Pressure Washers

mowernutOctober 19, 2009

I'm looking at pressure washers, and would like to know anyone's experience (good or bad) with what's out there. I have an old Home Depot special about 12 years old, and the pump has started "bleeding" oil. I'm just looking for a gasser in the 5 horse range with a verticle shaft for cleaning driveways & stuff. Your recomendations are appreciated.

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I have a Ridgid 3000psi machine. The 5.7hp subaru engine is one of the best small engines I own. My pw has the AR axial cam pump so when I bought it the macine cost 399. The newer 3000psi come with a CAT pump and are around $550. I love my pw and it has plenty of power for my cleaning needs. I would have waited for the newer models with the Cat pump had I known they were going to switch to them since its a much better pump. Anyway, my current machine is well built and starts easily.

On a side note, if the only thing wrong with your PW is the pump, check out northern tool. They have a selection of pumps available for different pressure washers. Most are ready to go and all you have to do is loosen the 4 mounting bolts remove the old pump, install the new one and tighten the 4 bolts and your ready to go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pumps at Northern

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 7:50AM
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the pump is an easy fix depending on if you can get the parts. Sounds like your oil seals are wearing out letting oil leak into the discharge water.

In my opinion, before I spent $150 or better on a new pump, I would check out the models with a Honda engine with a horizontal pump.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:19AM
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like_my_yard(Central NC.)

I have a Dewalt 2800 psi, 3.0 gpm with a Honda 6.5 hp engine. Its over 2 years old and has been used well over 200 hours, not one problem to date.

After going thru HUGE problems with a box store special I bite the bullet and got the Dewalt. It's been one of the best decisions I've made.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:10AM
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Hey thanks for the replies. I never thought about Northern Tool selling just the pumps. I may go there 1st just to see how much they want for one. I have seen the Ridgid model den69rs96 has. It looked well built, and I was curious how good the Subaru engine is on it.
I didn't know DeWalt offers pressure washers though. I have looked at a Kohler powered machine at HD, but the engine itself has a "crafted in China" lable on it. Hmmmm. Well thanks for all the tips - I'll start looking.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 9:03PM
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I'm not a fan of buying power equipment at Home Depot or the Homelite brand, but a couple of years ago I took a chance on a Homelite 3100 at HD on $299 special. This power washer has decent quality for the price and my use. It has a horizontal shaft Subaru 7 hp EX21 commercial engine and what looks like a FAIP brass head axial cam pump. I have used it about a total of 25 hrs, so its just broken in. Overall I am satisfied with this PW.

The Subaru engine is high quality with OHC metal timing chain , iron cylinder liner, roller bearings, so it should last a long time. It starts and runs great, although there is a slight lean surge until it is fully warm - that is not unusual with today's smog engines. At the time, the specs were better than the Honda engine at a similar price.

The pump in the weak link in a lower priced power washer. This FAIP pump is decent for my usage, and for the price I felt I could replace the FAIP unit with a higher quality unit if there was a problem. Supposedly this pump was revised to prevent passed problems with leaks. I take care of the pump by using pump saver, prevent overheating and cavitation. So far - so good (knock on wood) . When I was shopping I found the Northern Tool units in the price range had a Comet VRX pump. I have read some posts they are trouble prone, so you might want to check it out. Also, I don't think the vertical pumps are as durable as the horizontal types.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 3:55PM
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Hey edge! Sounds like you got a great deal on your Home Lite pressure washer, especially for a 7 HP horizontal Subaru. I would have expected it to be closer to $500. Yes, normally, the Home Lite stuff scares me too anymore. It isn't the quality it was years ago. I've been hearing lots of good stuff about the Subaru engines. Yes, I'm finding out the vertical units just aren't as good. The one I have is about 12 yrs old, and was purchased as a "returned item" from HD back then. It gets minimal use, so I'm sure that's why it has lasted so long. It has an unforgiving pump that is easily damaged/ruined if it is allowed to run over a minute without squeezing the trigger. The instructions warn of this happening. It has a pressure relief valve, but will still be damaged from heat built up inside. That happened once when it was borrowed, and the pump was replaced about 5 yrs ago. Now this one is on its way out. It has a 5 hp B&S quantum, which still runs quite well. Thanks for the tips. I think I'll go see if they have anything similiar to yours now.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Yep, I think it was a great deal too. The hose, wand and 5 tips are decent quality which are made by General Pump. I also like the compact spin-down frame, but it is a little more difficult to maneuver than the L frame. The spin lock could be a improved by filing the slot a little deeper. One downside was that Homelite changed the warranty provider to Baja Motorsports (of all places), but Homelite still lists pump parts. I don't know if this is legit on Homelite's part. If there is a problem with the engine I would try the local Subaru dealer for warranty work. (knocking on wood again).

The still have them for sale at Amazon for $430 w/ free shipping. Still a pretty good deal. Couple of people have had no start problems, but one found old varnished gas in the carb from the test fire. They must be left over units, mine started on the second pull.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 9:45PM
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I've been looking around. I went to Northern tool at lunch one day, but they need brand name, model and serial # to give me a pump price. The only washer the Home Depot near me has that is close to yours, is the Ridgid like the one mention in the 2nd reply of this post. It also uses a Subaru engine, but I don't think its 7hp - more like 5.5 or so. Got my pump info, so will go back to Northern tool to get the bad news there. Does Sears sell anything worth looking at? I had forgotten about them.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:34AM
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I haven't checked Sears lately, just make sure check the quality and make of all the components, especially the pump. The manufactures essentially source the components to build most of the machine. You might want to check out buying in the off season for price reductions on pw. But as of a couple of weeks ago, my local HD did not have any pw reduced. I got mine in early April.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 1:11PM
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Good idea. I don't think I have anything that can't wait until next year. Also, Black Friday is coming up. There may be some deals on that kind of stuff then too.

One thing I forgot to ask is, are the cheaper vertical shaft pumps even serviceable as far as adding oil goes, or are they typically permanently sealed?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 8:45PM
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Not sure on the repair or serviceability of the verticals, you could check to see if there are rebuild kits or parts available for your pump or similar pumps. If you buy a new pump or a whole new pw try to get a decent pump with a thermal relief valve and a oil drain plug. The relief valve on my pump usually does open on a typical hour job even though I don't let spray wand stay in the off position too long, which recirculates the water and builds heat.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 10:51AM
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Yes - it definitely sounds like a "get what you pay for" deal with the pumps. I finally spotted a DeWalt pressure washer at a different Home Depot near me. What I was surprised at was that I couldn't find anything on the box or the pressure washer itself as to who's engine is on it. I am only assuming it is made in China, which is typically the case when no brand name is mentioned anywhere. Kinda surprising/disappointing with the DeWalt name. Does anyone else know what kind of engines they use for sure? This is a $1,000 "commercial grade" unit.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 10:09PM
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^ You are correct. The new DeWalt engine is made by an engine manufacturer in China for DeWalt.
Do not be too disappointed however because the China engine quality (from the better factories) is now very good.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 8:02PM
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Good to know about the Chinese engines. Thanks! Are there any labels or things to look for on the engines in order to tell the better ones from the cheap ones?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:11PM
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