer is I will use it a lot and it will be worked hard.Spend the extra money and get a high quality model.But neither will last if not taken care of.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 11:32PM
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JohnDeere, always a pleasure reading your posts and bandying back and forth w/ ya. I spent extra bucks on my yard tractor b/c I expect to use it for a good 15-20 years and my yard is sloped. But you probably hit the nail on the head w/ the pressure washer. I have a 10% coupon for Lowes, that $300 unit w/ the Honda engine is sounding pretty good to me.

I also have a snowblower, but we don't get dumped on heavy. I have a Troy Bilt w/ the Tecumseh Snow King motor in it. Starts every time and gets me out of any trouble I have ever found myself in. Probably wouldn't recommend blowing commercial parking lots clear w/ it, but for my purposes I expect it to last as long as my tractor.

I bought a Troy Bilt string trimmer too. I use it weekly for about 1/2 hour a time. If it dies on me, I will consider it a lesson learned and go to my JD dealer for a Stihl.

Good stuff JohnDeere. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 7:39AM
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like_my_yard(Central NC.)

I bought the Troy Bilt pressure washer from Lowes with the Honda engine last summer. The first 3 hrs. it was used the pump seal started leaking oil. So Lowes sent it off for repairs. 4 weeks later I picked it up and started washing my house again. Same problem again. the pump seal started leaking oil. Back to the repair center yet again, but after only 7 weeks the washer had not came back, so I got a refund. I still haven't purchased another one yet. When I do, you can bet your last dollar it will have a good pump on it.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:56PM
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like my yard was it a horizontal shaft engine model or a vertical shaft engine type?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 6:40PM
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like_my_yard(Central NC.)

"like my yard was it a horizontal shaft engine model or a vertical shaft engine type?"

It was the horizontal shaft

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 9:29PM
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Mine is vertical hopefully the out come for me will be different.Little different pump desighn.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 9:54PM
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A few years back I picked up a 5HP Honda powered Campbell Hausfeld washer - unsure of the pump specs, but it's obviously not of CAT origin. I haven't had any problems with the pump, despite an incident of unintended misuse. I don't think you can go wrong with a $300 Honda powered washer, intended for "homeowner" usage - despite what pump's present on it.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:35PM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

I got the 2500 Excel w/Honda and Devilbiss pump for $400 several years ago. Works like a charm so far and hopefully much longer. Does a great job.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 6:31AM
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like_my_yard(Central NC.)

I didn't have any complaints about the performance. It surprised me on how well it cleaned. The pw done a great job. Oh, by the way the model # was 020208
According to the rep at the repair center, apparently Troy Bilt had a run of bad pumps on the units. They couldn't get the pumps fast as they were being replaced.
Sooo, I'll watch the sales this spring for a pw with a good pump to come around. It's going to be hard to pony up $600. or more.But you get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 8:46AM
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Wow now you went and got me nervous!I went to the Troybilt web sight and down loaded a parts break down for my 020296-01 Troybilt.I then took a look at the parts break down for the 020208 model you had.The pumps have a different part number and there clearly different.This years have a vertical shaft engine so the pump sets vertical rather then horizontal?I notice other brands seem to be doing this also.I wonder if it could have something to do with pump reliability issues?Maybe hopefully these will be more reliable?The only thing Troybilt or MTD about mine is the name.The serial number tag reads Briggs&Stratton and I think that means Generac but Briggs took over Generac?Do you remember what the tag said on yours?Probably the same thing?

I will just have to see what happens?I know the Lowes here sold a lot of these over the last few years.I would not think they would fly off the shelves so fast if they were trouble.But who knows maybe im wrong.I have never seen any returns setting around.

$300.00 is the limit I was willing to pay.Seemed like plenty to pay to squirt water.I was hoping for a quality product that would hold up.If it was warmer I would use the darn thing and see what happens.I did use it maybe 15 minutes and all is well.I drained it and put in the pump saver.Could alway return it if it was defective that way.I will not return it without giving it a chance but the 30 days will be long gone.

I think I will just be positive and go with my gut feeling that I made a good choice.Lowes will be getting in John Deere pressure washers at some point according to there Pressure washer buyers guide that can be viewed on there web sight.Looks like they will be very costly probably starting at $600.00 on up.There all a horizontal shaft engine type.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:20PM
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I had no idea JD made powerwashers !!! Are they actually MADE by JD or are they somebody else's w/ a JD sticker?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 2:30PM
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There someone elses with a John Deere label.You can go to the John Deere web sight and see the ones available at a John Deere dealer along with Generators and now even power tools.But there not the same pressure washers that Lowes will carry.The Lowes line are painted green but the one at the dealer are black.Totaly different in every way.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 3:16PM
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They have residential grade washers. I'm assuming they would be more stout then a big box variety? I dunno, would sure like to know which pump is in it. Its 130 more then the Troy-Bilt we've been discussing, but that's essentially the price of a replacement pump for the TB. Wonder if its worth it ...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 10:02PM
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No way thats the most over priced thing I have seen yet on there web sight.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 12:19AM
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You know what JohnDeere? Northstar has lots of pressure washers listed on Northern Tool. You can get an awfully nice set-up for the price of that JD I referenced above. I don't think I'm sold on the JD line; seems like a lot of cash.

I DID find out that the TB models have FAIP pumps; I think they are made in Italy. Briggs rep on the phone told me the key is to use the pump saver after every use.

I was going to use the washer to clean other things besides my porch and sidewalks, but adding 5 bucks to the cost of running it every round (in addition to gas) makes me think using it to wash the cars is a poor idea (approaching the price of a car wash w/ much more hassle).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 7:48AM
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But can you get away with not using the pump saver in the expensive pumps?Could be but I would not take the chance.

The pump saver is expensive however one can will treat the pump more then one time.I think atleast 3 times I will get from one can.For my use two cans a years tops would keep me protected.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:26AM
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Didn't know you could get multiple uses out of a can. Thought it was a one shot deal. That's good to know.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:51AM
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Hey JohnDeere,

FYI I called up Briggs and asked them to tell me the differance between the 2550 Troy Bilt at Lowes and the 2550 B&S they sell directly. The one they sell is 100 bucks or so more then the TB, so I wanted to know what you got for the 100.

Rep on the phone told me the only differance was the B&S variety had a Quantum motor and the TB did not.

Which, to me, meant that Honda motor seemed like a good deal for the 300 as everything else was pretty much just like Briggs is making them under their own label.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 2:24PM
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I am looking for an electric pressure washer that does well at drawing from a rain barrel rather than requiring a pressurized hose input. We don't have a pressurized water system, but can run a hose into a barrel we use for catchment. Our needs are limited.... deck and gutter cleaning. It's inpossible from product specifications to determine whether or not any of the models we've looked at (Karcher, McCullough, Husky, FAIP, Craftsman) are capable of this. We sure would appreciate any advice anyone has on this. Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 10:47PM
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One thing you have to understand is the GPM of the washer is just as important as the PSI. Remember, you can never have too much pressure or GPM in a PW per se meaning you can always throttle it back to reduce the pressure. The GPM is what decreases the time to wash, not just the pressure. The higher the GPM the faster the washing. Also, the farther the tip from the surface, the lower the effective pressure is. A tip 12" away from the surface at 4000psi can do less damage than a tip 2" away at 2500psi, although a lower psi PW will have a less likely chance of accidentally causing damage. The advantage of a higher pressure PW is if you need it, it's there. I'm one of those people who would rather pay a higher price for quality initially and features knowing I will have fewer problems down the road. But you still have to live within your budget. Don't buy something based on price only to find out for a few dollars more, you could have bought a much better machine which in turn will do a better job cleaning and provide better service in the long run.

As far as the PW itself, the pump is the most important piece with the engine coming in a close second. Personally, I would stay away from an AR pump (Annovi Reverberi) and stick with CAT, Comet, or General pumps along with a Honda GX engine, but make sure of the model number of the pump, not just the brand name. HD, Lowes, and the like, will put the cheapest "brand name" pump on a PW to meet a price point to sell more washers (ex: CAT 67DX39 vs a 66DX40 pump. Both are closely rated but a cost difference of around $125). Each brand pump has a high level and low level pump. You have to decide which is more important: quality or price. What you may find is once you have a PW, you will be amazed as to how many jobs you will find a use for it other than the yearly deck and driveway cleaning which can justify the initial cost. If you want to clean concrete driveways, I would invest in a good "turbo rotating nozzle." This will reduce the cleaning time by 1/2 over a "fan tip" nozzle. An industrial type will run around $100 but you can get them for as little as $30. These nozzles will eliminate the "striping" effect you get with fan spray tips. Also, when you replace tips, make sure you replace it with the correct psi/gpm that the washer is rated for.

One other VERY IMPORTANT feature is the unloader valve and temperature release valve. NEVER EVER let your PW run for more than 2-3 minutes without running water through the gun/pump. If so, you can damage the pump!!! You MUST keep the pump from overheating which results in blown seals and part damage. These features increase the cost but can save hundreds down the road if the pump should overheat.

Also remember to keep the engine and pump oil changed frequently. These parts run at high RPMs constantly usually at a high ambient temperature which can cause the oil to break down quicker. Use the oil recommended by the pump manufacturer and a good high quality motor oil (I use Amsoil 4 stroke synthetic oil). It's a bit more but worth the reduced wear and tear on the engine.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:17PM
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What is the catch w/ this rig? Seems like a nicely priced unit w/ a 3 year warranty and excellent parts. Where is the hangup? I have a 10% Lowes coupon that I believe I can use at HD ...

And yes, I posted questions awhile ago and have FINALLY gotten around to being ready to pull the trigger (moving did not help).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Lowe's has a troybilt with a honda motor for $349.00 I recently bought one and it has done a great job for me. I think it is about 2600 psi

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:03PM
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    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 1:57PM
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My local John Deere dealer indicated that Mi-T-M are the manufacturers of the JD pressure washers. Looking quickly, similar if not identical specs; even with the choice of Honda or Subaru engine. Anyone have any dealings with Mi-T-M in Canada (can't find any mention of dealers handling and waiting on Mi-T-M to respond). thanks

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 1:38AM
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I'd really like to know who makes the pumps for the Husky gas pressure washers? In addition to the Ridgid I posted earlier, the 399 Husky w/ Honda motor intrigues me. I just want to know more about the pump. FWIW, the TroyBilt 400 model uses a FAIP pump. Not as good as a Comet, and certainly not as good as a CAT.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 6:33AM
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FWIW I think I'm going to go w/ a unit from

They have very nice equipment w/ aggressive pricing. For those who may want to buy a little more quality and willing to spend a little more to get it.

I've come to the conclusion that the Big Box store models, save the John Deere and Ridgid branded items, are largely throw away.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 1:27PM
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IMO.... DO NOT buy the Troy bilt PW. I Bought a tb3000 from Lowes last week for Homeowner use (bbq grill, siding & cars). I just reboxed it as I plan on returning it tomorrow. It is a poorly designed unit and of equally poor quality. the bigest issue that i found with it is it wont start hot, The automatic choke causes it to flood when warm. The gas tank is in a poor location difficult to fill and mucgh too small. the detergent tanks get caught on everything that you try to wheel over (hoses, the lip of the garage floor.... ) as ther are only an inch of the groun, lower when you lean the unit back to move it. and I also found that the valves on the trwin tanks frequently open allow detergent from each tank to mix with the other. i doubt i will ever buy or recommend a troybilt product ever again....

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 4:18PM
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